Tag Archives: Online Quilting Bee

Tu-Na Quilts: April Bee Blocks are Done and Mailed

My husband asked me, “Why do you participate in those Bees and then mail away your hard work?” So I thought I’d give you a list of the reasons why I choose to do so. Feel free to add other reasons in the comments sections why you participate, if you do so.

  • It gives me a good opportunity to try out block patterns to see which ones I’d eventually like to include in a future quilt. I can honestly say that most of the blocks I’ve sewn so far are ones that I probably would not have thought to use but now I see that many would make a beautiful quilt.
    13a

    Sherry from Tennessee received this 16 1/2″ block. Those 40 little blue squares were not so little as they started out at 2 1/2″.  She asked us to use any shade of blue including navy and turquoise but limit the use of pastels. I had to ask my mom for some of her blue fabrics to get a nice variety. Sherry’s daughter is getting married and these quilt squares will be part of her wedding quilt.

    You can read more about this quilt here and get the pattern and tutorial here. This envelope cost me 70 cents to mail because it was overweight.

  • I learn new techniques (such as improv when I made Kate’s trees and gnomes block) that I probably would not have tried on my own. Yes, it puts me out of my comfort zone.
  • These Bee blocks allow me to use colors that I’d never put together on my own.
    14a

    Lis from Nebraska asked for Tic Tac Toe using orange, pink and white.  I probably would never have chosen to use those color combinations but it did look really nice when it was done. This block was 12 1/2″ unfinished.

    If you are interested in making some of these Tic Tac Toe Blocks, you can find the pattern here. The postal attendant brought out the slot to check for its size and it didn’t go through. Thus it cost me 98 cents to mail. If you’ve read about my other blocks I’ve mailed each month, you probably agree that there appears to be no rhyme or reason behind the postal rates.

  • I get to “meet” other quilters from all over the world. I’ve shipped blocks to Canada, England, Australia as well as many states in the U.S.
    40a

    Velda from Prince Edward Island in Canada asked for 4 crows for her block. She asked that we not sew them together so she could incorporate our crows along with hers in the quilt. Each little crow block was 6.5″ and really went together well. There were some improv parts such as the beaks. It was a good thing that I had already lifted the lid on my comfort zone box or these crows might have really been a stumbling block.

    41a

    Velda’s got some crazy crows living close by that have been causing her such consternation as they create such a cacophony and conundrum around her house that she decided to embrace the chaos and celebrate them by making an incredible crow quilt. But these are not just your typical crows; they are a colorful bunch.

    You can read Velda’s post here. Free downloadable patterns for birds or crows can be found here or here (this one is paper pieced but could be easily adapted to piecing).

    42a

    Velda graciously volunteered to take my Bee month for April so I thought I’d send her some extra crows. I don’t know what happened as I cut out enough for 8 but as you can count there were 9 when I finished. But I didn’t stop there, I had some fun with these crazy crows and let their personality shine as I named each one and sent Velda a letter introducing them. I will share more about my unruly crows in my next post.

    I put 4 crows in one envelope along with the letter and 5 in the other envelope. Evidently sending mail to Canada is expensive as each envelope was too thick to go through the 1/4″ slot (yes, they were checked), each was overweight (yes they were weighed), and each was leaving the country. Thereby, costing $2.50 to mail each envelope.

  • It allows me an opportunity to improve my sewing skills. I’ve become much better at matching seams and sewing an exact scant 1/4″ seam especially when it gets sent to someone else.
  • I get to participate in something bigger than just making a quilt for myself. I look forward to seeing those blocks I sent to others made into a quilt.
  • It’s fun!

What I Learned Today

  1. I miss those crazy crows. I will have to make some for myself.
  2. I need to sew up the May Bee Blocks early this week.
  3. I will be Queen for one of the Bees next month which means I have to decide on a block pattern, sew one or two blocks, and write a post.
  4. I do have a plan.

Question: What’s got you excited today?

Linking to:

Monday Making and Main Crush Monday. Buttons are on the sidebar, too.

