Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Improv Curves for Rita

 I have always been intimidated by the very idea of curves, and have avoided trying them by doing applique. Thank you, Rita for this tutorial to ease those of us like me into it. I've still got a long way to go if I want to do a nice, neat curve, but at least I've gotten rid of my fear. Here's what I sent your way.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Stacked Improv Curve blocks for Rita

 Whew, I did it! This month flew by for me and I was worried I wouldn't get my block done in time. It didn't help that the OCD in me kept wanting to pin these curves like they were precisely cut drunkard's path pieces (so it kept coming out wonky, and not in a good way!). But I did it.

I hope you like the colors. Looking forward to seeing your final project.

~ Diana 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hive 5 - May Tutorial- Pick Up Sticks block for Jacqueline

 Hello there ladies!!

I'm Jacque and have returned this year to stash bee, but in the early years I was in Stash Bee for a few years and loved it! I am a nurse in Western Wisconsin living the full life on a dairy farm with my hubby and we are parents to 3 kiddos, and 5 grandbabies 8 and under. 

For our block this month I thought we could all do a little improv creativity and use some of our stash and scraps. This block was made all from scraps and stash so I think it is appropriate and fun! All seams are a 1/4 inch.

This pattern I call either chop sticks or pickup sticks. Here is what we will need: 

For the background please use black and dark grey colors. You can see mine is very scrappy and all the backgrounds read in my preferred colorways.

For the pickup sticks I would prefer brighter pinks, aqua/turquoise and yellows.  


Cut 9 - 5 1/2 inch squares in blacks and dark greys. 

 Chopsticks: In colors Aqua/turquoise, brighter pinks and yellows:

Cut several 1 inch wide strips about 7 1/2 - 8 inches long so that they are long enough to place on the slant or angle of the blocks. You will trim them up anyway. 

Here are my background blocks and some pickup stick strips ready to go. 

**** There is a tutorial I found on YouTube from Jordan Fabrics called Chopsticks which gives great tips especially on matching up the strips and how best to press the seams allowances depending on which seam you are sewing to decrease seam bulk. I would encourage you to view it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0AMpWXnMxY

 It even helped me when I went back and reviewed it again, so then I had to go back and fix a few blocks. I always say every day I learn something new it's a good day. 

Take a 5 1/2 inch square and just take a ruler and just cut the fabric in half  how ever you like. 

Now take a 1 inch wide strip of your choosing and sew it to one side of the angle you just cut and sew with a straight 1/4 inch seam allowance. With this strip press seam allowance towards the background. and be sure to press it with a hot iron, but try not to tug so the blocks don't stretch.

Once the first strips are sewn they will look like this. The pickup sticks strips should be 1/2 inch wide. Press these first strips towards the black fabric. 


Now take your ruler and randomly cut the square again at what ever angle you prefer. 

Sew a strip on the one side like this. Press the seam now towards the strip. 

Now this is the tricky part. This is where the tutorial I linked up above to the Jordan Fabrics tutorial will explain about halfway through how to line up the strips so they match up by the way you pin the pieces back together and I have to say it was very successful for me to get the strips looking straight. Again, please take time to view it. 

Once the second half is pinned as shown in the linked tutorial sew the second side back on the strip. Be sure to press the seam towards the center. and it should look like this. 

Now I just had to give this one a third strip, two to 3 strips are preferred per block. Again, cut at an angle, add the strip on the one side, follow the pinning directions to add on the second side and sew your block back together. 

I had us cut the blocks generously as sometimes seams are lined up not perfectly so now, once you have all your strips sewn into the block, figure out how you want things to look and square each 5 1/2 inch block down to 5 inches square. 

                                                 Here' the trimmed up block at 5 inches square. 

Now, lay out your 9 blocks into a 3 by 3 layout. Twist and turn your strips around to where you are happy with how they look and line up and sew them together, alternating the direction of the seams in each row so that they but up nicely to each other and decrease the bulk on the back of the block.  

Once you are happy with the layout, sew them all together and tada!! You have a scrappy 9-patch pick up sticks block! 

This is a very easy block to make and shouldn't take long. I can't wait to see how much fun you all having making these fun and simple blocks. Any questions or concerns please reach out to me. Thank you again for making this block for me and I hope you enjoyed the process. 


