Yesterday Alyce (from Blossom Heart Quilts) launched her 12 month quilting block series; “The Bee Hive”. Every month Alyce and one talented designer will each share a 12 ” quilt block tutorial for a repeating quilt block.
What’s a repeating quilt block? It’s a quilt block that when used as a repeat it creates an interesting secondary design. There’s blocks are perfect for having a lot of fun with colour and design. They’re also perfect for those of us that like to participate in quilting bee’s.
Which brings me nicely to my next question; Want to be in a Bee?
To coincide with The Bee Hive I’m organising a 12 month Bee which you can be a part of! Want to know more? Well here’s how it’s going to go…
How is the Bee run?
Each Bee Hive or in this case, Swarm, will consist of 12 people (one for every month of the year).
Each person will be assigned a month.
For your assigned month you will be “Queen Bee”.
The Queen Bee will specify which block they would like made and the colours they would like their block to be made of.
Each member will make 1 x 12″ block and post it to the Queen Bee by the end of the Queen Bee’s month.
The Bee will run from 10 February 2015 to 31 January 2016.
At the end of the Bee you will receive 12 blocks which is enough to make a nice quilt.
How will we know what block we want?
Good question. This Bee is going to have a little bit of mystery to it. *cue the spooky music*
If you sign up to be a member of a Bee you will be sworn to secrecy and have to pledge that you will take this knowledge to the grave. Once your pledge has cleared the approval process (it involves a rabbit) Alyce will share with you the 12 blocks she’ll be posting tutorials for over the year.
The 11 blocks that are being supplied by the other quilters will remain a mystery.
You can either pick a known block or you can pick a mystery block – the choice is yours!
(Can I go a little Clint Eastwood: “Are you feeling lucky, Punk?”)
There is one little catch, because the tutorials for the blocks will be released over the year you will only be able to pick your block from the blocks that have been revealed prior to your Queen Bee month.
For example, February Queen Bee will only be able to choose from the first 3 blocks. March Queen Bee will be able to choose from the first 4 blocks. April will get to choose from the first 6 blocks, and so on.
Still not clear? I’ve collated a list that shows which block each Queen Bee will have to choose in their allocated month. It also shows how long each allocated month goes for. Click here to see the list.
Still have questions about month and block allocation, keep scrolling there’s more at the bottom.
What fabrics will we use?
This Bee will be a stash busting bee, so each member will sew from what they have in their stash (where possible) in the colours specified by the Queen Bee.
For the purpose of this Bee it will be considered acceptable for the Queen Bee to specify a specific maker and colour (like Robert Kaufman Kona in Ocean) for the background colour only. This is to help add some consistency for the quilts, however there also has to also be some consideration to accessibility to those fabrics so it’s assumed that people will be flexible where possible or work together to get fabrics to each other if needed.
Also, it is assumed that all fabrics used will be quality quilting cottons, not batik, and will be modern, contemporary colours and design. Of course, if your Swarm decides that 1930’s repoduction prints, French General or heritage prints are allowed this is totally fine, but the leading assumption will be that the fabrics are modern. (I talk a bit more about this further on.)
What postage am I looking at?
We’re hoping to establish a Swarm (or more) for at least each country or region. When you sign up we’ll ask where you’re happy to post to. We will then try to find 12 people that all want to post to that region to form a Swarm.
So, sign up and tell everyone you can about it so we can try and fill as many Swarms as possible and give people a chance to experience a Quilting Bee.
Do I have to include extras with my block?
No. It’s not compulsory but you’ll find most people include a little something. I try to include extras that will not add massive amounts to my postage such as a couple of fat eights or a nice card, etc. It’s totally up to you and not a requirement of being in a Swarm.
When will the designer quilt blocks be released?
