Updated 10/15/15 at Noon
With many new people interested in Stash Bee 2016, I decided to answer some of the most popular questions here on the blog as well as to address some general areas of concern. If you have additional questions, please comment on this post and I will update this post with the answer!
What exactly am I committing to?
Signing up for and being assigned to a hive means that you will be responsible to make 10 total bee blocks -- one for each of your hive mates -- over the course of the "Bee Year" which runs January to November. You will be responsible to use your stash to make these blocks and mail the before the end of the month. You are also assigned one month as Queen Bee where your hive mates will make you the block of your choosing. One block a month is an easy commitment!
How do I sign up or apply to participate?
On October 28th, a blog post will be posted that contains a link to the sign up form. Clicking that link will take you to the Google Form for the Stash Bee 2016 sign up. There are 3 pages to the sign up form and you will get a "Thank you for signing up" page once you have successfully submitted your information. You are not allowed to sign up for multiple spots.
How quickly will slots fill up? Is there a chance I won't be able to get a spot if I don't sign up quickly enough?
Last year, it took about 3 weeks before 100 people signed up however, I do not work on assigning hives until 125 people or so sign up. This way people who change their mind about participating are easily replaced and I can put together well-matched people together in hives.
How are hives assigned?
Hives are assigned based on two criteria -- your "design preference" (how modern/traditional you describe yourself and your stash) and your skill level. You will be assigned to a hive with people with similar design preferences and skill levels.
How will I know who is in my hive and who my Hive Mama is?
Once hives are assigned, you will receive an email from me (Alison, the Bee Mama/organizer) noting the list of people in your hive, introducing everyone, and assigning months as Queen Bee. From there your Hive Mama takes over as your main point of contact for bee-related matters.
Will tutorials be posted for us to use? How do we know what to make each month?
On the first of the month, that month's Queen Bee for each hive will post a tutorial (or link to a tutorial) for the block they are requesting. They will also post pictures of their finished block, a fabric pull in the desired colors (or a design seeds type mosiaic) and any troubleshooting notes.
How do I choose a block for my month as Queen Bee?
Your block can be a maximum of 16 inches finished square (16.5 inches unfinished square). It must be sewn by machine -- ie you may not request hand piecing. You may not request more than one block from your hive mates, however, they may choose to make you more than one block -- lucky you!
You can check out these posts for more guidance!
What are Some Examples of Superb Stash Bee Blocks? (2014)
Block style and quality expectations (2015)
Fabric style and quality expectations (2015)
Choosing a block and writing a tutorial (2015)
Choosing a block and copyright infringement (2015)
What techniques will I see in blocks I have to make?
Since every Queen Bee requests their own type and style of block this is different for every hive and as long as the block request falls within the scope of the rules, you may encounter new-to-you techniques.
In general, these techniques should be mastered by anyone considering joining this bee:
1. Accurate 1/4 inch seam on your sewing machine
2. Accurate cutting via rotary cutter
3. Neat pressing of blocks (both open and to one side)
4. Seam matching in block construction
5. Half square triangles (probably the most frequently encountered unit in quilting!)
The following are techniques you may or may not encounter but have been used in the past in Stash Bee blocks:
1. Strip piecing
2. Foundation paper piecing
3. Wonky/improv piecing
4. Machine applique
5. Stitch-and-flip triangles
Are there spots open to newcomers or do the same people get to participate every year?
Of course! Typically half of our participants in any year are new to the bee and spots are not guaranteed for previous participants.