Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hive 2, November 2015 Tutorial

I really don't know why I'm surprised. I have thought about my month as Queen Bee in Hive 2 all year, well not every second of every day, you know what I mean. And .... yet..... I have still left it to the last minute. As I have said before in my own blog, procrastination really is my middle name. Or it would be if I got around to changing it.

First, a little bit about me. I'm called Helen and I blog at and my instagram name is @helenmidgetgemquilts. I also have flickr but its a bit of a pain. I call myself midget gem as my boyfriend used to say I was his little midget gem ( a little chewy sweet). Now he is my husband and I am more of a winegum than a  midget gem. So, I'm married, have 3 grown up children (including twins), home and away and work in a library. I love to sew, talk, knit, garden and genealogy in no particular order. And I in live in N Ireland, which kind of explains the shadows in the photos - all day we had workmen in the house and now we are into British winter clock, it is impossible to get good photos after mid afternoon.

Now the tutorial. I would like you to make me a courthouse steps square, incorporating a line of selvedge,  averaging around 16" or thereabouts.
my courthouse steps block


It is a modern take on courthouse steps. I love the modern takes on log cabin and I love modern fabrics. Like Kaja last month I am asking you to play fast and loose. Guidelines rather than instructions.

  • please try to keep to the 1 2 3 4 formation of courthouse steps, but if you forget and head log cabin way, that's ok, send it anyway. I am sure you all know, but courthouse steps is a square in the centre, a narrow strip top and bottom and then left and right. That is round 1. Rounds 2 up to whatever follow the same sequence, top, bottom then left and right. I forgot to take photos of the sequence, so please bear with these mock ups. (I'm off to a wedding today and no more time)
centre square with step 1 and 2
adding steps 3 and 4
round 2, adding steps 1 and 2

round 2, step 3

  • please stick to one colour group in your square. Tone on tone is fantastic or different shades of the one colour but please try not to mix colours.
my many shades of blue, not necessarily solids

  • I would prefer fabric with one dominant colour, blue with a little say pink is ok, but not equal blue and pink in the one fabric.

  • solids are great as are geometric or line or dotty fabric. Please no character fabrics this time.

  • feel free to have each "step" or side different widths, that makes it more fun. The same fabric for each round please, but different widths can add interest

                                      the spotty sides are different widths as are the red circles
                                     the brown selvedge is made up to look like a tape measure
  • for part of one round please use a selvedge strip. Some of the other  steps in that round can be a white or off white solid as well.
the selvedge can be fun to add, narrow and fiddly, but fun

  • and ........... the rules of Stash Bee state one square of up to 16.5" unfinished. Well .......... your square can be 14", or 15" or 16" or whatever it ends up at. If its not square due to the different widths of steps, that's great too.
  • .......... a 16.5" square uses up a lot of stash. If you prefer to make me a couple of smaller squares that's ok. In fact, it's more than ok.  Say, you could do 4 x 8" approx squares, or a 12" and a 4". Whatever floats your boat as they say.
a smaller mustard square about 8"

  • have fun

  • I'm actually going to include the photo here of the one I did that I don't like, the square that didn't make the cut.... the peach centre is too "busy". Too much going on. Learn from my mistake.

                                           don't try this at home, far too busy and loud,
                                              too much contrast in the centre square 

  • My "vision" (doesn't that sound grand) is to square off the blocks with plain white to make a modern minimalist quilt with lots of negative space.
wouldn't these look good spaced irregularly on a white solid background?

Speaking of mistake, my question is when you make a mistake do you wing it and incorporate it or sigh, throw it away and start again? I usually try to incorporate, that's the joy of improv.

Oh, one last thing, if you are still with me, if you have time in the madness before Christmas, could you sign a little bit of fabric for me to incorporate in the backing ? If not I may have to forge your signature!

Happy sewing and thank you.
Helen x
ps looking at the selvedges and plain white strips has made me think I might just do something incorporating some embroidered writing, some time way in the distant future.

Hive 3 October block for Bianca

Just made this one in the nick of time.  Had a little trouble with seam allowance and had to unpick more than once but finally it came together.  I was surprised how little navy print fabric I had in my stash given that I use quite a bit of solid navy in my quilts.  Looks like some shopping might be in order!

I really like the colours of bright yellow and orange with the blues and really like the finished block.
Our question this month was what to recommend to watch on telly while sewing.  Well my guilty pleasures are things that don't require too much attention but fun so I've been watching Supernatural (which G calls Stupidnatural!), The Originals &the Vampire Diaries, Person of Interest and Nashville!  Bit of a mix there, I know!

