March is Just Around the Corner

/ Thursday 25 February 2010 /
More blocks in the bushes
I never fail to be amazed by how quickly time flies by.  Can you believe we're in the last week of February?  And I have done only one of the three bee blocks I have for this month.  In part, this dereliction of duty is due to the inordinate amount of time I've taken to decide on a block for March, which is my month for the Modern Tradition bee.  Joan had a great post the other day about how hard it is to choose a block.  You want it to be simple enough for all skill levels, but still challenging enough to be interesting.  And, most of all, you want it to have scope for the participants' creativity while still ending up with a block you want.  And when a bee has a theme, as this one does, it adds yet another constraint.  The MTQB has a loose theme, which is using modern fabrics with traditional blocks.  This is the first time I've chosen a block for a quilting bee, so I'm feeling the pressure!
So, without further ado, here is the big reveal for March at the Modern Tradition Quilting Bee.  The block is called Granny's Flower Garden, and it's a traditional block from Marcia Hohn's amazing trove of quilt patterns.

It's a 14" block, and I will be asking for a couple of monochromatic blocks in yellow, orange, pink and red, each with a green centre.  The background is that wonderful Essex linen/cotton blend - I bought it from Jackie and I love it sooo much!
The block in the pattern is strip-pieced using 2.5" strips, but I am encouraging the bee to approach this block loosely, and think of it in the different ways that this block can be drafted.  I've made some sample blocks that show just a few examples of how that can be accomplished.
Just strips
This scrappy red block is the true to the pattern, with strips of red fabric.  It looks okay, but I like the others better.
Centre ring
This yellow block uses only two colours, with an inner ring around the centre square.  This means using some strips and some squares.
Buncha squares
The pink one is the result when the pattern is drafted as a set of squares only, no strips.
Improv pieces
Finally, the orange one is the most modern, because I made a biggish improv panel and cut two 4.5 x 6.5" pieces from it, then filled in the block with 2.5" squares.
(Seems like I only ever take photos in the backyard with blocks on various fences, clotheslines and bushes - folks must be getting so tired of this, but my inside photos never seem to turn out properly.)
So that's what we'll have for March - I hope everyone in the bee likes it!  What would you do to jazz up this block?  Please post suggestions in the comments box!


Anonymous on: 25 February 2010 at 08:46 said...

Oooh! I like this! I like that you're encouraging members to push the construction limits, too. My brain is a'workin'!

{ Suzanna } on: 25 February 2010 at 09:07 said...

Oh, Lesly, I feel your pain (about choosing a block for a bee) and hope I come up with an equally fabulous idea. Each of your examples is better than the next. My fave is the pink block. Bee-you-tee-ful.

{ Thelma } on: 25 February 2010 at 09:13 said...

Lesly, I agree, where did February go!! I'm hoping to finish Faceted Jewels by the end of the month, which is SUNDAY!! It will be close!

You picked an excellent block for your challenge and I love each one. The blue/green center really sets the whole block off. I could not pick a favorite.

Great Job!

{ Dee } on: 25 February 2010 at 09:32 said...

O-M-G-ood, golly, grapealicious goodness! You had me at the picture and then I thought, okay, this one is my favorite, then the yellow came along. New favorite. Then the pink which was just over the top and the WHAM! orange just slew me!

Oh, I'm in love!

{ Leanne } on: 25 February 2010 at 11:02 said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I saw your photos on flickr and thought these were probably for another bee but they are for ours! Hooray! They look like a ton of fun and something I would definately do again in a quilt for myself. Fantastic choice. Can't wait.

{ My Life In Stitch } on: 25 February 2010 at 17:38 said...

Wow Lesly what a fantastic choice for our March blocks. I think the pink is my favourite but I will be putting my thinking cap on to see if I can come up with a variation that will do you justice. Can't wait for my packet in the post especially as I now know what delights are in store. Thanks for a terrific block for our bee.

{ wishes, true and kind } on: 25 February 2010 at 22:10 said...

Nice blocks! Not too difficult, but with plenty of room for creativity and expression.

And when I opened your post, my first thought was how much I loved your outdoor pictures! I'll never get tired of them. My husband and I did a little backyard Spring clean-up the other day, and I told him that he was just preparing for my quilt photo shoots :).

{ Pokey } on: 25 February 2010 at 22:36 said...

Nice! I like that wonky orange one.

{ SueWis } on: 25 February 2010 at 23:06 said...

I don't usually love wonky, but I love the orange one! Very nice!

Anonymous on: 26 February 2010 at 10:54 said...


Great photography!!!! Those blocks are like sunshine on a gloomy day!

Thank you for stopping by to visit and leaving the kind comment on my leaves quilt... :)

{ Petit Design Co. } on: 26 February 2010 at 12:30 said...

oooh! I can't wait to play!!! I love the orange and the pink blocks. The yellow is amazing too!

{ beth } on: 26 February 2010 at 14:50 said...

I love those blocks! AND the outside pictures are wonderful...don't change a thing!

{ Rene' } on: 26 February 2010 at 19:32 said...

Lesly, you are so right about February flying by! Looks like you've put a lot of thought into your bee blocks. They look fabulous! What a lucky bunch of bee participants!

{ Marianne Penner } on: 27 February 2010 at 18:07 said...

These blocks look great and this is an awesome bee idea. I'm sure your bee buddies will enjoy this!

{ Deborah } on: 28 February 2010 at 12:02 said...

These are all fabulous blocks!

{ Cheryl Arkison } on: 3 March 2010 at 01:48 said...

What about making the center block a bit wonky on it's side? Or cutting those last coloured edges on the angle?

{ Nicole } on: 3 March 2010 at 10:41 said...

Oh the orange one is fabulous!

{ Nichole } on: 3 March 2010 at 12:33 said...

first of all, i LOVE the idea of a modern traditional bee! how fantastic!

second, the blocks you have made are so great! i really like the orange one. the larger improv panel really gives a broken glass affect to the block. honestly, i'm not sure what other ways i'd try to jazz it up. my initial instinct would be to combine rows and columns like you have shown. i think just using the modern fabric really adds a lot.

{ elle } on: 3 March 2010 at 17:52 said...

I would never have thought of this block but it is perfect. So non traditional with the background and the fresh prints. I'd just try for as many variations and put them all in the top.

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