Category Archives: Bee Blocks

A Scrappy Trips Finish for Empower @ do. Good Stitches

The first week of September I sat down to make a list of all my WIP’s. With kids transitioned to school and new free time on my hands, my goal is to get as many done as I can before the end of the year. First on the list, was my month as quilter for Empower @ do. Good Stitches. A Many Trips Around the World quilt has been on my bucket list since Fall 2012. I have a tub of 2 1/2″ strips I cut from most fabrics that crossed my table that year waiting for me to do something with them. I had been waffling about how I wanted to go about it, so when my do.GS month and the Scrappy Trips craze simultaneously hit the internet, it was the perfect opportunity to experiment. I requested a palette of pink, orange and yellows with a single lime green strip down the middle to create a lattice effect. I also requested that stitchers include at least one low volume strip in each block to help create movement. I did a quick fabric pull to give everyone an idea of what I was looking for.

empower collageGiven the number of contributors with a block with a ton of seams, I was amazed at how easy this quilt came together. This group of ladies is a precise bunch and they chose the most RAD fabrics.DSC_0771Then, as these things go, the flimsy got tucked aside while I tried to figure out how to back and quilt it. I auditioned a bunch of different green fabrics, but nothing felt quite right. It wasn’t until I completely switched gears and pulled out some Kona Tangerine that it all fell into place. I also found a random print in my stash that had many of the same colors to widen it up at bit. My goal for the quilting was to soften all the sharp edges. I did a couple simple free-form wavy lines through each square with my walking foot and it was finished in no time.

DSC_0082My final decision was binding. Given how busy the top already was, I decided I didn’t want to add a new fabric. I still had enough of the print from the back and I’ve never done a binding lighter than the main quilt before, so this seemed like another good chance to try something new. I especially like how the the binding pulls out the splashes of lighter prints my bee mates included for their blocks.

DSC_0087Scrappy Trips for Empower @ do. Good Stitches
Finished September 2013

DSC_0090Linking to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts


February Bee Blocks are Finished!

My 4 X 5 Blocks made it out in the mail this past week.

I finished my “HOPE” block for Kristy from Quiet Play. That is a plain white background, my light was crummy. I really like the way this ended up. If you are looking for a “type” style alphabet, this is a very good one.


It was Sabrina’s month for Color Bee Shocked. She chose Japanese X & + blocks and sent out a selection of blue fabrics. She told us that she would be open to us making a second block from stash if we were interested. These are fun little blocks and I knew I was going to make more than one from the beginning. I tried hard to pick similar blues and mixed mine in with hers so they would look a bit more uniform. My son was sad when I told him that these were being sent out. He thinks everything I make needs more blue.


I do really love these blocks and decided I needed a couple for my ongoing sampler quilts (I used a different tutorial so that these would end up 12 1/2″ or 12″ finished). The first is for my text block quilt using text fabrics and the second is in my rainbow on white color palette that I use for the 3 X 6 and 4 X 5 bees.



Finally, I tackled this months do.Good Stitches. Meesh chose It’s a New Day for her pattern and based her palette on a piece of artwork.

meesh inspiration

Our colors ended up being medium to light warm and salmon colored pinks, medium to light grays, medium to light warm golds, white and medium to light beige with a Kona Jet background. Fortunately she posted some examples and based on her fabrics I chose the following stack from stash.

DSC_0535She requested an A block and a B block, but was open to additional A blocks. I wanted to play with this palette a little more and ended up with these final three blocks.




Sorry about the grainy photos, I’m not sure what’s up with my camera. It was in reach of little hands this week, so I think I need to go back and check my settings.

It feels so great to get this month’s bee blocks done. I’m turning to my February A Lovely Year of Finishes goal next, since the project I’m working on is for an upcoming birthday. Soon after I hope to finish up my first Empower at do.Good Stitches quilt. I just need to confirm that I have all the blocks and I can get started.

WIP 2.20.13: February Bee Blocks

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!

Linking up to…
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday 1.16.13 ~ Bee Boppin’ Along

Those of you who checked out my WIP list, probably noted my crazy number of bee commitments. January, in particular, is a big month with 16 bee blocks due!

