Monday, April 21, 2014

Hive 1 March Blocks

I am in love with these scrappy plus blocks! Can't wait to see this finished quilt!

These are just the images I could get into the Big Huge Labs mosaic maker. I'm not sure exactly how you choose to opt in or out, but the ones who have posted blocks to Flickr but have opted out of Flickr's APIs are not shown.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Hive 9 March Blocks

Hi all,

Just wanted to say thank you for all of my blocks. I know that some of you were a little concerned about sewing the circle, but these blocks are wonderful!

I'll post the completed quilt once it's finished. Hopefully, before the end of the year.

Thank you again,


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hive 7 - March Blocks

These are the blocks I hunted down from flickr. I'm sorry if I missed anyone! Andi, I think your quilt is going to look stellar when it's done! Thanks, ladies, for another amazing month!

Monday, April 7, 2014

March Hive 12 Blocks

Look at all the lovely blocks Jennifer received for March. I love her bright and cheery colors!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hive #2 March Round-up

This month we made many "Simply Woven" blocks from brights for our Queen Bee Dana.  Great job ladies!

1&2: Heather, 3: Abigail, 4-7: Dana, 8:Vickie, 9-11: Lisa, 12-13: Tiffany, 14-15: Megan, 16-17: Jansen, 18: Jessamie, 19: Andrea, 20: Mandy

I hope I got them all ... SO sorry if I missed any.  You were all busy little bees this month.

March Hive #4 Round Up So Far

Just so I don't forget.  

I've started putting together the blocks that I've gotten so far and the ones I  made together but my camera has gone AWOL so I can't take a picture till the hubs gets home. 
FOUND IT!  My son stole it!  So here is my top so far....:
So far I have gotten blocks from:


Blocks Posted not recvd yet:


Heard From and know they are coming:


Everyone else (If I missed a post on flickr or an email you can smack me with a raw mackerel.... if you can catch me!)


I will update this post as the blocks come in and I'll add a picture of what I've got so far if I can figure out who absconded with my camera.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hive 1 - April Block Tutorial


What is your name?: My name is Natalie (also known as Threaded Mess on various forms of social media) 

Where do you live?: I live in Centreville, VA, USA which is about 30 miles west of Washington D.C.
Tell us about your family: I am a B2B Marketing major turned IT Business Analyst in Asset Logistics, married to a Computer Program Developer/System Architect who loves to play computer/video games, plays beer recreation league hockey, and occasionally gets his base guitar out for a jam session. Together we have two beautiful twin boys named Mason and Ronan who are 20 months and another baby due at the end of September (not sure what we're having yet). 
Corolla Beach July 2013

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting: I think I was given my first sewing machine when I was in 5th grade. I remember making a skirt with my mom that I was relentlessly made fun of for wearing. I apparently didn't pick a "cool" fabric from the Walmart selection I was allowed to pick from. Around the same time, my step grandmother tried to teach me how to make a quilt using squares of fabric. Without her tutelage (we usually visited to share meals together, not quilt), my interest waned and was ultimately forgotten. I continued to enjoy using quilts and appreciating them from afar. Flash forward 18 years, many craft interests that didn't stick, and enter my husband's mother, Ann. I was enamored with many of her creations, and honored with my first gifted quilt made just for me. She inspired me to create my first quilt a few months later for my sister Leslie. That was December 2008 and I've been making quilts ever since. 
My sister is obsessed with Hot Pink

How do you organize your fabric stash: My fabric room is always too messy for pictures (but I am showing some anyways). I am one of those people who can almost always tell you exactly where some scrap of fabric is until I put it away. 

For yardage, I have deep bins where I have rolled my fabric onto comic book boards and the fabrics sit in the bin so that the thin edge faces up. I keep larger scraps and fat quarters in open containers on my shelf. I also have some 'collections' grouped together in the shelf over my cutting table: Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Ross, and Lizzy House

Scraps are stored in old cheeze ball buckets (cleaned of course) on a shelf above my desk.

