Quilting Bees 101 -- Fabric

>> Monday, March 1, 2010

"How do I know how much fabric to send out to each person in my bee?!!"

This is THE million dollar question! And there really isn't just ONE right answer. It all depends on how big of a block you are requesting, how much scrappiness you want in your block/overall quilt, the type of block you are requesting, if you're letting bee members add fabric from their own stash, etc.

I think a good general idea is to send approximately the equivalent of 1.5 fat quarters to each person. How you divvy this up can vary greatly and you are sometimes going to end up sending less or more fabric, depending on what you're asking for.

A good thing to do is start with all your fabric in front of you for your quilt. Think about what kind of blocks you're asking for: how big (smaller 8x8 inch blocks or large 15x15 inch blocks, or the "standard" 12x12 inch blocks), what look you're going for (monotone, one color only, very scrappy?), and what cuts of fabric is someone constructing the block going to need. For instance: if you're asking for a 12" log cabin, you're going to have to send at least one cut that is 12 inches long for that last log of the log cabin.

Once you've generally thought about it - start cutting. You can cut randomly (just chopping up all the fabric into different sized pieces) or very organized (cutting your fat quarters into half, then half again). Start assembling little packets for each of the members of your bee - and don't forget one for yourself. Mix and match the fabric - do you want all members getting the exact same cuts, or do you want some to get certain fabrics and others to get different?

Another good thing to try is for you yourself to make a block, notating along the way how much fabric you've used up. This way you'll have a general idea of how much fabric the block you're requesting uses.

I think the biggest thing that people worry about is NOT sending enough fabric - but in reality, it's not that big of a deal. I've had blocks that I've sent back that have needed an extra border added because I've ran out of fabric - and the original bee member has never minded.

Other good points:

- Make sure you specify if you'd like your bee members to add their own fabrics from thier stash or not. Be as specific as you'd like (i.e. ONLY fabrics from a certain colorway, fabric line, designer, etc) after all, it's your finished quilt.

- Make sure you specify if you'd like any leftover scraps sent back to you, or if it's OK if bee members keep them to add to thier own stash. If you're planning on making more blocks or doing a pieced back or scrappy binding, it might be a good idea to ask for scraps back, especially if you didn't keep much of the fabric for yourself.

This is just the tip of the iceburg of information about fabric in Online Quilting Bees. Please add to this post your ideas, thoughts, experiences, etc so we can all learn from each other.


Kris April 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

Something that I'd want to add is that if you want to send strips, make sure they're straight when you send them. I recently got fabric that was cut really poorly with waves and I spent a lot of time (and fabric) just getting straight pieces I could use.

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