Empower at do.Good Stitches

I made two sets of blocks this month… December’s Boy’s Nonsense blocks in goldenrod, yellow, lilac and tan, from Where the Orchards Grow and January’s Many Trips Around the World blocks from Quiltville. January also happens to be my very first month as the quilter. The colors I specified were pink, orange and yellow, with one strip of lime green for the middle of each block. I’m hoping that the green strips will create a lattice design when the quilt is assembled.

01 do.GSI didn’t have much in my stash of goldenrod, lilac or tan and it’s not a color scheme I ever would have thought of, but I love the sophistication of this palette and can’t wait to see the finished quilt. I have been planning a Many Trips Around the World quilt for months now and it’s on my FAL list. It’s been tough not jumping in on the Scrappy Trip Along happening on Flickr, especially since I have all the fabric cut. This gave me the chance to make a few blocks and experiment with how well an additional design element works out. Blocks have already started coming in and I’m excited to start assembling this one and thinking about with quilting ideas.

3 X 6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee

Hive 8 Sampler
This was my first quarter participating in this mini bee and I signed up for two spots. For my sampler blocks, I chose Jess Kelly’s Simply Woven block. I didn’t have many problems with it when I constructed my test block. But when I went to make them in my bee mates colors, I had a hard time keeping everything from going wonky.

3X6 Q4 Hive 8

I think it was a combination of not being quite square when I made my secondary cuts and having a hard time lining up seams. I’ve become good at nesting seams, but with this block your matching seams across the 2 1/2″ strip you add in each step. I always seemed to be a hair off one way or another. I have also been working on making sure I press, not iron. I think with a block like this with long, narrow strips, that’s especially important to avoid distortion. I hope my bee mates aren’t too disappointed with their blocks. I really enjoyed working with color scheme’s I wouldn’t normally choose. I’m not ready to give up on this block yet. Since I have Jelly Rolls of Simply Color and want to make the complete quilt featured at Moda Bake Shop, I’m going to be making more sample blocks. On a side note, Jess is one of my favorite new designers. Not only is her Simply Woven quilt one of my favorites from the past year, but I also love her first independently published pattern, Lucky Squares.

Hive 4 Paper-pieced
For my paper-pieced block I chose Tallahassee from Quilter’s Cache. This was my first try at paper-piecing since the 90’s. This block appears pretty simple and straightforward, four colors and a background. It’s not necessarily difficult to construct, but I underestimated how time consuming it would be. It may just be a few colors, but each color is made up of four blocks and each block is made up of five pieces of fabric. That’s 80 pieces and a whole lot of trimming!

3X6 Q4 Hive 4They aren’t perfect, but I really love how they all turned out. I certainly don’t regret choosing this block, but I’m going to get a much earlier start on my paper-pieced blocks for the 4 X 5 Modern Quilt Bee next month.

On Tap for Next Week

  1. Color Bee Shocked ~ The Modified Bento Box we’re making is going to be a nice change after all the paper-piecing I’ve done this week. Hopefully, they will be finished and out by this weekend.
  2. Lucky Star BOM ~ Practice Block and January Block
  3. Gen X BOM ~ January
  4. Aurifil BOM ~ January
  5. January’s A Lovely Year of Finishes Goal ~ I have both Giant Stars constructed, but am considering adding a border to one of them.
  6. Madrona Road MQG Challenge ~ Our guild didn’t get our fabric until the beginning of this month, so we’re extending the challenge through February. If possible I would like to get it done and a picture submitted to the Flickr group by the national deadline.

Linking up…

WIP Wednesday


WIP Wednesday: 11.28.12

The Good, The Horrifying and The Stitching

The Good: I had a little bit of a treat over Thanksgiving. What started out as a poorly timed rabies shot, ended up as three days at home by myself. Hubby took the six kiddos to his parents house, leaving me and the animals to our own devises. On Thursday I had a pretty bad case of missing my kiddos, but I bucked up and enjoyed my time alone. I also got my Color Bee Shocked bee blocks done through the end of the year and my November Empower at do. Good Stitches blocks completed and ready to send out.

I still love those pinwheels, especially in this gorgeous color combination. There is a lot of trimming involved, so it is an excellent block to send out for a bee project.

The Horrifying: Then I got some extremely upsetting news that hasn’t left my thoughts since the moment I heard. The precious baby that distracted me from blogging a couple of weeks ago was in the hospital. At only six weeks old that is worrisome in and of itself. But after being there for several hours, his leg was broken during a procedure. Not fractured, but a jagged break. His femur was at a peak in his little leg. Just thinking about it again now, makes my heart hurt. Can you just imagine how his parents feel? Fortunately, they have family and friends supporting them. It’s going to be a couple more weeks before they know for sure how this happened. It is such a rare thing, I’m praying that he doesn’t have a condition that made him susceptible.

