Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Block for Meg

Hi everybody!  I always get a big burst of energy at the beginning of March -- even though it's usually not quite true, I think spring is just around the corner.  You will see in my block for this month that spring is on my mind!

The top line:  I would like you to make me 'something' with Flying Geese units.  The colors I've chosen are clear, bright shades of pink/red/black/white/gray.  Here is a shot of the pile of fabrics I used as inspiration:

Please use 100% cotton fabric.  I'm not very particular about pre-washing --  a friend who owns a quilt shop told me there is really no need to wash anything purchased in the last 10 years or so, due to the ever-increasing quality of dyes.  If you're using vintage fabric or something with an unknown source, please pre-wash and iron.

Flying Geese are fun and practically addictive to make -- many a dinner has burned in our house while I made 'just one more'.  Traditionally, it is a rectangular shape with a center triangle and two 'ears' -- here are two of them, one above the other:

If you have a Flying Geese ruler, you probably already know how to use it (or its instructions are still attached to it!).  If you don't have one, don't buy one for my block, but I will highly recommend it as a terrific little tool if you like this design.

No worries if you don't have the ruler --  you can easily make these units with a rectangle and two squares.  Cut a rectangle to the desired finished size (this one is quite large as I was using a very large scale fabric):

Then cut two squares the same height of the rectangle and a bit longer than half of the length of the rectangle.  I have shown this as best I could in a photo:

Then mark a 45 degree angle seam from the bottom, left corner of the square to the top, right corner on one side.  Note that the top of the line will NOT meet the top corner of your 'square' because it's not a precise square:

Sew and trim to a 1/4" seam, then fold and press:

Then repeat on the other side, taking care to sew a truly 45 degree angle seam once again and not corner to corner.  Finally, square up the top side, which will have some extra height as shown slightly in the photo above.  Ta-da!

As I mentioned earlier, this is quite a big Flying Goose -- in fact, I've never seen one this big anywhere.  It measures 9" x 16 1/2".  You can choose whatever size you on!

So, with the instructions of how to actually make the Flying Geese unit out of the way, let's get to the fun part -- fabric choice and design!  It's important with Flying Geese to keep a consistent 'theme' so you can actually see the geese.

You could choose a consistent pink/red fabric as the goose, with various black and white fabrics as the background.  Look how fun this is with the background fading from black to white:

You could chose a variety of pinks/reds as the geese, with a consistent black and white fabric as the background:

Or, you could make your geese from the black/white fabric and use the pink/red fabric as your background like I did in the demo block.  BUT, choose one theme and stick with it!  Otherwise, you will get this unfortunate mess like I did with my first go.  Can you see how the geese pattern is lost?

Finally, the really fun stuff...what will your block look like?!  (Instruction lovers, you can begin to panic now...)  You can send ANY configuration of Flying Geese that you like.  That's right -- anything!

You could make one big one like my demo block; two medium ones like the first photo in this post; or a number of small ones.  You can sew the small ones together however you like -- in a block, in a strip of border, whatever looks good to you.

I will create the final quilt by arranging your pieces on a design board, then sewing fill-in bits to make it all fit together.  Just so you have an idea of the finished product, here is what I quickly organized on my sewing table:

Hope you have fun working on it!  I will send my address in a separate email, and thank you so much in advance!  I just can't wait to see the results!  xo Meg

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hayley's Block for Katy

Hello Everyone! Its hard to believe that February is almost over it seems like it was just last week that I was getting ready for Christmas! Here is my block for February. I am a new quilter so I don't have a lot of fabric in my stash and what I do have I generally don't have more than one of the same colour. I did have a few pinks FQ and needed to buy some pink fabric for another Bee so I figured what the heck pink it is! I hope it is okay that I could only use 5 different fabrics, but that is all I had/could afford. 

Take Care,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jennifer's and Meg's School Quilt Project

Hi Everyone!

For the past two days Meg and I have been working with primary students on quilts for the school's 50th Anniversary. We have done this project for the past four years but for International Day.

Fabrics this year were chosen with "party" themes:

Birthday Party fabrics:

Beach Party fabrics:

Meg spent hours cutting everything perfectly and then organizing parents to help with the sewing and ironing.