Monday, April 22, 2024

Improv Curves for Rita

Rita, when you said "Do not worry about the size, nor the wonkiness of your blocks," I certainly hope you meant it!

This was my first time ever sewing a curve for a quilt block, so thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot, and I hope you can put these to good use.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Hive 1: April Curves Block for Rita

This was only my second time piecing curves (after trying them out thinking about what I’d like to do as queen bee—you read my mind, Rita!) but I think it went pretty well considering my inexperience. I enjoyed it, at least. I hope you like them!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hive 1: Stacked Improv Curves 💢 for Rita

Hi, Rita!

Wonky is HARD! Hopefully these are okay!! They're kind of...blocky. But I haven't done much with curves, so this was fun! I can't wait to see what the whole thing looks like together.

Hopefully they won't take 6 months to get to you this time!! 😅

Molli. 💃

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hive 1 April - Stacked Improv Blocks for Rita

 Well, these blocks were challenging and fun to put together!  It took everything I had to NOT square them up before sending!

Hope the colors are what you’re going for. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

April Block for Rita

Hi Rita,

What a nice sunny block! I did my best on these curves. No doubt that with your magic touch, this quilt will be splendid!🌅

In the mail this week!


PS The fabric is light yellow, not cream color

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Hive 1: an extra block for Chris

It’ll be on its way to you tomorrow, Chris. I’m sorry it’s still so far from perfection, but I’m sure it’s better than my last attempts. This one is growing on me!

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Hive 1, Additional February Blocks for Chris


Hi Chris,

These are going on their way to you on Saturday.

Happy Hand-Quilting, 🪡


Monday, April 1, 2024

Hive 7- April Tutorial - Space Block for Bonnie

Hi, Everyone! My name is Bonnie and this is my second year participating in Stash Bee. As per usual, I agonized over what to do when my turn came around, so once again, I turned to my Hive for help. With all their awesome feedback, I'm now pretty excited about this one.

The Plan:

With your help, I would like to create a space-themed sampler quilt. I have found that I absolutely love samplers, because I love making lots of different types of blocks, trying new patterns and techniques, and putting them all together like a puzzle. So for this quilt, I’d love it if you could make ANY block(s) you want that fits the theme. Think stars, constellations, planets, spaceships, black holes, eclipses, suns, meteors, comets, aliens (if you can figure out how to make me a xenomorph, we will be friends forever, haha), moons, galaxies, or anything else you can think of. Use whatever techniques you’d like. Straight piecing, curved piecing, big pieces, tiny pieces, FPP, EPP, applique, crumb piecing, string piecing, seriously whatever. Be as creative (or not) as you want to be. I’d like it to be more “adult” so please avoid things like astronaut cats. Words/phrases could be okay, too, depending. The pattern itself does NOT have to be space-themed. If you hate stars, just try to aim for space-y colors and do a row of flying geese or something for filler.

Colors & Prints:

I’m envisioning BOLD, BRIGHT colors against a BLACK background for maximum “poppage.” I made that word up, but you get it, yeah? Take a look at my inspiration collage below. Notice that there is not any green, which is shocking because green is my favorite color. Please avoid green (😭).


While I also LOVE botanical prints, I don’t feel they are in keeping with the theme, so please avoid florals, leaves, trees, and the like. Blenders, geometric designs, stars, dots, etc. would all be appropriate prints for this. Novelty science prints COULD be okay, but please use your best judgement re: whether they read adult or juvenile. If you think you have something really fitting, but worry about the appropriateness, feel free to send me a picture, because I often bend rules. Heh…

Background: Please use white on black prints, black on black prints, bold colors on black prints, or solid black prints for the background. Please make sure they read black and not gray or navy. SUPER dark grey is okay.

Celestial Spacy Stuff: I’m super eloquent. Please use Maroon, Firey Orange, Yellow, Teal, Blue, Purple, Magenta, White, etc. Please NO green. Teal/turquoise OKAY. If you’re doing something made of metal, like a spaceship, please stick to realistic greys. As you can see below, I have too much fabric I like basically everything, including batiks, metallics, etc. So don’t worry yourself overmuch-- Just avoid florals and other botanical and novelty prints.


Please press to one side. It's just my preference. Thank you!

Go Forth and Create...

