I finished up my 4 X 5 paper pieced bee blocks this past weekend and had a great time experimenting with fabrics. I chose Lee from Freshly Pieced’s Cartwheel Block. First up was a rainbow block with black background. The recipient was open to patterned black fabrics, so I chose the charcoal Madrona Road text print.
This block is pretty intense in person, but I love how the text has a striped effect and gives it lots of movement. Next up was pear, tangerine and peacock. I immediately thought of this turquoise and orange print. It’s one of my favorites and I use it often. The Notting Hill print is one of the few I have from that collection and it matches the other print perfectly.
Aqua and Red is always a hard color combination for me. I like both colors, but I don’t have many reds and very few fabrics that feature them together. Since this block is so graphic, I was afraid it wouldn’t look right if I used two single color or single color with white prints. This Valori Wells print has the touches of red I wanted, but I wasn’t sure if it was the aqua she was looking for. As an aside, can anyone tell me an easy way to distinguish between aqua and turquoise. I generally think of turquoise as the deeper blue seen in the peacock print above and aqua as a lighter blue, like the secondary blue in the same print. Anyway, I have a new red I really like, so I ended up pairing it with the Valori Wells. I really hope my hivemate likes it.
Next up is my own block in rainbow with white. This was kind of a meh block for me. I love every fabric in it and think it’s very pretty, but it’s not very dynamic. You can see how much changing the orientation of the red print makes a difference with how much movement the block has. The horizontal stems in the aqua and red block give it some life, whereas the rainbow block remains static.
In the next block I decided to play around with this idea a little more. The colors requested were citron, aqua and navy. The AMH feathers were hands down my favorite option for this block and I decided to pair it with one of my all-time favorite prints from Kate Spain’s Central Park collection (I am on a constant lookout for this same print in tangerine or turquoise, but haven’t had any luck yet tracking it down). Again, I focused on orientation and aligned the feathers horizontally to create movement. The ribbons running through the citron also add to the effect, though that was accidental. It’s crazy how much difference this makes. This is easily one of my favorite bee blocks I’ve ever made.
My final 4 X 5 block was in orange and turquoise. I’ve been recently collecting these colors and had two prints I thought would look amazing together. Again, I chose to accentuate movement through the orientation of the Valori Wells print. If this doesn’t say Cartwheel, I don’t know what would. This is definitely another favorite block.
Being in a paper piecing mood I continued right along working on a test block for Kristy from Quiet Play She decided to provide copies of her “Just My Type” alphabet pattern, available at Craftsy, to make individual words to be used in charity quilts. She requested single fabrics on white in 5″ finished blocks. I was almost done, when my machine went kaput.
Fortunately, the dealer I bought it from was able to get it in right away. I picked it up just a bit ago, so should be able to finish up this block tonight. I wanted to share a few thoughts on the pattern. These letters were easy and straight forward to construct. I had no problem following the instructions, despite being relatively new to paper piecing. I especially like that she included a chart with percentages needed to up size these letters. That said there are a few aesthetic things I would do differently if I were to use these letters again for myself. First, I would leave the top and bottom strips off of each individual letter until I had the word completed and sash the entire word as one piece. Second, I would adjust the spacing between each letter. If using these letters in a multiple line phrase the spacing between lines would be less than the spacing between letters and the spacing between each word would need to be considerable to make it look proportional. An easy fix would be to just attach one side piece to each letter that is in the middle of a word. If the first and last letters each had their strip on the outer portions of each word, there would be adequate spacing between words to make it readable. Finally, I feel that the lines at the top and bottom of the letters that make it a “type” alphabet are a bit too long. Something feels slightly off with the proportions, especially with the P and E. I adore the roundness of these letters. The O is quite beautiful. I would be interested in seeing some examples of this pattern made up in the larger sizes, to see how that impacts the proportion of all the letters.
Next up, I have a block for Color Bee Shocked and two for Empower at do.Good Stitches. I may have used my need for Kona Jet to fuel a little fabric binge that may be coming tomorrow. We’re expecting a blizzard though, so I hope that it doesn’t delay my happy mail!
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