Bye bye Bee Europa

Bee Europa 2010 is all over! This was my first bee and it gave me the chance to do loads of things I’d never have done. I made wonky blocks, spiderwebs, log cabins and hexagons. I got to use fabrics from Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler. I used my seam ripper far too much and turned the air blue on more than one occasion! But I had a lot of fun :)

Over the course of the year, I’ve realised I don’t really have enough time for a bee. I was regularly late with my blocks and constantly felt guilty about that. Then when I did have time for sewing, I had to prioritise my bee blocks, so they turned into a chore instead of being fun.

So I’ve decided that there are no more bees for me until I have more free time. I’m kinda sad about that but I’m also happy that I won’t be feeling guilty all the time! Roll on free time and guilt-free sewing :)

Bee Europa – November and January blocks

Well after my debacle with my October blocks for Bee Europa, I really needed something nice and easy for November (yes, I’m still playing catch up!). Linda asked for a spiderweb block, and I have to say I was kinda intimidated. But we were following this tutorial and it’s super easy-peasy – I was totally worrying over nothing!

I l.o.v.e. the fabric! It’s Christmassy without being OTT and so bright and cheery. I’m not looking forward to sending this one back!

Next up was January (no December blocks, thankfully) and log cabins. Nice and simple, and best of all, finished without mishap! The photos are a bit rubbish though – the light level recently has been terrible. Roll on summer!

So now I’m officially caught up! Wahey!

Bee Europa – October blocks

Yes, the title does say October, so yes I am behind once again. Although in fairness, the fabric didn’t arrive until the 31st of October, so it’s not quite as bad as it sounds…

The pattern for this month was stars, and we were given two centre squares, one red and one yellow. The the rays were made out of red and yellow gingham fabric and we had free choice how to distribute the red and yellow rays.

Sounds easy enough and so it was for block 1:

However I came adrift partway though block 2. I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I ran out of white for the corner squares. I tried my LQS but it’s back to the good old “white isn’t white” problem that I had with my Baby Jane quilt because the white in the LQS is kinda creamy so doesn’t match the white in the block.

I emailed Sandra and she’s happy to take what I’ve done so far and finish it herself rather than for me to finish it with the LQS “white”. But I really feel stupid. This was such a simple block and I totally messed up.

Anyway, this is what it looks like now, and roughly what it’ll look when it’s finished.

Bee Europa – July and September blocks

Yes, that title does have “July” in it. Bad KT. But I’m all caught up with my bee blocks now, yay!

First up, stashbuster blocks (pattern by Little Miss Shabby) for Isabel. When I first saw the layout I thought these would take forever, but Isabel sent long strips to sew into groups of four and then cut into little strips, which were then sewn together back together into longer strips. The probably doesn’t make much sense but it was soooo much quicker than cutting and piecing loads of 1.5″ squares!

For September, Anita requested a star and a sashing block from this quilt. Again I thought the star would take forever, but it came together really quickly one evening during crafty club.

I think the fabric’s Nicey Jane. Whatever it is, it works really well. I would never have thought of using green as a background, but it looks fab!

Both sets of blocks should be on route. When I say “should”, that’s because I missed the post yesterday. Arrrgh – I’m really not doing well with these blocks. But they WILL be in the post next weekend.

Bee block blitz

Well that was a bit of an extended bloggy break! Ah well, sheer lack of time has put a stop to crafty endeavours recently!

I am now totally behind on my bee blocks. I have Bee Europa blocks from July and September to make, plus the October fabric will arrive soon. However, I did find time to finish up my embroider-bee blocks and I only missed the deadline by a week, which is pretty impressive right now. They’re now on the way to their owners, so here are some sneak-peek pics…

So now I just need to catch up with my Bee Europa blocks, make a baby quilt for my cousin’s new baby and make a pressie for a friend’s new baby. I’d better get to it…!

There are 101 things I should be doing…

… and this is not one of them…

Ok I might be exaggerating a tad on the 101 things, but I should definitely not be working on this! I should be doing my Bee Europa blocks, or my embroider-bee blocks, or working on my Baby Jane quilt. But no. I’m crocheting.

I’m attempting a mini granny stripe blanket a la Attic 24‘s one (if you haven’t seen her blog, it’s well worth a visit for total crochet inspiration). This blanket caught my eye and when Anna announced she was making one, I had to join in the fun.