When each class came to the quilt making area, they worked with a partner. Students had to decide with their partner whether they would make a "birthday party block" or a "beach party block." There were four templates that students used to arrange their fabrics.

After the students made their choices they took their design board over to the sewing ladies:

(Here is Meg in the foreground!)
After the blocks were sewed, another parent ironed.

Here is the first layout of the blocks all together:

Between now and June, Meg and I will each take a set of blocks and construct each quilt. The quilts will then be raffled off to raise money for a school project to reflect the 50th Anniversary.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Mended Hearts Quilt

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

I wanted to share a quilt that my mom made for me in 2002. It's called a Mended Hearts quilt. She made it in a class and everyone shared fabrics to add more variety. The blocks are made, batting, backing, and then sewn together with a zig zag stitch.

Since each block is made separately, the back of the quilt ends up looking very interesting too. The little hearts added on top of where four blocks come together are there to cover up any imperfections in areas that did not match up perfectly (my type of sewing!).

This technique (my mom just explained it to me yesterday) has made me start to think of what other fun things I (we!) could do with this same technique.

A final block for Jennifer

I was certainly in a state of flow while creating this block for Jennifer. I'm not sure there's a lot of 'wonk' going on but I really loved going back and forth with the fabrics and colours to reach a satisfying look. Or is it too overwhelming? I must confess that one of my black and white fabrics is actually mostly grey, with some white and black. Is that called artistic licence? I hope it's worth the wait my friend:) Shall be in the post tomorrow! 

I've come to the realisation that a quilting bee is just the thing for me with all the ideas and inspiration that each mini project brings (without a full size quilt to complete). Perfect! Can't wait for next month's.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Birthday Quilt

 I am almost finished with the quilt top that I have been working on here and there for the last several weekends.

I started with these Gypsy Bandana Frames:

(They are on sale now at!

Also available in pink:

I had six frames total. I cut them apart and added white and blue sashing. Then from my stash I created a diagonal border using a color pattern of blue, green, orange, yellow, red, and stripe or b & w in strips of 3 inches wide, 2 inches wide, 3 inches wide, 2 inches wide, etc.

I still don't have a great way to photograph my finished work but here is the general idea:

And a couple of up close details:

This is the first time I have used much white in a quilt but I like the trend that I am seeing in the other quilt blogs. I look forward to adding some fun yellow designs in those white sections when I start quilting.

This quilt is for a friend in Colorado who just had a birthday this last week.

Hope everyone is well!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shades of Blue

Here we go.....finally. With my sewing machine and house unpacked, my first block is complete! I hope you don't mind another one in blue Katy. I enjoyed putting this together. Blue is certainly one of my favourite colours and with little in my stash it was an easy choice. Jennifer, I promise my wonky log cabin will be on its way soon.
Bon weekend a tous!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meg's Block for Katy

Hi Everybody!  I have finished the block for Katy's quilt:

I had a lot of fun putting this block together, but it was harder than I anticipated.  In my bio, I mentioned that I want to expand my ability to use color and ironically, being forced to stick with just one color was a real learning experience.

First of all, there are a LOT of shades of orange in this world!  I was very invested in the fussy-cut flower in the lower left corner, so that was my touchstone and kept me from going too pink/peachy or too vivid/neon.

Second, I realized that I've got a serious lack of light fabrics in my stash.  Linsay and I discussed this morning the notion that light fabrics often are not very interesting on the bolt -- but once you get them home and start cutting up bits, they're often exactly what you need!  Finding a suitable contrast was therefore tough -- I had to go 'dark' and rely on different print sizes.  The piece that caused me the most anxiety was the green spiral -- it's more green than orange.  But without it, the block really lost some zing and I finally went with what I truly liked and thought worked best.

I hope you like it, Katy!

Tumbler Quilt

I was just doing a little quilt surfing and found this quilt pattern on this blog:

 I have never seen this pattern before and really like it!

Then I found a tutorial on on how to make it:

Has anyone else ever made this pattern? It is now on my "to do" list!


