Progress on Bee Blocks

At the start of a new month, I like to first do all the sewing that I have to do for other people, which typically means all my sewing for the various Bees that I’m in.  This month, the first project that I tackled was Canadian Travelling Quilts.  Because we are now on stage 2, I can’t show you everything I did, but only offer a sneak peek.  Which kills me a little, because I love what I did and really want to share it with you!  But, rules are rules.  I worked on Deanna’s top this month.

Canadian Travelling Quilts

I just had to throw that little piece of text with ‘Travel’ on there. It was just too fitting.

I made 2 bee blocks this month, both have since been mailed away. The first is from Canadians Quilt Too, for Anne-Marie. She sent the black and white strip and asked for aqua and coral, with no novelty prints. Aqua and coral I have in spades, but this were just about the only coral option I had that was not a novelty. I hope she likes it!

April - for Anne-Marie

For Stash Bee, Kim asked for a flying geese/windmill type block.  I’m not sure what its official name is, but I’ve seen it in a book before, so it must have one.

Stash Bee- April

And I got a surprise in the mail today. Yanick, who is from Stash Bee, saw my tutorial for Canadians Quilt Bee, and mistakenly thought she had to make me a block. So I got a bonus block in the mail! Thanks so much, Yanick! I love that print in the centre, with ‘quilting’ circled in the word-search.

Surprise Bee Block


And that’s sewing for other people done.  I did sew for myself too, but I haven’t taken a picture yet.  :)

I’m glad I never signed up for that fabric fast

I love fabric.  There’s no point in denying it.  I have more fabric than I need and quite a substantial stash, but I can’t seem to stop buying more.  I have stopped buying large pieces of fabric, and now stick to half yard cuts or smaller, but I buy it nonetheless.  I got quite the recent haul from the Intrepid Thread and Hawthorne Threads.

Heather Ross

Heather Ross. I love Heather Ross. This is from Crafty Chloe. So pretty. And Heather Ross is reprinting her Far Far Away I line. I better save up for that.

New fabric - Sarah Jane
New Fabric - Lizzy House
New fabric - Sarah Jane

Lots and lots of fabric. I got some of Sarah Jane’s new line, Wee Wander, and some Lizzy House Catnap too. I love those little blind mice.

I have gotten so much happy mail in the last little while. My bee blocks are steadily coming in too. I am only waiting on two more and then I’ll have all 12. They look so bright and happy together. So spring-like. Not like the weather, which I’m not going to talk about.

Bee blocks

I’ve gotten the startings of the next Travelling Quilt and I have some ideas about what I’m going to do with it. I can’t show pictures of it once I add to it though, so I’ll just show it as it is now. This came from Little D and Me.

Canadian Travelling Quilt

And, lastly, I got two new rulers recently. I’ve been wanting these for awhile but hadn’t been able to find them locally. I also want an apple core template/ruler, but I’ve had no luck with that one. Any suggestions as to where to find one of those?

New rulers

Canadian Travelling Quilts

A while back I got an invitation asking me if I wanted to join the Canadian Travelling Quilts group.  This is a group similar to a round robin; every member makes a starting block(s) for a quilt and then sends it on to the next person on the list.  They in turn receive the start of another member’s quilt and adds something onto it.  This continues for a few months, until every member has had a turn with everyone else’s quilt.  In the last month, you baste, quilt and bind the finished quilt before it returns to its original owner.  It sounded like fun to me, so I said yes and got to thinking what I wanted to start my quilt as.

I have always loved the New York Beauty block, but for a long time, I was intimidated by it, with all its points and curves.  I decided that my skills were good enough at this point to tackle a New York Beauty, so I searched for a pattern online and found some.  I paper pieced the arcs and used the templates to cut out the other pieces.  The curves were actually easier than I expected, especially the larger curves, which went together very easily.

New York Beauty in progress

New York Beauty in progress

I couldn’t choose just one style of block, so I chose to make 4 separate ones and then just piece them all together. I used coral for all the centres and navy for all the outer curves. I used green as an accent and low volume backgrounds. I had planned to throw some grey in there, but I couldn’t seem to find a place for it. Some of the fabrics have grey accents in them, so I left it at that.

New York Beauty

Once all the blocks were done and sewn together, I absolutely loved it. I was glad I got over my fear and just dove right into these blocks. They are so striking.

New York Beauty - Canadians Travelling Quilt

At this point, I was finished and had mentally crossed it off my to do list. But then, after I was done with the pictures, I happened to drop the block. It landed on point, the corner with the clothespin dolls in the top. And I thought, hmmm, I really like that! It reminded me the sun as it goes through the phases of the day, from sunrise, high noon, late afternoon, and sunrise. The navy ring made me think of the night sky. So I couldn’t help myself, and I put it on point.

New York Beauty - Travelling Quilts

I auditioned lots of different fabrics, and consulted Thing 1 throughout the process. Both of us liked these dandelions the best. The yellow flower centres resembled the sun rays so well, and we loved the little touches of yellow. But now I really am done with this, because if I don’t stop, it will get too big! And I’m really excited to see what happens to it before it comes back to me.

Baby Ships – A Finished Flimsy!

I’ve completed Baby Ships for my new nephew!  I started to lag toward the end, typical for me near the end of every project, but I pushed through it and got the top done.  Now I have to decide how to quilt it.  I. love. it.  It is so scrappy, my favourite kind of quilt.  And it looks almost exactly how my head told me it was going to look, which is not even close to typical when I design patterns.

Baby Ships

My favourite patterns are the one where you get something unexpected or extra when you put the blocks together, and this one gives you subtle stars. So pretty.

Baby Ships

And the lovely shapes you get when the coloured corners come together.