I wasn’t intending on starting this right now, but the other night at crafty club I went and forget the patterns for my embroider-bee blocks, doh! So as I’d brought my wool to show Anna, I decided to start the blanket instead.

So far things are going ok, although it’s turning out somewhat curly. And the wool is kinda squeaky because it’s acrylic (I hadn’t noticed that until Anna pointed it out and now it’s all I can hear – thanks Anna :)).

And as for bee blocks – well I’m totally, absolutely, 100% going to have a big blitz at the weekend…!

A bit of a break!

Well, that was a bit of an extended bloggy break! I’ve been very PC-lite lately because my wrists have been bad and then my hubby got RSI (nerve problem) in his right arm so he’s under strict instructions to go nowhere near a PC.

I decided to do my own non-work PC ban to try and keep my wrists working because if they stop then life gets very, very difficult. At one point a few weeks back I think we had one working arm (my left) between us, which just everything really, really tricky and I don’t want to go there again.

But things seem to be improving for both of us and I’m cautiously optimistic that my wrists are on the mend for good. So I think I can start building a little PC and crafting (yes, that’s been on hold too which has been more than rubbish) time into my week – wahey!!! I have lots and lots of ideas in my head, but first up are my July blocks for Bee Europa and cutting the fabric to send out as August is my month!

Bee Europa – June blocks

One word. Seam-ripper. Or is that two words? If we’re doing two words, how about “never” and “again”!

I totally, absolutely, 100% love, love, love how these blocks for Elena turned out. They have so much impact and the lime green and brown fabric in the center of each is just fab. But boy did I have fun and games getting the seams to match up! I lost count of the number of times I had to get my seam-ripper out. Aaargh!

Hubby really liked these blocks. It’s the first time he’s shown real enthusiasm for anything quilty which has me worried that he’s going to ask for a quilt made from these blocks! Eeek – I think I’d wear out my seam-ripper and my sanity!

Bee Europa – May blocks

Well better late than never! That seems to be my Bee Europa motto of late but I’ve finally got my May blocks for Bee Europa all sewn up. Beatriz asked for blocks, inspired by these so I spent some time brainstorming, which turned into the first block.

I’m not hugely happy with how it turned out but I’m struggling to put my finger on what I’m not in love with. It possibly just feels a bit forced – like I was trying too hard to be less structured or something!

So for block 2, I discarded my designs and just laid out some fabric on my ironing board and sewed bits together, then laid it out again and added more bits until I had a complete block. I think this was more in the spirit of what Beatriz was after and I’m much happier with the result.

Now I just have to get on with my June blocks…

Bee Europa – May block design

Cheryl’s Workshop in Progress is focussing on process right now. That suits me perfectly – I can’t do much on the making front, but boy am I busy planning!

First up are my May blocks for Bee Europa. Beatriz requested we make blocks inspired by these and sent some beautiful fabric (isn’t it wrapped it up all nice and pretty?!). There are two heavy linen type fabrics, one in beige and one in white plus two lighter weight fabrics, both in the same pattern, one in blue and one in red.

I had a quick look at the inspiration image when I got the instructions and had a minor freak out as this is so totally different from anything I’ve made before, so I took a few days to swirl ideas around in my head.

When I’m coming up with ideas, I don’t tend to put anything on paper until I’ve done multiple revisions in my head and have a pretty good idea of what I want. I find that my ideas stick around, even through going to work and sleeping etc so I don’t have to get them on paper right away. Once I’ve got a good idea of what I want, I sketch it out, usually on the back of an old envelope (nice and eco-friendly). This was my first set of ideas:

I really like the second version of the block on the left, but after revisiting the inspiration image, I think it is too structured, so as much as I like it, it’s out. I’m not so keen on the block on the right, but I do like the small rectangles and the way one of them is at a 90 degree angle to the others.

So after a few more days of swirling ideas in my head, I sketched out a new set of ideas. I abandoned the envelope in favour of scrap paper to give myself a bit more space and broke out the colouring in pencils. As I’ve only ever used black and white sketches up till now, it turns out I don’t have any colouring in pencils. I could have sworn I did, but apparently not! So I had to make do with ink pens…

I think this is closer to the look Beatriz is after. I added the rectangles I liked from my first set of ideas into block 2 and have completely redone block 1. The only hitch so far has been with the second version of block 1. I liked the big blue square but realised the fabric I have isn’t wide enough, so had to split it into two pieces in version 3.

So that’s my process. I just really need to buy some colouring in pencils now…!

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