Monday, August 26, 2013

Learn-a-long Quilt Block Tutorial - Honey Bee Block

Welcome to something new I'm starting.  I'm going to call it my learn-a-long quilt block tutorial. 
Normally, when you read a quilt block tutorial on a blog, it's perfect.  The instructions are perfect, the block turns out beautifully and everything is perfect.  It can be very overwhelming for a beginning quilter.  
Well, mine's not perfect.  
As a beginner quilter, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes I just don't know what to do.  So, I thought I'd have a learn along.  You can learn along with me and if you know how to do something that I don't or easier than the way I'm doing it, please leave a comment to let me know.  Let's all learn together.

My first block is the Honey Bee block.  It is a block that I did for the Saturday Sampler that we're having at my LQS.  These blocks seem to be getting harder each month which is good because it forces me to expand my horizons. :)

For this block we were given strips of 2 purplish batiks and some white muslin.  Here are the instructions which are crude at best.  
**(These blocks are all copyright free and can be found at 
And here is the fabric we were given.  I took some of these pics at night and the lighting stinks so I'm sorry about that and I will try to do better next time.
I would like to note that I followed the written instructions, not the picture.  So my final block came out slightly different than how the picture looks.   Ok, here we go.
Center 9 patch
1. From the dark fabric, cut 2 strips 2.5 x 5 inches and 1 square 2.5 x 2.5
2.  From the light, cut 2 squares 2.5 x 2.5 and 1 strip 2.5 x 5 inches.
3.  Sew the 3 squares together, light-dark-light.  Press the seams to the dark fabric.
Ok, now here is where I start to mess up.
4.  Sew the 3 strips together, dark-light-dark.  Press the seams to the dark fabric.  Sub cut into 2 rectangles, 2.5 x 6.5 inches.
See what I did there?  I did the squares fine but the strips, not so fine.  I knew it was wrong but at the time I just couldn't figure out why.  Sad isn't it?  But once I had it sewn wrong, I figured it out pretty quick.  This is why you have to think as you sew and read directions.  Duh!

Here it is sewn correctly.  Bless my heart.
Now here they are as they were meant to be sewn.
 Sub cut into 2 rectangles, 2.5 x 6.5 inches.
 5. Sew the 9 patch together.

 Ta Da!  Now it's right.
 Finishing the block.
1. From the dark cut 4 squares, 3.5 x 3.5 inches.
2.  From the background, cut 4 rectangles 3.5 x 6.5 inches.
 Since I was following the written instructions at the bottom and not the words written in by the picture, I didn't use my fabrics in the places the picture said.  Oh well.
 3. Piece the block.
I sewed my pieces like you would a 9 patch.  Left to right starting with the top row and then I sewed row 1 to row 2 and then to row 3.
4.  Cut 12 flower petals.  This was optional for our LQS as they did not include enough fabric to make the petals but since I used my fabrics differently, I had enough of the lighter batik to make the petals.  Sometimes mistakes DO pay.  HAHA
That was the end of the instructions so from here on out I was on my own.  I've done a handful of applique in my life and even took a beginner's class last year at the International Quilt Festival so I thought I could figure it out.
  First I tried just sewing the petals to the square using the blanket stitch on my machine.  I was going slowly and carefully.  But when it started to look a bit wonky, that's when I remembered the fusible.  You have to fuse the petals to the block first and then stitch around the block - either by hand or by machine.  That's why it looked wonky.
 I carefully took all of those stitches out and pulled out some pellon fusible.  I don't know all the different kinds of fusible.  This is just what I had.  If you know of a better kind or an easier way to do this, please leave a comment letting me know.  I do realize now that I need an applique sheet - ?I think that's what it's called.  It prevents the fusible from getting on the iron or ironing board.  I used a pressing cloth but now it's pretty much ruined.

One thing I did learn is to let all your fused pieces cool down all the way before trying to take the backing paper off or else the fusible comes off with it.
Once I had the petals ready to go, I tried them on the block 2 different ways.  With the points going in and with the points going out.
  I liked the points going out better.
 So, I fused them in place using the heat setting recommended on the Pellon instructions.
 There you have it.  My finished Honey Bee block.  I haven't stitched the petals down yet because I didn't have any thread to match.  Once I get some matching thread, I do plan to stitch them down using either the blanket stitch on my machine or just a straight stitch.  I'm proud of the way it turned out and I only made a few mistakes.
Now tell me how you would have done it differently or what I could have done to make it easier on myself.


  1. I love the way your block turned out.

  2. Love you block!!
    I made a honey bee block mini wall quilt many years ago and used fusible web and the blanket stitch on my machine.
    I love it that quilters are not perfect - at least I'm not!! Don't let anyone fool you otherwise! If we don't make mistakes how else are we to learn :)

  3. Very nice! Thank for sharing the how-to!


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