We are super excited to be starting up our bees again this year. Below is a post we shared back in 2016 with some great tips for bee etiquette. It's been updated to reflect current practices for our guild. Sign up for bees is available for guild members at http://bit.ly/mckmqgbee through March 20.
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?
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 should not be copied and distributed without permission. 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 purchased pattern to give away.
This includes patterns from books, paper patterns, online patterns, magazine patterns (get the idea- basically, if you pay for it, you shouldn't copy it).
If you really want to use a purchased pattern for your bee block, you either need to purchase copies for all bee mates or contact the designer for permission to use the block for multiple people. Some designers will offer bulk pricing if you ask for multiple copies of a pattern.
- Bee Block Ideas on Pinterest
- Quilt Block Library on Gen X Quilters (links to tutorials for over 400 blocks!)
- Moda Bake Shop
- Wombat Quilts: Free Paper Piecing Patterns
- Blossom Heart Quilts Bee Hive Patterns
It is best practice to test your directions before giving it out. This serves two purposes:
- It helps you realize the complexity of the design and any issues in directions.
- It gives a gauge for how long it will take to make the block.
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 the 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. If someone is not at the meeting, you may choose to mail them the block materials, meet up with them, or wait until the next meeting.
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!
Take a photo of your finished blocks and post to instagram with your bee's hashtag and #mckmqgbee. When you arrive at guild, you'll be asked to put your blocks in a common location so everyone can see the bee blocks for the month.
Please complete blocks by the deadline and bring your block to the guild meeting to swap. If you're unable to join the meeting, let your queen bee know and mail the block directly to her or send the block with a friend. This will ensure that blocks are received in a timely manner and there isn't a backlog of "overdue" blocks.
Most importantly HAVE FUN!
Enjoy your bee!