Friday 11 January 2013

Being a busy Bee

Although I am only in 2 Bees, there has been a bit of a backlog in the block making thanks to all the festive sewing. So, this week the mission has been to crack the outstanding Bee blocks. That is easier said than done for the Star of Africa Bee blocks, as they require a big input of imagination, which has been in short supply around here recently.

For November Janine asked for a butterfly block and was even good enough to provide us with templates for the block. So, in theory, it should have been fairly simple to put together. The imagination part came in though with the "local" flavour needed for the butterfly wings. Flag stripes were suggested, but as I am not the only Scot in the Bee that was a non-starter, and as I am no longer living in Latvia I couldn't cheat and use their colours instead. I am, though the only Bee member living in the North of England so that is where I started my search for local flavour.

For December, Sana asked Bee members to make a block that says "home" to them. Well, although I have not lived in Scotland for many years I would still talk about going home when I am going there. On our many trips North of the Border taking our youngest son back to University in Edinburgh the "Welcome to Scotland" sign at the border always makes me feel a little bit emotional, so that was a thought for the block. The sound of bagpipes has the same effect but I dismissed a bagpipe block fairly quickly! In the end I decided that home was where our sons grew up and where they would definitely call home - the North East of England.

So the blocks I ended up with represent North and South of the River Tyne.

Star of Africa Bee block for Janine
Magpie Butterfly block for Rainbow Hare
In Newcastle upon Tyne (North of the River) the only colour to be is Black and White! The local football team are known as the Magpies and the support is fervent. The stadium is next to the Town Centre and on match days the town is a sea of black and white before and after the game. Recently the team's performance has been less than stellar, but the support is still as fanatical.

Janine asked us to include our name, date and other details on the body of the butterfly so to reflect all of the different aspects I brought to this Bee the block has a phrase in Scottish Gaelic, Latvian and Geordie!

Several years ago the very imaginative Gateshead Council (South of the Tyne) commissioned an art installation by the renowned sculptor Anthony Gormley which was to become the Angel of the North.

Public opinion was very definitely divided when the sculpture was first erected, but I have to admit that I have loved it from the outset. It is positioned right next to the A1, the main road South, so is easily visible. Our most recent trips home from Latvia generally involved a flight from Riga to Stansted Airport then a car trip up the A1 to home. When the Angel came into view I knew I was nearly home :)

Angel of the North block
Angel of the North block for Sana

So this is my version of the Angel of the North for Sana. The metalwork is made by sandwiching a pleat of dark brown between strips of rust cotton. I thought I had worked out all the angles but patently not! Still, I think it is recognisable as the Angel so I hope it adds a bit of North East flavour to Sana's quilt.

I have also been stitching up some little pouches as an antidote to all the brain power required for the Bee blocks.

Linen and scrap pouches

Sometimes quick and simple is just what I need :) How about you?

Before ending this post I must thank everyone who voted for my Celtic Applique scarf in Rikka's Ring your Neck challenge, I was awarded bragging rights for joint 2nd with Linda from Desert Designs. A well deserved first place went to Marisa's amazing water-soluble fabric scarf. Rikka's next challenge is Curved Seams if you are looking for something new to try this month! Check out the details here

Have a great weekend.


  1. Love your blocks! I lived in Durham for several years around the period that the Angel was erected, like you I loved it from the start.

  2. Oh your bee blocks look great! Love that they reflect something of you and where you're from!

  3. Love your magpie block! I'm neutral on the angel. It is ok however I'm impressed you managed to capture it so well in your block!

  4. I love your Angel block - I totally know what you mean about coming up the A1 and being nearly home when you see it - you come over the hill and see Gateshead/Newcastle in front of you (and normally traffic jams on the Western By Pass)! We live in Blyth, just north of Newcastle!

  5. The magpie blocks is lovely and I love how you captured the Angel of the North in your block. I just posted my bee blocks the other day and I am now waiting for the next quarter to start, I love being part of a bee, it gives me an excuse to sew something when I just want a little something to do. I have so many quilts that I want to quilt this year that I don't know which one to start first so haven't started any!

  6. Fantastic blocks Fiona! Janine and Sana will absolutely love them! Congrats on the second place for your scarf!

  7. Great ideas for both blocks! It's funny the 'nearly there' signs you have - heading home it's the sign at Gretna on the M74, and heading down to mum and dad's it's Tebay services!

  8. Love the Angel. I definitely think it looks like the sculpture. Sana is a lucky girl to get it :)

  9. The magpies are great, but I LOVE the angel of the north, instantly recognisable. Are all the 'stripes' added fabric? That must have taken forever!

  10. Your angel of the north is fantastic - you've really captured the spirit. I still haven't thought what to do for Sana. But I love my butterfly with its magpies and writing best of all :)

  11. Wow, your blocks are stunning! I love the angel of the north one, just fabulous.

  12. I love your blocks, especially the Angel. I have lived in and around Newcastle for the past 15 years and love the North East so much. Lovely people, beautiful countryside. The Angel of the North is just fab, I love seeing it on my journeys along the A1.

    1. Thanks Sara, it is definitely a great marker to have it's always visible no matter what the weather does!

  13. Hey Fiona, I just found your post here and on flickr. Thanks soooo much! I think you really nailed it! I'll let you know when it landed safely!


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