Friday, March 1, 2024

Hive 5 - March tutorial - Funky Chickens for Nicole

Hello there, quilty friends!

I am so happy to be back for my second year with Stashbee and to be sewing with everyone. I'm growing a bit tired of the gray weather we've been having here in Southern California, so I'm hoping to bring some bright and cheerful sewing to your space! This month we are going to be doing the Chubby chicken block by Oh, Kaye Quilting. I crashed a hive last year that did this pattern and loved it so much, I decided I needed chickens of my own. I've basically copied Emily's wonderful instructions from January of last year.

We'll be using the same pattern, just a different color palette.

Unfinished block size: 12.5”

Fabric Style: The chicken body and wing accent is a bright, cheerful combination of any 2 fabrics you have in your stash. I'm looking for saturated ROYGBIV colors in the wildest patterns imaginable. Think it's too wild? It's probably PERFECT! The beak and comb are orange; feel free to use two different oranges, any hue you'd like. The background is solid or tone-on-tone DARK, one fabric. I'm not picky about what color you choose for the background as long as it reads dark (black, blue, gray, green, and purple are all fine!) and provides a good contrast to your other color choices. The only prints not welcome are batik, branded, or cartoon character prints. To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, here's a pull from my stash:

Cutting Instructions: There are lots of moving parts, so each piece has a letter label. Keep a close eye on your half-square triangle (HST) orientations! I’ve included a labeled diagram from Oh, Kaye Quilting as well as pictures from my own assembly.

Background (one fabric, solid or tone on tone DARK)

A: 5” Square 

F: 5.5” x 3” 

G: 3” square

H: 2.5” x 1” 

I: 3” x 2” 

J: 2.5” Square 

K: 8.5” x 2” 

L: 10” x 1.5”

M: 12.5” x 1.5”

Main Body (scrappy or single fabric, one color and hue, quilter’s choice)

A: 5” Square

B: 6.5” x 3”

C: 5.5” Square 

D: (2) 5” x 3” 

E: 7.5” x 2”

Wing Accent (contrasting color to Main Body, quilter’s choice)

C: 5.5“ Square

Beak & Comb (scrappy or single fabric, orange)

G: 3”x 3”

J: 2.5” x 2.5”

Block Construction: Press your seams as you please. I'm not picky about that either. :)

1. Place 5” squares A from Background and Main Body right sides together. Sew ¼” seam around the edges, then cut diagonally to make 4 HSTs. Trim to 3”. You will have one extra.

2. Place 2.5” squares J from Background and Beak & Comb right sides together. Mark a line down the diagonal and sew ¼” seam on either side, the cut down the middle to make 2 HSTs. Trim to 2”. You will have one extra.


3. Place 3” squares G from Background and Beak & Comb right sides together. Mark a line down the diagonal and sew ¼” seam on either side, then cut down the middle to make 2 HSTs. Trim to 2.5”. You will have one extra.

  1. Place 5.5” squares C from Main Body and Wing Accent together. Mark a line down the diagonal and sew ¼” seam on either side, then cut down the middle to make 2 HSTs. Trim to 5”. You will have one extra.

5. Sew together in a row: A HST from Step 1, then D, then another A HST together. This is the bottom of the chicken. Double-check your HST orientation.

  1. Sew C HST from Step 4 to D. Then sew E on top to make the chicken body. Double-check your HST orientation.

  1. Sew the chicken body CDE from Step 6 to B.

  1. Sew the chicken bottom ADA from Step 5 to the chicken body BCDE from Step 7.

  1. Sew Beak & Comb G from Step 2 to Background H. Double-check your HST orientation.

  1. Sew together in a row: A HST from Step 1, then Background F, then Beak & Comb GH unit from Step 9. Double-check your HST orientation.

  1. Connect the row AFGH from Step 10 to the chicken bottom/body unit made in Step 8.

  1. Sew Background strip L to the chicken bottom.

  1. Sew Background strip M to the left/tail side.

  1. Sew together in one column: Background I, then Beak & Comb J from Step 2, then Background K. Double-check your HST orientation.

  1. Connect the column IJK from Step 14 to the right/front of the chicken AND VOILA!

Trim your finished chicken to 12.5" and you're done. Thanks for sewing with me. I can't wait to see your wild and funky chickens.

~~:>  Nicole

Hive 7 - March Tutorial - Orphans Collaboration

Happy March Hive 7!

I love participating in Stash Bee for all the inspiration and modern quilting connections. For ten months out of the year, thanks to all your tutorials, I learn new techniques and play with color. And each year, I request something that has personal meaning.

For the last two years, I've been pondering a question and a realization.

Do the many pieces that fill my sewing space have value? We probably all have a bunch of blocks or bits that were experiments or created during technique workshops. I also have a pile of remnants from finished projects. I am reluctant to simply toss them (bad environmentally), but continuing to store them doesn't feel constructive either. I want to find new ways to use these.

