Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stash Bee FYI: Picking a great bee block and writing a great tutorial

With sign-ups opening on October 9th, I thought it would be worthwhile to explain some of the aspects of the Stash Bee to those who have not participated previously but are interested in signing up for 2015. These posts will all be linked on our Rules and FAQ pages. If you have questions, please leave them as comments on any of this week's posts and I will do a question round-up post next week. -- Alison

Undoubtedly, one of the best parts of being in a bee is getting your turn as Queen. The process of picking out a bee block, on the other hand, can sometimes be nerve racking.

Remember the following restrictions:
The block can be no bigger than 16" square finished (16.5" square unfinished)
You can only request one block per hive mate
Blocks should take no longer than 1.5 hours to complete
Block cannot be copied from a for-profit original source -- ie. a book, magazine, or stand alone pattern (See further details on copyright infringement and block choice)
Blocks do not require hive mates to purchase a specialty tool or pattern.
You may not request the use of a specific fabric unless you send out the fabric to your hive mates ahead of time

Here are a few pointers on picking blocks that might be helpful:
-Choose blocks that do not have to be exactly the same to fit in a quilt
-Choose blocks that can be sashed together to help with easing and differences in block size
-Choose blocks that are paper pieced to ensure accuracy in size.
-Choose blocks without a size requirement
-Allow each hive member to choose their own block of a particular size so that it suits their skill level

Testing your block is a hugely important step in the process of picking a block and putting together the tutorial. It will help you troubleshoot any issues and you might even come up with an easier way to do some steps! I found it helpful to make one block completely and then use the second block that I made to take my pictures and write the tutorial because then I had a better idea when to take pictures.

I know that some participants have never put together a tutorial before and it might seem like a big task, but don't be discouraged!

You must include the following in your tutorial:
Color inspiration photo of some sort: fabric pull, designseeds picture, mosaic, etc.
Cutting directions/sizes
Written description of steps needed to complete the block
Various pictures of the block in progress to expand on written steps
Finished picture of block

Note: if you are using an already existing free tutorial from another blog or website, do not copy the original post. Your hive mates should mainly use the original post for block construction guidelines and use your post for any clarifications and color choices.

Most of the previous tutorials here in 2014 have been great -- look back through the archives and check them out! Lots of pictures are helpful and so are links to other tutorials if you are using a technique that you are unsure if your hive mates have used before or not. Remember, you aren't required to design a block from scratch -- use other tutorials to guide you in how to put yours together. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask your Hive Mama.

Here's a great example of a tutorial post from 2014 for a block that a participant designed herself! Hive 3 2014 -- Afton -- Focal Star

Here is a great example of someone who used a tutorial from another blog, but included her own explanation in her blog post: Hive 7 2014 -- Audrey -- Weathervane

Looking forward to sign ups coming up in less than two weeks!

Missed some of our other Stash Bee FYI posts? Click over to the FAQ page!

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