I lost my sewing mojo in October and knew early on that my block would not be done on time. Luckily, Josie was very gracious and said to take my time and make the block when I was ready. She gave us three star block options and I went for the simplest one, a Sawtooth Star. She asked for a red and blue on a neutral background.
Nita asked for a Converging Corners block with a fussy cut centre in greens, with a little yellow or orange if we needed variety. My centre square ended up being rather large, so I was only able to get in two rounds of corners, but I really like the end result. I'd like to make an entire quilt using this block. It would be fun for an i-spy quilt.
As I said, I learned a lot from participating in this bee, but it wasn't the type of learning that I anticipated. I can't really say that my quilting skills improved or that I learned new techniques, although I did try blocks that I wouldn't have chosen myself. The things I learned were actually about my personal preferences and hangups, and they aren't all pretty.
- I am totally anal when it comes to quilting. I need my seams to line up as perfectly as possible. I have a hard time saying "it's good enough." This perfectionism does not make me well suited to participating in bees. See, many people ARE able to say "it's good enough" and that's great! I applaud them. But, I might not end up using all of the blocks I receive and that makes me feel badly, because I know the ladies who made them worked hard on them and I don't want people to feel hurt.
- I am a perfectionist (see point #1). Bees that are open to anyone result in a wide variety of skill levels. This was a beginner bee, and I WAS a beginner. But, since I'm a perfectionist, I think I'd be better off participating in private bees where I know the participants, their style and their work.
- I am a fabric snob. I purchase, use and prefer designer fabrics. I haven't shopped at Fabricland (the Canadian version of JoAnns) since I first began sewing. In bees you don't have control over what other people use.
- Colour choice is critical for me. I've learned that one person's aqua is another person's light blue is another person's sea green. I've also learned that even when you think you are being very specific, you can't control how people interpret your request. For example, you might request a white background and someone may use a white on white print instead. Technically, the background is white, but the block probably isn't useable if you were hoping for all of the background fabrics to blend together. For my month, I selected primary colours on a black background in an effort to ensure uniformity!
I haven't started constructing my quilt using the blocks I received because I need to add at least another four, if not eight, blocks and I'm not keen on trimming all those HSTs. But Levi is quickly approaching the end of his crib days which means his bed quilt will need finishing.
While I don't intend to join a year long bee again in 2013, I will join another round of the 3x6 bee at some point next year. I have collected 12 chartreuse and plum blocks (but only 10 are useable) and would like a few more to make a larger quilt top.
What about you? Have you had good experiences with online bees? I'd love to hear the good, bad and ugly in the comments!