Tuesday, July 7, 2009

June Quilting Bee Blocks

WARNING: marathon post ahead!! Turn back now if you don't have a few minutes to kill!

Is it just me, or was June 2009 the fastest month in history?? Wow, it just blew right by me. I only had one blog post in the whole month! Crazy.

Luckily, I was able to keep up with my many online quilting bees. I am terrified of falling even one month behind, because I know the snowball effect is huge in these things. One missed month turns into piles and piles of other people's fabrics that need to be made into blocks. And I definitely take the commitment that I made to other people very seriously. So on to the block-making ... !

For SewConnected, Sarah (aka krommama) sent out ... NOTHING! Her challenge (which is SO TRUE to who she is!) was to make an entire block out of nothing but our own scraps. And those of you familiar with Sarah's work know that she LOVES wonky houses. So that's what she asked for: scrappy, wonky houses. Fun!

Fortunately for me, I've recently been getting back a lot of scraps from my own SewConnected quilt, so I was happy to put them to good use:

My favorite part about this house is the roof. You can't really tell from the picture, but it's made up of 3 or 4 very skinny strips of the same fabric, all sewn together. The result is a textured roof ... almost reminiscent of shingles or gables. A small but nice detail, I think!

Over at SewConnected 2, Amanda (sasikirana) selected a really striking array of greens and greys for her quilt blocks. Her color combo is so, so great (check out her picture here). She also included a hand embroidered strip of the alphabet for each quilter, as well as a smaller bit featuring the quilter's initials. What a great way to tie all of the blocks together! And featuring the "signature" of every quilter on their block is such an inspired idea.

Her request was for improv-style blocks. I had no idea where I was going with this until I was done ... and I am pretty happy with the final result! It finished a bit too narrow, so I added the column of green apples down the right side of the block.

June was a 2-quilter month in the SewConnected 3 group, and to help defray shipping costs for the group, I assigned the month to both of our Belgian members: Dallas (aka forthejourney) and Sarah (aka craftywaffles), affectionately known as "Team Belgium"!

Dallas pulled together a really nice collection of autumnal colors and patterns (see her pic here) and asked for a "bold pattern, modern in style, but not improvisational or wonky". I decided on a simple (but effective, I think) pattern that showcases those great owls:

I can't wait to see how Dallas' final quilt turns out!

Sarah really decided to throw out a challenge for her blocks. Her vision is for a "modern, shabby chic" quilt inspired by antiques and Cath Kidston. She sent everyone a blank-slate cut of white fabric and a selection of some of her shabby chic prints. Her only direction was "bubbles" ... to be interpreted however we like. Her challenge was to work with curves and circles ... something I really haven't tackled yet.

After going back and forth, back and forth a few times on my design, I decided to experiment some more with reverse applique. I figured that it would be different & unique, and the slightly frayed edges that will occur over time (after washing) would be VERY shabby chic!

First, a single, large bubble:

And next, a nice orderly collection of 9 bubbles. I tried to select soft, coordinating perle cotton colors for the stitching. It's still a new technique for me, so I really, really hope that these blocks can stand the test of time!

I hope they meet your vision, Sarah!

Buzz Cuts is a really fun group to be a part of. Very feisty! Lots of good discussion and banter happening over there. For June, Jean (aka JAmundsen) sent out some swanky Moda fabrics and asked for some "anything goes" blocks in a variety of sizes.

I made up two different block designs for Jean:

Mary (aka namawsbusyquiltn ... I love typing that screen name!) is also a member of Buzz Cuts, and decided to get a jump start on July by sending out her fabrics early. To be perfectly honest, I had forgotten that this was a July block and thought it was due by the end of June! No worry ... it just lightens my load a bit for July.

She sent Moda's "Howard Marcus - Collection for a Cause (Heritage)" and asked for traditional star blocks in a variety of sizes. I made a 12" star ...

... and an itty-bitty 6" star. I am definitely not used to sewing with such small pieces and cuts. As you can see, I had a bit of trouble getting all of my mini seams to match up. This picture is an extreme close-up; it looks a lot better from afar!

Stars seem to be a theme for several swaps lately. Donna (from bee inspired) also asked for star blocks from the group -- this time, in a standard 12.5" size and made from her selections of blue, white, and gold.

I was also able to make 2 blocks for Donna:

Another great month full of wonderful fabrics and fun challenges! I really love making blocks -- it eliminates the stresses I have about basting, quilting and binding!


  1. oh my, you are a busy one. they all look great. nice blue and brown stars, there very nicely done! perhaps they will look good in pink green and white??? just one for me... fabric on it's way!

  2. Such inspiring blocks you've made. I see some wonky houses in my future. And some "bubbles"!!

  3. So busy! I love those bubbles, they will be perfect in a quilt. And I love the house and buzz cut cross block too.

  4. that must have taken some serious time! Do you ever sleep?

  5. Fun seeing all the blocks! Do you find that with so many swaps you don't have as much time to work on your own projects?

  6. Wow! How do you keep all of those straight? What wonderful, creative blocks you have made!

  7. Your creativity is astounding! What a great way to showcase all these different fabrics and block preferences!

  8. Wow, those are great!

  9. Hey John,

    I love my blocks, and after seeing them IRL, I'm sure they will stand up to a bit of washing etc.

  10. loving those owls! great blocks John; you are on a roll!

  11. Love the bubble block - what a fab idea!

  12. no wonder you don't have time to make larger quilts...you do so great on your blocks! and man, you crank 'em out.

  13. Oh man, each of these blocks turned out nice. My favorite is the block with the owls. You just gave me some inspiration.