I love to collaborate. Whenever I collaborate, the final product is always better than what I would have created on my own. Fortunately there are many ways to collaborate. Karen Bolan and Ellyn Zinsmeister wrote a series of blog posts that explore many different ideas and even designed a Build Your Own Collaboration guide. Here’s the link to the first blog post in the series. Stash Bee provides a way for me to continue to collaborate. 

I’ve been involved in two collaborations using orphan blocks and bits.

In September 2022, three of us gathered to create a harmonious whole with orphans and bits from our collections. This is the finished top. It's a mix of experimental pieces and blocks. You might even recognize which workshops we attended. We looked for ways to create paths with color. I especially liked the whimsical cat amongst all the birds. We weren’t concerned about size of blocks and bits matching as one person is expert at partial seams. 

While volunteering at a local craft thrift store, my job was to sort the many donated quilt blocks and projects. After assembling projects into coordinated groups, there were more than 50 individual blocks remaining. These were all mostly traditional blocks from the 1970s through 1990s. There was a vast array of fabrics (prints, just a few solids, even some muslin) and construction types/qualities (machine and hand, matching and wonky seams). Since single blocks often don't sell, I wanted to create a top for the shop.

The multitude of blocks was really overwhelming. A friend helped determine a design starting point by arranging all the blocks with the darkest value running diagonally. To bring some calmness to the busy center, I used about 80 4.5" squares and more than 100 2.5” squares to create rows on the top and bottom, focusing on alternating the values in the squares as much as possible.  

I’d love for Hive 7 to help me create another collaborative orphan block quilt. I’ve pulled (just a few) of my orphan blocks as a starting point. 

Here are some general guidelines. Please mail me any blocks or bits that:

  • you are willing to contribute
  • are all cotton
  • tip more to modern style fabrics (solids, low volumes, etc.)
  • are any value or combination of values from light to dark
  • are any size (from tiny to 16")
  • are any shape (squares, rectangles, etc.) 

If you don't have any orphan blocks or odd bits, you can generate some half square triangles (HST) or half square rectangles (HSR) or strip sets or patch or crumb units using what you have on hand. These do not need to be squared up or trimmed. We found that black and white units (HST or patches) are very helpful in creating a cohesive composition, so if generating new units, you could focus on those colors. I enjoy all the discoveries when sewing with odd scraps. Here are some I recently generated.

If in doubt about what to send, you can message me through IG. But, really, the fun of the challenge is working with a variety of random items. Trust your instinct and sense of play.

Once I have bits from everyone, I'll send a zoom link for an optional design wall play session.

Sometimes the stories or histories of your pieces will inspire a design. Please message, email or include a note that tells me the stories associated with your contribution. 

Have fun releasing some orphans or bits from your collection. 


aka Kitch Kouture

HIve 2 - March Tutorial - Quarter Square of Log Cabin Variation for Gayle

For this month, I am requesting a super easy block. It is one quarter of a variation of a log cabin. I have seen this made as a full block and then divided in half and half again. I want the block slightly larger so you will just make a quarter of a block. I made my own dimensions for the surrounding strips. Strips are either 1  3/4 inches or 3 inches wide. (Hope you don't mind the 1/4 and 3/4 inch measurements.)

You will need 5 different fabrics. I like scrappy, so pretty much anything goes. I am okay with most prints and fabrics. I am happy with florals, dots, textures, geometrics, batiks, and solids, etc. I am even okay with some small novelty prints, as long as they are not too juvenile (for example no teddy bears or Disney).  I just don't want seasonal/holiday, anything too dull, super large prints, browns or blacks. I do want a contrast between each set of surrounding strips, so try not to put two super busy prints next to each other. Also for the contrast, go with different values. So either start with a lighter or darker fabric for the square and then alternate the rounds. Medium values are fine as long as they contrast. See my finished examples below.

Cutting Instructions, cut one of each:

  • Starting square 1 - 4  1/2 inches
  • Round 2 - 1  3/4 by 4  1/2 and 1  3/4 by 5  3/4 inches
  • Round 3 - 3 by 5  3/4 and 3 by 8  1/4 inches
  • Round 4 - 1  3/4 by 8  1/4 and 1  3/4 by 9 1/2
  • Round 5 - 3 by 9  1/2 and 3 by 12 inches

 Start with the square, sew the Round 2 shorter strip to the top. Press and then sew longer strip to the right side. Unit should measure 5  3/4 inch square.

 Repeat for Round 3, using the 3 inch wide strips, again adding the shorter strip to top and longer to right. Unit should measure 8  1/4 inch square. Repeat the same for Round 4, (will be 9  1/2 square) and Round 5. Block should now measure 12 inches square and will be 11  1/2 finished when sewn into the quilt top.

