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Monday, 20 March 2017

Improv: Beyond The Bee - November Bee Block #NYCMetroMOD

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Continuing my Improv: Beyond The Bee block catch up - this is my November block for Diana.

Improv: Beyond The Bee
As members of the NYC Metro Modern Quilters Guild Bee, we are using many of the ideas in The Improv Handbook For Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood and working with scores (rules open to self-interpretation) set by that month's Guild Queen Bee.

As I mentioned Queen Bee for November 2016 is Diana and she sent me these fabrics.

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Diana's Score: 
Please choose from the score you wish.
Stripes and squares - squares will be flanked by stripes in the final quilt.

Diana's Rules:
stripes: grey and black tones only
please use solids, tone on tone, blacks and charcoals
squares: solids only, very limited batiks
use a combination of oranges and yellows, with burgundy accents 
no reds, rose, pinks or muddy colours
quality fabrics, refrain from novelty unless called for.

stripes 12-1/2" x 12-1/2"
squares 8-1/2" x 8-1/2"

Idea Conception
First I wondered about the "Stripes" and decided for this I'd follow the book score for "Strings" so I quickly glanced over those pages to remind myself what the thoughts are for making them.  

To make squares, it felt obvious to go with the Floating Squares method I'd used for this earlier Bee Block for June Queen Bee, Audrey.  

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Choosing Fabrics
I did a scrap pull of yellow and orange.  Initally, I included deep orange scraps (on the left) but I removed these to keep the block colours tighter and more muted.  I didn't have any burgundy so was limited to only using the piece Diana had included.

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Making My Block - The Process
Below are photos of the fabrics as I sewed each stage together. 

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The Finished Square Section

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Next, I moved on to the stripes (strings).  I pulled black and grey strips from my scrap. 

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Using the ruler free cutting method, I used the measurements on my cutting mat to cut strips to approx 13" (required block finished size 12-1/2").

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I put the strips in a bag, pulled them out unseen and stitched them together in the order they were drawn.

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The finished block before pressing.
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The Finished Stripe Section

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The Finished Blocks Together

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Assessing My Work Against The Score
There were no surprises this month, making both blocks was very straightforward.

There were no discoveries as I had used both of these improv techniques before - strings and floating squares.

I particularly like the Stripe block - you can't go wrong with black and grey.

I wish I'd had more burgundy fabric to ve able to include in the Squares block.  I felt limited by lack of fabric and colour choice, and this meant I was repeating the same shapes over and over within the block.

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My Thoughts
This month's block didn't push boundaries and neither did it take me out of my comfort zone.  As I've become more familiar with these techniques, I didn't need to refer to the book while making the blocks.

I've used the Floating Square technique twice now and it's not my favourite technique in terms of the finished look.  I love the Strings, though this technique could bring movement to any quilt and would be interesting to use in conjunction with traditional blocks as sashing or a border.

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Have you made a quilt using scores from The Improv Handbook For Quilters?  
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too.

I'm Vice President of the NYC Metro Modern Quilters Guild #nycmetromod and from 2012-15 I was a member of our Guild's first Bee and I shared how I made each block with you here on this page along with our Guild's challenge and charity blocks and now the Improv: Beyond The Bee blocks too.

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Linky Parties This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too. If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties' page you can see where I like to share my work.


  1. both blocks are very cool.

  2. I love the monochrome striped block!

  3. The grey stripe one is very cool. It was good to see what you did with the limited colour palette you had.

  4. Both are great, but my favorite is the stripes block. Thank you for sharing them at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

  5. Hi ChrissieD,
    These blocks are cool. I would be thrilled to get either, based on their requests. I do not do well with random, but your block turned out great. ~smile~


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Chris Dodsley