The Honey Pot Bee – March Blocks

How did it become March so fast? Moreover, how did it get to be almost the middle of March so fast?! That’s just rude, that is.

Anyway, I managed to finish my March Honey Pot Bee blocks over the last couple of days, so I can show them off now. 🙂

First up is the Echo block by Amy Garro of 13 Spools.

These blocks went together so quickly and smoothly that I didn’t take any progress pics! Despite (or perhaps because of) its elegant simplicity, this block gave me a lot to ponder as I tried to fit it into my “scrappy, RSC17+contrast colour” theme for some of the Honey Pot Bee blocks. This month’s RSC17 colour is red, for which the contrast colour is green. Although I like Christmas colours, I wanted to avoid a very “Christmas” vibe for these blocks, which meant very careful selection of the green – tricky, since I love dark forest greens and consequently have a lot of them! Going completely scrappy was an option, but I liked the colour contrast between the two halves and wasn’t sure I had enough different red fabrics to pull off the look I wanted. I briefly considered making one half of each block green, but then decided that was less of a highlight and more of a direct competitor for the red. In the end, I decided to use two different reds in each block, and “tie” the blocks together by using the same greens in each. Even while making the blocks, I came up with still more ways I could have approached it. Part of me is still pondering whether I should try and make some of the other variations I considered! However, I’m pretty pleased with these ones, especially the way that solid red vibrates against the grey background, and they look pretty smart next to the other blocks in this “family”:

I think I did the right thing. 🙂

Next up is the As You Wish block by Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting. I had a LOT of fun with this one! I really like foundation (or paper) piecing and have really started to explore the possibilities of my own paper-pieced designs, so when I saw the Flying Geese as a “serving suggestion” in the original pattern, I couldn’t resist having a play with the idea and taking it a little further. I drew up an encircling string of Flying Geese in Inkscape, then tweaked them so that they gradually became Hearts that are either floating into or out of the envelope, depending on how you view it:

The blank space on the left looked rather bare, so I decided to embroider the words “With love…” on it in a pretty font – more on that below!

Although the Geese in the layout are all the same colour, I decided to do an ombre look in the real thing, running from blue through purple to red:

The Geese pieced really well despite having some quite dinky bits, and I was really pleased with how they framed the envelope block:

Being a bit of a Doctor Who fan, I couldn’t resist making the envelope Tardis Blue and lined with stars. I don’t think that’s the Doctor’s handwriting, though… 🙁

The embroidery took the longest, partly because of decisions I made. I chose a font that was not very complex, but also wasn’t a very thin line, so it had to be filled in somehow:

I used a red Frixon pen to trace the font onto my background fabric, then set it up in a plastic clip frame:

Not sure how much I like this frame, it was quite difficult to get much tension on the fabric without the clips coming undone. I don’t think I’d want to use it for Srs Embroidery.

My next poor decision was to use pink-and-purple variegated rayon to do the letters in satin stitch. The thread colour doesn’t go well with any of the other block colours and embroidering with the rayon proved quite a fiddle! If I did this block over, this is the bit I would do very differently. However, I didn’t have much of the background fabric left so I persevered with it, and the final block is not too bad, even if it’s not what I would choose with hindsight!

And you’re going to laugh at me now, but I didn’t know Frixion pens erased with the heat of an iron! I’d only chosen them because of the fine line they draw:

My careful marks to indicate the corners of the embroidered area vanished along with the creases I was trying to get rid of after I unframed the fabric – whoops! Instead I had to use a quilting ruler to get the text reasonably central when I trimmed it down. This block was a real learning experience in so many ways. Overall though, when it sits with its Bee mates, I think it looks pretty good.  🙂

I still don’t quite know what the destination is, but GOLLY I am enjoying the journey!  🙂

Bleen and Grue!

No, not a number between six and seven and a thing you are likely to be eaten by.  I’m talking about turquoise, aqua, blue-green, green-blue, aquamarine, seafoam, teal, cyan, cerulean – the colours that lie in the spectrum between “true” green and blue.  They can be awkward to work with sometimes, but I love them anyway.

This is February’s RSC17 colour, and to continue on with my plan of combining two sewing challenges into one I chose use it to make one of February’s Honey Pot Bee blocks, the lovely Star Kisses by Fi of Living Cloth.  Turns out that I have lots more of this colour group than I thought, so much so that I ended up further splitting it away from the blue and green baskets I put together a few weeks ago.  I need more baskets, dammit!

