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Bee Blocks and Project Selvage


First of all, unfortunately, my little print didn’t make the 75 semi-finalists for Project Selvage. Disappointing, of course, but that’s life—I’m glad I gave it a shot! And I can’t thank you guys enough for all the wonderful, incredibly supportive comments about my print. To know that so many of you are in my corner is a reward in and of itself. : ) Made my day!

As for the prints that were chosen, from an illustrative/design standpoint, I think every one of them is beautifully done (click here to view them and vote). There are obviously some very talented people in this group. But (and hopefully this doesn’t sound like sour grapes), I have to say that I am disappointed in the subject matter and tone of many of these prints. Sorry, but to put it plainly, I think most of these designs are kinda boring. Sure, they’re pretty, but in my opinion, most them look very much like fabric that’s already available from the major manufacturers. And if that’s the case, what was the point of even holding the contest? By my count, there are 9 semi-finalist prints with owls in them. NINE. This means that fully 12% of the semi-finalists were under the impression that the world needs yet another owl fabric. Really, Spoonflower?

Okay, I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent. : ) There is at least one print in there that I love: “Windy Day” by Patty Sloniger. It’s from a work-in-progress collection called “Backyard Baby.” Check it out the other coordinating prints she has on Spoonflower, they are totally covet-able! I know absolutely nothing about the designer, but I would buy that collection in a heartbeat. And for those of you who are wondering: Yes, I am still planning to come up with some coordinating prints for my boot fabric, and yes, “Boots” and any future coordinates will be available for sale on Spoonflower at some point. I’ll keep you all posted!

Anyway, moving on! Let’s look at some March bee blocks, shall we?

First up, Do. Good Stitches. Ara Jane asked for these “Bits and Blocks” blocks. I think everyone in the Love circle is pretty curious about how exactly Ara Jane is going to lay these out. But aren’t they great? And so quick and easy to make. Here is Ara Jane’s tutorial if you’d like to whip up some of these yourself.

Elizabeth requested spiderweb blocks for her month in {Sew} Beautiful, and she sent this fun Good Folks fabric by Anna Maria Horner. Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? All those skinny little strips in such bright, gorgeous colors! I can’t wait to see this one come together! And Elizabeth is now in the process of making 18 more of these, so it’s going to be a biggie!

Beth wanted a slightly wonky drunk love block for her month in the String Me Along Bee. Well, you’re in luck, Beth, because “slightly wonky” is one of my specialties. : ) This was my second drunk love block in Anna Maria Horner fabrics in as many months, and I have to say, something about her prints really lend themselves well to this style of block. Love it!

Last but not least, I participated in the first quarter of the 3×6 Mini Bee. In case you’re not familiar with it, this is a quarterly bee in which you make blocks for your “hive” of six other people from your own scraps, so no fabric mailing is required.

These are the blocks I made. I used the “Lil’ Twister” ruler, which Quilt Story blogged about here. I adore this ruler! But instead of following the Lil’ Twister’s usual directions of cutting and turning, I mixed up the cut pieces so that the colors stayed together, and they alternated with the white background.

And here are the blocks I received from my hive. I requested green, aqua, and gray blocks. I’m still waiting on one more, which will hopefully show up soon. Thank you, ladies, I love them all! I’m signed up for the next quarter and I’m keeping the same colors, so I’m looking forward to having a nice big sampler quilt eventually.

39 replies
  1. Becky
    Becky says:

    I looked for your print and was bummed not to see it. I though the same thing as you. There were a few I really liked. I also really liked windy day, but it totally reminded me of sherbet pips!

    LOVE your 3×6 blocks. I have that ruler, need to break it out.

  2. Elizabeth D.
    Elizabeth D. says:

    Oooh, Windy Day is lovely…but your boots were far cuter 🙂 I love your 3×6 blocks – makes me want to dig out the Lil Twister in my drawer somewhere and try it out at long last!

  3. Johanna
    Johanna says:

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who thinks like that! I was a bit annoyed that there were so many prints that looked like a variation on the "cars and trucks together", "cute owls" and "dinosaurs" theme that has been going on for what feels like years. I was happy to discover that windy day, the nautical print by mufinc and the take a ride! print made it, though.
    Will you make your design available for purchase? I love the details, it reminds me a bit of the great details that Heather Ross puts into some of her prints 🙂

  4. Tiffaney
    Tiffaney says:

    I only found a few of the prints that I could see myself purchasing. Most of them where just way to crowded. Many of them also made me think more of wrapping paper then fabric.

    I am sad that your cute little rain boots didn't make it. I just love the little frog.

  5. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Your boots print was lovely. I can't imagine any reason why your print wouldn't have made it other than it was too gender neutral compared to the other fabric choosen.

