Monday, 25 September 2017

Bee Happy Sprint-Along

"What is life if full of care we have no time to sit and stare?"

Why does the Bee Happy sew-along not feel like a sew-along? 

A sew-along is a great way to make a quilt - sewing a block (or two) a week/month until you have enough for a quilt.  The sisterhood of sewing the same blocks together, sharing and chatting and helping each other out - all part-and-parcel of a sew-along.  

I knew the Bee Happy sew-along was going to be different right from the beginning - the schedule for week one alone required a sunshine block .....

followed by Two Trees block .....

and also a Flower Pot block .....

For week two the schedule required a single butterfly block and a trio-of-butterflies block.....

together with the Blue Flowers block ....

and a Spools Blocks .....

And it didn't let up in week three with the Mason Jars block (a whole days work) .....

together with an additional Bluebird Block (or in my case a Robin Block)......

Week four was the Truck-and-Trailer block together with the Bee Happy wording ...... I have yet to finish this block even though I replaced the wording with a gingham brick road in an effort to save time .....

After just four weeks of the 'official' sew-along you should have completed twenty-two blocks for the first two rows of the quilt!   That is a heck of a lot of sewing.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a beautiful quilt with crystal clear tutorials provided by the ever wonderful Lori Holt.   

But it feels more like a sprint than a sew-along. 

I guess I was spoiled with the Farm Girl Vintage sew-along, the Bloom sew-along (both Lori’s), the Splendid Sampler sew-along and the Farmer’s Wife 1930s sew-along.  

I am hoping this sprint schedule is a one-off and that, in future, a normal, leisurely sew-along service will be resumed!  

Until next time ....................

Monday, 18 September 2017

Speed Typing on the Spelling Bee Typewriter Block


If you are making the 12” Typewriter block from the delightful Spelling Bee sewing book you might enjoy sewing thirty-two 1½” squares together to create the typewriter keys.  

However, if you are making the 6” block it gets real fiddly to stitch thirty-two 1” blocks together.  So how about speed typing with fabric?  Here's how .....

1.  Cut two 9” x 1” strips from two different fabrics (total of four strips).  (You only need 8" lengths but the extra inch allows for trimming.)
Cut a total of four 9" x 1" strips

2.  Stitch the strips together, alternating the fabric.  You will end up with a patch measuring 9” x 2½”.   Press all seams towards the darker fabric.   (Do not worry if your seams aren't completely straight - this construction means there is 'wiggle' room when nesting the seams.)
Make sure to press the seams towards the darker fabric.

3. Once pressed cut eight 1” segments from the patch as shown - each segment should measure 1” x 2½". 
Do not worry if your keys are not even - they will nest perfectly.

4.  Flip half of the segments upside down. 
Flip those keys before stitching together.

5.  Finally, stitch them back together to create a Typewriter Keys patch measuring 4½” x 2½”. Perfect for the 6" Typewriter Block from Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book.
Such an itty bitty keys unit!

Speed typing with fabric - who'd have thought?  

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Direct Dial to the Spelling Bee Blocks

p.s. I just called to say I love you!

Operator:        Hello, Operator here.  What number do you require?

Patchsmith:   Miss Bee please – direct call.
Direct beeline to Lori Holt's Spelling Bee

Operator:        Just one moment – trying to connect you .....

Operator:        I’m sorry but Miss Bee is not picking up.  If you'd like to leave her a message speak after you hear the beep .....

BEEP – BEEP

"Hello Lori, it’s Amanda here.  I just called to say I love you – well your designs actually because Brad Pitt is more my type.  
Nearly there with the Spelling Bee Picture Day Quilt

I’m making your Picture Day Quilt from your Spelling Bee Book and it is such fun.  
Bee Lori's Spelling Bee Book

I've just finished the Telephone Block – I’ll fax you a photo ....... 

Cool eh?  It went together so easily and quickly yet it looks complicated.  You really are a clever designer. 

I have just two more blocks to go and it will be ready for quilting.

I better go – I need to make some more Bee Happy blocks – I’m struggling to keep up with that sew-along but I’ll ring you again later to chat about it.

Until then - toodle-pip."

Sunday, 27 August 2017

How to spell Patchsmith in a Spelling Bee


Even though the sun has come out I still found time to make another five Spelling Bee Blocks.

Lori Holt's Spelling Bee Book

The House block is a really easy block – great for new house builders.
Spelling Bee House Block

The Jar block I would class as intermediate for two reasons.  One the heart is small and you need to match up the jar top with the lid – can be a little tricky.  But the main reason is that the photo of the block in the book does not match the directions.  You need to follow the cutting measurements given and the directions – not the photo.
I didn't patch the heart for the Spelling Bee Jar Block - it's simpler this way!

Next was the Sailboat block which I have named HMS Miss Bee. It reminds me very much of a sailboat block I created last year for my Block-a-Day - I named that one HMS Patchsmith (of course!).  
Spelling Bee Sailboat Block

And then I decided to make my ‘letter’ blocks – a capital ‘P’ .....
A gingham heart for The Patchsmith

And a lowercase ‘s’ .....
And a gingham daisy to follow!

