Saturday, 8 December 2012

Bear Paws - the December block

First things first - a big apology for the lateness of this month's bee. This apology is coming to you straight from the jaws of sinus hell, my 5 year-old and I have been having a 'who can sound the most like Darth Vader' competition all week and it's rather slowed things down.

Given that it's so miserable and cold at the moment I've started thinking about next summer already. We are going to have our very first family camping trip, and I'd really like to have a camp-fire quilt to take with us. my grandmother Norah, used to make us camping blankets when I was little and I'd like to keep the tradition going.

I've gone for Bear Paws for my block, because I love the simplicity Bear Paw quilts. I've chosen Kona Charcoal for the background and a selection of flame coloured batiks for the paws. Batiks are a big step out of my comfort zone for me, but nothing else quite had that flame-like quality.

I've used this pattern from to give a 14" finished block. I will say that although the pattern is pretty easy to follow I would go easy on the seam allowances. I found my HSTs unaccountably smaller than the patterns until I decided to give a fairly scant 1/4" seam.

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season, please don't feel obliged to get these blocks back to me quickly. Everyone is so busy at this time of year and I won't be stitching it up until the spring.

A very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013 to all of you!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

November block - Cheyenne block pattern

Sorry I half did the instructions and the fabric on Thursday night, the went away for a couple of days for my birthday. I've finished it all today though - Using lots of different fabrics took a while to sort!

I've finished it - here is the block you'll be making in November:

It's traditional name is Cheyenne block pattern and it can be attributed to the Kansas City Star in 1933. I wanted a striking but simple block where the fabrics could be scrappy. I like order in what I do so I thought I'd give you the same design, but then to add the interest give you lots of different fabrics so you can each create a different effect. It's also appropriate as the base fabrics are 1930s reproduction fabrics.

You will get in the post:

A piece of Kona Solid in Dark Violet for the background (I ordered navy for the background and the violet for my stash from Simply Solids but when they came I thought the violet looked better).

15 different pieces of fabrics, approximately 4-5 inches square.

I'd then like to follow Anna's idea and ask you to put in a square of something from your stash. If you have any 1930 reproduction fabrics then perfect but I've also added gingham and dots with a small pattern, or tiny stripes would work - I think delicate is the key!

Here are the fabrics I've used:

 A selection of 1930s reproduction fabrics, a few I have picked up as fat quarters (on the left) and a 1930s fabric bundle from Tikki London which I discovered when searching for solids for another project a while back.

 Then there are a couple of Flea Market Fancy and a few other bits and bobs from my stash that I felt tied in nicely with the other fabrics.
 Finally here are some half yards I bought in the recent moving sale at Pink Castle Fabrics. The top five are from The Simple Life range by Riley Blake and the bottom two are Sweet on NY Mini Dot by Timeless Treasures. When I started pulling the fabrics together I discovered I needed more both to complete the block and to get the scrappy variety I wanted.

So here is what to do:


Cut the plain piece of violet fabric into 8 squares, each 4.25 inch.

Take the 15 pieces of fabrics I've sent and the one that you're adding and cut:

*IMPORTANT* a few of the pieces are smaller than 4.25 inch, but bigger than 3.5 inch, on at least one side so please measure them all and work out which ones you have to use for the smaller squares before cutting any fabric. 

8 x 3.5 inch squares - these will stay as squares in the final block

8 x 4.25 inch squares - these will become the half square triangles in the final block

Take one of the violet squares and one of the patterned 4.25 inch squares and lay right sides together. Draw a line diagonally with a pencil/fabric pen and then sew seams 0.25 inch either side of this as shown on the violet square above. Then cut along your pencil/pen line.

Repeat with the other 7 pairs.You only need one of each patterned triangle for this design but hopefully you can use the rest for something else.

