Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To bee or not to bee....

A recent forum posting I took part in has had me thinking lately, a lot. It was nothing out of the norm, just a post to discuss potential interest in starting a quilting bee. Would anyone be interested, could they commit to the year long bee, etc. Simple enough.

I said, 'Great Idea! Count me in!'. I've been looking for a bee or round robin to join recently but haven't had much luck. Among other reasons, my main issue has been that (with the exception of some family members) I don't really know anyone that sews, much less quilts. Flickr swaps and bees can be tough to get into if you're new and/or have no one to vouch for ya. Same with the few other places I know to look. So, the opportunity just hasn't been there.

I'd love to join a modern quilting club, but the only one that is close enough doesn't look like has been active in recent months. They had just started the guild in late 2011 and I can't find any info or activity since about February or March. Nothing, nada, zilch. So, yeah, not much luck there either.

So, I decided to come online. And it's been great so far! There's such a great community here. I'm finding other people who sew to connect with and who share my love of fabric and creating things with it. :)

But, I'm getting sidetracked....

TATB Bee Block January
Log Cabin block by Fresh Lemons: Faith via Flickr.

The potential bee....

A handful of others commented saying they would also be interested. Within just a few days, we already had 6...halfway there! Lookin good!

And then one particular post got to me. Not in a bad way mind you, not at all. It just me thinking. It started as a little prickle under my skin and has been slowly growing. And I haven't been able to stop this idea that's been building.

The member posted saying she thought the bee was a wonderful idea, that it would be fun. That she would love to join, but she was too new. She didn't feel that she could produce the quality needed. In essence, she had what I tend to label the 'I'm not good enough yet' complex. She was cheerful and honest about the whole thing. I immediately stated that I would have no problem joining a bee with her, I didn't care that she was new to quilting...and most if not all of the others said the same. She has been elected our bee angel should we go ahead with the group. :)

Although she is simply being honest, and forthcoming about her lack of experience, the thought made me feel a bit sad. This could just be because I tend to over-empathize with people (I fully admit I do heh), but I think it's more so because...uhm, I feel the same way and always have honestly.

Various wonky blocks
1. Wonky Cross Pillow, 2. scrappy wonky blocks in progress, 3. 3 x 6 Bee Block for melissa.leray, 4. April do. good stitches red, 5. week two block, 6. Wonky Square Rings Quilt

I've been sewing for years, and my family always tell me they love the things I make, etc etc etc. But, hey, they're family. They have to love me and suck up and tell me everything I make is awesome! *snicker* Ok, maybe not quite that far, but you get the point. I know I sew well, I could always improve, but I sew well. When it comes to joining something where I'll be sewing for someone else tho, especially someone else who also sews and/or someone I don't know...well, that's different and I fall victim to the "I'm not good enough" complex.

I've contemplated opening an etsy shop, selling my drawstring backpacks, or some quilts. I even opened a shop.

I've listed exactly 0 items.

What stops me? The "I'm not good enough" complex. I've looked at joining some bees online in the past....yup, same thing.

Until recently, that complex always stopped me from doing things I might have otherwise enjoyed. Then I started reading a little bit more, and ran across a few articles in blogland where others were posting about also feeling nervous and not good enough at times. These were women that, blew my mind! They're big, popular blogging quilters, known all around the blogosphere for petes sake!! They MUST know they're awesome!! Wait...some of 'em have the same worries as me?! Weird.

That knowledge changed things for me tho. It's caused me to finally seek out a bee/swap or two to join and take the plunge, nerves and all!

Anyway, this whole lengthy thought process left me with a idea. What if I started a bee...just for beginners!! It would be great practice...making a different block each month for a year. They would learn new techniques and different patterns, etc. And the evil quilt police would most certainly be banned from even peaking at our work! ;)

If it were all beginners, the quality of the sewing/technique/block wouldn't have to be a concern. More importantly, no one would have to fall prey to that icky complex or at the very least they'd have a good chance to overcome it. ;) They could really just get a feel for doing a bee, get the help, practice and encouragement each month. After the year was up, everyone would end up with a very memorable and special quilt!