Baby Ships

Baby Ships

I don’t know yet when I’ll see my nephew again to deliver this quilt, but I want to have it totally done by then. Whenever that is.

Baby Ships

I love the sunlight shining through a flimsy, when you can see all the seams and it looks liked stained glass. It makes all that work worth it, to see a project come together like this.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network.

Birds of the Air 12″ block – Tutorial

It’s my turn to be queen bee again, and the block I’ve chosen for my bee-mates to make is a Birds in the Air block that finishes at 12″.  Like many quilters, I’ve recently been inspired by the colours used by Sochi in 2014 Winter Olympics.  So this month, I would like my bee-mates to make blocks using those colours.  You can focus on one of the colours used, or use all of them; it is up to you.  I would like the background to be either low volume or solids, whatever you prefer, but please, please, make it very scrappy, and do not use just one fabric for the background.

Sochi map - quilted
Sochi colours

I’ve put some of the information in text right on the pictures. If you have any questions or need any clarifications, just comment and I will get back to you as soon as I’m able.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Mark the back of the light 3″ squares, and layer them with the colour 3″ squares, right sides together (RST). Stitch 1/4″ away from the marked line, on both sides. Trim to 2.5″ I’ve found a great tutorial for trimming HSTs that only requires 2 cuts instead of 4. It has saved me so much time lately, and I used it here too. You can find it here.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Stitch one of each of the 2.5″ HSTs to one of the coloured rectangles (2.5″x3.5″). Iron the seam open.

Take 2 of these new sub-units, and rotate one of them 180 degrees. Stitch them together and iron the seam open. These units should measure 4.5″x5.5″.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Take the background rectangles, 4.5″x5.5″, and mark them. Do this after you have sewn the other sub-unit so that you mark the correct diagonal. The faint line you see on some of these pieces of fabric is the line I marked first, which was incorrect, so I had to re-mark them.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Layer the marked rectangles with the other sub-unit. You can faintly see in this picture that you have to orient the background fabric so that the line does not bisect the HSTs that you made earlier. The correct marking line is the one going from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Stitch just off the line, toward the centre of the rectangle. If you stitch exactly on the line, you will cut off your triangle points. You want the stitching to be just beside the point of the little background triangle.

Cut apart your unit, 1/4″ away from your stitching line. You will have an extra little piece in the middle.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Your unit should measure 4.5″ square. Press the seam open and trim the dog ears.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Lay out your block like this and sew it together with a 1/4″ seam. Press all the seams open.

Birds in the Air - 12" block

Your block should now measure 12.5″.  And you’re done!

Birds in the air - sample layout

There are loads of ways to lay this block out. This is a 4×4 grid with some of the blocks rotated so that stars appear.

Birds in the air - sample layout

In this one, 4 blocks are sewn together to make a star, and the those larger blocks are set on point.

Birds in the air - sample layout

Here the blocks are set on point with alternating backgrounds. I could go on and on with this block, but this post is already very photo heavy, so I’ll just stop here. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you need any clarification, just let me know.

Baby Ships

My brother and his wife had a baby recently, their first son, and of course I’m making a quilt for him.  It’s going to be larger than crib size, though I’m not quite sure if it will hit twin bed size since I ran out of the ship fabric I fussy cut for the block centres.  I used lime green and turquoise, since those are the colours of his nursery.

I had sketched a pattern for the quilt I was planning to make using the Winged Square block.  I thought that it would go well with the ships, with the triangles emulating the sails.

baby ships 1-1

I set about making this quilt, and I figured I’d start with all the little HSTs and get those out of the way first. I did the math and cut all my fabric. After a few evenings, I was done and trimmed the last one. Then I set out to lay out the blocks and realized, to my horror, I only had half as many HSTs as I actually needed. I really, really didn’t want to make any more, so I went back to sketching to see if I could turn my math error into something positive.

baby ships 2-2

I somehow had to change half of the HSTs in each block into something else. Since the block is grouped like a 9-patch, I chose two sets of 4 HSTs each and fiddled around with those. I tried turning them into squares but I didn’t like that. Then I turned them into larger HSTs, since I felt like I could handle making 40 more instead of 160 more. This is what I ended up with. I was amazed how the overall effect of the quilt is completely different.

Baby Ships - 2/3 done!

I’m 2/3 done the blocks now. I had to take a break for a little family holiday, and then my vertigo flared up so I haven’t worked on it yet. Hopefully soon I can get it finished and deliver it to my nephew!

Pattern Testing – Chugging Along

People who know my husband well will know that he is a complete and total train buff.  He has been since he was a small child, and if anything, the fascination has increased as he’s gotten older.  He loves model trains, real trains, accurate books about trains, train history…you get the idea.  In fact, nearly a third of our basement has been designated as a space for his future, in-home, model train layout.  (I get one of the other thirds for quilting stuff, so it’s all good.)

So when I saw this pattern from Esther at I Patch and Quilt, and saw that she was asking for testers, I volunteered right away.  She sent me the locomotive, passenger car, and coal car, but I haven’t gotten around to the coal car yet.  The wheels were challenging, 17 pieces in each one, but I took it slow and it all came together nicely.

Chugging Along - Locomotive

I did the locomotive first. I fussy cut centres for the wheels and the driver. I used this particular shade of red because it is my husband’s favourite colour.

Chugging Along - Passenger car

I did the passenger car next and couldn’t resist fussy cutting some more people to put inside. And this one only had two wheels, so on the whole, this block went faster.

Chugging Along


I intend to make the last block yet, and then I will turn these into a pillow or something.  I’m not sure yet.  They can rest on my design wall in the meantime.