In January of this year I made the leap to share my quilting hobby in a little bit more public way. I joined my first online quilting bee. What makes this a little bit scary is that I still consider myself somewhat of a novice – an advanced beginner let’s say. There are some pretty difficult quilting techniques that I’ve not wanted to try or are just too intimidating. By sharing blocks with other quilters, you are kind of opening yourself to scrutiny from people who may be experts in this craft.
But I’m so glad I did!! I joined Blossom Hearts Quilts The Bee Hive and was placed with 11 other wonderful women from around the country. Our swarm leader is from North Carolina and we have members in Texas, Hawaii, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Tennessee, Minnesota and, of course, Wisconsin. These women are incredible quilters and I’ve had so much fun following them on Instagram. Through the work they post, I’m encouraged to try new things. More importantly, they are just incredible people! Keep reading to find out what I mean.
The way this bee hive works is that quilters are grouped into swarms of 12 people with one swarm leader. The quilters from each hive are assigned a month to be the queen. New tutorials are posted each month. The queen chooses a block from one of the online tutorials and the color theme. If you were chosen to be the queen in January your choices were more limited but everyone was still excited about the hive so it was likely you would get your blocks on time. 🙂 If you’re chosen for December, you’ve got a big selection of blocks to choose from but, well, we all know what December can be like. Sometimes even quilters have a hard time finding time to sew. A travesty, I know. Anyway, during your month, you receive a block from the other 11 bee hive members and, often times, little extras too. It’s happy mail day x eleven!
Here’s the blocks I’ve made for February
and a paper pieced one for March:
And then April happened. I posted this on Instagram on April 10th, the day of our son’s accident:
with the following caption:
“I don’t like posting these things and I’m pretty sure people don’t like seeing them either. This just seemed like a good way to spread the news about why my blog is quiet and why my bee blocks might be late for a few months. So, this is my life for the next few months. My son fell down a flight of stairs at his apartment in Minneapolis early Friday morning. He has a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain. We live five hours away but have moved here temporarily. Prayers are requested and very much appreciated!”
and that’s when I found out the true character of these 11 individuals I call bee mates and now, friends.
First, our swarm leader stepped in and made my blocks for April and then she organized the most amazing collection of support, love and concern because, wouldn’t you know it, May was my month to be queen.
A few weeks ago I came back from retrieving our daughter from her summer internship in Denver and this was waiting for me:
Not just blocks but a completed quilt. The bee members all made extra blocks and sent them to our swarm leader. She assembled them, quilted the quilt and bound it – all the while moving her household twice. Included in the quilt is the most beautiful, inspiring and personally meaningful improv pieced message from my bee mate in Tennesee! I adore this part!!!!! And the back also has the most lovely personal touches:
The original intent of these blocks was going to be to give the finished quilt to Andrew. I chose the purple and lime green colors because those are his favorites. Well, I’m just going to be selfish and keep it for myself for now so that I can be reminded of these wonderful and beautiful and talented women AND this message:
It graces the back of our couch so that I can be reminded each day of them and to BE THE GOOD:
Oh, and did I share, that I’ve never even met any one of these ladies? That makes the story THAT MUCH COOLER!!
Since then, I’ve been reinstated into the bee hive and have made blocks for June:
and most recently a Christmas in August block:
I’m getting so good at those HSTs!
Our lives have changed so much. If you want to read more about our summer journey, you can check out the Purple and Lime Green Caring Bridge site that we set up for our son. He’s doing so AMAZING and because I want to leave you with a much better image of him than that one above . . . this was him a few days with his friend’s little girl:
BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world!!
Life is good! It just is!