At any given time, I might have ziplocks with fabrics set aside for a certain project or just stacks laying around. It's not a perfect system but it works for me. 

My design wall is a piece of insulation board wrapped in a vinyl tablecloth backed with flannel. It sits on a curtain rod from ikea that I mounted upside down to cup the board so it can lean against the wall. That way it's technically movable.

Who is/are your favorite fabric designer(s)? I seem to gravitate to Lizzy House a lot. She plays a big part of my stash. More than looking for a particular designer though, I tend to look for fabrics that are timeless and geometric. Tone on tones, tone on whites, and solids are 90% of my stash. I do have a few grown-up prints, mostly from Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, and Joel Dewberry, but for the most part I stash fabrics that are geometric, vibrant, and that can blend into many collections.

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting? You would think this one would be obvious, but I had no idea my first machine didn't have a quarter inch sewing foot. It was more like 3/8ths of an inch. None of my blocks were coming out the right size which was aggravating. I figured that out midway through the first quilt I made without help from my MIL, but had to commit lest I waste the blocks I already made. I ended up using the trimmed scraps to make covered buttons so it worked out. I also learned that I don't need to buy the whole collection. I can pick and choose fabrics and find other fabrics that go to get a unique, personalized look.

What is your favorite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it? I love my rotating cutting mat. It's perfect for trimming blocks because I can turn the mat without moving the block. I also really enjoy my slider mat for free motion quilting. Leaving my feed dogs up gives me better tension control than trying to manually adjust it. The slider covers the feed dogs and lets me glide without any tugging.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.)  This is an impossible question for me to answer. Suffice to say that I'm a book nerd. I read every night and listen to audio books in the car so my average is between 1-2 book finishes a week. I am drawn towards the paranormal/supernatural/fantasy fiction and mostly from the young adult section. I am also a re-reader and tend to go back for my favorites like someone would pick up a favorite ice cream as a treat. TV and movies are fun for me too. The closest I can get to an answer is that I've read the Harry Potter books 7 times and if any of the movies are on TV, I'm watching them.


Improv Log Cabin Blocks: These blocks will start with a square between 1.5" square and 3.5" square, with strips of varying widths of 1" to 3" (anywhere in between), going from very light blue to darker blue, with the last 4 sides finishing in gray. Blocks can be any size between 12.5" and 13.5". Per Stash Bee rules, I am only asking for one, but if you get carried away and want to make more that's fine by me! If you need me to send you any fabric strips please let me know as soon as possible so I can get them in the mail to you.

Color Palate: 

White, (true) Light blue through (true) dark blue (gradient color scale), and light to medium gray

**DO NOT USE: prints with colorful accents. White, blue, and grey accents are all fine. Please try not to use blues that read on the green side or purple side.**

Color Explanation: I really love this quilt that I made in my charity bee earlier this year and decided to make one of my own. The color starts out with a white or very pale blue center. The blue gets gradually more saturated and darker as the block is built improv log cabin style outwards, and finally finishes with 4 sides of gray. I plan on sashing in white or blue and trimming them down to the same size to get a wonky look where all the blocks will 'float' on a background.

Anatomy of a Traditional Log Cabin block:
The numbers above show the starting block (1) and how to add to it. The difference you will see in an improv block is that all of the strips are not the same width, the color placement for my blocks will obviously be more ombre going from light in the center to dark on the outside, and you can have fun with the strips. You can bisect the strips with another fabric or use two different strips to make one longer one, etc.

Be careful as you build so that you aren't too small with your gradient blue core. If you are, it's ok to add some more gray on the outside if you'd already started on that color. That being said, I don't want the blocks to be too gray looking so plan on building with the blues and using the gray to finish the block off to the right size.

