Thursday, 7 August 2014

Confessions of a (bad) Bee

One of the joys of blogging for me is to connect with like-minded individuals around the world and having the opportunity to take part in online Bees is an added bonus. The first Bee that I signed up for, in my early days of blogging, was the Star of Africa Bee set up by May. The Bee was inspired by a board game and included quilters from all the corners of the globe. At the time the Bee was set up I was living in Latvia so was very glad of the chance to spend time with other quilters even if it was only virtual.

The blocks requested by my fellow Bee members were always challenging as I strived to represent themes such as home for Sana or a postcard for Leanne so as the Bee went on the timescales definitely slipped. Eventually though I had only one block left to make to complete my Bee commitment. Irene in Guatemala asked for a block on the theme of music, and this is what I finally came up with for her.

SoA Bee block for Irene

When I was very young (a very long time ago!) one of my great-uncles played the accordion and no family gathering was complete without at least one or two tunes from the old squeezebox. so that is what I ultimately decided to depict in my block.

As for the confession of the title, well I am thoroughly ashamed to admit that this block is one year, that's right one year late! My guilt is assuaged a little by the fact that I am still waiting for several blocks from the Bee and it was my turn to receive them nearly 18 months ago! Most of that time I have to say was taken up with actually trying to decide what to make for the theme, the actual making itself once I had decided upon the accordion didn't take that long.

So, I am wondering what is the longest time period that you have waited to receive or send a Bee block? I am hoping that I am not the only one who is this tardy, but perhaps I am. When do you decide to cut your losses and give up on receiving a block or swap? In my first ever swap I never received the swap despite being promised not once but twice that a swap angel would be stepping in to replace my negligent swap partner. It certainly made me more wary of swaps ever since.

I cannot claim to be entirely innocent of negligence though. I totally misread the instructions for the Siblings Together Quilt Bee ,that I joined this summer, and discovered too late that I was supposed to be making 4 blocks for Jo in June to kick off the new Bee year. As Jo wanted to take the finished quilt top to the Fat Quarterly Retreat in July and I was in France without access to the block instructions (or any suitable fabric!) the quilt top was completed thanks to extra blocks from Jo without any input from me.

Thankfully, not all of my Bee activity has been so shameful this last month.  I have completed my first ever granny square block for Hannah in the Fat Stash Brit Bee,

Fat Stash Brit Bee block July

As well as this Liberty Cat block to add to her quilt for her cat-loving friend.

Liberty Cats

Then in a burst of Bee activity I finished Ashleigh's blocks for August in the same Bee.

Fat Stash Brit Bee block August

Ashleigh sent us the panel in the centre of the block and some matching fabric and asked us to make up blocks from them. So I added a border of 2.5" squares around the panel, mixing in fabrics from my stash.

FSB August block 2

Then as I had managed to get a bit carried away with cutting the 2.5" squares I was able to make a second block to pop in the post with the first.

Although I mucked up entirely the first month of the Siblings Together Quilt Bee in June, I have managed to redeem myself a bit by completing the Snowball blocks for July in time for Jane

Siblings Together Bee block July

STQB block August

And the log cabin block for Sue for August, so fingers crossed that I will manage to keep to the timetable from here on in!

Now I feel a lot better for getting those confessions off of my chest :)


  1. Arranging swaps is a huge job for the person running them! I did several fabric square swaps years ago and I remember how much time was involved :D I don't do swaps anymore, though - I don't need the stress of another deadline, postage rates are out of this world (thanks a LOT, Canada Post, ya pirates!), and sometimes swaps don't go smoothly - someone loses out while someone else benefits. When I did participate I learned to only participate in centralized swaps, where everyone sends their item to the swap mom, who mails them all out. That kind usually worked out well :)

    All of your blocks are beautiful, but OH MY that accordion block is something - I love how you stitched the (bellows? the middle part?) - what a great idea, and so very effective!

  2. Oh hell, I'm still waiting 2 years down the line for 6 individuals' blocks that I know will never arrive! Your accordion is looking grand though :o)

  3. To be honest, I have never joined a bee or swap out of a bit of fear that I would not be able to get the work done in time or in a manner desirable to someone else! Kudos to you for sticking with it and completing the work. The accordion block is stunning. :)

  4. i think your accordian block was worth the wait!!! you have been busy making so many blocks!!! i have only been doing bees for just over a year and don't have any tardy stories to tell :)

  5. I like to stitch at my own pace and have not taken part in a bee, but they are a great idea. I also can't imagine anyone minding the wait for a block as gorgeous as your accordion!

  6. The accordion block is beautiful! I like all the little details and embellishments. I think it is definitely worth the wait! I have never joined a bee, because I am a procrastinator and I am not sure I could stick to the deadlines! I did one of those "Pay it Forward" giveaways where you have a year to make a something for the winner and I took the ENTIRE year to mail the prize out. The winners had completely forgotten about it, but I still felt so bad!

  7. Online bees sound interesting :) I like the accordion one.

  8. I'm sure your accordion block was well worth the wait, Fiona... very clever how you've made it!!! You're making up for lost time with all the other great blocks. Love the 'I'm in charge' one.

  9. The accordion block is beautiful and I'm sure you're nowhere near the tardiest person when it comes to swaps!! Anyway - is t'll worth waiting for!

  10. Your accordion block looks great. I am trying to catch up on my first bee and feel very guilty about it... I will try to find a way to make up for being late. Sometimes we would like to make sew many things but there just aren't enough hours in a day!

  11. that is such a great accordion block Fiona - you are so creative. No bees for me because the postage costs would just become too expensive, but I love looking at what everyone else is making :-)

  12. Your accordion block is awesome! (as are your other bee blocks:) I have had good luck with swaps in general and bees. I was in one bee (for charity) where the blocks were from our stash and very time intensive and the quilter for that round never made the quilt and never returned the blocks to us or someone that offered to make the quilt. She even posted a picture of the blocks up on her design wall :( Very sad. Postage has risen so much. I have cut way back on participation and will be blogging about my own projects again much more.

  13. I try not to over commit myself, and have never joined a bee as I couldn't deal with the stress of trying to get everything done or the guilt of not getting it done :) At least the block you made looks good and got there eventually. All these blocks look great.

  14. Oh wow, you've been busy ! I think you could email the missing Africa blocks. ( you know what I mean) and ask if they will be sent or should you proceed without them, sone may be embarrassed into getting them done, and anyone who gets the hump isn't worth paying attention to!

  15. what a lovely variety of blocks you have made, the cat one is so appealing. Small world reading your previous comment, I have the pleasure of meeting Benta last week at the FOQ. So far I have kept away from a bee apart from a charity one which does not involve me receiving just making a block

  16. loving your work. The accordion block is inspired. I am so behind on my bee blocks that I think a blitz is required. I may need to take a day's leave to catch up!

  17. I'm not sure how late my SOA bee blocks ended up being, but that was by FAR the latest ones I've ever sent out. I am not completely sure why that bee in particular was so out of control. Certainly, the design aspect needed a little more time than just a month to figure out. And, perhaps if we weren't all so relaxed about completing each other's blocks. (I felt like once one person confessed to being late, it was as if everyone - myself included - got on that wagon.) Even if we had 2 months to design and make the blocks, I wonder if we could have gotten them done. Who knows?

    I have been in a couple of other bees where I never received my blocks, so I guess late is better than never. Even in those bees, my experience has still been a good one.


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