There’s a lot going on around here, right now. First, it’s our busiest time at work, so I’m tending to get home a bit later. At least I have a bit more daylight to do it in! Then, I keep getting into more… activities. There is the New Quilt Bloggers hop, that I mentioned previously. And the “hive” divisions take their connotations from historic quilting bees. While we’re usually too on the go to sit down for an entire day and help another quilter hand-quilt her finished top, we still hang on to the social aspect of quilting. It’s important, in a way socialization really isn’t for other crafts, even sewing.
I’ve been sewing since I was about 8. Earlier than that, if you count running off with Mom’s scraps to make little stuffed mice to play with. First in 4H, then solo – but with Mom’s guidance. I made a lot of my own clothes, especially dresses and skirts, even in high school. And while I’ve continued to make clothes for myself and my girls, I’ve never really felt any need to “hang out” with other seamstresses.
Quilting, on the other hand, seems to lend itself more readily to social connections. Maybe it’s the way we share patterns, tips, and variations. Maybe it’s the sheer scope of the project. Maybe it’s the fact that nobody else “gets” the satisfaction of tying off that binding! Even I, introvert that I am, am more content when I have contact with my quilt group. I might skip that month’s Lotto Block, I might not have a “Show’n’Share,” but I am crabby when I have to miss the meeting.
So it should come as no surprise to anybody that I got sucked in, yet again. This time, I’ve joined a modern Bee, sponsored by the only modern quilt shop in Grand Rapids – Stitched Studio.
There are probably many ways that modern Bees work, but this one has 12 ladies, and goes for 12 months. (Sure, guys are welcome – this one just happened to be all girls). Each month, one of the ladies is the “Queen Bee.” She decides which block we’re going to make, and in what colors or other parameters. When we meet again, the following month, each person gives that block to the Queen. And the Queen for the next month presents her requests. At the end of the year, each person has made 12 blocks. And each person has 12 blocks to sew into a top.
This time, we’re working with the book Vintage Quilt Revival:
Becky chose the Red Cross block, and asked that we make it in solids with saturated tones – no tints or shades. She laid out a few sample strips of fabric.
The aqua blue strips on top of the pile in the right hand photo were the fabric she gave to each of us.
Since these blocks are paper-pieced, and my success with freezer paper pieces has been…. mixed, I opted to follow the directions closely. I also took Becky’s advice regarding paper choice. I bought some inexpensive newsprint, in the form of a children’s doodle pad.
I cut the pieces to 8 1/2 x 11″ to fit through the printer, using a paper cutter. It did work pretty well. It’s a lighter weight paper, so removing it was easier. First, I made a sample quadrant, just to get my feet wet.
That didn’t go too badly, so I pinned up the next three all at once, to make the work go a little faster.
Some of the seam allowances are thinner or thicker than I would like, but the block as a whole turned out OK.
I’m ready to give it to Becky. The center is a bit wonky, and I will admit that I did not enjoy those bias-edged triangles, when sewing the whole block together. But, all in all, I’m going to call it a success.
June is MY month as “Queen.” I admit that I obsessed over my choices for a long while. I spent hours surfing Pinterest for color combinations. My angst was fed by the fact that a lot of my bee-mates are also in my Modern Quilt group. And, for whatever reason, it seems like every project they’ve seen me do or buy fabric for has run heavily to pink. I’m in real danger of being typecast as “The Pink Girl” – and never getting anything from them that’s another color. Therefore, pink was out. I wanted something fresh and summery, with a hint of a nautical feel about it. Possibly because I’m still daydreaming about building a house, and that’s what I want for my house….
I ended up going with this, found on a business card website, of all places, though I couldn’t locate the original source:
I’ve cut some Bella solid in white (which is really a creamy color, closer to Kona’s Snow, than a true white-white), and packaged a fat quarter for each of the ladies, including a printed version of the palette, and a brief bit of instruction. I don’t HAVE to provide the background, but I decided that doing so would make my finished quilt more consistent. I’ve asked them to make the Rolling Squares block, using this color palette – prints or solids, but no batiks. First, because I’m not fond of batiks, and second, because they’re woven more tightly and I have a hard time quilting on them.
I’ll show you the result when I get my blocks, next month!