I often get asked about online bees. And I get told stories about them as well. I am currently in three quilting bees. When I first joined a bee I didn't really know what it was, or what would be expected from me. In a rare moment of bravery I just put my name down before I stopped and thought about it. Before I thought I wasn't good enough, didn't know enough, wasn't nice enough. For my bravery I was rewarded because that bee was Brit Bee.
Brit Bee is amazing. I not only learned a whole lot about quilting but I got eleven of the best online friends you could imagine. Supportive, funny, sarcastic friends - who are all now real life friends as well. I also learned that I was lucky, very, very lucky. Because I have heard the horror stories about people who are in bees where they send out their fabric and never get it back. Or receive blocks so poorly done that they have to resew them, or abandon them. On the other hand, you could get asked to make blocks like this.
When you join a bee you are doing so on a matter of trust. You are trusting that the other people in your group will honour their commitment, or else inform the mama and pass the mantle to someone else to takeover from them. If you can summon the trust then you just might meet amazing people like I did. You could make new friends, try sewing techniques you might never do otherwise, fall in love with fabrics that you would never have looked at twice before. Do I think it is worth the risk? Yes, I most certainly do.
Which brings us to my blocks for Miss July in Brit Bee Round 2 - Fiona. This whole matter of trust got taken a step further this month. Because Fiona trusted us with some of her most precious fabric. Fiona delved into fabrics that weren't just some of her favourites but that had memories woven into them. Her granny's natural linen table cloth. Her great great aunt's handmade lace. An old handkerchief here and vintage sheets there.
Fiona combined these precious fabrics with other low volume fabrics from her stash. Low volume indicates quiet fabrics. Then she contrasted it with pieces of high volume Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy. And she asked for a small six(ish) inch high volume traditional block surrounded by the low volume fabrics.
I absolutely loved this challenge! The different textures and weights of the low volume fabrics contrasted so nicely with the FMF. The making of these blocks was a joy from beginning to end. I just hope Fiona likes the finished results as much as I do.
My first block I used a pattern from the Farmer's Wife book. At least I think I did, because I couldn't find the book so I used one of the blocks I had made already as a guide. Only I realised that I had messed up the block and two of the HSTs shaped to look like flying geese were facing one way and two the other. I flipped a mental coin and went with this layout.
My second block was more work, but for some reason I found it endless fun. It just could be that my mojo has returned properly now because there are 82 pieces in this finished 12" block but at no point did I get frustrated. Very out of character! I supplemented Fiona's FMF with some DS of my own to give enough variety in the postage stamps. They are finished at 1" each.
From this long and rambling post you may get the idea that I am encouraging you to join a bee, form a bee, be in a bee - and you would be correct.