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Bee Wrap-Up

Since it was my month to receive blocks in two of my bees, I only had to make one bee block in November. And with all of my bees taking the month of December off, this is actually my last bee block of 2011.
Krista of Poppyprint asked the Stash Trad bee members to make this pine tree block. She asked us to do our blocks in any bright color, with a stripe used in the large triangle and a black print for the tree trunk. I don’t have a ton of stripes in my stash, but I thought this stripe from the Treasures and Tidbits line would work well.
Ayumi was nice enough to set up a paper-piecing pattern for this block, so that’s what I used to get my points right on. I don’t think my seams would have been this perfect if I had done it any other way!
So that does it for my 2011 bee blocks! This was my first year being in any bees, and as usual for me, I jumped in with both feet. I ended up participating in six different bees this year (though not all at one time!), and made a total of 54 bee blocks this year! Whew, that’s a lot.

1. Mod Mosaic blocks, 2. [Sew] Beautiful January block, 3. String Me Along January Block, 4. Spiderweb block for Elizabeth, 5. Do Good Stitches blocks, 6. Do Good Stitches – Love Circle August, 7. Drunk love block for Emily, 8. Wonky Star block for Rachel, 9. Wonky star block for Rachel, 10. 3×6 block, 11. Do Good Stitches – July block, 12. Do Good Stitches – Around the World block, 13. Cracker Scraps block for Angela, 14. Improv block for Kati, 15. Sew Beautiful – July block, 16. Circle of Geese block for Brooke, 17. Oregon Star 4×5 Bee block, 18. Bento block for Franswimmer, 19. Dutch Pinwheel, 20. Drunk love block for Elizabeth, 21. “Me” block for Angela, 22. Do. Good Stitches strip block, 23. 3×6 bee block – 2nd quarter 2011, 24. HST block for Sharon, 25. Christmas block for Katie, 26. Pine Tree block for Krista, 27. String Blocks for Patchwork Queen, 28. Drunk Love block for Beth, 29. House block for Cara, 30. String Me Along block
Looking forward to more bee blocks in 2012!
Updated to add: If you would like to join a bee, a good place to start is the Quilting Bee Blocks group on Flickr. That group has a list of upcoming bees that are looking for members.
 
However, my favorite bees by far are the ones where somebody (like you!) just decided to start his or her own bee, and invited some favorite bloggers/flickr friends to participate. So if you would like to be in a bee, consider starting one yourself! Make a list of people that you would be interested in exchanging blocks with, and ask them if they would like to participate. You’d be surprised how often they will say yes (especially if you ask people who aren’t already in a lot of bees). “By invitation” bees like this tend to produce higher quality blocks, and the members will be less likely to flake out on you, making for a happier experience all the way around. The Quilting Bee Blocks Flickr group has lots of resources for anyone considering starting their own bee. Look for the “Quilting Bee 101” posts in the Flickr group’s discussion forum.
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Warm and Cool Quilt

My Warm/Cool quilt is complete! And I think it’s destined to be one of my favorites.

I’ve run the numbers on this quilt before, but let’s do it again, because I spent a gazillion freaking hours making these HSTs, so you can listen to me blather on about it one more time. There are 266 HSTs in this quilt and a total of 219 different prints. That’s two hundred and sixty-six and two hundred and nineteen, thankyouverymuch.

I free-motion stippled it—making this my second FMQ attempt ever. So don’t look too closely. : ) The stitch lengths are a little psycho in some places. But overall I’m pleased with my quilting and I think it’s a definite improvement over my first FMQ’d quilt.

Remember how I took all the purple HSTs out, because they just weren’t working for me on the front? Here they are in all their purpliciousness on the back. Kona Cotton solids, mostly from the Gen X Quilters Kona swap, rounded things out.

This quilt was also my first attempt at spray basting. I’ve seen so many blog posts about how wonderful spray basting is that I was starting to believe the quilt just magically basted itself. Sadly, that is not the case. : )

Immediately after basting, I had pretty mixed feelings about this basting method. First of all, I know it’s sprayable glue and all, but OMG, that stuff is sticky. And somehow I managed to get it everywhere—my hands, my feet, my knees, my kitchen floor, and I think possibly the dog. When I discovered the mess on the kitchen floor (which fortunately was easy to clean off), I moved to the basement. But like most basements, mine is dusty and dirty and gross, and all of that dusty dirty grossness ended up stuck to me, thanks to the fact that I was covered in, you know, sprayable glue. I literally had to take a shower when I was done basting! Is this normal, or am I just exceptionally bad at spraying glue on things? I was using June Tailor’s, not the 505 that everybody raves about, so maybe that was the problem? I bought June Tailor’s because it’s the only brand my sub-par Joanne’s carries, but I might try ordering 505 online for next time.

Another issue was that I basted one side, flipped it over, and … giant wrinkle in the batting, right down the middle of the quilt. Much swearing ensued. I basically had to rebaste the thing, but from the other side, which hardly seems ideal.

But I got it basted in the end, and in spite of all my problems, I got it done so much faster than I could have using pins. It really is a huge time-saver. And now that the quilt is completely done, I can say with certainty that I am another spray-basting convert. Hello, there are no pins to remove! That is particularly awesome when doing FMQ. Even more importantly: No puckers. Like, anywhere. Thank you, spray basting. I can tolerate your quirks if you continue to keep up your end of the bargain like that.

So anyway, that’s my Warm/Cool quilt. It’s like 97 degrees here, but this afternoon the girls insisted on using it while watching Team Umizoomi (shark car! shark car!). I guess that’s a pretty good endorsement of this quilt.

Size: 54″ x 74″
Design: Warm/Cool Quilt-Along by Jeni at In Color Order (thank you, Jeni!)
Fabric: Anybody who can name all 219 prints gets a drink on me at the Sewing Summit
Binding: Mini Muu dot by Lecien
Back: Mostly Kona Cotton solids
Quilting: FMQ stippling

Sorry about the bad pictures. It was a bit breezy for quilt photography the last few days—this was the best I could do.