Bee Blocks – tips and tricks

Learn to make a quilt

I have been putting the blocks from the Virtual Quilting Bee up on my design wall as they have been coming it. It’s so fun to see them all together, as well as to be able to see the variations in the block designs depending on the different colors used. It’s going to be fun to put these different quilts together!

Here is what I made for my Block #7.

Because I like experimenting (okay, really because I’m lazy) I decided to try and strip-piece the pieced striped units. So I cut the middle strip 1 1/2″ x 14″ and the two outside strips 1″ x 14″. (Actually, it’s a good idea to cut them a little longer than the 14″ so that you have some wiggle-room for squaring-off the ends. Don’t forget to use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance when piecing quilt blocks!

Then cut the units into 3 1/2″ lengths and voila: four units done at once! Just an option.

Another little reminder about matching up points: pinning can make a big difference – especially in blocks with small pieces! Put in a pin at the corners to match your points and hold them in place. If one of the pieces is slightly longer than the other side, run the longer side through the machine on the bottom. The feed dogs will help to ease the bigger piece of fabric through the machine without creating any tucks.

I’m also feeling pleased with myself because I was able to complete a couple of the Double-Wedding Ring ‘melons’ for Calli’s quilt.  
I’ve always been a little (okay, a lot) intimidated by a Double-Wedding Ring pattern. I’m still a little tentative with curves, but I’m starting to get a little better at them. I need to remember to just try, for crying out loud. It’s only fabric. (Did I really just say that?) I should just practice until I more confidence. But I think these will do for now. Calli is using Aneela Hoey’s Pickledish tutorial for this quilt.

And finally, a tale of quilt-block woe. Last December when I put together this sampler quilt, I realized afterward that I hadn’t included one of the blocks I’d made for it. I assumed it was just buried in the hazardous waste zone that has become my sewing storage space and would turn up eventually. Well the other night I was in the yard cleaning and weeding and found something blown under a shrub. Imagine my surprise when it was the missing quilt block! (You can see it in it’s original glory at the bottom of this post.)

Poor little block spent the winter trying to find shelter from the elements. The only thing I can figure is that when I took all the blocks outside to get photographed sometime last fall, this one escaped without my notice. That’ll teach it for trying to pull a runner!

Post edit: Someone on FB asked about the tutorial for this block. It is here: http://www.quiltdad.com/2012/01/bloggers-bom-block-5.html

By the way – I have loved reading the Quilting Life comments! Thank you for taking the time to write them. (I wish summer vacation allowed me more time to respond to them individually.) It’s fun to feel the common bonds that run through quilt-y folks.

One quick Public Service Announcement. I’ve been asked to teach a class at a fun new quilting retreat here in Utah next winter called Quilt Bliss. There is a great line-up of teachers, trunk-shows and lectures by Sherri McConnell and Sarah Jane Wright! Tickets went on sale yesterday and spaces are very limited – this is a smallish retreat. You can find our more by visiting the Quilt Bliss site.

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  • Reply
    June 12, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Poor block. :(<br />Those Bee blocks are looking fantastic!

  • Reply
    Muzikal Mama
    June 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Love your take on what happened to the poor little block! Also love the melons, and I need to create a design wall for myself! Someday…<br />

  • Reply
    June 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I think you can now put together a new tutorial: &quot;How to make your new blocks into antique heirlooms&quot;. Step 1: put under hedge, Step 2: wait for Winter, Spring, Summer, then rescue! JJ

    • Reply
      amy smart
      June 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Haha! Yes! Why didn&#39;t I think of that! I could even sell the instructions. 🙂

  • Reply
    Karrie Smith
    June 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    What kind of fabric are you using for the the double wedding rings &quot;melons&quot;?

    • Reply
      amy smart
      June 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I think they are mostly 1930&#39;s feedsack reproduction prints. Most of them are probably pulled from Calli&#39;s stash.<br />

  • Reply
    June 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I&#39;m still playing catch-up with the bee blocks so it&#39;s great to see them all together, gives me an idea of how far I&#39;ve still got to go! I think your melons are gorgeous (?!)- doesn&#39;t look like you need much practice to me!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Hehe, when I saw the picture of that quilt block appear in my Facebook newsfeed, I quickly thought &quot;gosh, doesn&#39;t she realise that block looks so dirty!&quot;. 😉 LOL<br />Such a shame he escaped outside, too pretty to get so dirty!<br />Love the rest of your blocks.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

  • Reply
    Melissa at My Fabric Relish
    June 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I cant wait to see all the finished quilts, too! OH, and this girl got a ticket to go to quilt bliss! My first retreat and cant hardly wait!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Oooh — how pretty those bee blocks are! I&#39;ve had so much going on (between baseball games and kids out of school and other projects), I honestly felt no need to do this virtual bee, but that first picture motivated me to do it!

  • Reply
    Calli Makes Do
    June 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I love seeing the &quot;runner&quot;, it was such a pretty block too! I can&#39;t help but wonder if it could possibly be washed, and made into an antique reproduction ; )? Thank you making two such lovely blocks for me! I love your additions! I can&#39;t wait to see them in the quilt. The blocks from the Virtual Bee are coming together so nicely too!

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