 Iron the seams open and trim the half square triangles so that they are 3.5 inches. As the photo shows (it's a 3.5 inch square) you should have a reasonable amount to trim.
Lay out your squares and pressed and trimmed half square triangles in the pattern above until you have a design you're happy with. Then sew together firstly in pairs across the rows, then sew the two pairs in each row together and then sew the rows together, being careful each time to line the seams up (I prefer to do this free hand and unpick if I need to but you might find pins help, depending on how you like to sew). I pressed each seam open as I sewed it but I don't mind if you press open or to the side, whichever works for you.

You should now have a block that looks similiar to this. I'm sure it took me longer to pick and cut the fabrics for you all than it will take to sew up but I think it's really striking and I'm looking forward to seeing how you organise the fabrics and which fabrics you include.

The finished block size that you'll send back to me should be 12.5 inches square. If you have any questions please let me know and I hope you enjoy making it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Miss November

It's my month and I was going to be so organised! Then last week I was sorting my fabrics from my stash (I had decided I wasn't going to buy any fabric for my bee blocks) and discovered I didn't have enough of any one colour for the background and the pattern would only work if I gave you all the same! An emergency order from the wonderful Justine at Simply Solids means I now have the fabric I need but am a day behind with getting things sorted. I hope to get the block instructions online tonight though and fabrics posted out tomorrow to those in the UK and Monday to those overseas. 

So this is a bit of a 'sorry' post - but I will wet your appetite with a taste of the fabrics you'll be getting, more on these in the instructions post: 

I have finally finished my October block for Jessica. I was really late starting as the fabric arrived whilst I was on holiday so it was already 20th October before I could start. I decided I would just make one more complicated block (we could make one or two) and I picked one called Tradewinds as I used to live in a flat in a block called Tradewinds so it seemed appropriate! I had some trouble with my corner points so some are slightly flat but hopefully the overall effect is good - it'll be on the way across the Atlantic very soon.

Whilst I'm posting I also wanted to share with something else I'd been working on - using a couple of charm packs I bought from the talented Karen at Blueberry Park who designs and prints her own fabrics. I spent ages practising my half square triangles for this - hope I've cracked them now:

Karen suggested I make it into a mat for a table centre and I think that'll be great, just need to work out what  fabric I can use for binding and backing. 

I'll be back tonight with instructions and I'll use my camera rather than my phone for the photos next time!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A Dandy

This month saw the blocks of quilt 2 of the Anything Goes Quilting Bee being made.

The lovely Jessica of Plum Patchwork sent out some amazing fabric and posted a great post about the blocks she would like us to make. Traditional blocks were the order of the day!

The fabrics that arrived were simply gorgeous and it has taken me most of the month to decide just how to cut into them! I simply loved them - it did cross my mind to slip them into my secret stash, but I think Jessica would shout at me!

Jessica requested 12" blocks and pointed us in the direction of Quilter Cache that has a huge list of suitable blocks. I looked through the list again and again until I came across this block:

It's called The Dandy Quilt and comes from the 1930's, which along with the 1940's fascinates me. I will be totally honest here and say I miss read the instructions and cut the fabrics slightly wrong... but I did get there on the second attempt!

So one of the blocks was complete, but I hadn't used the other fabric Jessica sent me. So I had another long look at the list.... and I found A Dandy:

It is very similar, but different. I am really pleased with both blocks and I hope that Jessica will like it when it finally lands on her doormat on the other side of the pond!

I have had a sneak peek at November's block and I am really looking forward to the fabric arriving!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Always running late...Hello! I'm January. 

My name is Karen and I currently live with two crazy animals in a tiny apartment. Both enjoy "helping" with my quilting projects. (I promise to de-fur all blocks for the bee!) I have a wonderful partner, who has taught me how to laugh and explore and take risks again. He is slowing getting over his aversion to "crafting" and is helping me with my latest quilt project, Groovy Quilt for the Totally Groovy QAL run by Alyssa Litchner over at Pile o' Fabric.