Once I’d gathered all my teal-ish scraps together, I carefully sorted them into three broadly similar piles.  Then I said, “Oh sod it,” and jumbled them all up again to make my blocks.  Larger or more distinctive prints were used for the feature squares and the other colours were used for the smaller squares and flying geese corners.  Once again, my Shimmer 2 left-overs played a significant part thanks to having a number of gorgeous prints in this colour family.

To continue my theme of adding in a contrast colour, I dug out a slightly corally pink blender (not actually the one I had in mind, but the only one I had enough of to make what I wanted) and threw it at some of the star corners to add some punch and variety.  When rootling around for fabrics, I also uncovered a big chunk of Tula Pink’s Chipper fox print left over from making a tee-pee and was overjoyed to find that foxy fitted neatly into a 3.5″ square, so I couldn’t resist doing this:

The pink of the blender is just about close enough to the pink on the fox for it to work well, and the background is teal.  Clearly Tula knows her colour wheel too, lol!  The blocks went together really well despite my cavalier approach of not bothering to draw diagonal lines on the flying geese squares.  I just trusted the Pfaff to sew straight and aimed it at the opposite corner.  It worked pretty well!

Initially, however, I wasn’t wholly sure about the first fox-free block I made, but after I looked at it from a distance and after a night’s sleep (and next to the purple Starflower blocks from last month), I decided that I do love it and am very happy with the way both blocks have turned out:

I’m really enjoying how this is going so far and I’m looking forward to seeing how this more “modern” rainbow sampler ends up.  I’ll keep on making two blocks each month for this project and keep adding in quirks through the use of the contrast colour.  Tomorrow I plan to make several of the other Honey Pot blocks for February, the Quilter’s Pantry block by Adrianne at On The Windy Side.  I don’t have all that many “novelty” prints, but I’m going to make the best of what I’ve got.  🙂

Roll on March!  😀

For any link-ups I join, see my side-bar for the buttons and schedule.

Honey and Rainbows

I’m kind of eyeball deep in cracking the piecing of the mini swap quilt (and, ummm, keeping up with the day job), but I decided to take a cheeky afternoon today to limbo under the January deadlines for two online quilt bees – the 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge and the Honey Pot Bee.

The idea behind joining both these follow-along projects is to make me use more of my scraps – and it seems to be working so far!  And yeah, I am totally merging them to kill two quilty birds with one patchwork stone.  😉

The Honey Pot blocks for January (there are two each month, picked by two different people each time) were Strawberry and Starflower.  I also joined the Facebook group, and have been blown away (and rather intimidated!) by some of the examples people have come up with.  However, finally I rounded up some suitable scraps and made my own versions of these blocks.  Here’s my Strawberry (I decided I only wanted to do the small version):

It’s supposed to look like it’s ripening, but I’m not sure how apparent that really is!  It came out quite traditional in appearance, and made me dip into some very chintzy Moda prints that I got in a scrap pack some time ago.  I’m not sure about the use or positioning of that stripey shot cotton, but I CBA to unpick it – it stays!

I’ve already decided that I’m likely to end up with (at least) two quilts after this exercise – one that’ll be more scrappy-happy like the Strawb and one that will be slanted towards the RSC17 theme, that is, whatever the current month’s colour is on a Kona Graphite background.  Speaking of, here are my Starflower blocks:

I didn’t originally intend to add yellow here, but when cutting my purples I found I’d miscounted and only grabbed seven – instead of having another rootle in the purple basket, I thought it might be more interesting to chuck in a complementary colour for one blade of the star and the Shimmer diamonds were begging to join in, so in they went!  Thankfully, the purple looks better against the Graphite than I feared it would – it’s a pretty dark grey and if I didn’t have 5 yards of it, I would probably be considering something a bit lighter.  However, I really like this and am half toying with the idea of sticking with Starflower as my RSC17 block and making them all like this – seven blades in the colour of the month, plus one in the complementary colour.  I think it might be interesting, but I might do a mock-up in Inkscape first to make sure.  Or I can stick with seeing what February’s Honey Pot blocks are and choosing the most appropriate to go along with the Starflowers.  Decisions, decisions!  And it looks like Molli’s just posted the blocks for Feb, so I’m gonna go have a read and a ponder.  🙂