Here you can see a nice gradient of colors and the grays that I used

In the last two examples I bisected my blue strips with gray and I don't think it quite worked. I'm not tossing these but I would prefer if you bisect with a more similar color to your strip rather than another color (gray with gray, light blue with light blue, etc).

I’m going for a scrappy improv look here, so feel free to select whatever scraps that you have around that go with my color scheme. The more different fabrics the better. Mix it up and have fun! Maybe you’ll even be able to use a scrap or two. Maybe you’ll be able to cut from a fat quarter rather than needing to use yardage. I’d be happy to answer any specific questions about fabrics you want to audition. 

For more inspiration, check out this gallery!

Other basic guidelines: 
  • I would prefer if you pressed toward the darker fabric rather than pressing your seams open.
  • A 1/4" seam allowance is what I use. Since these are improv blocks, I'm not looking to match up points so if you are a little scant or a little over that's fine as long as the finished block is between 12.5" and 13.5" square(ish). If it's not perfect that's ok, as long as it's in the ballpark of that size. I will be adding sashing and squaring them up all to the same size once received.
  • Starting squares can be anywhere from 1.5" to 3.5" square or any rectangle in between
  • Strip widths can be anywhere from 1" wide to 3" wide and anywhere in between by any length you would like to cut. I scavenge through my scraps for small bits that would work and then add from my stash for the rest. 
  • Build your blocks just like a traditional log cabin. Because your strips are varying widths, you may find your block becoming more rectangular than square. To fix this you may have to add to the shorter side(s) which is fine but be mindful of color placement when you do.
  • I say Improv and not wonky on purpose! A tiny bit wonkiness is fine, but for the most part your shapes should be squares and rectangles, not irregular.  
  • Press as you add - this will help your blocks lay flat! Otherwise, they tend to puff up in the middle because of stretching on the bias.

Others have already written great tutorials so I am not going to write one out. Here's a link to one that I think is done well to show how to piece the block (courtesy of Ellison Lane), but ask that you use my specific guidelines for size of squares, strips, color, etc.

Happy Quilting!


Hive 10--April Block Tutorial

Hello, my name is Nela and I have lived in Eugene, Oregon for the past year and a half.  I teach one class of high school physics and spend the rest of the time sewing.  I am married to a wonderful man, Michael, who puts up with my fabric and quilting obsession.  Our daughter, Madeleine, is five years old and loves kindergarten, ballet, gymnastics and music.  We share our house with two cats (Mister and Jasper), two rabbits (Honey Bunny and Peanut Butter) and a beagle/Queensland healer mix, named Kelvin.  We sometimes find deer and turkeys in the yard as well.  

I have been actively sewing and quilting for just over one year.  I started sewing simple clothes for my daughter, bags and then tried my hand at making baby quilts.  I have done a couple of quilt-alongs and greatly appreciate the timelines and the tutorials.  I continue to improve my piecing techniques and try out different free motion quilting.  

I organize my fabric by color and in tubs.  I also have a separate area for scraps, which are also organized by color.  I have Jeni Baker to thank for this.  

I would have to say that my favorite fabric designers are Jeni Baker, Anna Maria Horner, Tula Pink and so many more… I just LOVE fabric!!!!

The one thing I have learned that I wished I knew when I first started quilting was taking my time and matching seams.  I also have made friends with my seam ripper (favorite tool), when the time comes to stitch again.  My favorite seam ripper is the Seam-Fix.
Seam-Fix by Fabric Hut

A fictional character I enjoy right now is Annie, from the children's series, The Magic Tree House.  She and her brother, Jack, go on many adventures throughout history and I just love how she gets so upset when girls were not allowed to do what the boys did.  I enjoy reading about what girls wore and how Annie reacts to them.  

Now, onto this month's tutorial...

April Block Tutorial

Fussy Cut Rainbow Block 

I just finished up a class on color and am now obsessed with rainbows.  So, our block will have the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple) in it.  I also love fussy cut "images" and want the finished quilt to represent each person in Hive 10.  When you finish the block it will be 16.5" square.  Please press all seams open.  Use a 1/4" seam allowance.  