October Hive 4 Block for Laura

October has been such a busy month for me - lots of business travel, and winterizing the yard and company and on and on.  But I did get this block finished early in the month and sent it on to Laura. It was a fun to work with! Fun picking out colors and then just placing them Whilly Nilly without a whole lot of thought. It's interesting to see that they turn out just fine in the end!

Glad to be able to add some of my scrappiness for your quilt - it will be lovely!

What's on my quilting Bucket List? First of all, I need to find a bigger notebook so I can keep track of all the projects I would like to do, lol.  But at the top of my list, I must say I really want to do a quilt for each of my kids.  I have Allison Glass' Timberjack pattern and some fabric pulled for my son's quilt, but no idea what to do for my daughter. They are 32/29, so something kinda fun and trendy for her.  Maybe after Christmas I'll get started.

October Hive 5 - Block for Cyndi

Hi Rebecca here from @oneweebird with Cyndi's blocks
I always seem to struggle with just making 1 block I find it easier to make at least a couple to evenly distribute the colours/prints
In answer to Cyndi's question about joining Stash Bee again next year? it's a "Hell Yeah" from me!
Here's a photo of last months blocks that I sent to Liz for her Scrappy Maple Leaf Quilt.
I've been very slack at blogging the photos on time for the last two months but the blocks have all gone out before the end of the month!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hive #7 - Star Block for Lori

I finished my Stashbee block for Hive 7 this month.  It is a star of my own design that I redesigned to make it simpler.  The long white spikes are folded inserts with the tops hand appliqued down.  The rest is paper pieced.

I hope she likes it.  She said it could be any size and it is large - 18 1/2" x 24".  I hope it makes up for not making two blocks which I usually try to do.

 My favorite block is a big question to answer.  I think it would have to be the dresdon plate.  I especially love little ones.  There are just some really fun ways to make them.

Hive 8 - Block Collection

RobinSue here - not lost, just missing in action.  Missing doesn't mean no sewing and with that said, here are the blocks I've made and mailed for my wonderful hive mates.

I'm anxiously awaiting the last block tutorial of 2015.  In December, I hope to complete my 2014 and 2015 Stash Bee quilts.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October Block for Rose - Hive 9

Hi everyone, Shauna her and I'm very happy to show my block for Rose. When I first read the tutorial I was concerned it was going to be a hard block, but it went together very quickly. My only real problem is I didn't have much blue and white fabric in my stash. But I'm always happy to shop for more fabric.

I really love the colors on this one and will definitely be getting more blue and white fabric. The combination is just so crisp and clean looking. Now Rose question was did I start out quilting or am I a late comer. Well years and years and years ago my sister-in-law and I took a quilting class together, but it was hand quilting and I just didn't get into it. Then in 2007 my sister and I took a couple of classes and really loved it, but then our mom got ill and there just wasn't enough hours in the day. When my mom passed away in 2013 we decided to try again. Since I'm old, I'm saying I came to it late. My grandmother quilted when I was young, but when she was around I just didn't have desire to learn, but boy do I wish I had. I may have started late in life, but I have jumped in all the way. Now I have to get to the post office tomorrow and all will be good.

Hive 3 October

Here's the finished October block for Bianca. I kept the Navy background scrappy. Honestly, not my favorite block - while it did come together fast, I am not a big fan of HST, but I can't wait to see the finished quilt :)
I'll put it in the mail tomorrow and send the extra HST along with it. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Hive 5 block

Hi, it's Liz. Here's Cyndi's block for the month.

Cyndi asked us if we're going to be part of Stashbee next year, and I'm going to take a year off. It's been fun, but I'm going to try to use my sewing time to finish up some languishing projects.

Hive 5 - February Blocks - Quilt Top

Hey Hivemates!

I just wanted to show you what your help with my blocks way back in February created!  I made a few extra blocks myself using some of the extra fabric strings a few of you included and have finished the quilt top.

I love how well all the various fabrics came together!  I spent a while moving all the squares around on the floor (and probably way over-analyzing things!) and think it all turned out really balanced.

Since these photos, I've torn all the papers off the back.  Boy - is that a process!  I have also purchased the fabric for the backing but haven't gotten a chance to quilt it yet.  I'll share more photos once I do but I wanted to at least share it in its current form so everyone could see how the blocks came together.

Thanks again for your help with it!

