Sentimental Journey: Bee Blocks for Always Bee Learning

AlwaysBeeLearningbuttonI saw a notice on IG one day, with Megan saying that she had room for another participant in her bee.  I jumped at the chance to be with such illustrious quilters, and they gracefully accepted this newbie.  This bee sent out their fabrics to everyone, so we would get a little packet of fabrics with directions, then we’d sew it together and send it back.  Only once did I worry about running out of fabric, and once, when I screwed up a block, I was relieved that I had similar fabric in my stash.

I grow rather attached to the bee blocks I make, even the ones that give me fits.  I always feel badly when the blocks aren’t just so, and given the number of notes I’ve received on my bee blocks from others saying the same thing, I know I’m in good company.  So I got to wondering one day: what ever happened to the bee blocks I’ve made?  I sent out emails and I’m happy to show you what I’ve received in return.  If they recipient hadn’t made it up into a quilt, that was not a problem; some sent a picture of a grouping of blocks.  If that wasn’t sent, no big deal. I guess I just wanted a final wrap-up post about my time with this bee.  This bee was on their third year, so it disbanded after my final block, but it was fun bee-ing in their company.  

The following blocks/quilts are in no particular order:  

ABL April 2014_Smith

We made ogee blocks for Mary’s turn.  One of the hallmarks of this bee was to always be learning, so a lot of new techniques were tried.   This one was curves in a Drunkard’s Path block, that when assembled makes an Ogee Block.

ABL Aug 2013_Evans

This was the first set I made, and Megan requested arrow blocks that turned every which way.

ABL Feb 2014_Kill

Hettie sent us directions for Hobo Quilt Blocks, and everyone’s was different; it was to be a quilt for her sister, who was graduating with a PhD.

ABL Jan 2014_Lovelady

Toni’s Christmas spiderweb blocks were really fun to make, and I love the fun holiday quilt that came from hers and our efforts.

ABL June 2014_JohnsonCeleste added to what we sent of Bonnie Hunter’s Boxy Stars, and made two quilts for charity.

ABL June 2014_Wardwell

Kristina asked for Sparkler Blocks, a pattern by Lee Heinrich.

ABL May 2014_JeskeDebbie sent us the link to make these half-square rectangles, and turned them all on their sides to make her Ziggity-Zag Quilt.  This was a good challenge to make sure the angles went the right way.

ABL Nov 2013_ChahleyLeanne walked us through making perfect points for her Ocean Waves block. I didn’t get all of them perfect, but her finished flimsy is wonderful.

Leanne_Winter

And here is her finished quilt, titled Winter.

ABL October 2013_RuyleAnything that Stephanie conjures up is going to be great, and although I fretted over these blocks (as I worried about running out of fabric and really worried that my finished product was only “pretty good” in my estimation), I love her finished quilt, titled One of these blocks is not like the others.

ABL March 2014_Debetaz

Marci’s Modern Maples were fun and fast, with interesting fabrics.

ABL Sept 2013_Dietrich

The last bee blocks in this lineup are Michonne’s.  The lovely story about this is after I sent around the emails last month, asking for photos of either the blocks together or a the quilt/top, she hurried and finished hers so I could post it here with the rest; it looks terrific!  And what did these beemates make for me?

Pineapple Block August ABL

 Pineapple blocks.

Pineapples and Crowns_front

I really enjoyed seeing all these blocks and quilts together.  Thank you everyone!

 

Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern, 2015

Queen Bee

I’m Queen Bee again in my Mid-Century Modern Bee, and I know you are all surprised to see me again so soon.  We had a reshuffling of months and I moved from November to this spot.  Welcome to our newest members; I know you’ll enjoy the ladies in this bee.

Carlas Quilt-smaller

from *here*

 Carla, of Grace and Favour, had us all make a block in 2013 so she could make her own version of a  Mid-Century Modern Sampler.  I loved her quilt, so I’m asking you all to make a block for me so I can have a quilt like hers. As you can see she has both pieced blocks and appliquéd blocks–both are fun to have.   The blocks should be in increments of 6″ or 9″ or 12″ (if you do a 6″ block, maybe you could do two?), and would like them with either a text, or a light background.  Just pick your favorite block, in similar colors to the above, and have fun.  I do have some fillers in the works, just like Carla. Here’s some color ideas (I couldn’t just pick one):

Sampler Quilt ColorsRoundup of preferred colors: clear tones of yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, aqua, bright greens.
Roundup of colors that aren’t my favorites for this quilt: gray, muddy tones.  Darker tones for accents (stems, etc.) are okay.