I'm really excited about participating in my first quilting bee. I've only ever been exposed to traditional quilting in classes and traditional quilt guilds, so modern quilting is a new adventure for me!

This is me in Zadar, Croatia on the Sun Salutation:

This is my dog helping me with The Monstrosity.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

October Block Instructions

I'm super excited about October's blocks because we'll be using one of my favorite new fabric collections, LillyBelle by Bari J for Art Gallery fabrics! So here's the deal:Each of you will be receiving a little bundle containing a fat eighth of two different LillyBelle prints, plus a fat quarter of a DS Quilts by Denyse Schmidt print. I'm reaching outside of my comfort zone here - this is the first time I've not chosen a solid as my background fabric!
I loved how Anna allowed us each to choose a fabric from our stash to add a little bit of ourselves to her quilt.  I also LOVE the look of sampler quilts, so I'm asking you each to make a 12" traditional block of your choosing.  It would be extra fabulous if you picked a block that represented you in some way (you'll see what I mean in a bit).  Quilters Cache has an amazing array of 12" patterns if you need some inspiration. 
The first block I chose was a Churn Dash, which I selected because it's also called a Monkey Wrench.  I fancy myself to be a bit of a mechanic, and my friends have been known to call me a Grease Monkey (a somewhat derogatory term for a mechanic around here, but I wear the badge with pride):
Since my first block only used one color, and I had two LillyBelle prints to work with, I decided to make a second block (I figured some of you would choose three-color blocks so I included two prints.  You don't have to make two blocks, but you're totally welcome to if you want to).
I chose a Maple Leaf block because my very first quilt was a Maple Leaf quilt:
I have to admit I was really nervous about using a patterned background fabric, but I really love the way it works with the LillyBelle!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Button

I got a little bit bored today, so I've generated a button you can use on your blog sidebar, etc... 
The Anything Goes Quilt Bee

Anna, I hope you don't mind!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hello from March!

Hello, this is a little late since we have already started but I figure better late than never right?!

My name is Kellye, I live on the mid Wales/Shropshire border in the UK :-) I live with my awesome partner, Dave, our beautiful baby daughter Rosie and my two lovely step-sons George and Tommi.

This is me and my beautiful girl a couple of months ago!

I  love patchwork, appliqué and quilting, art quilting, screen printing, dyeing etc etc, I'll try anything really! I was introduced to quilting properly by my mum about 5ish years ago when her health was poor and I drove her to Malvern quilt show and have been hooked ever since :-) (I think the stash building part is my favourite) My mum has quilting for over 40 years so I have learnt mostly everything from her.

I've recently had my first beautiful baby daughter she is the light of my life, I love her so much, but it means my sewing has been put on the back burner a bit. I'm just starting to get a bit done now and I'm hoping this bee will be a great opportunity to get back into sewing, make some new friends and have fun!

I'm on twitter @WhatKellyeMakes and I also have a blog which I have just started to write in again if you'd like to check it out, it's Also if anyone would like to add me to facebook I'm Kellye-Marie Owen.

Kellye xxx

Thursday, 6 September 2012

September Block Instructions

The first block for the bee is a block made up of 7 fabric strips and a background piece, along with a request for each bee member to add a strip of their own fabric.

The block is based on books sitting on a book shelf!

The finished block is 12.5" wide by 15.5" tall.

Supplies in Fabric pack:

7 strips of fabric 3" by 10"

Back ground fabric: 13" by 22"


Taking all of your strips, put them into an order you are happy with - take a photo for future reference.

The widest books can stay 3" wide, the slimmest 1.5" wide for the pattern.

Cut the strips into different widths for the books. Make sure to remember your book end scrap and that when sewn together the block needs to be 12.5" wide.

This process takes a while so take your time! Once you have sorted out the widths of the strips, start cutting down the heights of the blocks to give you different books sizes. Mine are from 10" tall down to 5" tall.

Take the background fabric and cut strips that match the width of your fabric strips and 13" long. Keep the lengths quite long for sorting out later.