Monday, February 6, 2012

I have made a green block for Katy.  I have an ongoing project that I started over a year ago and it is made up of many green fabrics.  When I say 'ongoing' I actualy mean 'completely stationary' so I was glad to get out all the greens again and look through them.  I like the result very much and decided to take a photo of it outside on the snow, in the bright sunshine.  I was inspired by the photos of the blocks on the hangers to do a little more than put it on my sewing table.  I will put it in the post soon.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Here is my February block! I realized as I was going through my scraps/stash I have a lot of blues! This surprised me as I tend to do a lot of quilts in browns, greens, and burgandys-or so I thought! It will be on its way on Monday-with the extra 4 inch squares. -Amy (USA)

Weekend Quilting

I got lots done on Saturday but not as much on Sunday, even though I had big hopes of having TWO very productive quilting days!

Thanks to Meg for giving me a quick tutorial on Saturday on cutting perfect squares for Katy's block, I quickly went home and got to work. I chose to work in black and white because I have so many of those scraps. Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston say in their book Collaborative Quilting that quilts with lots of colors and patterns should have black and white fabrics which give the eye "a place to rest".

Then just for fun, I laid out the blocks I have so far for the January project:

Wow!! I haven't decided how I will lay everything out for the final quilt top, but don't they all look great together just like this? Thanks again everyone!!


A block for Katy from Shauna

I had fun creating this block. I tried to join my points as best as I could :) I sorted my stash of favourite fabrics into colours and had the most green. So green it is! Next project - I decided to combine the style of Jennifer's block and the colour theme of Katy's block to create rainbow placemats. I will keep you posted in the "Bee Buzz" section. I love how this project has sparked a new found energy in me for quilting! 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hayley's Block for Jennifer

Hello everyone! I am Mrs. Pickles aka Hayley from lovely Saskatchewan, Canada. I finally got my block done (sorry for being a bit late) and figured I should post it!

I had a little trouble with this block as I couldn't quite wrap my head around the whole wonky aspect! My very first and only quilt I have made was a log cabin so every time something would look a little wonky I found myself fixing it! After looking at everyone  blocks it looks like I should have used a few more colours and cut my strips a Little less Oh well I hope Jennifer can learn to love my block :P
Take care

Meg's Block for Jennifer

Hi everybody!  I'm Meg Hamilton....I will post my photo and bio just as soon as I can figure out how (that section of the blog is in German on my computer for some odd reason).  In the meantime, here is the block that I made for Jennifer:

Making this block was an interesting experience for me because I am one of those very, very precise quilters, and I found it really nerve-wracking to be without measurements.  You can see that the inner strips are pretty square and it took me until the third or fourth strip to try to angle the pieces!  However, once I got the hang of it, I actually started to enjoy the freedom.  At the very end, when I realized that I could square up the finished block, a lightbulb went off and I think I began to truly appreciate this style of piecing for the first time.

Then, I went a little crazy....

Linsay (yes, the one in our group) lent me her copy of 'Collaborative Quilting'  by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran.  I'd seen it before, but suddenly, it had a new, immense appeal and I ordered my own copy right away.  I pulled a bunch of fabric out of my stash and made this:

I'm very excited by the whole thing -- this is really a departure from the things I've been doing.  This is what I love about being part of a quilting community....

I will begin Katy's block tomorrow.  I'm thinking oranges, as they would be such a nice contrast to the blues that she chose.

Have a good week, everybody!

February Block Notes

Girls! Thanks so much for all of your emails. I'm sooooo excited to receive your blocks, and see what great things you are creating. Please post and share pictures of your works in progress!

A few notes:
- progress, not perfection...we are all learning, and remember that all of your blocks will be lovingly received by me! I'm not a precision sewer or quilter, and very excited by how the collective creativity will influence the final design :)

- please remember to send me one or two 4" swatches of fabric samples in your colour.

Thank you so much for your inspiration...what a fun year this will be!!

Here's a snapshot of my blue block.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My two squares (Amy in Canada)

So, the first square is for Katy's quilt. I have three girls, I couldn't help but go pink! And to explain why the mother of a 2.5 week old is finishing her square the day after it was posted, my excuse is that my parents are here for only five more days, and then I'm on my own! I have to use this time wisely...

As for the second square, it is actually not the one I sent to Jennifer, but I forgot to take a picture of it, so I'm posting this picture. I didn't read the directions and didn't do this one properly, but it is basically the same fabrics, so I'd thought I'd post it to give you all an idea of what mine looked like.

Loving this project!!