Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What are Some Examples of Superb Stash Bee Blocks?

Let's be honest: we all want to walk away from a bee experience with beautiful blocks that comprise to make an even more stunning quilt. Am I right? In past bees I've participated in, I have heard the overwhelming cry from so many Queen Bees of how their returned blocks were not what they had hoped for.

The colors weren't right.
The size was off.
The workmanship was subpar.

Terrible, heart-wrenching stuff. So, how is Stash Bee going to be any different?

My hope is the difference will be through communication for the duration of the bee, and education up-front (hence all the blog posts and FAQs). Ultimately, I think everything hinges on the choice of block.

There are some things to consider before choosing a block for Stash Bee. I outlined them in the Rules section, but will copy/paste it here for your convenience:

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Be mindful that every quilter has idiosyncrasies when choosing your block: 

-Some will be using unwashed fabric. Some will use washed fabric.
-Some will use an exact ¼” SA. Some will use a scant ¼” SA. 
-Some will press open. Some will press to the dark side.

You will want to be specific in your tutorial regarding preferences, if you have any. Because this is a stash-centered bee, blocks will be scrappy by nature. 

-Choose blocks that do not have to be exactly the same to fit in a quilt (Granny Square blocks do not make a good bee block because if all the SAs do not match up, the Queen Bee will have to trim down, losing some points in order to use all blocks). 
-Choose blocks that can be sashed (sashing blocks yourself can bring in the solid color you desired for your quilt to have continuity without having to send fabric to all the members of your hive). 
-Choose blocks inspired by a place, a photo, a color scheme, a theme. 
-Choose blocks that are paper pieced to ensure accuracy in size.
-Choose blocks without a size requirement.


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In the past, Stash Bee has allowed members to choose line specific solids from each hive mate in order to create consistency among the blocks. Moving forward, asking for specific fabrics will no longer be allowed in order to ensure that members are truly creating from their stashes and not being required to go out and purchase new fabric to make a block.

Workmanship issues are covered in the Stash Bee Rules.

Below I have curated an enormous number of pictures to give all potential and existing Stash Bee members an idea of what makes a good bee block. Have a look through these images to get a sense of which block designs may leave you with a smile when you have your blocks returned to you.

Blocks that have a varied background. Prints and solids, same hue. Use low value (or low volume) fabrics for background.

Strips of flying geese with varied backgrounds in solid creams.
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Modern Maples using low value (low volume) prints as background.
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Blocks that can be sashed.

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This is a bee quilt. The Queen asked members to make blocks using HSTs, then sashed in her background fabric.
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String quilts are scrappy and can easily be squared to a different size and sashed to fit into any quilt.
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Color specific rectangles, sashed.
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You don't have to sash in white.
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Or a neutral, for that matter.
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Blocks that are scrappy, possibly using a new technique.

QAYG Herringbone
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Shattered chevrons
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Blocks that don't have to be square, but follow a specific color palette.

How fun would it be to just give your hive mates a color palette and let them go? They could make any size block using the colors you specify with an image. Imagine the possibilities!
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This was a bee quilt. Queen asked for a specific sized block using colorful, rainbow scraps and randomly placed white, wonky stars.
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This was a bee quilt. Queen asked for specific sized block comprised of scrappy fabrics in a certain color way. She also asked for a few white squares be thrown in.
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This is a bee quilt. There was a specific color palette in play and the Queen asked hive mates to make any shape/size block with flying geese, then she sashed them in once she received them all.
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Blocks that use negative space. 

The nice thing about blocks that use a lot of negative space is that size isn't all too important. Ask for an 8.5" block and square them down to 8" yourself. All the blocks will fit into your design and the quilt will still look marvelous!
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This was a bee quilt. The Queen asked for a block up to a certain size following a specific color palette and using pinwheels.
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This is a bee block quilt in progress. Queen asked for wonky white stars (all these whites are different. Some Michael Miller Mirror Dot, some Pearl Bracelet, some faint polka dot, etc.) with dark blue, dark purple, black and dark grey background.
Personal Photo of Danny Heyen

And then there is the spin on this idea which you can see here.

Blocks that are scrappy, but the same design.

All those wonky stars in such bright colors! This would make a perfect bee block!
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Super scrappy log cabin blocks.
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Blocks that are wonky, and follow a color way.

Pink wonky crosses. A great bee block.
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Simple design that follows a color palette.


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I can't get the picture for this one, but it is worth clicking the link to see. A block based on a soup can!

Paper Pieced Blocks

There are lots of paper pieced block ideas here, but please remember that while paper pieced blocks may look neat and ensure a certain size requirement, Stash Bee blocks should take members no more than an average of 1.5 hours to complete.

And, if you still haven't found a block you like, you could always peruse the Quilting Bee Blocks Flickr stream. If you have a Flickr, you should join this group and link up your pictures once you've completed your bee blocks.

I hope this post has served as tool for you in deciding on the perfect bee block for Stash Bee. If you have any questions about the particular block you have chosen for your hive mates to complete, feel free to contact your Hive Mama or me, Danny, the Bee Mama. We can help guide you and offer feedback on how successful we think your bee block will be.

Now for the hard part: choosing your block!!

Danny

7 comments:

Julie said...

Great post, Danny!

Julie said...

You curated this post perfectly. I wish I was still in the Bee... have fun ladies.

KristyLou said...

You just solved every issue I struggled with in this post. I won't be rejoining stash bee.... but I look forward to seeing what everyone creates. Great Job!

Christy said...

Very well written!!

Nancy D. said...

Great post Danny!

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Thank you. I just started a bee, and I will link to this post in my guidelines.

capitolaquilter said...

A wonderful reference, well said and so much eye candy!