Start stitching all of the books to their corresponding background strips using a 1/4" seam allowance:

Start to stitch each book and background to the next one in the order you have decided, with a 1/4" seam allowance. Don't forget to include your book end!

At the end of sewing all your strips together, your block should be 12.5" wide. If it is too big - cut it down as appropriate. If it is too slim, add another book!


Take the block and square off the top to make a block 12.5" by 15.5.

I hope all this easy to follow!

Inspiration for the block came from Sarah Johnson's quilt Heads or Tails in the book Modern Quilting Bee: Block Party.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

How to design a block.

Well, the fabric for the September blocks on their way to whole of the UK and the USA. So very exciting!

I thought it would be helpful though to explain the process of design for the new quilter members of the quilting bee.

There are a few things that will help with designing a block:

  • Always have a pencil and paper to hand. If you have an idea plot it out first, write notes, play with your ideas before you grab the rotary cutter.

  • When you are desiging, make sure you remember the 1/4" seam allowance. It is a costly mistake to forget - speaking from experience! Plus make sure you have a 1/4" patchwork foot for your machine too!

  • If you fancy using a block designed by another quilter, that is fine. There are plenty of books, blogs and website for inspiration, but make sure you ask permission if appropriate and always reference the design on this blog. We need to respect other quilters creativity, by acknowledging their hard work.

  • One you have worked out your design on paper, take photos as you go when you are putting together your block. This will make it easier when writing your instructions. More photos are better than too few.

  • Make sure you plan in advance, ideally the fabric for the blocks need to be in the post in the first week of the month - 3 bee members are in the USA, so postage to there will take quite a bit longer!

  • Don't be afraid of using simple designs, there is no judgement, ANYTHING GOES!

  • The last tip is to have fun! This is going to be an exciting 12 months!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hello from November

I'm Helen Lay and I'm going to be doing the November block - which is appropriate as I turn 30 on 2nd November.

After growing up in Portsmouth on the south coast I came to North Yorkshire to study at The University of York 11 years ago and I've never left! I currently work there as an Admissions Officer and have just moved house and now live in York again, just up the road from work. Nick and I met at University and have been married for over 6 years now.

This photo is 3 years old - I struggled to find a more modern one at the moment with everything packed up.

I've always liked doing a variety of crafts, I did cross stitch for years and have sewn clothes and other things on and off as well as doing papercrafts. Last year thanks to twitter I discovered all the lovely fabrics you can now buy, got myself a new machine, took a few sewing workshops and since have been making making all sorts of things, dabbling in machine appliqué and have had my first attempts at hand and machine patchwork - was waiting until I'd moved to have a go at quilting these so once my new sewing area is set up I'll get going with this.

Anna persuaded me on twitter that it would be good for me to get involved with the Bee and I'm really looking forward to getting lots of practice at making different blocks and getting to know you all.

Thursday, 23 August 2012


I'm Jessica, and I'll be October's block!

I'm a Quality Assurance engineer in the automotive industry during the day, a graduate student at night, and a quilter (and fabric shop owner) during all the times in between! 

Left to Right, My brothers Nathan and Joshua, my SIL Kayleigh, and Me!
I live near Raleigh, North Carolina, USA with Kona, my Chihuahua-Miniature Daschsund mutt.  I'm sure you don't have to ask, but yes, he was named after a certain type of quilter's solid. 

Gratuitous Dog Pic
I'm super excited to participate in this bee, and I look forward to making a new group of quilting friends!  I blog at Plum Patchwork and hang around on Twitter at @plumpatchwork
See ya around!



I'm Suzi and I'll be June's block. I spotted Anna's Tweet and was very excited to be in time to get a spot in the bee.

I'm originally from Barnsley in Yorkshire, but after moving to London for University 14 years ago, we moved out to Surrey a couple of years ago. Despite being in London I managed to find myself a lovely Yorkshire lad! Duncan and I have a two year old son, Ted.