Ties That Bind Quilting

Hive #5 - October Block for Cyndi

Here is my October block for Cyndi!  I had a lot of fun raiding my scraps to cut all the 2.5" squares for this Scrappy Crossroads Block.

Cyndi asked if we are planning to participate in Stash Bee next year.  I've already signed up so hopefully I get placed in a Hive!  I've really enjoyed participating for the last 2 years!

Hive#1 Block for Lyssa

I'm almost set up in the sewing area - though the table is still a wooden baord resting on my books (securely stored in banan cartons) ... anyway here is your block

Lyssas October block

You asked where I would take you if you visited my town - that's really not easy for me to say as I'm new to town too ... there is of course the obvious touristy destination - the castle.

Hive 8 Gate Crashing

Hi Hive 8!  This is Lori from Hive 7.  Since this is my month to have blocks made for me, I decided to make a couple for Amanda, from your hive (she's my daughter).  I like the idea of sailboats.  They remind of good times at the beach. 

The blocks I've seen, so far, are adorable.  It's going to be a really cute quilt.


Stash Bee 2016 Sign Up!

UPDATE 12/2/2015 -- Hives have been assigned for 2016, but our waiting list will continue to be open for anyone to sign up to be on the waiting list in case someone drops out.

Here it is!

Stash Bee 2016

Sign ups for the 2016 round of the Stash Bee are officially OPEN.

CLICK HERE to access the sign up form. Hives will be announced in early December. Anyone not assigned to a hive will be placed on the waiting list in the order that they signed up.

Please check out our Rules and FAQ pages before signing up and pass along any questions to me (Alison) at -or-

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hive 8 - October Block for Amanda

Here are my October blocks for Amanda! hope you like them!

The question this month was ``why did you start quilting?"  I started quilting when I was in university as well, and at that time was inspired by my mother-in-law to be!  I have always been crafty, knitting, cross stitch, doll clothing, etc.  I was always inspired by my grandmother who used to knit a lot, especially socks and mittens,  She was awesome, never used a pattern. 

October block for Laura

Hi everyone!

As all are saying, I can't believe it is October already!  I am having so much fun getting to participate!

Laura's block this month will be so interesting in a full quilt!  I have to admit, it took me longer to put together as my detail piecing is not as good as I would like it to be....but I'm getting there!

In answer to a dream quilt, I would love to make sampler quilt, something like the Farmer's Wives Club quilts.  Also, I think a single color quilt would so interesting and fun (like the red and white buzzing around the web).

Hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2015

October block for Kaja

This month we had total freedom with our blocks for Kaja. She provided us with a color palette and asked for squares or triangles. While it sounds simple, it was hard to decide what to make.

I ended up making her a new pattern design from Sew Kind of Wonderful, I decided to make this block for her because I thought it would meet the criteria in many ways.

As for my inspiration, I tend to find a lot of joy in the world around me. Growing up in Miami, I am in love with Art Deco styles. I also love geometry and sharp lines. I tend to take photos or screenshots of lines I find interesting to draw later and create quilts of my own.

Stars for Lori

What a fun challenge this month, especially as I watched some of the other bees show their work. Lori asked for any star, in Americana colors. I opted for a modern first star,

and a more traditional second star. Both are 12.5" now, 12" finished.

Lori's question about my favorite block.... I love bear's paw. Here is a photo of my UFO, on my design railing: the sun is shining through and gives a lovely glow.

Hive 7 October star block by Rozsamaria

Hive 7 made blocks for Lori this month.  Lori asked for any star block in any size, as long as it used darker blues and reds and creams. She wanted an "Americana" feel.

I looked through my "501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks" book (by Judy Hopkins) and chose the Flying Cloud star because I liked the look and the name.  (Isn't that pretty? Flying Cloud?)

I made the 12" block.  I didn't exactly follow the layout instructions for the fabric.  I used the same fabric for all the center pieces: this cute chevron fabric. 

I made my star points out of scrappy blues.  Of course I put all the outer pieces on upside down and had to take them off and redo them. I think the final block looks great!

Lori asked us what our favorite block is and have we ever used it in a quilt.  I made myself a Drunkard's Path quilt that I LOVE, so I guess I'd say that.  I'm not sure it's actually my favorite block, but you can do so much with it!

Hive 2 - October blocks for Kaja

Ok - free reign always throws me for a loop and Kaja gave us free reign to do anything with squares and triangles in her gorgeous color palate of greens, purples, grey and greige.... I am sending a few because I tried some more traditional - 9 patch, pinwheel but then went for it with one improv block as well.

Hope these work in your grand scheme!