I’m trying a new linky party this week. Show & Tell Monday with Bambi

Tu-Na Quilts: Catching up with the March Bee Blocks and the Continuing Postage Saga

I got a bit behind. Actually, I got a lot behind with making my Bee blocks. I had a family emergency earlier this spring which took me away from quilting and blogging. In fact, I was supposed to be the April Queen Bee for two of the Bees but I didn’t want to take the time to sew up a block and write a blog post. I asked for a volunteer in each of those Bees to take over my month. My hive mates were gracious and understanding. Two hive mates jumped right in and volunteered to post for April and I was assigned a month later this year. By the end of April, I was caught up with all the March and April (coming under a separate post) blocks.

8a

This block is called Checker. It went to Sherry in New Jersey.

Because it was already two weeks into April and this was supposed to have been mailed by the end of March, I decided to make two blocks.  To save on postage, I used a suggestion from one of my readers and wrapped each block in Saran Wrap instead of using a Ziploc bag. I also decided to send each block in its own envelope. It must have worked as each envelope went for 49 cents.

9a

Sherry chose orange and yellow half square triangles, gray rectangles with purple sashing. Yes these are purple. I think this block was 14.5″ square.

This was a fast block to sew. You can find the pattern for Checker here just in case you want to make some too. 

11a

This 14.5″ square block went to Shauna in Texas.

Next up were some star blocks. I made one in pink and the other in purple. Falling behind with making the Bee blocks was so easy to do. However, these star blocks were so fun to make that I made another one as payment for being late (more quilting interest). I packaged each in a separate envelope and they shipped for 49 cents each. Evidently they fit through a 1/4″ slot at the post office allowing them to ship at the regular first class rate.

12a

Shauna asked that we use either a bright pink or a bright purple for the star. I think this quilt is going to look great!

 

You can find the patterns for these star blocks here or here. I bet you can’t stop with making just two.

The last blocks for March went to Kate in England. I have to admit I was a bit scared to tackle these improv blocks. When I bake, I follow recipes very closely. When I sew, I follow the pattern instructions closely. However, improv blocks allow for creativity and freely cutting without exact dimensions. Eek!! My brain doesn’t do improv.

Kate, who blogs at Smiles from Kate, started her tutorial post with this:  “If you haven’t done any (improv blocks) before you don’t know what you have been missing and the great thing about a Bee is it takes you out of your comfort zone and you never know you may just find your perfect quilting technique.” It did take me out of my comfort zone. I think they came out very nice. I think this quilt is going to look smashing.

30a

These blocks were 15 1/2″ square.

 

You can find the pattern for these trees and gnomes on Kate’s blog post here or in the original post where she discovered them here.

35a

Kate asked that we make any number of gnomes and trees as long as there were one of each for a total of 6 per block. She says all the bee members made the same number: 4 trees and 2 gnomes (except for my extra block). My original plan was to make one block with 1 gnome and 5 trees and make the other block with 5 gnomes and 1 tree. Well, something happened as I made 7 trees instead of 6. Not wanting to have an orphan block, I adjusted the number of gnomes I needed and came up with this layout. Only after viewing the pictures, did I notice that I had put the gnomes and trees in the same positions in each block leaving the plain blocks in the same location. Talk about my not being able to think outside the box.

 

I carefully packaged each block and put them in separate envelopes. My husband and I discussed that they might be too thick to fit through the 1/4″ slot if the post office attendant brought it out to test them. In an effort to flatten them, we put a pile of heavy books on top. In the morning, they seemed even thicker than the night before. Sure enough, the envelopes were too thick and it would cost $3.23 per envelope. Upon further questioning we found out that we could save money if they were bundled together. So my husband, who had taken tape along with him to the post office, whipped out the tape and taped the envelopes together. This package now cost $4.16 saving us $2.30.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Sewing an improv block is hard for me to do. Now that I have tried it, I might make more.
  2. The end of the month comes very quickly.
  3. Going to the post office to mail the Bee blocks can be entertaining.
  4. Sometimes, I can’t think outside of the box.

