Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tips and Reminders for Choosing Bee Blocks

Dear Miss Quilty,

I have joined a quilting bee! I am so excited, what is the proper etiquette for choosing a pattern, providing fabric and all other things bee related?

-Modern Quilter

Dear Modern Quilter,

How exciting that you have joined a bee! You will enjoy making friends and building new skills, learning new techniques, making different color combos than you are used to and trying out new things.
To be in a quilting bee means that you are confident in your basic skills, but not everybody in your bee may be and advanced quilter. Let's break it down and see how to make this the best experience ever!

Choosing a Pattern:
Patterns used in bee blocks should be open source, meaning you want to look for FREE patterns or tutorials to use for your block. Why you may ask? Keep in mind that purchased patterns are copyrighted. While it is perfectly okay to give a pattern to your friend when you are finished using it, it is not okay to make copies of a copyrighted pattern to give away. There are some great resources for finding free bee block to use. Patterns that are copyrighted include: books, paper patterns, craftsy patterns, magazine patterns (get the idea- basically, if you pay for it, you shouldn't copy it).

Lots of free resources online can be used to find a pattern. Here are some great starting points:

It is best practice to test your directions before giving it out. This serves two purposes:

  1.  It helps you realize the complexity of the design and any issues in directions. 
  2. It gives a gauge for how long it will take to make the block. 

It's polite to consider the time commitment you are requesting, including fabric selection, cutting and pattern preparation. Bee members don't mind a block that takes a little more time, but they might mind if you expect them to make 2 of them :)

If you want specific fabrics or lines, you should provide the fabric.
It is perfectly acceptable to ask bee members to work in a specific color range, provide examples for best results.
If you want a scrappy look you might want to provide more fabric to get that look (not everyone has the same stash size.)
Provide enough fabric for any small cutting errors that might happen.
It is expected that guild members will use high quality fabric in your blocks.

Before the guild meeting prepare a copy of the pattern and fabric you are providing for each bee member. It is general practice in our guild to package them with the name of the individual on it.  (zip-lock bags, envelopes, folders etc.). You'll pass your blocks out to members during the guild meeting. It's okay to leave kits for anyone not present at the shop for them to pick up later in the month.

Making the Block:
Past experience has taught Miss Quilty that it is better to start earlier than later on the bee block of the month.
Look at the pattern early on and don't hesitate to let your Queen Bee know if you have questions about fabric or directions.
Keep in mind the standard seam allowance in piecing is 1/4 inch.
If there is a new technique that you are unfamiliar with, ask the Queen Bee or go to your LQS to get help.
Don't hesitate to ask questions: Do they still want the paper in a paper pieced pattern? Can I mark with a frixion pen? Is it okay if the fabric has some glitter on it? - these would all be okay!
Do your best to complete by the deadline. (It's no fun for anyone to be missing bee blocks.)

Most importantly HAVE FUN!
Enjoy your bee!
-Miss Quilty

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