Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's All About the Blocks!

As we get closer to sign-ups for 2017, I wanted to take some time to talk about blocks.  All of the specific rules and expectations can be found here, but here is a recap:
  • Your block can be no larger than 16" finished (16.5" unfinished)
  • The block should take no longer than 1.5 hours to make
  • The block cannot require specialty tools in order to make unless they are provided by the queen.

Now let's get to the fun part - selecting a block to make! Sometimes, that can be the hardest part of participating in Stash Bee. Also, selecting the right type of block can make all the difference in a successful bee quilt. If this is your first time participating in a bee, here are some helpful tips:

  • Keep it simple.  Blocks that require precise points and seams that need to match up perfectly can sometimes lead to frustration when it comes time to assemble all of your blocks. 
  • Think ahead - to sash or not to sash.  One way to eliminate slight variations in block size is to add sashing to your blocks once you receive them. That can also eliminate the need to line up several seam.
  • Select a block that can be trimmed down.  It is absolutely okay to ask your bee-mates to send the block untrimmed. Here are 2 examples.  Sarah's July block was a string block that was made larger so that she could trim it down to the size she wanted. 

    The disappearing 4-patch block that Bonnie requested in March is another example of a block that can easily be trimmed down to any size: 
  • Colors may vary.   Requesting very specific colors can lead to disappointment. Everyone perceives and interprets color differently, so one person's aqua is another person's turquoise. That's why it is better to make broader color selections. Fabric examples from your own stash are helpful but remember you may not ask your bee-mates to use a specific fabric line/color.
  • Block pattern must be free and not copyrighted.   You may only use block patterns that are free-of-charge to the public. If it's in a for-purchase-only magazine or book, it cannot be used, even if you modify the dimensions for a smaller/bigger block. Likewise, If it's from an online source such as Craftsy or Etsy and has a price attached to it, then it too cannot be used.

Block Resources

Looking for a good bee block? Check out these online resources. You will also be able to find these under the Resources & Tips tab at the top of the page.

The Bee HIve - this is a great series by Alyse from Blossom Heart Quilts.

Piece N Quilt - blog by Natalia Bonner & Kathleen Whiting that has some great block tutorials

Fresh Lemons - blog owner Faith has some great tutorials on techniques and blocks.

What about you? Know of any great bee block resources? Please share them in the comments below and I'll add them to our list.

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