For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of a virtual quilting bee, it works like this: there is usually a hostess or leader who runs the bee. The leader forms the bee by inviting other quilters to join. The leader or the group decides how the bee is to work, whether it has a theme, deadlines, and who goes first. Typically a bee has about 12 members and runs for a year. Each member is designated a month and during that month sends out fabric to the other members and maybe some instructions or inspiration. The members in turn make a block for him/her during that month and send the completed block(s) back. The member then has blocks to turn into a quilt. Most bees start blogs or flickr groups to keep track of the bee, to share their blocks and finished quilts and to communicate with each other. If you’d like to read more about virtual quilting bees, be sure to check out the Block Party book by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks.
Today’s featured quilt is an improvised sampler from Nettie of A Quilt is Nice and the Cottage Quilting Bee.
Tell us about your quilt:
My Cottage quilt was a collaboration with all my friends in the Cottage Quilting Bee. I joined this bee back when I was brand new to quilting bees. It was one of my first. I wasn’t sure what I wanted when it was my month to select fabric and pattern. At the time I was really into wonky-ness, so I pulled fabric together (oranges, browns and aquas) and came up with nothing…so I asked my bee-mates to do whatever they wanted. I expected to get a lot of random pieced blocks or wonky log cabins, but I got so much more. Each block is so different, and it was then that I realized how different we as quilters are. As I put the blocks together, I loved that some blocks were complex and some were really simple. They all complimented each other and came together in a really fantastic sampler quilt that was so much more unique than I thought it would be.
Tell us about your experience with quilting bees:
I jumped in head first with the bees. It was about 3 years ago (or so) when they really caught on and I joined 3 at one time! I loved it, but have since slowed down with bees. I found I needed to be spending that time on other things. I also found I wasn’t putting as much thought and effort into those blocks as I felt the owner deserved, so I am currently on a virtual quilting bee hiatus. Being away from these bees has opened my eyes to what they provided. They are where the conversation is! I feel like I got to know so many of my online “friends” through these bees. I got to see their personalities (as much as you can on the computer) come through as I saw their styles and choices. Also the comments and threads were so fun to read. If you want to be challenged join a bee. Someone is bound to ask you to do something you swore you’d never try…hexagons, circles, etc…
Tell us about you as a quilter:
I don’t really know how to describe myself as a quilter. I really feel like everything is “my style”. I tend to think I am a modern quilter, but lately I am really drawn to the patterns of traditional quilts, especially when paired with modern fabrics. Speaking of fabric, I love it! I think it’s what keeps me quilting, so I can invest in more fabric. I like simple and I like complex (although I am not a very precise piecer). Sometimes I think I have decided on what my style is, but then see something totally different that I love and have to try. Some days I want to be challenged with my quilting and piecing, and other days I just want to do a simple patchwork made entirely of squares. I am inspired by so many things, but mostly from the beautiful quilts I see online lately! I want to try just about everything out there!
You can find Nettie on flickr and on her blog, A Quilt is Nice.