The following timetable will be used for releasing all the quilt blocks and their tutorials to the general public:
January 12 – Tic Tac Toe
January 26 – Kristy from Quiet Play
February 9 – Chainlink
February 23 – Janice from Better Off Thread
March 9 – Houndstooth
March 23 – Jane aka Quiltjane
April 6 – Spinwheel
April 20 – Christa from Christa Quilts
May 4 – Busy
May 18 – Angie from Gnome Angel
June 1 – Bunting
June 15 – Anne from Play Crafts
July 13 – Abacus
July 27 – Jess from Elven Garden Quilts
August 10 – Homebase
August 24 – Joshua from Molli Sparkles
September 7 – In The Middle
September 21 – Jennie from Clover and Violet
October 5 – Magic 8 Ball
October 19 – Diane from From Blank Pages
November 2 – Alpine
November 16 – Melissa from Ms Midge
December 14 – Treasure Hunt
December 28 – Finale
There’s a mix of normal and paper-pieced blocks, and for a variety of skill-levels to keep the more advanced quilters interested too!
Links to all the tutorials will be provided (as the tutorials are published) via this link: click here.
When do we get started?
Due to the overwhelming response sign ups have closed at this time. If you would like to be on the standby or angel list please contact me.
Once sign ups have closed you will be allocated a Swarm and your Queen Bee month.
How will the months be organised?
2 weeks before the end of each month I (or your Swarm Leader) will contact the next Queen Bee and ask them to lock in their block choice and colour scheme.
1 week before the beginning of the new Queen Bee month I (or your Swarm Leader) will contact the Swarm and let you know your block and colour scheme.
This means each month will bring something new and exciting for each swarm and will hopefully keep you all motivated on on track.
So now you’ve told me all that I’m wondering if I should join…
No one can make that decision but you, however there’s some important things you should take into consideration before signing up.
- The Quilting Bee will require a 12 month commitment. We all understand that life some times gets in the way and most Bee’s are happy to let you mail bee blocks late, however the purpose of a Bee is to send them monthly so this is what you should do. It sucks to make blocks for everyone else and then not receive your blocks on time.
- You may need to buy some new fabrics. While this is a sew your stash bee there may be a requirement to purchase some supplementary fabrics, like the background fabric. You may also find that while you love 1930’s reproduction fabrics someone in your Bee doesn’t and so you may need to purchase some to supplement what you already have. Of course this could also be a great way to swap fabrics amongst your Swarm – it’s totally up to your Swarm on how you handle fabric selection and this will all be decided upon and locked in prior to the Swarms being finalised.
- All fabrics must be quality quilting cotton. You cannot use lawn, canvas, corduroy, rayon, handwoven, etc. – you may check with your Queen Bee if they will allow an exception, but the rule is quilting cottons unless otherwise agreed upon first.
- Quality of blocks… this one is hard. We’re all at different sewing levels and the The Bee Hive series is designed for those of all levels of experience and skill, however it is assumed that you will do your best work for your Swarm. This means sending a block that is 12″ x 12″ and that you will use proper construction techniques. However, it’s a swap and this is a lot about getting to know new people, try new things and hopefully end up with a cool quilt of memories at the end. So we ask that you participate with an open and understanding heart and be considerate and kind about the blocks you receive. As always, if there’s a problem you and your Swarm Leader can’t work out Alyce and I are here to help.
- Will there be curves? Um… probably. There will also be foundation blocks (paper pieced). This is a quilt block series of all types so be prepared to possibly be stretched out of your comfort zone, it all depends on what people choose for their blocks.
Sounds like a lot, right? Don’t let it put you off. The purpose of a Quilting Bee is primarily to make new friends, have new experiences and hopefully come away with a quilt you love. It’s all about getting in and having a go. The main thing is that you enter the Bee with a willingness to work with others, be accepting of our differences and have a dash of patience (the post never runs on time). It’s all about having fun with fabric.
Right, so you’ve convinced me, how do I sign up?
Awesome. You can sign up by completing the following google form: click here for form.
Once sign ups close on 23 January I will be in touch to let you know your Swarm details.
If you have any questions or need any more information just drop me a line and I’ll do my best to help you out.