I'm an embroiderer, or at least I'm trying to become one :) I am doing a Certificate in Embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework, but I'm pretty new to quilting. I made a fairly simple quilt for Ted and have been playing with a few other bits and pieces. I'm hoping the bee will push me to try new things as well  as being a chance to meet new quilting friends.

I blog at Suzical and you can find me on Twitter as @Suzical


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Designing September's Block

I know we are still in August - the sun is finally shining for more than 30 minutes in the UK - but we are running towards the start of September very fast!

September is going to be crazy for me - I have 3 new adult classes starting 4 after school clubs and 2 scout groups to run - so I thought I would design my block nice and early.

The block design was inspired by bookcases - I am a book worm and I have a huge passion for gorgeous books! I wanted to design a block that wouldn't scare the newbie quilters in the bee, but one that followed my inspiration of book cases.

Bookcases hold books of varying sizes and their spines face out to the world in a mosaic of colours.... prefect for patchwork.

At the Festival of Quilts I had a mission to buy the fabric for the bee. Initially I had thought I would use Kona solids for the book spine element of the blocks, but then I came across Tula Pink and her fabulous Prince Charming collection... I kinda fell in love!

After buying the Candy and Twilight packs I matched them with a grey back ground.

Today I complete the block, taking photos along the way for the instructions for the rest of the bee. This is how it came out:

The patchwork book spines are varying width and heights. Everyone in the bee will be sent a range of fabrics from Tula Pink's collection, but you will notice there is a Nel Whatmore Katherine's Wheel fabric in the too (6th fabric from the left).

This is my personal 'book' in the block. I am going to request that everyone in the bee add a 'book' from their fabric stash so I not only have blocks with different book heights, but also a 'book' that is special to them....

What do you think?

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Hello there!

I'm Helen and I'm December's block. I'm really looking forward to taking part in a quilting bee, I've watched the progress of many on Flickr and the web and wondered how people know when they're going on. I guess it just takes one person to get a ball rolling - thank you Anna!

I'm a stay-at-home-Mum originally from Birmingham now living in Kent in the UK. I'm married to a lovely Kiwi chappie called Scott and have two, (occasionally), adorable little monkeys aged 7 and 5. I blog at findahappyplace. I've been patchworking on and off ever since my grandmother taught me to sew when I was about 12. Usually only small projects, I didn't complete an actual quilt until my daughter was born. After that hand-pieced, hand-quilted odyssey I decided to get a machine!

Me and my monkeys
I still love paper-piecing but feel the need to get out of my fairly simple comfort zone for machine piecing. I'm really excited about learning some new skillz and hopefully making some new quilting friends! Really looking forward to getting to know you all.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Meet the Members!

Welcome to the Anything Goes Quilting Bee!

The bee starts in September with the first fabric packages being sent out by Anna Ryan of Quilting Along the Grain.

Until then we thought you might like to meet the 12 members of the bee who will be swapping fabric, sharing tutorials and sharing stories. Every few days a different member of the bee will be introducing themselves.

As the organiser and sender of the first blocks in September I thought I had better introduce myself!

Me and Midi Monster!

My name is Anna Ryan and I am a long time quilter based in Tetbury, England - it is the town closest to Prince Charles's country residence, Highgrove!

I have been quilting for 16 years and I am extremely enthusiastic about all things fabric, quilting and sewing. I have been many things in the past and have many life experiences, but quilting has always been there!

I am now a single parent to 3 boys, and I teach sewing skills to adults and children across the Gloucestershire.  I teach vulnerable adults for the County as well as private lessons. In my spare time I am a Scout leader - Cubs and Mini Scouts (can't use the proper title,you would not believe the spam emails I get!).

I wanted to start the bee to meet other quilter from around the world and to make a quilt that would have a contribution from people with the same passion as me!

Really looking forward to our journey over the next 12 months!