Let's begin:

Fussy Cut Rainbow Block #1
Fabric Needed:
(1) Fussy cut piece 5.5" square
White Fabric 
       (2) 1.5" x 5.5" strips
       (2) 7.5" x 1.5" strips
Red fabric
       (1) 7.5" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 9" strip
Orange fabric
       (1) 9" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 10.5" strip
Yellow fabric
       (1) 10.5" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 12" strip
Green fabric
       (1) 12" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 13.5" strip
Blue fabric
       (1) 13.5" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 15" strip
Purple fabric
       (1) 15" x 2" strip
       (1) 2" x 16.5" strip

A note about the rainbow fabric.  Please use monochromatic print fabrics.  I am fine with white or cream as a secondary color as well.  Also, I personally cut the strips a little longer and then trim as I work my way through the strips.  

1. Start by choosing fabric for the fussy cut piece.  This piece of fabric will be cut to 5.5" square.  
(I have always loved frogs and this piece of fabric was given to me by Heather Ross at my first sewing weekend, which started me on my sewing journey.)

2. Cut out the white border.  You will need two 1.5" x 5.5" strips and two 7.5" x 1.5" strips.  Sew the first two strips rights sides together and then press the seams open.  

3. Sew the other two strips, rights sides together on the top and the bottom.  Press open.

4. Take your first strip of red fabric and place it right side together on the top of the block.  Press and then add the next red strip to the right side of the block.  

5. You will then add the first orange strip to the bottom of your block.  Add your second orange strip on the left side of the block. 

6. Continue adding strips moving around clockwise.

Once you have added all the strips, you are done.  I will square up the blocks once I get them all.   

Fussy Cut Rainbow Block #2

I can't wait to see all your fussy cut rainbow blocks.  

If you have any questions, please ask.  (

Hive 6 April Block

Hi Hive Mates!  I've been having a great time getting to know you all and sewing some awesome blocks as well! 

April is my month and I'm going to go ahead and just run through the questions real quick so I can get you to the block tutorial (which I'm sure you're just going to love!)

My name is Kim Thomasson. This is me:

 I live just south of Charlotte, NC in a little town called Monroe.  We used to live closer to Uptown (what we in Charlotte call our downtown area, I know, weird) but we moved out to the country so our five kids could have some space to roam around.  We now have six acres, along with some goats and chickens.  Fun times.  I did say five, I do have five kids, which most people think is a lot, but when they're yours, it doesn't seem like a lot, it's just the size of your family.  They are 16, 14, 12, 10 and almost 8.  I have always homeschooled our kids, but when the oldest reached high school we opted to send him.  So, my oldest is a junior in high school, my second is about to start his freshman year and the other three I still teach at home. 

I started quilting a few years ago and have loved it.  My mom has been quilting for many years and I have always loved her work, but it wasn't until I spent some time in a "real" quilt store that I started to get hooked.  I fell in love with fabric first, and then decided it would be fun to make awesome stuff out of beautiful fabric. So, quilting it was!  I love it so much I started blogging about it at

I keep my stash in baskets scattered around my studio.  Most of my fabric is organized by color, however I keep all of my solids together and if I'm working on a project, I keep all of the fabric for that project in it's own basket.

My favorite designers are Lotta Jansdotter,  Allison Glass, Bonnie and Camille, and so many others.  The fabric lines out there lately are just amazing.  Who don't I love?

My favorite tools by far are my quarter inch ruler for paper piecing and my wonder clips, (love them).

The one thing I wish I knew when I started was to just be really patient.  Unsewing is part of the gig.  It really does matter that the seams line up and that it actually measures a quarter inch.  That darn quarter inch is so crucial.  It's easy to learn if you're patient with yourself and don't expect perfection.

