Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lovely Linen Bee January blocks for Linda

One of the first modern quilting books I purchased was “The Practical Guide to Patchwork” by Elizabeth Hartman, of the blog Oh, Frasson!

“Little Leaves” is one of the patterns in the book, and I made two blocks from that pattern for Linda in the Lovely Linen Bee this month. Two sizes of leaves were attached with Heat’n Bond, after which they were appliquéd with a small zig-zag stitch. Linda’s bright color choices are a pretty combination and make a fantastic contrast against the white linen.




KC Scrappy Bee 3×6 round two, month one

For the first block of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild Scrappy Bee 3×6 round two, I decided upon a large wonky star. Scroll down for the sizes of the pieces needed to make a 13″ unfinished (12.5″ finished) block, and to read how a 3×6 bee is organized. There are seven blocks for month one.


Elizabeth requested all wonky star blocks using
Kona Snow she provided as the background fabric.


Mary requested blocks using a purple batik focus fabric
she provided, along with other purple, blue and green fabrics.


Lesley requested blocks using low volume fabrics.


Toni requested blocks using orange and cream fabrics.


Nikki requested blocks using only solid fabrics in any color.


Nikki is making a Quilt of Valor quilt and requested
blocks using only green and gray fabrics.


I’m making a quilt using an Aboriginal fabric as a focus fabric.
The bee blocks will be solid black, blue, gray and white,
to be set on point along with the Aboriginal fabric.

How to make the wonky star blocks
I created this diagram as the basis for the blocks I made. To learn how to make the star points, refer to the Silly BooDilly wonky star tutorial.


How a 3×6 bee is organized
Each member of the six-person bee lets the group know her color preference. She may, or may not, provide a focus fabric for her blocks. Each month, each person makes a total of six blocks of her choice: one for each person in the bee, including herself, using her beemates’ color preferences or fabric provided. At the end of three months, each person will have made a total of 18 blocks, and have 18 blocks of her own (15 provided by her beemates). Most likely it will yield a sampler quilt, because each person gets to decide upon the block pattern she makes for everyone else. Clear as mud? In the coming months I’ll continue to post pictures of the blocks I make, as well as those I receive, which should help clarify any confusion. Click here to see the month two blocks.

In the Kansas City bee, we build in an extra month, so the bee lasts four months instead of three to allow for life to get in the way of sewing. Also, some of us choose to make an extra block each month for a Quilt of Valor. I really dig this this type of bee because it’s a short-term commitment with a sizable and creative yield.

KC Scrappy Bee block for Lesley

Lesley from the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild Scrappy Bee is making a bookshelf based on a tutorial from Don’t Call Me Betsy. Deciding what to make to sit on the shelf was a challenge for me. In her sample, Lesley had a paper-pieced teacup on her books. I love tea, and a teacup would have been one of my first choices. As that was off the table, so to speak, I took a look at my own bookshelf to check out my knick-knacks.

I noticed a couple of things: one, I prefer for my books to be arranged tallest to shortest within a genre; two, my husband does not share that compulsion. I decided I wanted to do a Rubik’s cube, but wasn’t looking forward to the plethora of Y-seams on a 3-D cube. Flat face it would have to be. I’m nerdy enough that I arranged a cube to use as a guide, based on solid colors I had in my scraps.


I wanted to keep the cube to scale visually, so I had to cut 1″ blocks, for 1/2″ finished blocks. Never would I have imagined that I would be piecing such itty-bitty blocks, nor that I would do them well. My friend Nikki suggested I hand stitch black around the cube, and I think that really makes it pop.

There is more white space in the finished block than I realized when laying it out, but it’s an opportunity for interesting quilting in the negative. From the group’s postings on FB, Lesley’s bookshelf will also have flower vases, glasses and a lamp. I’m happy I was up for a challenge on this block, and I believe I will feel the need to make more Rubik’s cubes in the future.


Lesley’s bookshelf block, with Rubik’s cube to show scale.

Lovely Linen Bee December block for Christina

As they should this time of year, holidays and family time took front and center, leaving my sewing machine sitting patiently in a dark studio.

As not to be too late with Christina’s block, I braved the chilly temperature of my studio and worked on improve blocks of color set in black. Christina provided all the fabric, and although I was only able to fully finish one block before running out of the black, a second block is well on its way to completion. I have the feeling it’s going to be a striking quilt with the pops of color each block features.


Welcome 2014

Happy, happy new year.

2014 marks my 10 year quilting anniversary, and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the past decade. My head is swimming with project ideas for 2014. I have a goal this year to finish at least one WIP/UFO a month and to start and finish one project that has been planned and living only in my mind (with the fabric already purchased). I drafted a list of projects, and I am anxious to get started. If only I could clone myself for ’round the clock sewing sessions.

However, before I can crack open my projects boxes, I have the exciting opportunity to teach my 10-year-old niece  how to sew a pillowcase. She received her first sewing machine for Christmas, and is staying with us for a couple of days. The snow today means that we’ll be “shopping” from my stash tomorrow. It’s a good lesson in using what you have, which is a serious goal for me this year. As much as I enjoy collecting fabric, it’s past time to cut it up and sew it back together again.

Happy new year, and happy sewing.