Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hive 7 August Blocks

Super fun blocks in primary colors for Tiffany!
(I think I tagged everyone correctly.)
1. Sylvia 2. Emma 3. Jenn
4. Audrey 5. Carly 6. Maureen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hive #2 July Butterfly Blocks

And the final installment ... Hive #2 July Butterfly blocks for Meghan:

1.  (big) Jansen
Bottom (L to R): 2-3:  Mandy, 4-5. Vickie
Side (top to bottom):  6.  Abigail, 7. Dana, 8. Jessamie, 9. Dana, 10. Heather

Hive #2 June Fire Blocks

Here is the second installment of Hive #2 catch-up.  Fire Blocks for Tiffany in June.

1. Abigail, 2. Dana
3. Heather, 4. Jessamie
5. Mandy, 6. Meghan
Side (top to bottom): 7-8. Jansen, 9. Mandy, 10. Vickie

Hive #2 May Road to Tennessee Blocks

Today I'm playing a little catch-up.  These are the Hive #2 blocks from way back in May.  Road To Tennessee for Lisa ...

1-2. Abigail, 3-4. Dana
5-6. Jansen, 7-8. Heather
9. Jesasmie, 10. Lisa, 11-12. Mandy
12-14. Meghan, 15-16. Vickie

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hive 12 August Blocks

Hive 12 had a relaxing August with these simple, but striking, double pinwheel blocks for Toni:

Stash Bee Hive 12 Blocks

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hive 11 - September - Angela

What is your name?  Angela Gubler, also known as The Green Apricot

Where do you live?  Just south of Atlanta, Georgia

Tell us about your family.  I’m very grateful to have been married to a wonderful man for the last 7 ½ years.  We have very busy lives between work, church and children, so we like to travel at least a couple of times a year to get away a little bit.  We have seven kids between us.  Only one boy, who happens to be in the middle of serving a two-year mission in Brazil.  When we got married the kids were between the ages of 8-18, and six of them lived with us.  With a dog.  Since then we have very sadly lost the dog, but gained two SILs, three incredible grandchildren, and three granddogs, although it is probably a little extreme to claim the dogs.  It's a great, albeit crazy and sometimes difficult, life.

 Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.  My first experiences with quilting were when I was a teenager.  We tied quilts at church activities for people who were having babies, and once for a women's shelter.  That was it.  I was hooked on my two favorite things.  Quilting and service.  I played around with the idea of quilting for a few years, and then took my first class when I was pregnant with my first child (the only boy).  That class was almost 22 years ago.

How do you organize your fabric stash? "Organized" is such a loose term, don't you think?  Haha- I will put it this way- you may walk into my studio and think it isn't organized, but believe me, it is, and if you move anything, I might have to hurt somebody.  Seriously, I do keep most of my fabric in two large PAX wardrobe units from IKEA.  I fitted each with pullout drawers and shelving so that I could see the stash fairly easily, although I do have to stand on a stool for the top ones.  Other than that, I still have a couple of plastic bins I am trying to whittle down and get rid of, and I also have lingering piles here and there that are WIPs.  As for what order the fabrics are in, they are mostly grouped by either intended projects or style.  For instance, there is a whole drawer of 3 Sisters by Moda (very traditional, I know), a drawer of batiks, a drawer of novelties, a drawer of moderns, etc.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?  I know this is dumb, but I really don't have favorites.  I love fabric.  I love traditional.  I love modern.  I love it all.  But, I do have an autographed poster of Kaffe in my studio. 

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?  That's a hard question because it really has been such an evolution, but I think proper binding is probably it.  While I don't know that my binding is absolutely perfect now, but that's what bothers me most about my old quilts.  (I have one that the binding is about 1/4" finished.  I struggled with that one.)

