Ahhh, April! My favorite month! April is the month when spring usually begins to prevail over the last cold days of winter, with days getting a tad bit warmer, hopefully the snow melting enough to make way for sprouting crocuses and daffodils, and a prevalence of sun instead of sleet and snow. Not only that, it’s my birthday month, which is always a fun excuse to celebrate a little bit extra. To add some frosting to the cake, this month, I’m also one of the Queen Bees for The Honey Pot Bee hosted by Molli Sparkles. So fun!
When I was trying to decide what block to throw into the Honey Pot, I stumbled upon the Starry Sky block by Kylie at A Persevering Mom and completely fell in love. Let me count the ways: 1) it’s foundation paper pieced yet very simply so, 2) the possibilities for color play are endless and I just LOVE Kylie’s warm/cool on low volume background sample block, 3) it comes in three sizes–2.5″, 6″ and 12″ finished squares, and 4) it’s free which makes it a prime choice for a bee! Decision made! (UPDATE: since this post was first written, the pattern has been listed for sale for $5 rather than being a free download. It’s absolutely worth that and then some, please support Kylie by purchasing it!)
Because the foundation paper piecing in this block is so simple, it is a perfect block for some meticulous cutting fun. I decided that I wanted to use my precious Friedlander fabric for the background, but I wanted it to look like the tree scene was continuous across the block. I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few tips on how I did it.
Remember that in foundation paper piecing, you are building the block on the back of the template. For this reason, when cutting each fabric piece, be sure to position the template with the printed lines facing the right side of the fabric to ensure the direction of the fabric is correct.
It’s also helpful to cut as you go, completing one template piece at a time and double checking your progress along the way. This certainly takes longer than cutting all of the necessary fabric pieces and chain piecing each section, but when playing the meticulous cutting game, it’s wise to go slowly and steadily, checking and double checking along the way.
In the photo above, the pieces of background fabric are cut for each section of the final foundation template (remember that the fabric will go on the back, so it appears mirrored when looking at them next to each other this way.) The final adjustment that can be made is with the numbering and order in which fabrics are sewn. With a basic understanding of how foundation paper piecing works, you can rearrange your piecing order to help easily align your fabric pieces. For this block, I always began with the center of the star points when at all possible so that it made it easy to keep the background fabric level and headed in the desired direction. For the piece shown, instead of sewing them in the listed order of A1, A2, A3, etc…, I positioned A3, then sewed A2, then A4, then A1. This way, I only had one angled seam to line up properly (A5 to A6) in the entire block.
While this seamless background didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped due to the intricacies of the branches and print, I’m still glad I went through the extra effort to get those bushes lined up along the bottom. Even if at first glance, it’s not obvious that the background fabric lines up, I know it does, and that’s what matters, right!?
I love how the Friedlander Tree Stripe border in Pistachio looks with the star points, which include fabric from both Carkai and Architextures also by Carolyn Friedlander, some favorite Alison Glass Sun Prints from 2016 and 2017, a Free Spirit solid, Gum Leaves from Terra Australis 2 by Emma Jean Jansen, and an unknown green swirl from my stash. I sewed the block with my favorite 50wt Aurifil thread, 2600-Dove, but was excited to find two lovely greens in my stash, which will come in handy when it’s quilting time! My block will obviously be added to my Greenery Quilt, and I most likely will aim to also make a 12″ version of the block in a different arrangement of greens since I love the block so much. Can’t you see this block looking fab in just about any color combination!?
Head on over to Molli’s blog to see the other gorgeous block for April, and have fun with this Starry Sky block!
I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter in case anyone else wants a few tips on creating a seamless background panel for a pieced block. Enjoy!
10 thoughts on “The Honey Pot Bee – April Queen Bee Fun”
These are great tips and the photos do a lot to show your process. I tend to hack up my fabric a lot more for paper piecing than I know is necessary; it just makes me so antsy and freaked out when I first get started. Thanks for linking up! 🙂
Kitty, your block is beautiful! All those greens are so springy! Thanks for the directions tips!
The way you managed to take the trees right through the block is gorgeous! I’m now going to complain that I haven’t seen ANY green in my yard–so I’m going to my daughter’s wedding in DC for a winter break:)
Thank you for your tips! I love this block and the fabrics you used! I think it’s good to slow down sometimes and take time to do something which may push us to try and learn new things or to do something we know is more difficult and takes more time. x Teje
Great tips! I had the opposite challenge- to make my symmetrical background print (rows of bees) look random (like they’re swarming in all directions)
I love how you have used the background fabric with the fresh greens in this block.
I love love love this pattern!!! I just stumbled across it I realize it is from a few years back now and the links don’t work any more. Is there any way I can find it??? I need to make it!!! ☺️
Also hoping to make this block but it seems like it’s vanished from the interwebs! So disappointed. Would love to find it again.
Oh, I just found it for sale here: https://payhip.com/b/GAzh?fbclid=IwAR3lBYQ7z6269O11TyzpKMaDgFTb670AGdttvtsNbvcXSn59ZDQAmxr2wok
Oh great, thank you! I will update the post to include that! Great find! I’ve been searching and hadn’t found it!