    Can't stand the owl prints in the selection and was loving windy day, too.

  6. AnneMarie
    AnneMarie says:

    So glad you'll still be putting Boots and some companions up on Spoonflower! I think you've got just a few fans here reading Freshly Pieced. AGreed on the owls. But I was surprised you mentioned Windy Day of all of them, because like Becky, I thought it a boy copy of Sherbet Pips. Can't wait to see your other designs!

  7. two hippos
    two hippos says:

    I'm sorry your print didn't make it, and I agree with your assessment of the finalists. Many are way too busy, and I would never even think about buying them. I also prefer prints that work well as kids prints but aren't exclusively for a kid — I think using them lets a "baby" quilt grow with the kid and lets me have more versatility in my fabric selection. I love those 3×6 blocks; I'm very tempted to buy hte template.

  8. diplofam
    diplofam says:

    Lee, I saw the e-mail yesterday from Spoonflower and raced over there to see if you had made the finals….I would be disappointed too–BUT I think you gained something–you know how to design your own really cool fabric. I still have no idea how to do that-maybe you can teach me although I really don't have time for yet another project 🙂
    Anyway, I completely agree with what you said about the selection of prints–actually I commented on 'Sew Mama Sew's' Facebook page yesterday morning. I said this "I agree-lots of great designs but I can see that they are looking for a certain 'type' of design"
    As someone who makes dozens and dozens of boy-themed quilts every year I haven't had too many people request an owl-themed quilt:)(although I do think owl-themed quilts are cute) Anyway, my point is I agree 🙂

  9. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Hi Lee! I have to say, I am very surprised that your print wasn't among the finalists– it was by far my favorite (and I'm not just saying that because I read your blog– it was really adorable!!). I also voted for my faves before I clicked on the links in your post, and the windy day was one of the ones I liked best, too. Also, your bee blocks look great! I am excited to see how Ara Jane lays out the blocks for the Do. Good Stitches quilt!

  10. Amy
    Amy says:

    I am sorry to hear about the fabric contest.I wish I could find skateboard fabric fit for a 17 yr old.. I told him he should try to design something and try too. I love your blocks.this Bee sounds like my cup of tea.can anyone join?

  11. Linda
    Linda says:

    I'm sorry you aren't a Spoonflower semi-finalist. I'd already noted the prevalence of owl designs (which I personally don't like), and also "snips and snails." Don't you think the manufacturers were looking for publicity, and designs that fit their "marketing trends" assessments?

    How nice of you to post pictures of your bee projects. I am in the "One Block Over" bee, and need an idea for my month, September, so these are all inspirational ideas. Thanks!

  12. Milica
    Milica says:

    I adore your little print and I'd love love love to see a whole line based on it!
    I don't think your comment on the chosen fabrics is sour grapes, I didn't enter and feel the same way!
    There are a few lovely designs, but I was really disappointed in the choices. I was looking forward to some creative new ideas, but they gave us same old-same old. (Owls again, yawn!)
    Many so closely resemble available or previewed lines I was shocked they were chosen!
    I really wondered if they didn't stack it to ensure their already chosen favorites win!

  13. angela
    angela says:

    I thought exactly the same thing about the prints – SO MANY OWLS! And a good number of trucks/bikes etc. I did like one with graphic foxes though. Like most businesses, a fear of going away from the known seems to be their thing.I was excited to see some new stuff. And I am SO OVER the owls.

  14. Karen
    Karen says:

    Two things:
    1. I looked at the semifinalists and I thought, "eh!" Nothing stood out as a must have. I liked Windy Day but it looked a bit like a Sherbet Pips knock-off.
    2. I have a Lil Twister and I love your blocks. I have used it yet, so I am using that as an excuse on why I don't understand your description of colours and white blocks alternating. How did you set up your grid?

  15. Bree
    Bree says:

    I'm SO glad I'm not the only one who was bothered by all the owl prints. So many of them were practically exactly like one I have at home & others I've seen around. Disappointing for sure.

    When someone sent me the link yesterday to see the finalists, I was really bummed when I didn't see yours in there. It was adorable, and something completely different from anything I've seen before. Far superior to all the owls!

  16. Scrap,Quilt, Preach
    Scrap,Quilt, Preach says:

    Sad to hear that your fabric was passed over. I thought it was unique and different from what is out there. And I agree with the points you made. Too many owls, some of the colors are murky and there is too much repeat of what folks are doing or have designed already. But keep plugging along on your designs, you never know when the potential will be seen by someone and take off on its own!

