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  • Nicola

Honeybee Block...

One of my dearest friends approached me a few weeks ago to ask whether I could help her customise one of my patterns. Her work colleague was injured in the Manchester Arena bombing and she wanted to raise funds for him by making a special quilt to raffle.

The block she wanted to include was a Bee. The industrious Worker Bee has been a symbol of the city of Manchester since the C19th and, since the terrorist attack, has been adopted as an emblem of unity, strength and positivity.

In that spirit, we both felt it was worth sharing.

You will need:-

1 5" square, 2½" square* and 1 2" square of grey

1 5" square and 1 2" square of yellow

2 4½" squares of white

1 2½" x 4½" piece and 7 2½" squares of background (aqua)

Grey embroidery thread for the antennae

{optional: 2 3½" x 8½" pieces and 2 3½" x 14½" pieces of background}


cakestand quilts manchester bee honeybee quilt block

To make the Bee's body, the first step is to make a half-square triangle (HST) with the grey and yellow 5" squares. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the yellow square and pin, right sides together, to the grey square. Stitch ¼" away from both sides of the line and then cut the units apart before pressing the units open towards the grey.

Trim the HSTs to 4½" square - I like to use washi tape to mark a square on my ruler - then set one aside for another Bee.

cakestand quilts manchester bee honeybee quilt block

Next, draw a line on the back of 2½" background squares and pin on opposite corners of the HST, where the yellow and grey fabrics meet, as shown below. This time SEW ON THE LINE then press open - to snowball the corner - before trimming away the excess fabric.

Repeat on the remaining corners with the 2" grey and yellow squares, taking care with placement, to complete the Bee's stripy body.

cakestand quilts manchester bee honeybee quilt block

To make the Bee's head, join a 2½" grey square to a 2½" background square, pressing towards the grey, before joining the 2½" x 4½" background piece, pressing away from the previous seam.

To make the Bee's wings, snowball two opposite corners of both 41/2" white squares with the remaining 2½" background squares.

Assemble the block in two rows, as shown below. If you press your seams towards the wings, the seams will nest nicely when you join the rows together. Your block should measure 8½" square.

cakestand quilts manchester bee honeybee quilt block

My friend is adapting my 'To Skye' quilt pattern, which is based on 14" blocks, so we added 3½" x 8½" background pieces to each side of the Bee and 3½" x 14½" pieces to top and bottom.

I have sketched on the antennae - using the inside of a roll of masking tape as a guide - and will be embroidering them in a simple back-stitch with grey perle thread.

cakestand quilts manchester bee honeybee quilt block

Next week I'll be sharing a tutorial for a Beehive block, along with ideas for setting the blocks into a quilt and using them for smaller projects.

So please feel free to use this tutorial and share it with friends, but if you do I hope you will consider making a donation to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. For those families who lost loved ones, or were terribly injured, life will never, ever be the same and they will always need our support...

*UPDATE* You can find a printable version of this tutorial here :-)

Nicola xx


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