Here are 4 that I have completed. So have fun and happy to see your blocks.

Note: This block is inspired by a free tutorial of Modified Bento Box by Film In The Fridge.

Hive 3 - Tutorial for March - Color Wash Block for Laurie

Hello, my name is Laurie and I am happy to be a part of this group and have my turn as Queen bee!  Like most of you, I love color and all things fabric and fell in love with this idea as soon as I came across it.  It's Color Wash time! 
I created my block in shades of blues with the center squares having contrasting colors of pinks, purple, yellows, orange, and lime green.

Terry Rowland has a great video to explain the color wash technique and to help get you started on this month's block:

You can choose the math or no math/improv method.  I'm fine with either option as I really want to focus on the variety of scrap fabrics we all have collected.

You will select a color family to work with first - red, pink, blue, purple, green, yellow, orange - and then start cutting and sewing your 3 1/2 inch blocks.  Your center squares can be selected to contrast with each block fabric or you can use one color to contrast with all center squares.

Make 9 blocks, sew 3 blocks into 3 rows, then sew the rows together.  I'm not worried about how you press seams and you don't have to trim your finished block.

Fabric Selection:

Here is my fabric pull from my stash to give color inspiration.

Let's get started

If you want to do the math, here are the measurements to make 3 1/2" block.

Border fabric

  • Cut 2 - 1 1/2" X 3 1/2"
  • Cut 2 - 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"

Center square

  • Cut 1 - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" 

The improv way is to cut larger pieces of scraps and then trim the block to size, in this case 3 1/2" blocks.  You can offset the center square to get "wonky" blocks for your color wash block.  Also, with this method you do not have to worry about accurate 1/4 seams as you trim to your block size in the final step.

Sewing Instructions

Here is the fabric layout for your square.  Make sure to sew with an accurate 1/4 inch seam to end up with 3 1/2 inch block.


Sew the center block to the top square, then sew that section to the bottom square.

Step 2

Sew the center section to the right border piece.

Step 3

Sew that section to the left border piece to complete the square.

Make 9 different blocks in your color family!

Sew 3 blocks into 3 rows.

Sew the 3 rows together to make your block.

Here is my color wash block in the blue color family with contrasting center squares of bright pink, light pinks, shades of yellow, orange and lime green. 

Hope everyone has fun with these blocks!


Hive 6 - March - Quilty Ghost for Amber

I hope you don't mind a few ghosts this Spring! I've been wanting a quilt for spooky season, so I've chosen a cute little ghost quilt block. 

For my fabrics, think very light/low volume for the ghost, black or dark (solid or print) for the border, and solid black or dark for the eyes and mouth. I've used black and white here, but you can also use other lights and darks, but try to keep them very light and very dark so there is plenty of contrast. I also love a scrappy block, so feel free to mix lights and darks to use what you have! Spooky prints appreciated but not required. Here's more of what I found in my stash: 

This is just what I have and other colors are still in play. For example, if you have super light or super dark purples, those would be great!

Credit where credit is due: this tutorial is available from Riley Blake Designs and previous Stashbee tutorial by

Riley Blake Designs (note the cutting instructions are for multiple blocks at once--don't do that unless you're just feeling extra generous!):

Cutting guide for one ghost:


J -1 (1½" × 8½")

C -2 (2½" × 2½" )

A -3 (1½" × 1½") -- solid if possible for eyes and mouth

K -4 ( 1½" × 2½")


Gb -1 (3½ x 8½)

Ge -3 (1½" × 2½")

Gc -1 (1½" × 8½")

Gd -2 (1½" × 4")

Ga -1 (5½ x 8½)

Gf -8 (1½" × 1½")

This block uses stitch and flip corners. Draw a line from corner to corner on the wrong side of your square, stitch on the line, trim the extra off the corner leaving 1/4" for the seam allowance and press. 

Using the stitch and flip technique, replace the 2 top corners of Light rectangle Gb with Dark C squares. Make sure you're putting right sides together first. 

Using the stitch and flip technique again, replace the top 2 corners of Dark rectangle K with Light Gf squares. Make 4 for the bottom row. You'll want to add one side, trim and press before adding the other side. Of course make sure you're sewing them right sides together. 

(These are flying geese, which some of you probably have shortcuts for, but I still struggle with them even after all these years!)

Lay out the pieces of the block. Sew pieces together to complete rows first.

Ge - A - Ge - A - Ge

Gd - A - Gd 

KGfK - KGfK - KGfK - KGfK 

Sew rows together, and add Dark strip J to the top.

That's it! The Ghost Block now measures 8½" × 13½".

So excited to see what you all create! Happy Sewing!

Amber Culpepper, @StitchLegit