Okay, last question:  Who is my favorite fictional character?  I wish I could tell you it was someone noble and respectable like Elinor Dashwood (who is wonderful)  but alas, I cannot.  I would be faking it and trying to impress you, no my favorite fictional character is hands down, Severus Snape.   I know.  I can't help it.

Now, the good stuff.  This is the block for April.  Please don't hate me.  I know a lot of people don't love flying geese, but I just adore them and I'm not that picky about perfect points!  Take a close look at my block and you'll see some blunt points scattered here and there!  No problem at all!

Before we get started I guess we should talk about fabric selection.  You can see by my choices that I'm going for a super scrappy look.  I love scrappiness and I love vintage/modern prints.  However, all that being said, I want you to be able to pull from your stash and I know we don't all have the same stuff floating around in our stashes, that would just be crazy, so use what you have.  I don't mind darker prints either.  Now, the background.  I've been wondering what to do about that.  At first I thought I would just go ahead and send you all some white fabric, so it would be all matchy-matchy.  But, whatever, I decided not to be that uptight.   So, white would be great.  The white I used is more optic white than creamy white.  If you don't have a solid white-white, then I would prefer a white on white print rather than a creamy white solid.  And if you don't have that, then how about a low volume white background?  I'm really just going for as white as possible. 

If you have the book, Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from your Favorite Designers by Susanne Woods, then you're all set, because this block is in there!  This block is called Follow the Leader and is designed by Sherri McConnell.  You can find the block and instructions on pages 66-67.  If not just follow the directions below and you'll be just fine!  Okay, so here are the cutting instructions:

White (Background) Fabric:  Cut 4 rectangles 3 1/2" X 6 1/2"
                                                      Cut 32 squares 2" X 2"

Feature Fabric for Flying Geese:  Cut 4 rectangles in each of the four fabrics:  2" X 3 1/2"

Flying Geese:  Love 'em or hate 'em; this is quick review on how to make 'em!
1.  Lightly draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the wrong sides of two squares.
2.  With right sides together, place a square on one end of the rectangle.  Sew directly on the line trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and press open.

3.  Sew directly on the line trim the seam allowance to 1/4".

4.  Press open.

5.  With right sides together, place the other square on the other end of the rectangle. 

6.  Sew directly on the line, trim the seam allowance to 1/4".

7.   Press open.

You have made the flying geese units using 2 white (background) 2" x 2" squares and 1 feature fabric 2' x 3 1/2" rectangle.  Repeat the process until you have 4 units in each color you have chosen.  For me it was 4 green, 4 blue, 4 pink and 4 yellow. 

Next join 2 Flying Geese units of the same color together as shown below.  Press.  Make 8 pairs of geese.

Join the pairs together with a different color pair as shown below.  Join two pairs of flying geese side by side into a 3 1/2" X 6 1/2" unit. 

Add the 3 1/2" X 6 1/2" white (background) rectangle to the 4 flying geese units to create 1 quadrant.  Make four quadrant units.  I attached the following pictures to show you how the Flying Geese are laid out.  When the quadrants are laid out it's easier to see how the flying geese pairs are really opposite each other.

When you are putting the pairs together the opposite color needs to be on the top.  In the above picture the pink is on top and below the green is on top.  This is a crucial step in the process.  You need to make sure they both face the same direction and have different colors on the top of each pairing.  Make sense?

Again with the opposite pairs.  The piecing is done exactly the same way expect the yellow is on top in the first pair and the blue is on top in the second pair.

This diagram is from the book, but it does such a great job putting it all together so you can really visualize the whole thing.

Okay, and here's my version.  I'm just trying to inundate you with as many pictures as possible so you have no doubts whatsoever on how to put this block together! 

One last thing, just so you can see that my points aren't always points!  You know what they say....."that'll quilt out"  No big deal, so please don't stress. 

Of course, if you have any questions or need any help at all, please don't hesitate to ask!  I will be happy to help in any way possible!

Have fun!   
Kim :)