Monday, December 19, 2011

It's a First, and it is ADORABLE

One aspect of quilting that really intrigues me is its communal nature. Knitting and crocheting are solitary endeavors. You can knit with others simultaneously (and I have at many Stitch n Bitches), but you rarely work with others on a singular project. Quilts, on the other hand, are often made by many people. And it turns out that the internet has enabled communal quilting to flourish. There are tons of quilt bees online and I WANT IN! Flickr seems to be the hub of activity so I have spent the last few days searching for a bee to join.

I have found two contenders. The first is a year long bee with twelve members, with each member assigned a specific month. Every member creates a photo mosaic that shows their chosen colour scheme and style.  When it's your month, you pick a quilt block (this particular bee is using the book Modern Bee Blocks which looks awesome) and all of the other members make that block using fabric from their stash. Once they are done everyone mails their block to you and ta da! You have enough blocks for a quilt. This type of bee (i.e., these guidelines) is fairly standard. I'm currently waiting to find out if I have gotten in to this particular group as they might already be full.

The second bee is not really a bee. It's a swap, which are also extremely popular in the online quilting community. In this swap, you make a 6 inch quilt block and send it to the bee coordinator. He sends it on to another member who adds a 3 inch border and sends it back to him. It then goes out to another member who adds another border, and so on, until the block reaches 24 inches.

I created my first 6 inch block ever tonight and the plan is to send it to the the Add a Border block swap once I finish one more block. That said, it's not totally perfect. It is, however, totally adorable and I'm not sure I can part with it!  I used Gen X Quilters Charmed Star Block tutorial to make this block and just for fun, I photo-documented my process.

My first step was to audition fabrics. I knew I planned to fussy cut a hedgehog from the Lizzy House Outfoxed fabric on the left. The question was, which hedgehog?

I was having trouble visualizing the size of the square I needed to cut so I used a bit of electrical tape on my ruler. Doing so also helped me centre my hog.

Next step: cutting. The block in the tutorial is only 4.5 inches square. That, my friends, is tiny (my wonky log cabins are 12.5 inches).

I tried really hard to make sure my cuts were accurate. In most areas of my life I move very very quickly. So quickly that I am constantly bruising my elbows and knees from running into furniture. My handwriting is messy. I break dishes. I spill everything. But, at work, I'm extremely efficient and generally finish ahead of deadline! Yes, yes, I would benefit from slowing down, but alas, I am who I am.  Suffice it to say, cutting 1 5/8 inch squares took serious concentration. Not to mention piecing these suckers! Yikes! I was really worried that my block was going to end up either too big or too small (spoiler: too big!).
The photo above is my first attempt at the flying geese part of piecing the block (apologies for it being so dark). I screwed it up.  Do you see my mistake? Yup, the direction of the print on the left triangle is wrong. I thought about leaving it as is.  It could be fun and quirky! But no. I am anal when it comes to my crafting. I had to redo it.
Chain piecing more flying geese. My first time chain piecing.  Woohoo!

Had I been aiming to complete the block as instructed in the tutorial, I would be done!  I would also be annoyed, because my block measured 4.75 inches, not 4.5 inches. I did consider ripping the top row and reattaching it because it looks like my seam allowance was too big (anal!) and ate the bottom of my triangles, but I chose not to (progress!).
The swap calls for 6 inch blocks so I needed to add a border. I think the border finishes the block off nicely.

And there you have it folks, my first bee block. What fun! I think this might be addictive.

P.S. It's allllmost Tuesday so I'll be linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.


  1. Love that hedgehog! I love swaps too, although haven't had the best luck with groups :( Really nicely done! Thanks for linking up!

  2. I love the hedgehog - too cute! I really need to start shopping somewhere other than Fabricland!

    BTW, my word verification was FATSPA. Is blogger trying to tell me something?

  3. Um, that we need a spa date? Because we are awesome and PHAT?