Wednesday, March 16, 2011

January / February Quilting Bee Blocks

Hi everyone! Wow, I haven't been around much lately, huh? I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I last posted. Thanks to everyone who reached out to make sure I was doing OK. Fortunately, my absence had nothing to do with my elbow -- it's almost 100% back to normal now and I officially graduated physical therapy! And with that has come a lot of sewing ... some stuff I can share, and some I can't! (eeeeee! don't you love secret surprises?)

So why haven't I blogged? A couple of reasons, but largely because Mrs. Quilt Dad dropped and broke our camera! Can you imagine what it's like being a blogger without a camera?? It's been rough, I tell ya'!

I've tried my best by taking some pictures on my iPhone but, as you'll see later in this post, it hasn't been the ideal solution. The good news is that I just got a suh-weet deal on a new DSLR camera this week ... so as soon as I figure out how to use it, I'll be back to my old tricks.

In the meantime, I thought it was a good time to catch up on my quilting bee blocks from the past few months.

These first blocks were made for my homegirl Heather in the { Bee } Imaginative group. January was Heather's month and she sent out some bits of solid fabrics and the fabulous Quilter's Tweed by Robert Kaufman. She requested mini blocks made improv-style. Here's what I came up with:

{Bee} Imaginative blocks for Heather

I can't wait to see how she pulls it all together.

January was Andrea's month in the Buzz Cuts bee. She sent us the grey print from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley line that you see below as the background print, and asked us to use our own scraps to complete the following block:

Buzz Cuts | January

Buzz Cuts | January

The block was a bit work intensive, but is also a great scrap buster and fun to put together.

Now, I had vowed to go on a quilting bee diet this year -- no new quilting bees! -- but I couldn't resist joining Rachel's do. Good Stitches charity bee. All of the quilts made from this bee are donated to a charitable cause.

The group started in January but generously gave me a pass for the first month to let my elbow heal. February's block assignment was 2 blocks made from Elizabeth's Map of the States block in shades of orange and grey. I had been hesitant to try this block pattern -- freezer paper? who needs it?! -- but I'm hooked. It's become my new favorite block pattern and I've even made a mug rug using the technique.

do.good stitches charity bee

Cool blocks , huh? Jill has already put the quilt top together. Check it out here!

February brought a really fun design challenge from Nettie in the { Bee } Imaginative group. Take a look at the photo she provided as inspiration for her blocks. She sent some grey fabrics and an assortment of rainbow colored scraps. I made this block featuring a wonky block of color in the middle of sea of grey. I wanted the rainbow bit to stand apart from the neighboring blocks in Nettie's final quilt.

{ Bee } Imaginative | February

And now ... errrr ... Buzz Cuts' February block. Julie requested paper-pieced Union Jack blocks made from this free tutorial. Let's start off by saying that paper-piecing is SO not my thing. I love the fabrics I selected for this block but was doomed for disaster from the start.

Here's the travesty that I ended up with:

Buzz Cuts | February

Clearly this isn't acceptable to send to Julie, and I need to start over from scratch. I don't think I have enough of these fabrics to replicate the block, though. And I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to start all over again. Send me strength!


  1. *L* That looks way worse than the very first doll quilt you made. And I should know. HA!

    Well, a true quilter knows how to make lemonade out of lemons......don't know if that really applies to quilt blocks tho.

  2. you know what, i tried doing a union jack mug rug the other day. granted, i didn't follow a tutorial, and i don't really have any desire to paper-piece, so i didn't have too much of a shot. but it turned out HORRIBLY! i gave up and did something different.

  3. This is kind of strange to say, but it's nice to see that you can do something that's not just spectacular - I'm always in awe of your blocks, they're so creative! But I agree with you about paper piecing - and I'm sure your block looks better than any one I would have made would!

  4. I love the Union Jack block too. For me it doesn't look that bad. Seems the only problem was sewing the 4 parts together. I recently made this block too (don't like PP too!). I left the paper on all 4 parts, cut the seam allowance equal on all parts and sewed together (with paper). So there was no loss.
    See here
    Let me know if you need more assistant (I can send you my own PDF-Pattern). The block is worth it ;)

  5. It's good to see you back! Thanks for sharing the blocks you are happy with and the one that you aren't. It's comforting to see that the quilters I look up to have challenges too.

  6. It is SO nice to see that 'even you' have problems with a block once in awhile. Sometimes, I feel like no one in blogland ever makes a mistake because all we see is perfection. Thanks for being human.

  7. Thanks for the update! It's fun to see all of these, what a great mix of colors and techniques to get to play with!

  8. So glad you're okay! I was starting to worry.

  9. LOVE the improv-style blocks - right up my alley.

  10. Good stuff, John! And glad to see you're back in action! Don't feel bad about the Union Jack, though. In three bees and two years, that is the only one that fouled me up--I didn't want to make a hash of it, so made my own foundations and tried two different times with my own fabrics...

    I finally admitted defeat and sent the member's fabrics back to her. Nobody's perfect!

  11. I totally agree with you on the paper piecing. I keep wanting to "cut" the pieces before I lay it on. Doesn't work. Set it aside. Then come back to it later. It will look better, and you already have an idea of how to make it work...

  12. When I've made blocks poorly, doing them the second time gets easier as soon as I start it. I realize how fast it will go because I've done it once before. And I feel confident that it'll turn out better because I've definitely learned from my mistakes. Just get started and you might be surprised how quickly it comes together. :)

  13. I love the Buzz Cuts bee blocks- so colorful and different. Glad your elbow is better.
    Aren't you loving this Carolina blue skies and sunshine?

  14. That freezer paper method is THE best way to do 'paper-piecing'! We made mariner's compass blocks using a similar technique (the diff: you simply fold back part the sections instead of cutting all of them apart) and EVerything came out PERFECT! :D

  15. Pleased to hear your feeling better :) I don't think I've commented here before but I've been reading for ages. I wanted to let you know that your blog helped me drag my man out of the sewing cupboard - He's really good but kept telling everyone that I'd made his work!

  16. I have been sick lately and I have gotten behind in keeping up with people's blogs. I wanted to let you know how much your blog inspires me, even months after you write a post. I always have had trouble envisioning blocks that are something other than straight even generic blocks. YOur posts have inspired me to be creative even when it fails it can become something else. Thank you for that.