In November, Natalie sent the Bee Happy Bee members a few Kona solids and asked us to make blocks with portholes using a technique by Ric-Rac. I'll admit that I was super intimidated! First, Natalie is incredibly talented and meticulous and brilliant and creative and unafraid and I could go on and on about her, but my point is that I didn't want to create crappy blocks for her. You know, the ones that get put on the back of the quilt? Or on a pillow...in the closet? Yeah, I was afraid of that. Second, I've never piece circles before. I've seen the Dale Fleming "6-Minute Circle" technique done (although it took more than 6 minutes...), and I just thought it was too many steps, and I would surely screw it up.
So I hopped on the "I'm Moving" excuse bus, and put the fabric aside. :o)
Now it's January, and I've completed other sewing projects, so I really had no excuse anymore. Plus, I didn't want to make her wait too terribly long for her blocks! As I've done with the other months, I decided to create a sample block to work out any kinks before I cut into her fabrics. So I got a block of Kona White, and was going through my hexagons from my Hexagon Swap, looking for a fun, bright fabric for the circle. I found a piece of Laurie Wisbrun's fabulous Tufted Tweets, and had a brilliant idea...why did I need to make a circle? Janice had used the technique to piece a square...could I piece a hexagon? It was just a sample block, and if it went haywire, I would just give it to Mookie for her "sewing" collection. :o)
Let me just tell you, when I was making this block, I felt like a rock star! I was on top of the world! I totally hated having just moved because I would have been running up the street to Kelly to show this to her right then and there! But, alas, I could only email her about my fantabulous new creation.
I'm pretty sure I said something to the effect of "I am the bomb!" as I was finishing this up. SO proud of myself! Not only had I conquered my fear of piecing something and it not looking wretched, I actually stepped it up and tried something that hadn't been done before and it looks great! It's not perfect, but I totally love it!
AND...when I posted it on Flickr!, the real deal, Ms Laurie Wisbrun herself, left me a comment! Woot woot!
I went on to my actual project, drafting a few ideas of circles in the block, and I started with this one. She gave us Kona Charcoal, Celadon, and (ooh, let me go consult my color card...) and Teal.
I went back to the top of Ric-Rac's tutorial, got a Christmas candy tin to trace my first circle, and got about the business of teaching my grandmother to suck a few eggs...as Ms Ric-Rac has deemed her technique. :o)
Natalie asked that our thread be kinda sketchy, which I will admit was hard for symmetrical me. You can see on the first circle (on the left) that I didn't do that. Then I decided to close my eyes and try. :o) I love being encouraged and allowed to be imperfect! Thanks, Natalie! I changed up my topstitch thread color as I went along, and by the third circle, I wanted to use opposite colors as accents.
Here's a mosaic of all the blocks together. Pretty cool!
1. Lori's Block #1 for me for Bee Happy, 2. Lori's Block #2 for me for Bee Happy, 3. Bee Happy November Sample Block, 4. Bee happy porthole for Natalie 1/2, 5. Bee happy porthole for Natalie 2/2, 6. Natalie's Block, 7. Bee Happy: November, 8. Block one from Leslie--Bee Happy, 9. Block Two from Leslie--Bee Happy, 10. Porthole block, 11. bee block 2 for Natalie, 12. bee block 1 for Natalie, 13. Natalie's Bee Happy Bee block #1
Natalie did mention that it helped to pin the heck out of your final circle (when putting the green on the bottom of the gray). That helped. And for my hexagon, I had to clip the corners so it would turn right, as opposed to clipping the curves if you're piecing a circle. I suppose Janice had to clip the corners of her square, too.
I am currently working on her second block, but I felt like blogging, and as it's been 4 blue moons since I blogged, I figured I better go with the feeling! I'll post pictures of my second block when I'm finished.
Oh, but first, I want to encourage you to try this technique. It's not only for making quilt blocks. It's for making anything where you want to have a sewn circle. For instance, if you're going to make a pair of trousers for your little boy's Mickey Mouse doll and need a hole for the tail...here you go! Again, it can be used for any shape. Go for it!