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?  Any ruler made by Creative Grids.  I love rulers.  I have a hoard of them.  And every time I pick one up that wasn't produced by Creative Grids, I think to myself "I wish Creative Grids made this ruler."  They are well made, and I love the nonslip pads on them.  I also love that they are marked well.  They also make so many specialty rulers, and I haven't met one yet that I didn't like.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Most of my life, until just a few months ago, I would answer this question with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.  You only have to know me a few minutes to know why this is true.  Even though I don't have red hair.  But, I have to say that after years of badgering by my daughters to read the Twilight series, I finally did a few months ago.  I didn't love the movies, so I didn't think I would like the books, but I was totally wrong.  Loved them.  Now I think that Bella Swan is my favorite.  Not very deep, I know, but real life is crazy enough, I’m okay with a little candy when it comes to my fiction.

So, I'm pretty excited about this tutorial.  I love goofy hashtags, even though I know people think it's lame.  I couldn't care less.  I love them.  Hence this block- Hijacked Hashtag.  There are probably real patterns out there, but I thought of this one a few months ago and thought it couldn't be easier, so it would be perfect for Stash Bee.  Look out, this block is addicting and easy- I made 4 in less than an hour.
My only rules-
1) Have fun and let go, but to be successful, read all of the directions first.
2) Use quality fabrics and 1/4" seam allowance.
3) Stick with neutral fabrics (greys, tans, blacks, creams, etc.), and the background should be lighter than the hashtag.
4) Do not, I repeat, do not, trim down your block.  I will trim when I have all of the blocks and can see how much they vary in size.  I hope to be able to have 10" unfinished blocks, so if you can keep that in mind, it would be great.
5) Use rotary cutting tools, but keep in mind that you aren't really worried about measuring as much as you are about cutting straight.  While the cuts themselves must be straight, they do not have to be parallel to the edge of the block.  In fact, I would prefer if there is a little wonk to your cut.  This will scare the crap out of some people, but I promise, it will be okay.

For one block, you will need:
(1) 10" square of background fabric
(4) 3/4"-2" x 15" strips of hashtag fabric (careful not to cut them smaller or larger than the indicated sizes)

Block construction:
1) Using rotary cutting tools, make a vertical cut through the background fabric square about 2-2 1/2" from one edge.  You may want to use a pin to mark either side of the cut so that if your pieces get turned around, you will know which is which.

2) Now that you have two pieces of background fabric, sew each one to either side of one strip of hashtag fabric by lining up top edges.  (In making this block, always line up top edges.)  Press seam allowances to the dark.

3) Repeat step 1 from the opposite side of the first hashtag mark.
4) Repeat step 2 using another strip of hashtag fabric.

5) Rotate block so that the hashtag marks are now horizontal.
6) Repeat steps 1 and 2.

7) Repeat steps 3 and 4.

8) You're done!

If my directions were clear, this should be a super easy block and not take much time at all.  I hope you enjoy!

Hive 6 September Block with Ashleigh

What is your name?

My name is Ashleigh and I blog at

This is me on holiday waiting for dinner. Yum.

Where do you live?

I live the other side of the pond from most of you in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)

 I have been married to David for 9 years now. He is really sweet about my hobby turned obsession as it slowly takes over our whole house. He offers constructive criticism which is great when you just need that second opinion to back up what you were going to do anyway! I tell him what I’m working on and he tells me the latest football scores and we both pretend we’re interested!

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.

I have always enjoyed sewing. My grandmother was an amazing self taught sewer who made most of my mum’s clothes. She taught me to sew and we made dresses together when I was a teenager. It wasn’t until I moved house and had a bit more room I decided to get a sewing machine of my own. For the quilting – I blame my mother –in-law. She had been doing it for a while but decided to call it a day and gave me all her tools. We made a cushion together one Easter and that was it. I realised quilting was so much easier than making clothes – it’s just sewing straight lines, right?

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)

I am fortunate to have my own sewing room with a large window for super light. My stash moves about all the time as it has grown from zero to overwhelming pretty quickly. For the minute, it is stored in these plastic tubs on the shelf so I can see it all.

This cupboard is full of boxes for large multi colour scraps, small multi colour scraps and strips.

These are the trays for all my colour scraps.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?

I don’t really have a favourite and never really buy material all from one line. Lotta Jansdotter (what a great name btw!) always catches my eye and I just recently helped myself to a quite a few fabrics from the Lewis and Irene collection.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?

It involves a lot of ironing which is no fun at all.

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?

