Quilting Bee Definition

I’m a quiet quilter, most days. I tend to spend a little time sewing when I need a quiet break, or when I’m a touch stressed out. For me, it’s good down time without doing nothing. {Nevermind that it is Fu-unnnnnnn!} When I attend sewing days, I really don’t get much accomplished. I’m usually too busy encouraging, interacting, and teaching to sew on my own projects! That’s good, though, so I don’t fight the current on that one. However, I do like to be sociable and quilt, too. Bees are a good way of doing that!

I’ve had people ask me, “What is a quilting bee?” Welll…….it used to mean one thing, and now it means another. An old fashioned quilting bee meant that women gathered at a specific house or community place and finished a quilt by hand around a wooden frame. This is an iconic image for us as quilters, and it embodies the spirit of community we all want when we join this craft!

A Modern bee is quite different! Each “hive” or “swarm” is made up of 12 quilters. It’s a year long commitment, and each quilter has her own month to be Queen Bee. Each Queen Bee makes a sample block in her chosen colors scheme and pattern for her bee mates to follow. She is mailed 11 blocks. If these blocks measure 12 inches finished, she’ll conveniently have enough blocks to make a pretty large size quilt! The time commitment is one single block a month, and many of the blocks are beginner skill level, just so that the group can keep up. There are various places to get patterns for a bee, a specific book, or a web site, or conglomerate of web sites.

The fun part is adding goodies to the package that you mail to other bee mates! Over the last year, I’ve added fun goodies to the packages I’ve sent out. Mostly “bee ” related items, I’ve had fun finding little gifts to include. Just a note , though. You might want to do the same for each bee mate! I hope my hive for the Modern Instabee enjoyed their extras in 2014!

If you’re involved in a bee, especially if you’re new to this bee thing, it’s my humble suggestion that you get a package of envelopes when you start out. Gather all your 11 each goodies, like wrapped food goodies or little notions. Having all my bee related stuff together in one place made it easy to stay up to date, even through a huge move. I was even able to stamp some cute bees on the envelopes before the bee officially started!  It was a good thing to do with all my bee enthusiasm while waiting for all the admin things to happen so I could get to know my hivemates! You should have seen me searching for bee related stamps!

If you get the chance to sign up for a quilting bee, even if it means getting to know new people, you should do it! Consider, of course, whether or not you can make one block a month, but it doesn’t seem like a large commitment to me. Especially when you consider that you’ll receive 11 blocks, too. Such fun!

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