I originally pictured just beginners in this bee. Then I remembered what I've been feeling myself. There must be others that feel the same and have held back for the same reasons I have. I decided it might be good to include at least a few of the more veteran quilters that haven't done a bee before (a different kind of beginner!) as long as they clearly understood many members are only just beginning & blocks are not going to be perfect. The seasoned quilters could add much to the bee...helping with tutorials and tips & tricks. They would also give the new quilters some blocks to inspect and see each month. And they would get the experience of being in their first bee. Benefits for both the veterans and newbies. :)

Simple block examples
1. Scrapbusters Bento Box block picnic tablecloth, 2. Boxed In blocks, 3. detail of log cabin block., 4. log cabin one, 5. shortcake quilt top, 6. 3x6 angel block, 7. 3x6 bee block - 2nd quarter 2011, 8. 3x6 Quilting Bee - Herringbone blocks, 9. Theres a square in there, 10. granny square blocks! :), 11. Granny Square side by side, 12. Leanne's Blocks, 13. Sew Modern Bee14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available

All blocks that are selected by each member would be required to be on the simple side. I could do tutorials any time it was necessary to make sure everyone knew how to go about making each block. The pics I've included throughout this post are some examples of the kinds of blocks I'm talking about. Log Cabins, strips, square in a squares, patchwork, etc. Nothing too complicated....nice and easy.

This certainly got lengthy didn't it?! Yeah, that tends to happen with me. *grin*

So, what do you think? Would this be a good idea or am I just crazy? Would anyone join me in something like this? Please chime in, I'm really looking for some opinions here....should I move forward with planning this or should I let it go.

P.S. For anyone that's involved in the first forum posting that I mentioned...I have plenty of time and am not in any other bees or swaps so would have no problem doing both bees...I wouldn't be backing out or anything. :)

10/27/12 Edited to add: With all the response I've received I've decided ...I'm not crazy!!! Whew!! Ha! *ahem*    I've started a group over on if you'd like to join us, please visit the group HERE. (For anyone not already on Threadbias, it's free to join and truly is a great community!! Come join us. :)


  1. I'd totally do it...would it be a regular bee with exchanging blocks, or more of a quilt along?

    1. It would be a regular bee. Each member would be assigned a month to be the Queen and the rest of us would work on the Queen's chosen blocks each month and then send them out to her.

      Glad to hear you'd be interested!! Thanks! :)

  2. I love what you have written and love the idea...since I am part of the other forum I am also willing to do both. I have carried around the "I am not good enough" fear forever and the thought of all of this terrifies me as I am quite clear in my own quilting what I will and will not take on as I am so worried I cannot do what others can. But the Threadbias community has started getting me to try new things and take chances and being part of bees would be a next BIG step for me. And I have no problem helping others of I have something to offer as they will be teaching me and encouraging me at the same time! So I am in

    1. Thanks so much True! I don't get the nightmares, but an anxiety attack is always looming! ;)

      Thanks to you ladies, I'm starting to feel I'm not completely crazy. lol

  3. Angela,
    I think I'm getting to understand what this bee is all about. When I first got into Threadbias, I had no idea what was entailed. I'm game. I have a perfectionist streak. That being said, the way it manifests is that I am frozen into inaction on a project by intimidation. My first desire to learn to quilt ... some 20 years ago, led me to a quilt shop. The ladies there were so intimidating, even though I said I was a complete novice to quilts that I didn't go anywhere near quilters until 2 years ago. Then I found and Amy Gibson's BOM and now I'm off and running, far from perfect, but I'm off and having a blast!

    1. I'm so glad that this helped you :) I'll be there to help when your hive gets going, and if ever you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!!
      I'm sorry to hear your first experience so long ago wasn't a good one. Sadly, I've had my own poor experiences with some shops/the people that work in them. I try not to let it get to me, but it's tough not to sometimes. I'm glad you're giving it a go again!! You'll see that I definitely have my own perfectionist streak, and it's something I'm working on letting go bit by bit, as much as I can anyway. ;)
      I hope you'll enjoy the bee, I think it'll be a great experience for you! Good Luck! :)