Friday, 2 November 2012

Bee Block Tutorial

I have finally chosen my block for the Rainbow Bee I am participating in (and not too soon - I am Queen Bee in December!). It is the block from the Moda Bake Shop's Ruby, Pearl and Opal Quilt designed by Corey, from Little Miss Shabby with a minor change. I'm going with a black and white colour palette, with one tile in a vibrant, tone on tone rainbow colour.

So, let's get started!

This tutorial will yield TWO blocks 12.5" square. It is Corey, from Little Miss Shabby's tutorial with my photos so that you don't get confused with the change of colour palette!            


Scrap of vibrant, tone on tone in your nominated rainbow colour (I have used a Kaufman green in this case!).

Small pieces of 4 - 8 different black and white prints. If you don't have 8 different prints, then just double up on what you have - you will need a minimum of 4.

5 inches (15cm) x WOF or half a fat quarter of Black Homespun

Black Fabric Cutting Instructions:
Cut the black Homespun into the following rectangles (cut 3 @ 1.5" x width of fabric strips and then subcut, or use scraps/smaller pieces):

2 @ 1.5" x 12.5"
4 @ 1.5" x 8.5"
2 @ 1.5" x 5.5"
4 @ 1.5" x 3.5"
2 @ 1.5" x 2.5"

Suggestion: Cut the black strips 1/2 an inch longer than suggested and then trim to exactness to reduce 'fiddliness'.

Cut black homespun as per the list above (2 in each pile)

Black and White Print Cutting Instructions:

From the assorted black and white prints cut the following rectangular tiles (NOTE: If you are doubling up on prints (i.e. using a print more than once in each block) refer to the block layout diagram to ensure that the duplicated prints don't end up next to one another!):

2 @ 2.5" x 5"      (unit F)     
2 @ 2.5" x 3"      (unit G)   
4 @ 3.5" x 2"      (used for unit C)               
2 @ 3.5" x 3.5"   (unit A)    
2 @ 3.5" x 4.5"   (unit B)
2 @ 3.5" x 8.5"   (unit H)    
2 @ 5.5" x 3.5"   (unit D)    
2 @ 5.5" x 4.5"   (unit E)

***Before cutting, choose a tile - any tile - for your coloured fabric. For this tutorial, I have chosen the 4.5" x 5.5" tile (unit E).  Cut two of your nominated tile size out of your coloured fabric. Then cut all the rest of the tile sizes from the black and white prints.

***Cut 2 of the 3.5" x 2" tiles in one print and the other 2 in a different print - they will be joined together later to make unit C.

***It is a very good idea to label each unit so that you won't have to keep checking their size (like I did!) to make sure you are using the right one!

Prints cut as per the list above (2 in each pile)
After cutting you should have 18 rectangular tiles.

Piecing Instructions:
{All seams allowances = scant 1/4"}

This is the block layout.

With right sides together, sew together 2 of the 2" x 3.5" pieces. Ensure that they are different prints. Press seams open.

Trim to 3.5" x 3.5" blocks.  These will be unit C.

Unit C

Begin by sewing the A/B/C strip section section together with the 1.5" x 3.5" black strips.  Press all seams towards the black strips.  The completed strip sets will measure 3.5" x 12.5" and will be referred to as A/B/C strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit A.
A/B/C strip set
Sew together pieces D and E along with the 1.5" x 5.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black strip.  These strip sets will be 5.5" x 8.5" and will be referred to as D/E strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit E.

D/E strip set

Sew together pieces F and G with the 1.5" x 2.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black strip.  The strip unit will measure 2.5" x 8.5" and will be referred to as F/G strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit G.

F/G strip set

Sew together a D/E strip set, an F/G strip set, piece H, and the two 1.5" x 8.5" black strips.  Press all seams towards the black strips.  These strips sets will measure 8.5" x 12.5". If the strip set needs trimming, trip off at the end with units D/E.

D/E strip set added to a F/G strip set and unit H

Now sew together the strip set you just completed, the A/B/C strip set, and the 1.5" x 12.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black.  These will be your completed blocks and will measure 12.5" square.

The finished block!


  1. Oh yes, the perfect excuse to add to my black and white stash :)

  2. Jeneta! Great tutorial, great photos, and I can not wait to make! I think I shall have to make a few of these for me too!

    1. Thanks! I'm hoping there aren't any little gliches that I missed - let me know if you come across anything (even poor grammar!).

  3. So, when you receive all the blocks from your Quilting Bee, the idea is that you sew them all together into a quilt, right? And the green will be a different colour from each person, right? How cool! Will we get to see the finished product?? :-)


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