Monday, 18 June 2012

Bee Blocks and Blocking

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee, organised by Grammie Q. The blocks for the Bee are based upon a block in the book, Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. I had been eyeing up the book anyway, so was delighted to have a reason to buy it. Although the book was apparently in stock when I ordered it on the Book Depository website (Amazon were showing a 3 week delivery time!) and so, I should have received it before we left the UK to come back to Riga, naturally it didn't turn up until after we had left. Fortunately, our son was able to forward it on to me, so it finally arrived in Riga last week and I was, at last, able to start on my first ever Bee blocks. What a responsibility they are!

The blocks weren't difficult but I was conscious the entire time that the finished block would be subject to the scrutiny of someone who has probably been sewing longer than I have, and is so much more accurate than I am (even although the chosen block does not call for accuracy!). The colour for this month's blocks is yellow, and even that was a cause for anxiety - does yellow with multi-coloured dots count as yellow? As you can see I decided it didn't, but having looked at some of the blocks in the Flickr Group other Bees made a different decision. I am sure that once I have got a few blocks under my belt, I will be more relaxed about the whole thing, at least I hope so!

I have also joined the Star of Africa Bee, where we are producing blocks that represent our country or culture, even more scope for anxiety I suspect :) They are next on my to-do list.

Now that I have mastered (!) crochet flowers, I have been having a go at more of the projects in my "Cute and Easy crochet" book. I have made a start on the stripy cushion with my various shades of pink yarn and have just finished the front, although with all the yarn changes there are an awful lot of ends to be sewn in. In the meantime I tackled the purse project from the book, with a ball of variegated yarn that I had bought for no apparent purpose a while ago. I hope that I am not the only one who does that!

The crochet was mainly straightforward, although the flap front is more uneven than it should be and looks a much smoother curve in the book than mine turned out to be. The pouch was the perfect size for the variegation in the yarn, which was a pleasant surprise, and the actual crochet worked up very quickly.

I had the perfect fabric for the lining in a FQ that I won in Jenna's Sew Happy QAL, so was delighted to find such a good use for it. I have never blocked a piece of crochet before and was surprised to find that even although the book is aimed at beginners and gives comprehensive instructions on crochet stitches, there are no instructions on how to block a crochet piece. Given the nature of several of the projects in the book, cushions, bags, throws, etc., and the fact that the instructions for this project state that the crochet should be blocked, I would have expected some basic instruction at least. Fortunately a quick Internet search provided the necessary information. I get so annoyed when books and patterns for beginners assume a level of knowledge that I don't have!

The Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop organised by Plum and June is really picking up a head of steam now, there have been some great projects already and some great advice for new (and not-so-new!) bloggers. This week's posts will be from 

Tuesday, June 19
    Jennifer from Sewlandia
    Nicole from Mama Love Quilts
Thursday, June 21
    Suzanne from SuzClaas
    Mina from Kindaquilty

Jennifer's Flower Quilt is lovely, Suzanne is hand stitching away like nobody's business and Nicole's EZ Dresden Table Runner is seriously gorgeous, I am really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the Blog Hop! Mina is a fellow challengee (is that a word?) in the In the Bag Ugly Fabric challenge and I am so pleased to read that she is also still looking for inspiration, I am not alone!

Finally,  I will post more photos of our recent trip soon but just to show that patchwork patterns pop up everywhere, this is one of the roofs on the Church of the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, I thought you might like it!

I am almost tempted to join in the Hexy MF QAL going on at I'm a Ginger Monkey!

Linking up to Manic Monday, Sew Modern Monday,


  1. Your little bag looks great. Love it with the variegated yarn. Thanks for posting about the hop.

  2. How do you keep track of all the different blocks you have on the go at the one time? That little bit of anxiety is OK, if it's pushing you forward at the same time. I do some of my best work under pressure. It spurs me on. Too much however, and it becomes stress and then it's not good. Love the little purse. Fancy not including instructions for how to finish off and thank goodness for the Internet. I'm not sure how I used to sew pre-Internet days... LOL!!!

  3. I can't believe how many different projects you have on the go! I wouldn't be able to keep track. Love the little purse!

    Thanks for the peek at St Petersburg - it's on my list of places to visit but working out how to get the visa has always put me off. Looking forward to seeing more photos!

    1. Our trip was visa-free send me your email address and I will explain how!

  4. St Petersburg is great, isn't it? We have friends there and are going as soon as we get the timetables fixed.

  5. I love the bag lining, its such a cute suprise! Well done on the bee blocks, I'm sure that the receiver will be very grateful

  6. I'm doing Hexy MF. Come on, join the fun! It is addictive.

  7. I'm also in the Star of Africa bee. I am still pondering about my block. Do you have any thoughts yet of what you'd like to do?

  8. The variagated yarn has worked a treat for that little pouch it's beautiful and the lining really works well. Love it, I'll borrow the photo again if you don't mind for the next June Monthly Makes round up if you don't mind xx

  9. I like your yellow blocks and the little pouch is too cute!
    Please dont be scared of Star of Africa! I think all of us girls just wanna have fun ;-)

  10. Ooh, busy little bee! That variegated wool was perfect too :o)

  11. Some lovely creative stuff! I buy odd balls of wool too - and I can't knit or crochet! I'm with you on the instructions whinge, it's bad enough in blog instructions, but on a book you've paid for? Grrrrr

  12. Some lovely projects here! Bee's are a bit nerve wracking aren't they, but I bet your blocks will be very appreciated!

  13. I did not know about that Hexy QAL and now I am tempted too :D. Your blocks or so happy and sunshine-y! They are going to make a great quilt!

    You are so right patterns assuming knowledge! I had the same issue trying to figure out how to block a shawl I made. I don't know why they assume they don't need to put that information in beginner's books.The pouch is beautiful and I love how the color of the yarn worked out perfectly!

  14. LOL! Oh, the sewing anxiety. Your yellow blocks turned out super cute :-D

  15. I definitely find swaps really nerve wracking and I've only done one bee block but I was worried about the white...oddly I'm very happy with anything I get sent though! Your purse is gorgeous and that church looks amazing :)

  16. Your purse looks lovely. I was going to suggest blocking it to get the correct shape, but I see you've been down that path!

    That's my favourite church in St Petes!

  17. I'm making the same purse! It looked like the least intimidating project in the book and this is a good thing as I'm a complete beginner at crocheting...please reassure me it isn't too scary? :-)


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