  17. Tanya
    Tanya says:

    I love your boot print because it was a fresh idea. I was surprised to see so many prints that already resemble current Michael Miller fabric lines. I saw a few I liked…I voted for 4, but as I was looking through them, I couldn't help but think "That looks like an existing line" and I don't know very many lines of fabric!

  18. Marci Girl
    Marci Girl says:

    I totally agree with you about Spoonflower – I found that quite a few still didn't really fit the "baby boy" category…and yes, A LOT are repeats of what is already in existence. I voted, and found 5 that I thought were really creative, fit the category, and were something truly unique and new. I also thought to many of them were to visually busy. I loved the simplicity of yours and wished it had made it on to this round! P.S. I showed yours to my husband and he really liked it! This says a lot coming from a man!

  19. Carla
    Carla says:

    Yep! You nailed it……so many "look a likes" that don't stand out as something different. Your boots are pretty cute, so keep going!!

  20. Meredith {My Magic Mom}
    Meredith {My Magic Mom} says:

    I was also noticing all the designs with owls. Birds too. I counted over 30 prints in the semi finals with some sort of bird. Makes me think of the Portlandia "Put a Bird on It" skit. I also entered a design for the contest, but was not chosen for the semifinals. After seeing what was chosen, I guess I didn't fit the mold. I think your boots are cute!

  21. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    I agree with you!! there is plently of dino, transportation..even airplanes looks like any other fabric I seen..and owls (one even look almost simlar to Ann Kelle) I entered to< ws not great but I can said I did it and I am fine but I was like you disapponted in what they chose.. (love your print)

  22. QuiltyGirl
    QuiltyGirl says:

    I was so sad to see that your entry didn't make it. 🙁 And I agree, I was a bit disappointed in some of them. I also felt that several of them were just a twist on current lines, rather than something unique. I love your rainboots, and I will totally buy some! 🙂
    I also loved the story behind the print, and I had to google to see which school you were talking about. My Milwaukee friend sends her little boy to the Waldorf school (the one in the city), so I wasn't sure if that was what you were referring to at first. 🙂
    Either way you did a fabulous job. Be proud. 🙂

  23. Live a Colorful Life
    Live a Colorful Life says:

    I cannot believe your fabric didn't make it! I will buy it for sure when it comes out. Your bee blocks are cool. I'm doing the same thing on 3×6, a whole year of grey/orange/white. It's a fun exchange group!

  24. Susanne
    Susanne says:

    I'm so shocked!! I think I counted four prints with owls. Seriously…the fabric world does NOT need any more owl prints.

    I still vote for yours!!!! : )

  25. Rachel Hauser
    Rachel Hauser says:

    Agreed. I just voted and feel that your wellies should have been there. Maybe they just know that "people" will buy airplanes and owls, regardless of the uniqueness. But, certainly more variety would have been nice.

  26. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Hi! I so agree with you about being disappointed in the subject of the chosen 75 semifinalists… I was hoping for more unique motifs, or at least a more unique take on what's already available. Cars/trucks, zoo animals, owls, seems like that's all there is for boys already. (Full disclosure: my design didn't make the semifinals, either: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric_items/new?design_id=529905!) I noticed your design in perusing the entries last week and remembered it — I thought it was pretty awesome!

  27. julia
    julia says:

    ummmm….yes! that was exactly what i thought when going through the semi-finalist's entry. i thought, too, the goal was to come up with something new and not only the same old theme, slightly varied. i'm sad that your boots weren't chosen…they're sooo cute…and not refined on the 'boy' theme…or, rather reflecting the non-stereotype boy…

  28. Denise
    Denise says:

    I agree with you that there were a lot of owls…really a lot of owls. I was surprised. Your boot fabric was absolutely darling, so it is a bummer not to see it,

  29. craftytammie
    craftytammie says:

    i already voted and thought the same thing about nothing too original being there. sadly, i hadn't seen your boot print before and i love it! i would have voted for it 🙂

  30. Mona
    Mona says:

    I just want to say hi and that I agree completely with your assessment of the overall final designs. Lovely but largely boring. There are many I love (Windy Day is one of them!) but ultimately I am disappointed (especially as my design was not chosen either – but life goes on!). 🙂 Your design was really sweet and fresh – I am so sorry it was overlooked! (I'm lulakiti on SF)

  31. tammikins
    tammikins says:

    I agree with all you've said and I was very bummed that my design didn't make it in either. I'm sick to death of owls. I was really hoping and expecting that they were looking for something far more original that doesn't appear in the marketplace already and I'm even more disheartened as Michael Miller and Spoonflower didn't even follow the rules they set up with designs that don't seamlessly repeat. There are at least a handful of designers who were left out unfairly who had brilliant designs and actually followed the rules.


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