Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Bees Knees

Back in 2004, when I had only been quilting a few years, I saw this gorgeous appliqué quilt by Pat Sloan in a magazine.

I had never done appliqué before and thought, I can do this!!  Sigh… I found out quickly, it was not my thing… so I put it away and went back to piecing.  (If I had a quilting friend or mentor back then, maybe it would have been different, but I didn’t! I am a self-taught quilter… learned from Simply Quilts episodes and books.)


When I packed up my sewing room to move to this house, I found it again.  I then unpacked it here and decided that although I do not love doing hand appliqué, it was still part of my quilting journey, so I stuck it in my bee bag and when I had no newly finished quilt to bind, I would work on it at bee.


Well, I finally finished the hand appliqué and quilted and bound it.  There is a whole lot more wrong with it than just the horrible stitches around all the appliquéd pieces… like poor fabric choices especially where values are too close to see the design elements…like the vine in the border that almost invisible.  UGH!


When I quilted it, I tried to darken some of the light flowers by using darker thread, to make them show up a bit more against the background.


And I added black details like antennae and funky knees on those bees… hence the name- “Bees Knees”!


And even though the fabric colors and values are terrible and the hand stitching deplorable, it is part of my quilting journey, so I have it hanging on my upstairs banister…


verrrry high and far away from quilting eyes…


Soooo, what are you up to this week?



  1. I think you are too hard on yourself. From the picture, your applique piece looks fine.

  2. I recently found that pattern in my library, and want to try to stitch it this year. I'd like to get a lot better at applique. i think yours turned out just fine!

  3. I think it looks lovely, Polly. I love your bees!

  4. I agree, you are just far too hard on yourself.. I think your finished little appliquéd quilt looks lovely hanging on the bannister...
    I have joined in a SAL which will have needle turn sew see how I go. If I'm not happy I will machine button hole instead..

  5. Your quilt looks pretty good to me. As far as the problems you see, they are learning moments and have helped you grow.

    I don't care for the "A" word too much myself.....but I know that I will have to keep working on it to get better.

    Keep up the great work.

  6. First you made me smile when I saw the bees and their knees, then I laughed when I saw the "very high and far away". I think it's pretty and a great way to see how far you've come.

  7. Hooray for a finish! It's a sweet little quilt. At our guild recently we were treated to a show of circa 1930's quilts. Everyone ooohed and aaahhhed over the applique that by white glove standards was beginner....but the fact that the quilt survived and was finished and showed the work of the time was very valued, no one really said boo about the technical skills. Quilt on sister!

  8. We are always our own worst critiques, aren't we? I think it turned out really nice. I would be proud of it if I made it. It looks great on your railing. My next project is going to be making zippered pouches for a few Easter gifts. Wish me luck ~~ zippers and I are natural enemies!

  9. I think you did a great job. Your embellishments with your quilting skills are great. And think how far you have come that you even recognize color value and placement.

  10. As you said...quilting is a journey and you should be proud that there IS such a difference between "then" and "now", lol. When I look back on projects that I completed just one short year ago I am amazed at how much I have learned and improved! Kudos to you for finishing up your "beginner" applique quilt and displaying it in your home!

  11. Bees Knees.... How cute :-D

    I think it came out gorgeous ! I applaud you for a great finish !

  12. Polly, as so many have said, you are way too critical of your own work!! I like to work in applique as practice to be more agile on the machine. Some work turns out great and others are not. When I gift someone some of my work, they never see the mistakes that pop out to me!! Your little quilt is gorgeous!! I love what the Amish say and believe me I think about it when I make mistakes: "Only God can make a perfect quilt!" They say each quilt has a mistake just for that purpose!! Love, Love, Love your work and am always looking for new ideas from you....keep posting!!

  13. I think your quilt is very lovely! Embrace the challenge, and give yourself a "pat on the back" for finishing it!
    Nettie from Spanish Fork, UT

  14. Oh, Polly!
    It is Gorgeous. I would be honored to have your Bees Knees hang in my home, LOL
    I love anything with Bees, but then I love Bee's and applique.
    We all have projects we have started and still have not finished.

  15. I think it looks sweet. I like what you did and I think it looks great draped over the rail.

  16. Your quilt looks great, however you are sounding a lot like me in most of my quilts. I do think I finally found my niche in...hand applique! I've started a Hawaiian quilt and for once it's coming out very nicely! I'm so excited!

  17. Your quilt is beautiful--are you being to critical of your work? Quilting is a journey and hopefully a never ending learning process. Applique is not my thing and have set a goal to learn wool applique and then maybe move to cotton

    The quilt is beautiful!

  18. Even though it has some things wrong with, I think it looks great and still something to be proud of finishing!

  19. I think it is lovely . I made that qui.t way back then , it was my first applique job too , it isn't perfect but I still love it .


Thank you sooooooo very much for taking the time to leave a comment! I am always happy to know that someone is reading my ramblings!! Polly :-)