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  • Nicola

Honeybee Hive Block...

This week I'm sharing a tutorial to make our Honeybees a hive to call home (and if you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about, take a look at my last post). *EDIT: Scroll down to see how my lovely friend Jayne's has customised her Honeybee Hive with a hexie...*

You will need:-

4 2½" x 8½" pieces and a 1½" x 10" piece of white/low-volume

2 3" x 5" pieces, 6 2" x 3" pieces, and a 1½" x 10" piece of background

One 2" square of grey

The template, a 2" scrap of card and a slightly larger piece of kitchen foil

{optional: 2 3½" x 10½"* pieces and 2 2½" x 14½" pieces of background}


To make the roof of the hive, first prepare the 3" x 5" background pieces: place them right sides together (rst) and – offsetting the diagonal by ½” from one corner on the shorter side – trim, giving you two pairs of mirror-image pieces.

Using the template, mark two placement lines on a 2½" x 8½" white piece, as shown. Position a trimmed background piece on the placement line and stitch a ¼” away before flipping ‘open’ and pressing. Turn the unit to the wrong side and trim before repeating the process on the other side.

To make the side sections (or lifts) of the hive, prepare a pair of 2" x 3" background pieces as before, offsetting your diagonal cuts by 1/2". Then, using the template, mark placement lines at each end of a 2½" x 8½" white/low-volume piece and join the background pieces, as shown below. Repeat for the other two side fact, you could chain piece all three.

To make the base of the hive, strip-piece the units by joining the 1½" x 10"* white and background pieces along their length, pressing towards the background. Trim the end and then sub-cut into 2 2½" sections and a 4½" section. Turn the end units through 45 degrees, as shown in the photos, and assemble, pressing towards the legs.


Assemble the hive by joining all 5 sections together, pressing the seams towards the roof (or open, if preferred). Your block should measure 8½" x 10½".

Finally, make the escape for the roof by cutting a 1½" circle from the card. Place the fabric circle, right side down, on the foil and centre the card circle on top, then carefully fold the edges of the fabric over the card, using the foil to hold it in place. Turn it over, smooth the edges and press with a warm iron to set the seam allowance. Allow it to cool before removing the foil and card, then applique to the roof of the hive.

It's a fiddly little piece, so I used a glue stick, rather than pins, to hold the circle in place before (very slowly) machine stitching it to my block.

*EDIT: My partner in quilty crime, Jayne, customised her Hive with a 1" English Paper Piecing template to make a hexagonal escape. You can buy papers from Jessie at Sew and Quilt, or download and print off your own from Love Patchwork & Quilting. Jayne used Bee Inspired fabric, by Deb Strain for Moda, for her quilt*

As I mentioned before, if you are adapting my 'To Skye' quilt pattern, which is based on 14" blocks, add the optional 3½" x 10½" background pieces to each side of the hive and 2½" x 14½" pieces to top and bottom. *EDIT: Here is Jayne's finished top*

Another idea would be to alternate the 14½" picture blocks with scrappy sixteen-patches, constructed from 4" squares, as shown below, and finished with simple borders. An inner border, made from 1½" strips, would need ¼ yd of fabric and an outer border, of 4½" strips, ¾ yd. Rotating the bee blocks around the hive will add movement to the design.

The finished quilt would be 52" x 52", needing 3½ yds of backing fabric & ½ yd of fabric for the binding.

I will be making a pair of cushions with my blocks to raffle at the Festival of Quilts this August in aid of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. Please come and buy a ticket if you're attending. Or just leave a donation, that would be amazing too.

Nicola xx


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