Bascially I’d prefer the palate of  Carla’s quilt with light/brights and clear tones all on a text background, but no blocks that feature grey or “muddy” tones predominantly.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me, or refer to our Flickr page where there is more information.  Thank you all very much.

 I look forward to Mid-Century Modern 2015!

MCMBee Button

Bee Blocks for May: Angles and Arrows

May 2014 ABL block

Debbie, from the Always Bee Learning Bee, asked us to make giant triangles, following this tutorial from The Modern Quilt Guild.  It was pretty straight forward, but I measured three times before cutting once, just to make sure I was on target.

100 Days Modern Quilting

It was from their series of 100 Days of Modern Quilting, which had all sorts of ideas for blocks and quilts as well as inspirational posts.  On those nights you are tired, but don’t want to sew, you may want to browse through their links.

Different VariationsABL blockThen I played around with them, trying out different arrangements before I sent them off.

MCM May 2014Carla asked for an arrow block because she loved *this quilt*, and wants to make her own.  She has a great tutorial on her blog *here* in case arrows are in your future.  This prompted me to look up Longfellow’s poem, which I present to you in all its glory.  Go and find a song in the heart of a friend today.

The Arrow and the Song
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Gene_Kelly_lamppost

 

 

Quilter Missing In Action

Quilter MIA

Wow.  Have a Giveaway and then go AWOL (*Absent Without Leave*).  Where have I been?  Grading.  Prepping.  It’s about this time of year that I can just feel the end of the semester looking around the corner, and I go wonkers writing the weekly blog posts and printing off assignments, and writing tests, just wanting it all to be done.  But I haven’t been totally inactive.  Here’s my QMIA (*Quilter Missing In Action*) report:

Binding for AWAT2

Cut and pressed about 45 miles of double binding for the Amish With A Twist – 2 quilt.  It’s still hanging out on the ironing board, waiting for me.  (I seemed to have been passed over by the binding fairies somehow.)

April 2014 ABL block

Always Bee Learning quilt block for April, with an ogee pattern.  I thought I laid it out as best I could (in this bee, we receive our fabrics and then stitch up the block), but I feel like I could have done better if I’d been able to slip in some of my stash to get a better distribution of colors, as I don’t want to disappoint her. I do hope the quilter is happy with it, but I’ll gladly do another if she’s not.  I finally got out the Curve Master foot that my friend Rhonda told me about, lo these many years ago, and after cutting myself a few curves out of some scrap fabric and practicing, I felt confident enough to go at the bee curves.  Rhonda says after you do a whole quilt of Drunkard’s Path, you’ll be considered a Pro.  I’ll take your word for it, Rhonda.  I tried to watch a YouTube video showing how-to, but that was the weekend that Adobe updated all their Flash software, which apparently didn’t work with my computer, so to be fair, some of my quilting time was spent cursing the computer, downloading, cursing some more, then uninstalling, reinstalling, etc etc.  You’ve all been there.

MCM April 2014_1

MCM April 2014_2

Two Mid-Century Modern Bee blocks for April for Debbie.  She only asked for one, but I got going and forgot to stop.

Fabric Stash Purl Soho

A birthday lunch with my kid, who is now thirty-nine and holding.  He has to stay that age so I don’t have to declare that I’m any older.  Oh, and just down the street from where he works is the Purl Soho warehouse for the West Coast, which coincidentally was having a sale, so these came home with me.

