Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bee Blocks - A Cautionary Tale

I haven't participated in a real online bee for about a year,  until now.  I just got kind of burnt out with the make a block every month circus.  Most of the bees I participated in were fun and no-to-low-drama, but that is not always the case.  I tend to be much happier living a drama free life.  But a new book came out recently, and everyone on Instagram was pretty excited, someone organized a bee and bunches of people joined.  I'm in Hive 8, so that must mean at least 96 people are playing along.

And this time, I am the slacker.  We didn't get organized until sometime in February, and the February block was due before I knew it (and February was a darn short month this year, says I!)  Nevertheless, only a couple of weeks late, I sat down yesterday to make my block.  We sew from our stash in this bee, and the Queen Bee this month chose yellow and gray for her colors (and we all know how I feel about gray.)  I made this block and was pretty darned satisfied with it.  In fact, despite the fact that it was gray, I liked it a lot.  It went together like a dream, all my points matched up, my seams looked perfect...

Until I thought, "That's a really big block."

So I went back and re-read the instructions.  The book says that the unfinished block should measure 15-1/2"...

Mine measures 16-1/2".


A rookie error, and I should have known better.  But I was still aggravated.  I cut perfectly.  I sewed perfectly, and the block was too big!  Waaay too big.  I missed this one little instruction that said to trim your blocks.  Darn!

I was tempted to just send it the way it was, but that wouldn't be right.  I thought about ripping it apart, trimming the blocks, and putting it back together, but that thought left me cold.  Really cold.

 So I dug in the stash and found some more gray, made some new HSTs and trimmed them to the correct measurement...

And this one measures exactly 15-1/2".  Perfect.

While I was at it, I went ahead and made March's block.  The QB requested aqua and yellow (always a favorite combination of mine.)  This time I was much more deliberate, and paid a lot more attention to the instructions.

But when I got my HSTs trimmed, I have to admit I was slightly annoyed.  The author had you cut the squares to 3-1/2" and then trim the HSTs to 2-1/2"  I wasted a ton of fabric.  An extra 1/2" just to cut off is kind of ridiculous.

At least the re-made blocks weren't so wasteful.

Two blocks done.  Ten more to go! 

Woo hoo!


  1. They are fantastic. I have been reading and sometimes changing directions for this exact reason.

    So many times people make flying geese blocks with exact measurements and well I add just a smidge more for that wiggle room.

    To each their own :)

  2. Oh my gosh, I am a FAITHFUL trimmer -- I always make big and trim -- but I could not believe how much fabric I had to trim with this book. It was a crying shame to throw away all that fabric.

  3. This is really good to know, Wendi. I am in hive 16. I am excited. I chose the ziggy star or something like that. I will take special care to read through the instructions. I also agree, that's alot of trimming. My first one that I am making is stacked windmill. Good luck in your hive!

  4. It's hard to know the first time you make a block how it is going to turn out. After I have made one, I sometimes use my own HST method so it is not so wasteful. Your blocks all look great, maybe that extra one you made will turn into a mini or pillow. Magically.


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