Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Finish: Bee Blocks

Ok I really finished these about two weeks ago, but I'm not letting myself count them as finished until they go in the mail, which they did yesterday.  This is my first ever quilting bee and it was formed from ladies I met through the New Quilt Blogger group.   We are spread all over the world, so we adopted the name "Compass Quilters" and one of our wonderful members created a logo for us (you can see it in my side bar).

This month the Queen was Rebecca of One Wee Bird who hails from New Zealand.  I wish I could have fit in the envelope I sent her because I would love to visit there. Rebecca picked the Hummingbird block from Red Pepper Quilts.  It is a paper piecing project and I she asked that we low volume fabrics for the background.  Well I had a few, so off the to my LQS and I found some more that I really loved.

I learned a lot during this process.  You may remember a couple weeks ago when I show you my two test blocks for this project. Both ended up being a little short when I put them together.  They look good, but were about 1/8 inch short all around.

My fellow bee mates recommended not trimming the outside edge until the after they were assembled.  So I started again.  Since my other bee mates had success with the block trimming later, I decided to go ahead and start cutting all of my pieces so the first thing I did was layout blocks auditioning different fabrics.  I would need to do eight, but here are 4 of them in a mini collage.  I took a photo of each one just in case something got bumped I wouldn't have to start from scratch.

I wanted to try and fussy cut a couple of the pieces, and also wanted to make sure I spread my low volume fabrics around so they wouldn't be clumped together.  Now here is the first thing I learned, fussy cutting is hard when you have sharp angles.  I did manage to do a couple, like the bluebonnets and an orange spool of thread (since orange was the opposite color). I also learned to cut things a little bigger to make those angles a little easier.

The next lesson I learned is there is a lot of "trash" with paper piecing.  First there is lots of little pieces of fabric.  So I got a small container to toss collect all the pieces.  I'm saving the tiny pieces to fill a big glass jar as decoration.

Trimming them was fast and I really loved how the pieces looked before assembling them.  The points looked so pretty and I have to say I really love the mix of the low volume fabrics.

Now I bought the Carol Doak's Paper Piecing class on Craftsy and the biggest thing I learned from it was when assembling blocks with points like these is to baste them first, so you can check your placement.  The first one it took me about 3 times basting it get it lined up correctly, but then I was able to baste them all.   And I really think that step helped a lot.  I just expanded my stitch length to the longest it would go and the basting went very quickly.

The next thing I learned is to empty the trash can because there seemed to be paper everywhere.  For eight blocks I was surprised at how much I had.  It is probably because they tear off in such small pieces.  I even took a photo of the last pile.

All of this lead to two very pretty blocks.  I love that with paper piecing the points look so nice. And trimming them after they are assembled worked perfectly.

We also were told to include a block with our name, location and date so that they could be added to the back of the quilt if the Queen wanted to do so.  I made mine a little more than a simple block by snowballing the corners with some of the low volume fabric.  I did try to write my label but the pigma pens I have really seem to drag and move the fabric when you try to write with them.  What do ya'll use to write out a label?  I need to find something better.  I printed mine onto the fabric and set it with an iron.

Now I will say I added a little bit of me to both of these blocks, how you might ask.  Well both of them say Texas on them.  The right one in the green/blue block has a low volume fabric that says "Quilt Across Texas" and it was hard but most of Texas shows.  The left one has bluebonnets on the top right block (fussy cut to boot) and a little Texas state shape.  My sister is doing the Texas Road Trip QAL and I stole some of fabric to use.  Here is a close up of the bluebonnet block. and if you look close you'll see Texas in the bottom right.

I am very happy with these blocks.  I was really nervous about doing blocks for someone else, but I think they turned out ok.  I'm hoping that Rebecca thinks so as well.  I did get something else completed this week but I can't show you yet.  Those 388 one inch squares are completely sewn into a quilt top and I love it.  I"m hoping to get it quilted over the Labor Day weekend.  But alas you don't get to see it until the pattern releases in mid September.

Today I am linking up with  Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts, Ms Midge, Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation, Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Weekend Link Party @ Patchouli Moon Studio.


  1. Oh Excellent work Shauna! I especially love the wonderful mix of background fabrics you used!

  2. This is a great pattern, I would love an entire quilt with these blocks!

    Sometimes I iron freezer paper onto the back of the fabric before writing on it and it does seem to help, and I try to choose finely woven fabrics labels. Printing them seems best, but I am a bit lazy about it!

  3. Totally worth the effort! Well done you!

  4. You did a great job on these blocks! :)

  5. lovely blocks, I love the fabrics you picked!

  6. The Hummingbird blocks are going to make such a darling quilt. I have been cutting my 1930's scraps to make one for myself, but haven't had time to assemble it.

  7. Your blocks look great! Your swap partner will enjoy them!

  8. Wow! These Hummingbird blocks are fantastic! Looks like you have easily mastered that paper piecing. Well done!

  9. They turned out great. Rebecca's going to love them. Great low volume fabrics too.

  10. I covet your blocks. They are so pretty.

  11. Also, your blog is so cute and your photos are so professional looking. You must do nice work with everything you do.

  12. Oh, yes – baste with long stitches and get the vacuum ready to hoover up the tiny crumbs of paper. I do both of those.
    I am normally a floral girl, but I love the Texas and moustache prints!

  13. Excellent paper pieceing! I love the colors you used.

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  15. I love what you have done Shauna and can't wait to get these in my hands!!


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