Back when I first started quilting there was no Instagram, and Flickr seemed like the online place to be for quilters. There was so much inspiration in all the different groups, and I found the bee hives particularly fascinating. (And can I just add? With its group photo albums/tagging and per-group discussion boards Flickr was particularly well set up to host these kinds of groups.) I wanted to be part of one of these groups but it was a complete mystery to me as to how they had formed and how one could get in on the action.
So when Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts opened up the doors to Beehive sign-ups I jumped at the chance. She hooked me up with a fantastic group of Canadian ladies and now we are into our second year. I thought that this would be a good time to share some of the fun blocks that have come out of our little collective. I’m going to focus on three specific patterns, and these are all patterns and tutorials you can find for free (as part of a year’s worth of modern quilt block patterns suitable for quilting bees) on Alyce’s Bee Hive pages.
The quilt blocks
First up is the Ripples Block. This lovely block is designed by Angie of Gnome Angel (and I have it on good authority that she will release this as a full quilt pattern in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that). As you can see your colour choices can really change the look of the block – I also recommend taking a look at some of the completed tops on Instagram, the ripple effect is very striking when the blocks are all together.
Ripples was our first “repeat request” to the group so you know it’s a good one.
Next up is the Tic Tac Toe block, designed by Alyce. In my first stint as queen bee last year I requested this block in white or low volume, dark grey, and pinks/purples. This past week I got them all sewn together in a top and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.
Here’s a version we made for another bee member this year. By switching up the location of the white/background fabric you almost get a whole different quilt. So far I would rate this one of the easiest and quickest of all the blocks we’ve tried, so if you’re after something simple the Tic Toc Toe block is a good bet.
Last but not least, the Jagged Little Pill block by Molli Sparkles. This is a minimal design that packs a lot of punch once you start grouping them together. This was the block I chose this year. I tried to go for a saturated look by using using pine, peach and mustard to fill up every possible space, without any kind of light/neutral background colour.
One final note: it seems obvious to me now that of course I could have just started my own bee back in those early days, so that’s my advice to you if you can’t wait for an organized program like Alyce’s bee hives to start up again … get a few online pals together and get the ball rolling!
How to start a quilting bee
All the bee hive patterns in one place
Bee hive quilt patterns in five sizes