Question: What blocks would you like to try but haven’t yet?

Linking to Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and Finished or Not Friday. Buttons are on the sidebar.

I’ll be back in a few days with pics and info about the April Bee blocks, You’ll agree that the post is really for the birds.

Karen

Tu-Na Quilts

Tu-Na Quilts: February Bee Blocks and the Postage Saga

February sure went fast! I’ve been busy with entertaining company, baking pies, sightseeing, and beginning my training on my village sewing group’s longarm quilting machine. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the calendar and I found it to be the last day of the month and those bee blocks had not yet been sewn and had to be mailed that very day. I immediately put foot to the pedal (sewing machine one that is) and turned out some real cute ones. I wanted to keep them all but since I left them until the last minute again with no time to sew any others I had to bid them farewell, squash them in their envelopes and give them to my husband to deliver to the post office.

Now here’s where the story gets interesting. If you read last month’s bee block post here, you may remember that I had quite a bit of discrepancy in the postal rates of almost identical size blocks in identical size envelopes (legal envelope) packed the identical way. February’s blocks proved even more interesting.

5aa

This log cabin block went to Colette in Texas. She wanted scrappy logs made with a true red and not an orangey/red. For some reason, I had difficulty finding a true red but with help from Melva ( Melva Loves Scraps) and my mom and cousin, I think I pulled it off. We could use any block for the center that was bright, happy and makes us smile. Tulips make me happy.

I had two blocks ready in their envelopes as my husband rushed out the door shortly after noontime on February 28th to do some errands. I figured I’d have him mail those two just in case I couldn’t get the other one done. He called me after this visit to the post office and had me guess what each cost to mail. “The one to Australia must have been over $5.00,” I said. “I just went up to the attendant and said ‘regular first class mail’ so the one to Texas cost 70 cents and the one to Australia $1.15,” he replied. I stood there with my mouth open. I know it makes no sense at all. But wait. The story isn’t over.

7a

Inside Addition went to Susan in Australia. The pattern was initially written for an 8″ unfinished block but Susan adjusted the pattern to be 13″ unfinished. She wanted this block to be monochromatic using mid to dark tones. Since I work with a limited stash here, I used the best I could find to make it work. I think it turned out well.

While he was gone, I completed the third block and had it ready for him to take out on his errands later in the afternoon. My husband enjoys a challenge, so he took the third envelope that was headed to California to see if he could get it as low as 70 cents again.

6a

Homebase went to Samantha in California. She requested blues or greens for the center.

It almost worked. The attendant initially charged him 70 cents but then decided to see if it fit into a slot. Unfortunately, it was too thick so she charged him 98 cents instead. By now you are probably scratching your head and thinking, how could this be that identical envelopes with approximately the same size blocks could vary so greatly in postage? We are wondering the same thing.

You can find a tutorial for the log cabin here and click printer friendly at the top to display it with pictures. You can find Susan’s adjusted pattern for Inside Addition here on the Bee Inspired Blog. Finally, the pattern for Homebase can be found here. Just in case you want to make some for yourself.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson last month; I still waited until the last day to work on my bee blocks. I will try to do better in March.
  2. Instead of thinking of March 31st as the absolute deadline, I am going to give myself March 15th as the deadline for bee blocks but then I’m helping with a bake sale on the 18th so I’ll make the new deadline the 20th.
  3. I get to pick out my block for April for one of the bees so people get to make some for me. But that requires me getting the March block done early for that bee group and sewing a sample block and writing a post about it ahead of time. March is going to be very busy.
  4. Give my husband the bee block envelopes to mail as he gets better rates than I do.
  5. Keep working on  trying to get the envelopes as flat as possible. I have to put the blocks inside a plastic bag inside the envelope. The problem is that I can’t get out all the air and keep it out.

Question: Do you have a postage story? What postal advice do you have for me?

Linking to Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making and Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday (Buttons on the sidebar) and Design Wall at Patchwork Times.