Silk pins – they go through every fabric so smoothly and hardly leave a mark.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)

I love reading but don't really have a favourite fictional character. 

Now on to the style of the block.

I have pulled together a palette of colours that I would like you to stick to if at all possible. It is hard to describe so I have pulled some fabrics together and some screenshots from design seeds to give you a feel of the tone.

lantern hues

It’s not so much the colours but the shades. So not primary red blue and yellow, but tomato orangey red, denim blue and mustard. Teal not turquoise. Rich jewel tones. Do you know what I mean? So you don’t have to stick to only these colours, you could add green for instance but try and stick to mood. 

To give you examples of what I have used may help: so I used Kona Cerise, Bella Solids Stone, Bella Solids Grey and prints from Moda Just Wing It collection. And this picture picks out just the solids colours. Bad photo I know but probably best at reflecting the true colours.

So on to my quilt block. I have chosen to make a modern framed sampler quilt. Let me explain. I thought it would be nice for you to pick your favourite quilt block, make a monochrome mini version say no more than 5” square, 6” at most and then frame it in ½” neutral colour and then place it off centre in the colours of the patchwork block.

Pictures probably explain it better. This was my inspiration at wombat quilts. But instead of cute pictures I thought of cute quilt blocks. Also this picture helped with the print fabric matching the solid. Finally this picture which I had forgotten about but obviously helped the design along.

So first pick a patchwork block that would look good in miniature – so you could do a nine patch, half square triangles, a cross or hash, churn dash, improv, mod mosaic, paper pieced – anything at all. If you google or search in flickr for pincushions it will give you good inspiration as to what blocks look good in mini.

Do it all in one colour against white. I used one fabric but you could use more just in one colour.

Then do a little border which makes it like a photo frame. So just using a 1” strip in a neutral grey or stone colour. I did it courthouse step style.

Finally add that colour pop border to the outside making a block of any size. But I would like a fair chunk of colour around the outside to emphasise the mini ness of the of the patchwork. I will piece all together in a puzzle like style.

I hope I haven’t left it to open to choice so that you don’t know what to do! Let me know if there are any questions. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hive 6 Blocks

In July Hive 6 made improve square in square rainbow blocks for Yanick.  I love how bright and colorful her blocks look together.

In August, we made x and plus blocks for Melanie in bright colors with a gray background. Melanie is planning to make these blocks into a quilt for her newlywed mother!  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hive #2--September 2014 Tutorial

What is your name and where do you live?

My name is Jessamie and I live in Derby in the UK – this is in the county technically the furthest place from the sea in the whole country – a whole 70 odd miles!!

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)

I live with my boyfriend Jon (we debate how we should call each other on a regular basis – most descriptions just sound ridiculous) my 6 year old daughter and our very fluffy ginger cat Ben – which we all share until the rubbish jobs such as changing the litter tray comes up when he’s mine!

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.

Sewing has always been part of my life – mum made so many of our clothes but also machine embroidered, hand embroidered and generally made things as well as a number of quilts. I mostly did cross stitch and some clothing and curtains / blinds. As happens in so many cases it was after I had my daughter that I considered making quilts and discovered the quilting making blogland world! It was massively inspiring and I started off slowly making bags; some patchwork and some not, but all the time in the back of my mind I was planning my first quilts. Finally I made a pair for our living room – with straightline machine quilting – but different gaps depending on the colour – I hadn’t even thought about the fact all the ends would need tying off and burying!! That took a very long time to finish!!! 

Somehow I have a number of quilts on the go / in planning and trying to prioritise is possibly driving me nuts however the most important one to finish is my daughter’s ‘Nightime sky’ quilt using Fresh Lemons Starfall II quilt pattern as a base.

How do you organize your fabric stash? (Picture appreciated)

Now that we have finally managed to finish the Reading room / crafts room all my quilting fabric is now in the most beautiful crates: planned projects not yet started, plain fabrics, patterned fabrics. I keep meaning to properly line them to protect the fabrics from being damaged but my to do list is so long I can’t see it happening.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?