I also graded and prepped an inordinate amount, caught not one, but two, plagiarizers, but you don’t really want to hear about that.  Now to change gears a little, here’s a quote from a new book by curator and art advocate Sarah Lewis:

Mastery Quote

This quote is from Brainpickings, a website I haunt.  The author of this review, Maria Popova, often reviews books and brings together a lovely mix of ideas.  While I’ve been unable to get to the quilting, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do what I do: cut a piece of cloth into little pieces and sew it back together again.  Of course, that’s the simplistic way of looking at things, for in the cutting and sewing lies a high degree of autonomy–of my being able to invent the design, give input to the creative process and even have a Fail once in a while.  I like the above quote, because while I’ll probably never have the fame of other quilters, Mastery seems like a worthwhile goal.  And apparently, according to Sarah Lewis, the author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery, we don’t have to be perfectionists, nor have constant successes day after day.  But we do have to be willing to shut ourselves away and work at it, embracing failure and going forward.  Or, as Popova says, “This is why, Lewis argues, a centerpiece of mastery is the notion of failure.”

Popova continues by saying: “One essential element of understanding the value of failure is the notion of the ‘deliberate incomplete.’  (Cue in Marie Curie, who famously noted in a letter to her brother: “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”)” And then Popova quotes Lewis:

More to Do Quote

Okay, that’s enough brain food for one day.  I’m off to climb that mountain of binding, think about my goals (next post), and possible even finish grading the most recent literature paper that is in a stack downstairs on the dining room table.

01-marcelle-goes-to-the-circus-by-cindy-wiens

But let me leave you with this gorgeous quilt from Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life, who is a one of those quilters who, while understanding the idea of the “deliberate incomplete,” also has a LOT of deliberate completes, such as her Marcelle Medallion, from *here.*  She and I have often talked often about the WIPs that float in our closets and cupboards, yet I’d like to morph Lewis’ idea of the “deliberate incomplete,” to a new place–perhaps that of a quilt that is not ready to be finished whether because the quilt maker’s “other” life gets in the way, or that the quilter has “lost her mojo” (a phrase often seen on blogs) or does not yet have mastery of the skills needed to finish up (and certainly, that may include time management!).  Yet mine and yours and Cindy’s quilts that are on our beds, our walls and folded ready for visits from family and friends, certainly is a testament that we do finish, that we are — at some level — on our way to mastery.

Two Blocks, Two Machines

Windmill Blocks

Bees are interesting things.  I’m in a new one and am still figuring out how it ticks when this block arrived in the mail.  The instructions read to leave the quadrants unsewn as the bee-er wants to really make her quilt scrappy and move the blocks all around.  It’s paper pieced.  Seventy-two pieces per block (4 quadrants).  It took me over 7 hours, closer to eight hours, to finish the two blocks.  I began wondering about this quilter–who would send out such a complicated block to the bee and expect us to do not only ONE, but TWO blocks? I began wondering about what a sheep I was to follow along, when I should have just sent back the unused fabric after the first block and the scraps for the little triangles, and kept it to one.  The end result was that I didn’t feel very good about her, nor about myself–for not standing up and saying “This is excessive.”  I was more than happy to send that off this morning!

Steps Quilt Blocks

This is the blocks from another bee-er in the same bee.  Because my first batch of fabric got lost in the mail, I was doing her September blocks in October.  These blocks were already cut out, and both went together in under an hour.  I’m happy to spend more than an hour on a bee block, but the contrast between this quilter’s and her bee-mates was astounding.  I felt good about things as I mailed off her blocks this morning.

Green Sewing Machine

On our walk yesterday morning, we passed by the house of an older neighbor, who was downsizing and moving up to the high desert.  Stuff had to go, including this funky green sewing machine.  We continued on our walk, never mentioning it, but on the return loop, I said to my husband, “Want to go and get the car . . . and your wallet?”  He laughed.  When he came back there were two machines waiting for him to load into the car (I didn’t take a photo of the other), but I got both for $55, including the matching cabinet that the father-in-law had made for this green machine.

I took them right up to my Sewing Machine Whisperer, and he said they were worth tuning up, so into the shop they went.  “You know, you have no foot pedal,” he said, gesturing to the green machine.  In my defense, it was early in the morning, so when I went back, the older neighbor went up into her sewing room, but couldn’t find it.  I left my name and phone number, and hopefully it will turn up.  I’ll get these two older machine back in a few weeks; I plan to give one to my granddaughter, who wants to learn to sew.

Today I plan to sew my brains out.  And NOT on complicated funk-inducing, grumpy-generating bee blocks.