December 3, 2014

Bee Benefits and Blocks

Do you belong to a quilting bee? If not, I encourage you to join one or think about starting your own.

This year I participated in two bees. The Mid Century Modern Bee is an online group of mostly US quilters with an Aussie and a Canadian thrown in for good measure. I love the international connection and getting to know another point of view on quilting. We work primarily from our stash which is nice as there are no fabrics to prepare and send out. Next year will mark our third year together.  We've had a few changes over time as people choose to move on.  Next year I will miss Debbie and Linda who are both very talented quilters. Can't wait to meet them in person at QuiltCon. I'd like to welcome our new members, Stephanie, Elizabeth and Michelle. Look forward to getting to know you.

Here are my most recent MCM blocks. The first is a pineapple block for Elizabeth for November. Even though we usually work from our own stash, Elizabeth actually sent the fabric strips all cut and ready along with the paper piecing pattern. She really made it easy for us and yet I still managed to mess up a bit. A little of the ink from the paper pattern transferred to the front of the block. Hopefully it will work for her but I will gladly make another if necessary. Really, I will.

The second MCM block is for Rene'. She requested a Dresden block based on the colors of this Design Seed color palette. Love these colors.

I've never made either of these blocks so it was a great opportunity to learn something new. Of the two, I don't think I'd make another pineapple as paper piecing isn't my favorite but I really enjoyed the Dresden block and could easily see making more of them. Having the Dresden ruler by Darlene Zimmerman made cutting the wedges easy peasy.

My second bee is with my local Boulder Modern Quilt Guild. For this bee we provide the fabric and directions so you pretty much know what you're going to get back. I joined this one a little on the late side so my turn fell at the end and my Scrappy Trip Blocks are still coming in. Here's what I have so far thrown up on the design wall. I'll probably play with the layout after I get all the blocks. I'm loving how they look together and will most likely finish this one up as a charity quilt.

The biggest challenge for me in participating in a bee has been getting the blocks done and sent off on time. I've been able to keep up with getting the blocks done during the month they are due but am sorry to say I've fallen into the bad habit of not getting them sent out on time. My November block for Elizabeth was done well ahead of time and yet I am just now getting it mailed. Sorry Elizabeth. On the plus side though is that I will be mailing Rene's December block at the same time.

There are so many benefits to participating in a bee. Here are just a few.
  • Of course the obvious benefit is having help making blocks for your quilt.
  • The chance to try a palette/block/quilt you might not venture to make all on your own.
  • The chance to have a wider variety of fabrics if you work from your stash like MCM does.
  • The chance to make a quilt block you've never made before. Some you will love, others maybe not so much, but at least you'll have had the experience of trying them.
  • And the best thing of all is expanding your circle of quilty friends be they local or even international. Quilty friends are the best!
The friends I've made in the online bee are so special to me. After quilting all by myself for years, the online community was the first place I found friends who share my passion. Many of us will be attending QuiltCon and I can hardly wait to meet these women in person. Plus I now have the fun of a local quilting community too through the Modern Quilt Guilds. The best of both worlds.

So if you're looking toward your quilting goals for the new year, think about joining a bee. I'm definitely glad I joined . . .  : )

Linking up at the last minute with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
I'm also linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday over at She Can Quilt. I'd like to make using my scraps and my stash a big priority for 2015 and these scrappy posts by Leanne are really inspiring me.