I love Bari J and Joel Dewberry, also Valori Wells is a massive favourite of mine, and then AMH and lots of others who I like bits of. I am not massively into tiny vintage prints etc and have a love hate relationship with Batiks - I have them and use them if they fit but I wouldn’t go out and buy them. I am also massively in love with Oakshott cottons at the moment having got to try them at the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?

Squaring off I think but also glue basting – it’s amazing!!!

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?

I love my rotary cutter – it has revolutionised my cutting out and I now hate using scissors when cutting any kind of fabric project out.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)

I have struggled with this! I read so much and watch a fair amount of tv and I still just can’t quite decide – can you come back another day and ask me please?

Right my block like everyone nearly I have dithered over this – there are so many cool things that could be done, but I do know where I want this quilt to go and I wasn’t sure what would really fit that room. Finally I have come back to Flying geese – I have really wanted to play with these but they thought of doing enough for a whole quilt is daunting!! So taking inspiration from these quilts:
I am asking for Blocks up to 16” square but at least 16” along the longest side with flying geese in any shape or form.
The colours I have chosen have vaguely been chosen to match / complement these curtains, which are in the spare room. They are the only colour in the room and I feel the bed needs perking up a bit!!

My fabric pull looks like this:

I have discovered a massive gap in my stash – I am incredibly low on neutrals so if you have them I am aiming for them to be on the more oaty side of things and no stark whites, they just don’t work with this. It almost looks rainbowy but aside from the orange I think I mostly avoided the ‘true’ versions of each colour and there’s no purples…
I have chosen to paper-piece mine as I find them so precise and I am on a bit of a paper-piecing binge at the moment. I found templates at Fresh Lemon Quilts, which I printed off in all sizes and then randomly made some of each before playing with the colours I had in different layouts. 
Instead of showing you how I put the whole block together I will show you the paper piecing technique as a review or tutorial in case you haven’t tried it.
There are different ways to approach paper piecing and cutting out fabric, following my weekend at the Fat Quarterly Retreat I have started just making strips of the right depth and then sewing with that as it is somewhat more efficient and results in a little less fabric waste I think.

So here I have added an inch to the depth of piece 2 and then cut an entire strip of it. Piece 1 ( the triangle) I happened to have a hst of the right size from an earlier block so I put it to use J

Next the pieces need lining up so that piece 1 is wrong side to the back of the template, and then piece 2 is right side to piece 1 and lined up so that they go a ¼ inch at least over the line in to 2.
I find it helps to glue piece 1 down rather than pin, but whatever holds it in place is good.

Next reduce your stitch length to 1.5 – 2 as this helps remove the paper after, and sew from outside the ¼ inch allowance along the straight line to the opposite edge.

Fold back the template along the stitched line and trim the seam to ¼ inch. Turn over the template and press the fabric flat. Trim the strip and take the leftover piece.

Line it up so that it is rightside to the triangle piece 1, and over line 3 by at least ¼ inch and then sew in the same way as the first 2 pieces.

When you come to trim this one you’ll find that the overlapping cross at the top gets in the way, so I just fold it as best as I can and trim at least some of the spare fabric away.

Trim around the edge of the 1\4 inch allowance and there you have it one flying goose…

Repeat as many times as you like, in different sizes if you fancy, I made all of the sizes, and had a go at the flying geese and swan block I mixed up where there were colours or my attempt at neutrals in the middle and generally had fun.
My Instagram account has lots of pictures of my playing around jessamies
Here is the block I finished:

Here are links to tutorials for flying geese including a non paper pieced version for those of you who prefer not to.

I love this and have been working out my own variation of it with the help of Jon and Auto CAD which he uses for work:

Hive 1 ~ September 2014 Tutorial

What's your name?  I'm Diane and can be found occasionally blogging at
me earlier this year + shopping for fabrics just last week
(BTW blondes do have more fun!) 
Where do you live?  In the lovely village of Dobbs Ferry, NY, overlooking the Hudson River, just south of the Tappan Zee bridge and about 25 miles north of New York City.  
morning + evening views from home
Tell us about your family?  I live with my sister, Corinne.  We each have a dog ~ mine is Baci (an Italian Greyhound) and hers' is Buster aka Fluffy White Dog (a Coton de Tulear).  They may be fancy breeds but we rescued both of them.  And I have a twin sister ~ Debbie, who is married to Joe.  Thanks to them I have nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews to keep me quilting for a very long time!
our boyz!
Tell us how you got interested in quilting?  I learned to sew when I was young. As an adult I always had a sewing machine and would sporadically make clothes for myself.  It wasn't until I took a part time job at a craft store that I started quilting.  Many years later I discovered the modern quilting online community and felt as if I had found my people.  Quilt guilds near where I lived at that time didn't understand the modern aesthetic ~ so I started the Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild (JSMQG).  In October we will celebrate our second year together and I consider our members as my family ~ they're such fabulous + creative ladies!
my Rainbow Confetti wall hanging; the JSMQG label; some of our members at a monthly sew in

How do you organize your fabric stash?  All my fabric has been stored in racks from Ikea ~ but there really wasn't any organization.  Now thanks to this bee I have sorted my scraps by color into small containers and use comic book boards to make min-bolts of larger cuts of fabric.  I keep WIPs in desk wire baskets which are stashed away in the white drawers of the racks.

Who is/are your favorite designers? I never had a favorite designer until I saw Tula Pink's Salt Water  fabrics!  It was the first time I just had to buy FQs of each pattern in the line and of course 2 or 3 yards of my favorite ones.  Then I had a dilemma that I've heard other quilters talk about but I had never experienced before ~ I didn't want to cut into the FQs because they were soooo beautiful!  I finally did though to make Tula Pink's sweet City Sampler blocks and a quilt (WIP) for myself.

What is the one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?  I wish I knew about Leah Day's tips for free motion quilting (FMQ) on home sewing machines.  As soon as I changed my darning foot the way she suggested ~ my FMQ improved immeasurably!

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?  It's Pinmoors ~ you put them on the end of straight pins instead of using curved safety pins, spray glue or hand basting to stabilize your quilt sandwich.  They make the job so much easier and faster to complete.  And they're too cute!

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  Easy ~ Bridget Jones!  I can so relate to her never ending struggle with her weight, smoking and relationships.  Besides, the predicaments she gets into are just hysterical!

Tropical Fish Tutorial 

Swimming Upstream by Merran + three freshly made fishys
Before I retired I was a marine biologist and scuba diver.  I was lucky enough to dive on coral reefs in the Caribbean and these fish playfully remind me of that colorful underwater world.

They are foundation pieced and if you have never tried it before this is an easy big block to make. But first watch Sew Easy Foundation Piecing on Fons + Porter's Love of Quilting.  It's the technique I use and the video is so much better than any tutorial I could post.

I mailed out packets to make your life easier.  Here's what you'll get:

I have sent four tissue paper foundations which easily separate from the white paper.  The perforations on the tissue paper serve as your printed lines when sewing.  There is extra fabric just in case you make a mistake or if you're having fun and want to make another one.  I only expect one fish though a second would be greatly appreciated.

You will be adding the colorful fabric for the fish ~ think Caribbean, or Great Barrier Reef, and coral reef fish!  Use the same fabric for the whole fish.  Batiks work especially well for paper piecing because there isn't a right or wrong side and they usually come in such fabulous colors!

As she says in the video (they never mention her name) select large pieces of fabric and you'll have no problems.  The tissue paper makes it easy to audition fabrics:

I have two changes from the video and they're when you begin ~  place your fish tail fabric (section 2 on both the tail and body) right side down under the tissue paper first instead of section 1.  Then use a tiny dab of glue to keep the fabric in place:

To finish the tail and body just keep repeating these three steps:
  1. place fabric for the next section onto previously placed or sewn fabric section, right sides together
  2. sew seam, starting and ending in seam allowance
  3. trim seam to around 1/4", finger press seam towards the section just added

Sew the tail to the body and voila ~ you have a tropical fish!  I leave the paper on and iron this last seam open.  This is a very, very forgiving block.  So don't sweat the small stuff.  

I'm thrilled my quilt will be made with fish from around the country and globe!  Thank you ladies!     Diane

{Will someone please explain to me why no matter what font I choose, it's always smaller than all the other bloggers?}