Needless to say I added a little Patchsmithian touch of gingham– just to make the quilt uniquely mine.

I still have three more blocks to make but they are going to have to wait for another day.   But pop back in the week when I will be sharing some Bee Happy blocks and tips .....

Friday, 18 August 2017

Craftsy Maker's Black Friday - pick up a bargain for the Bee Happy Sew-Along

Craftsy are having a special sale this weekend and I've found some great bargains for the Bee Happy sew-along (just click on the photos to find out more).

First up is this Aurifil thread selection – the colours are perfect for the Bee Happy sew-along.
Perfect Bee Happy colours

It goes without saying that we will be making good use of Lori's embroidery threads .....
Now we can all embroidery just like Lori Holt!

Then there is Kona fabric by the yard - perfect not just for the Bee Happy sew-along but great for your stash - you'll be using this all the time.  (Kona Snow is my FAVOURITE background white - it is the only one I ever use).
Stock up on Kona Snow and it will see you through the Bee Happy and Spelling Bee sew-alongs

And this Aurifil thread collection has the perfect machine piecing colours - but you'd better be quick - it is half price!
Perfect neutral colours for machine stitching

And what about these Karen Buckley scissors?  I have the 7.5” scissors in dark blue.  They have serrated edges which means they never blunt.
Every size you'll ever need.  Ideal for cutting your Bee Happy applique.

But don’t stop there ..... there is batting and fabric, kits and more fabric, classes and even more fabric.  Check out all the special offers HERE.

But hurry – these offers end this Sunday evening (20 August at 11.59 pm MST)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Quick Fuse Bee Happy Swarm of Bees

This bee is very happy!
If you are using the quick fuse (fusible webbing) method for the Bee Happy sew-along here is a fast way to make the five bees.

From yellow/orange fabric cut:      
Two 1½” x 12” strips and one 1” x 12” strip
From black fabric cut:       
Two ¾” x 12” strips
(I would recommend starching your fabrics before cutting as it will help when stitching the strips together.)

Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch the strips together along the 12” length as shown.  Press the seams open or towards the yellow.  
The 1" yellow strip is in the middle.
Your bee patch should measure 3½” x 12”.  Do not worry that the strips are not straight - they will distort a little with pressing but your bees will still look good on the finished quilt. (If you want to be really accurate then I suggest you make each bee individually - see the bottom of this post.)
The strips will distort slightly when pressed.
Don't worry - the bees will still bee happy!

Cut a piece of fusible webbing 3” x 11”.  On the paper side of the fusible webbing mark a line down the middle of the paper.  Trace five bees onto the paper using Bee Happy Shape D16 - lining up the center marks on the D16 shape with the marked line down the middle of the paper. 
Line up the Bee Happy shapes with the center line

Iron the fusible webbing tracing onto the WRONG side of your bee patch, lining up the marked line on the tracing with the center of the patch.
Center the tracing onto the BACK of the bee patch

Cut out your bees and welcome them to the Bee Happy hive.
A swarm of fusible bees waiting to earn their wings!

If you want to cut your bees from five different fabrics you can make each bee individually. In this case you will need to cut two 1½” x 2½“ strips and one 1” x 2½” strip from yellow/orange fabric and from black fabric cut two ¾” x 2½” strips.  
Single Bee patch measures 3½" x 2½”. 

Stitch the strips together along the 2½” length.
Center the tracing using the markings on the  Bee Happy shape

Line up the center markings on the D16 tracing with the center of the patch and hey presto - a new bee is born.

Until next time ......................             

Saturday, 12 August 2017

More Spelling Bee Picture Blocks

Spelling Bee Dog Block

I have completed another four more Spelling Bee blocks this week - the cutest of which is the puppy dog block – I say puppy because this is the smaller 6” block (the book also includes a larger 12" block). 

The Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

Then came the flower block – another quick and easy block and a touch of Patchsmith gingham.
Spelling Bee Flower Block

Next was the globe bock which has three options – a one-piece globe, a patchwork globe and this heart globe. 
Spelling Bee Globe Block

This block requires you to trace the arc from the book onto the fabric – which is quite hard to do unless you have a light box or you tear the page from the book and tape it up to the window.  Instead I went over the arc with my thick black sharpie which made it show through the background fabric well enough for me to trace over it.
Making the template darker so that it shows through!

And the last block I made this week was the patchwork heart.  A very easy block
Spelling Bee Heart Block
.
I have decided to start sashing the blocks.  With careful cutting I was able to cut all the coloured sashing strips from one fat quarter (I folded the fat quarter into thirds and cut seventeen 1" wide strips to give me 51 sashing strips - two more than needed.  Be warned though - there is no room for error!)
All 49 check sashing strips were cut from one fat quarer.
I shall add scrappy posts to the sashing but more about that next time .....