The Stitching: By the time my family got home and I had some time to process this news, I was in need of serious stress release. My two big projects require floor space, but after being gone for a couple of days, it just wasn’t going to happen. I have other projects cut and ready to go, but I didn’t want to start another big project before I cleared some WIPs and I really didn’t want to think. I joined a Christmas charm swap on Flickr earlier this Fall, so I decided to pull them out and see what I could come up with. I chained pieced pairs, then four and so on until I had 17 rows of 15. I took a break to lay it out and make sure there were no major problems with where the blocks landed. The 17 rows became eight, then four and finally one. Somewhere along the way they got out-of-order, but no matter. I turned to fabric leftover from cutting my charms for the swap and whipped up some binding. Then dug around in the cupboard until I found a piece of flannel I’d bought for another project that ended up being the wrong color. All that is left is baste, bind, done.

I will never get tired of simple, straight forward patchwork. As a bonus, no marking, pressing, pinning or much thought at all went into the making of this quilt top. By next week, I should have a finished cuddly Christmas quilt to share.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday: 11.21.12

Last week was an insanely busy week of sewing and posting. After focusing on the Scrappy Stash QAL, Tula Pink Sew Along and Travelin’ PicStitch Blog Hop, I was in need of a little break. I have one more commitment to finish up (one that is overdo and making me feel incredibly guilty), but I seem to have a mental block to work through. I’ve never made a bag before and although the pattern I have is well-written and straight-forward, I’m overwhelmed by the idea of it.

In the meantime, I started on bee blocks. I have wanted to take part in online bees for a while, but hadn’t found an opportunity. Then all in one month, I became a part of four different ones. Since I’m still tentative, I decided I wanted to make practice blocks first, especially before I cut into other people’s fabric.

First up is a circle block for Color Bee Shocked:

The only requirement was that there be a circle of some kind. I saw Susan Staden’s post on Canadian Abroad and shamelessly stole her idea. She wisely used freezer paper to construct her segments (I used copier paper) and used the template to iron under her circle (I just used my eyeballs). Needless to say, hers looks much better than mine! When I make the actual block for my bee mate, I will paper piece it and use a circular template to iron it under. I had never appliqued before and I’m actually pretty pleased with how that part came out.

Next was Wonky Pin Wheels for Empower at do. Good Stitches:

This block was made following this tutorial at Greenleaf Goods and liked the way it came together. So simple and easy to chain piece, but with a stunning result. I did adjust the layout slightly for my practice block so it would look better as a stand alone block in a sampler. I love the colors chosen for our bee and am looking forward to finishing these blocks up.

Then it was time to choose blocks for the 3 X 6 Mini Bee.
This was my first time trying out paper piecing so I picked what looked like an easy block:

I chose Tallahassee from Quilter’s Cache. Note to self, just because it only has four areas of printed fabric, doesn’t make it an easy block. The thick seams tripped me up a bit, especially when it came time to sew the last four sections together. When I make these for my hive, I will start sewing the last seams from the center working out. This block took the longest by far, but the end result is definitely worth it!

Finally I chose this woven block for 3 X 6 Mini Bee Sampler Hive:

I loved Jessica Kelly from SewCraftyJess Simply Woven Quilt pattern as soon as I saw it at Moda Bake Shop. In fact, I have two jellyrolls of Simply Color on my wishlist to make the twin size quilt. These blocks are pieced to be joined together with an even amount of background between each strip. Since they will be used independently as bee blocks, I am going to make the center background squares slightly smaller, so there is more background showing around the edges when they’re pieced with different blocks.

I really like how these all look together so far. I chose the same colors I’m using for the 3 X 6 Mini Bee (Scrappy Spectrum) for my prints and then chose low-volume neutral and text prints for my background fabrics. I know I’ve done this before, but I’m not tired of it yet.

On the agenda for next week…
1. Suck it up and make some bags ~ I’m going to make this my first and primary priority. I think it will go quickly once I get started, I just need to push myself over the hump. I know I will feel much better once it is done.
2. Bee Blocks!

That should be plenty. I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.