Bee Happy

My first ever round of an online quilt bee is all wrapped up.  All the blocks I made are in the hands of their intended recipients, and I have received four marvelous blocks in my own color scheme in the mail!

This particular online bee, the 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee, works like this.  Each quarter (so 4 times per year, the “4” of the “4×5”), participants in that round are placed in a “beehive” with 5 other quilters (the “5” part of the equation).  Each participant requests a particular color scheme.  Each member of the beehive will make 5 blocks of the same pattern, in 5 different color schemes, one for each other member of the hive.

Since I’ve started dabbling in quilting, I’ve decided I should have a quilt for our bed; a big one.  I’m thinking ahead, planning how I will eventually decorate our bedroom.  For my first round of this quilting bee, I requested those colors, yellow and gray.  They make me so happy.  Here are the four blocks I received, plus two of my own yellow and gray blocks.

I’ve signed up for another round of the 4×5 Bee, but I’ve changed my colors.  I think that this first big quilt for me, should be completed by me.  So, instead, my bee quilt will be for another project, and I’ve gathered an abundance of yellow and gray fabrics that I will use myself.  I can’t wait to play with some of these.  The quilt will be a “sampler quilt” like the bee quilts, so all the blocks will be different, but tied together by the fabrics and colors.

Aren’t they lovely?


Be Free Bees

Did you know people still do quilt bees?  No?  Me neither.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly had a misconception about quilting bees.  The imagery in my head immediately goes to a group of elderly ladies with needle and thread sitting in a circle in a church basement.  They’re having a great time talking about their grandkids, but I definitely do not fit in there (I AM their grandkid) and the quilt they’re working on is definitely NOT to my taste.  You there with me?  Okay, now come here.  

The ladies working on the quilts in this quilting bee are in their 30s (and 20s and 40s and 60s … ).  They are quilting on digital sewing machines using bright fabrics with modern designs.  Mostly, they sew on their own, but the social aspect of the quilting bee is not in the church basement, but with online friends, where they mail bits of quilts all around the country and the world, so in the end, they have the aspect of working on one quilt, together, as a quilting bee.  They share photos and ideas and discuss the projects online.

My first experience with the modern, online based quilting bee was the 4×5 Bee, where I made blocks for 5 other quilters over the course of one quarter, and they each made a block for me, in my chosen colors.  (I’ll post soon about the awesome blocks I received.)  I’ve already signed up for the first quarter of 2012 in that quilting bee and will be getting my “hive” assignment soon.

Meanwhile, in an effort to keep my creative muscles fresh, I joined a Free Form Quilt Bee.  I was a bit tentative at first because I didn’t really know what to expect, but the concept intrigued me.  Basically, I send out a starter piece of a quilt, and over the course of the next several months, the quilters in my group add to it however they see fit, thus the “free form” aspect of this project.  Each month, my (larger and larger) starter piece will be mailed on to someone else to add a little something to it.  At the end of August, I will get back a much larger project.

I intend for this quilt to be a wall hanging for the girls, either in their bedroom, or in the playroom.  I went through several ideas and finally settled on birds.  I started pulling out bird fabrics and was actually surprised by how many I had!  I framed them all in bright colors and came up with this:

Next up: a signature block.  Each person who works on this quilt will sign a bird, so when the project is finished, this will be incorporated in to the back so I will have a memento of all the hands that helped to complete my quilt.

For this group, we also decided, collectively, that we would include a little journal with our starter blocks to be sent along to each stop.  The intention is to share our inspirations and creative processes so that the owner of the quilt knows where each addition originated.

I happened to have this little bird stamp, which fit perfectly in with this project.  I will have photo updates over the course of the next several months, but I can’t wait to see how it looks when it comes back to me.  It’s all packaged up and ready to mail to the UK tomorrow!

Finishing 4×5 Bee blocks, Q4

The deadline for the 4×5 Quilt Bee blocks is this week and I finished up my blocks yesterday, a full 5 days early.  Yahoo!

I’m calling the block I designed “sunset squared” because the upper part reminds me of sun rays and the squares, well, that’s obvious, right?

I finished Tina’s first, followed by Jen’s.

Katherine‘s colors were cardinal and robin’s egg blue, but she clarified by saying “any red that isn’t orange” and “any blue that isn’t primary.”  Here’s her block:

I really struggled with Pam’s color choices, “ash, pomegranate and sage,” probably more than I should have.  Pomegranate and sage aren’t colors that I tend to buy for myself, based on what was already in my stash, but I really wanted her to have a block that she would really like.  I definitely over-thought it.  She indicated that she was referring to the Kona solid colors when she chose them but she really would be happy with any interpretation of the colors.  Anyway, Kona’s sage is the solid bluish green in the block below.  Pomegranate is a red with some definite pink tones.  I sure hope she likes it!

I had a couple members in my “bee hive” ask me about how I put the block together, so it might be a good time for a tutorial on this blog.

Blogger’s Choice Fat Quarter Bundle

Do you know the Fat Quarter Shop?  Well, they are an excellent destination for online fabric shopping.  Not only do they have a huge array of beautiful fabrics by the yard, they also have a large selection of pre-cut fabric bundles.  One section is the “Blogger’s Choice Fat Quarter Bundle,” which feature coordinating print and solid fabrics selected by a blogger in the online sewing community.

Recently, Quokka Quilts has teamed up with the Fat Quarter Shop.  They are hosting a contest challenging participants to create a fat quarter bundle consisting of 12 coordinating prints and three solids.

I started out with a general idea for a theme and then saved 40 (yes 40!) different fabrics that I liked and thought I could use.  Then came the challenge of whittling that down to just 15.  Sheesh!  I don’t know how long I stared at those thumbnails of those fabrics.  Here are the ones that made the final cut.

1. Benartex crazy daisy black with yellow 2. Dear Stella charcoal solid 3. Lecein woodland gray dots and vines 4. Dear Stella palladium gray gridlock 5.  Lakehouse Pam Kitty Morning yellow on white precious dot 6. Michael Miller charcoal tiny houndstooth 7. Dear Stella mimosa yellow mumsy 8. Marcus Brothers french dress ebony mosaic medallions 9. Lecien happy mochi yum yum lemon fiji 10. Quilting Treasures juicy blossoms yellow hyacinth 11. Lecien flower sugar gray floral circles 12. Free Spirit designer solids saffron 13. Riley Blake sunny happy skies yellow lace 14. Dear Stella palladium gray peacock 15. Michael Miller cotton couture solid fog

I went with a yellow gray theme because that color combination has been on my mind lately.  When I choosing fabrics, I picked yellows that were a little bit more toward the gold side of yellow.  The warmth of that color is a great contrast to the cool gray.  I tried to make sure that I had a range of tones from dark to light that would be interesting and useful to someone who might potentially purchase this bundle if it were available.

I love this group of fabrics together.  There is a great contrast between some of the floral prints and the more structured or geometric (4., 6.).  I made sure to include a couple that had some interesting looking textures in the print (7., 14.) and had a sub-theme of circles that carriers through many of the prints (3., 5., 8., 9., 11., and 13. and 14. to some extent).

What do you think?