...If you feel inspired. If you're not sure what you want to do and could use some ideas, scroll to the bottom where I've listed tons of free theme-y patterns and tutorials. If you hate this, keep reading and make one of the blocks from my two tutorials below.


Now for those of you who prefer to not be given free reign and would like to just be told exactly what to do I have written up a couple of simple star block tutorials. I envision lots of stars in this quilt, so stars of all sorts are welcome.


This is just a nine-patch with a few Half Square Triangles (HSTs).





3” Block

4.5” Block

6” Block

7.5” Block

BLACK background

(4) 1.5”
(2) 1 7/8”

(4) 2”
(2) 2 3/8”

(4) 2.5”
(2) 2 7/8”

(4) 3”
(2) 3 3/8”


(1) 1.5”
(2) 1 7/8”

(1) 2”
(2) 2 3/8”

(1) 2.5”
(2) 2 7/8”

(1) 3”
(2) 3 3/8”

 These instructions use the traditional method of making HSTs, but many stars use multiples of four, so the 4-at-a-time technique where you sew all the way around the square and then cut on both diagonals or the 8-at-a-time method that I’ve personally never tried may be more your speed. You can also make the HST Squares 1/8” larger and just trim more if you don’t mind the waste. My favorite method is to use the essential triangle tool by Bonnie Hunter. Use whatever method you’re comfortable with!

Make the HSTs:

Put two squares right sides together. Draw a line from corner to corner. Or be super rebellious like me and just lop those babies in half and risk bias stretching when you sew them. I hate taking my seam guide off my machine if I don’t have to.

If you prefer to follow the “rules” go ahead and sew ¼” from the line on each side of the square and THEN cut on the line. Please press to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Apologies to all of the open-seam supporters and anyone who doesn’t like Star Wars.

Trim to the appropriate size, which is the same size as the plain square blocks.

Lay out the squares and HSTs and then sew into rows. Please press toward the squares (away from the HSTs).

Sew the rows together with nesting seams. Please press away from the center.





This is just like the friendship star, but with Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs) aka Hourglass units instead of HSTs.





4.5” Block

6” Block

7.5” Block

9” Block

BLACK background

(4) 2”
(1) 2 7/8”

(4) 2.5”
(1) 3 3/8”

(4) 3”
(1) 3 7/8”

(4) 3.5”
(1) 4 3/8”


(1) 2”

(1) 2.5”

(1) 2.5”

(1) 3.5”


(1) 2 7/8”

(1) 3 3/8”

(1) 3 7/8”

(1) 4 3/8”


(2) 2 7/8”

(2) 3 3/8”

(2) 3 7/8”

(2) 4 3/8”

See my spiel on HSTs (also relevant for QSTs) in the option 1 tutorial.

Make the HSTs:

Follow the method listed above in Option 1. You should be pairing a black background square with a C Square and a B square with a C square. 

Press toward COLOR C or away from Color C, just be consistent with all of them. In this case I pressed AWAY from Color C.

Put two HSTs right sides together. So that the seams nest and Color C triangles are opposite each other. 

Again draw a line from corner to corner, perpedicular to the seam. Sew ¼” from the line on each side of the square and then cut on the line. Or be rebellious 😉. Please press towards the side with the black background triangle or be fancy and spin the seam. Trim to the appropriate size, which is the same size as Color A squares.

Lay out the squares and QSTs and then sew into rows. Please press toward the squares (away from the QSTs).

Join the rows together by nesting the seams. Please press away from the center.



Free Patterns/Tutorials

For those of you who are down with this challenge, but have NO idea where to start (I get it, I’m super indecisive myself), below are some FREE patterns for star blocks and theme-y stuff that might inspire you:

If you fancy STARS:

If you’re partial to PLANETS / MOONS:

If you’re fond of SHIPS and STATIONS:

If you’re a fan of other SPACE-Y THINGS:

Bonus Content

And finally, if you're still with me, while searching for all those tutorials above I found this cool article for about Karen Nyberg: http://quiltingdigest.com/one-of-these-blocks-was-made-on-the-space-station/

More about retired Astronaut / Artist Karen Nyburg: https://karennyberg.com/artist/


💚 BONNIE aka @gingerbreaddscraps

P.S. I missed half my address in the address file when it was first sent out, so if you downloaded it BEFORE I corrected it, just an FYI that it is now correct. Also feel free to just PM me and I'll give you my address.