Shamrocks for Jennifer

These are so cute!  I think your border is going to look fabulous, Jennifer!  It’s so nice to see your completed top (so far) from last year and I love that you’ve got us working on a different block for the same quilt!  I thought that the darker fabric here that almost looks like grass was in the block I made you last year, but when I looked back I realized that fabric was actually in Sue’s block from last year.  We’re all connected by fabric!


March Bee inspired Jennifer

Planted Pines for Paige

I learned this year that I particularly enjoy blocks that look like something when finished. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy other blocks, just that there is particular satisfaction for me when I make, say, a puppy block and when I’m done, it looks like a puppy.

These Planted Pines, designed by Paige, hit that note for me.  I hope these are okay, and that they are less tilty in person than they look in the photo!  (They didn’t seem tilty until I saw the picture. Now I’m worried!)

November Bee Inspired

I’m glad Paige said height is not super important.  One of mine is a bit shorter than 18 1/2″ and one is a bit taller.  Just like real trees, I suppose!

This marks the end of 2017 in Bee Inspired for me as far as making blocks goes.  I’m December queen, so I get to sit back and see the fabulous bookshelf blocks that get created.  I’ve had a fabulous year with you all and can’t wait to do it again next year!


2018 Queen Schedule

2018 Queen assignments are here!  The fairest (and easiest) way I could think of was to get a list of “no” months from everyone.  Then I put all our names in one bowl and the months in another bowl. My assistant drew the names.

If the month was not on that person’s “no” list, match made.  Otherwise, both went back in the bowls.

So here is how 2018 looks:

January: Sharon

February: Ann

March: Jennifer Fulton & Paige

April: Emily

May: Velda

June: Jen Rosin

July: Sue

August: Karen

September: Irene & Janice

October: Kate

I think I avoided everyone’s “no” months.  I’m looking forward to another year with everyone!

December block–bookshelf

I am so excited to have arrived at my turn!  I’m not actually Queen until December, but with that being such a busy month, I figured some might want to get done early.  No pressure, I’m not in a hurry.

As a librarian and a quilter, the moment I first saw a bookshelf quilt I knew I had to make one someday.  This is the block I asked for from Stash Bee in 2016 and I have decided to make a bed-size quilt for my guest room/sewing room so I need more bookshelf blocks! I am so excited that I will see a quilt every day that has a piece of each of you in it!

first block I made


Second block I made.  With a theme this time!

I do not have a preferred method for this block.  Your books can lean, stand upright, be stacked, or any combination.  I am going to show you how I did my first two blocks, but feel free to use whatever method you like.  My first two blocks are similar to this tutorial from the Craftsy blog. I also tried the mini bookshelf tutorial from Don’t Call Me Betsy.  If “cut random book-sized strips” is intimidating to you, check out her tutorial.  She gives specific dimensions for her books. But keep in mind that her finished block is larger than our guidelines, so you’ll want to use fewer books and trim it to 13″ high. I also found that cutting each book to a specific size took waaaaay longer, which is why my tutorial just has you use varying widths of no set size.

Third block I made. I’m pleased with the leaning book.

Basic Details
Size: please make your blocks 13″ high and between 13″ and 16 1/2″ wide.
***Updated to add: this is the unfinished measurement and the size it will be when you mail it to me.  Thanks, Sue, for the question!***
Background fabric: solid white or off-white. (I used Kona Snow) 
Book fabrics: anything goes!  Great use for scraps!  I love novelty fabrics so if you have scraps of those, great, but honestly, everything will work in this.

Optional Embellishments & Variations
I would love one or more of the following embellishments or variations in your block, but these are completely optional, as I know I will love all bookshelf blocks.

  • Choose a theme for your bookshelf!  You see I did one with all monkey fabrics.  Anything goes here; the sky is the limit! A single color family could also be a theme.
  • Add an object to your bookshelf. Anything you might put on a shelf.
  • Add titles to one or more of your books.  The book titles in my examples are printed because I use printing on fabrics for my quilt labels and I’ve been using any extra space left on the sheet lately to print out titles of some of my favorite books.  Handwritten titles with Micron or similar fabric-safe pens are fine, too. I’ve also seen selvages used for this and that works too.

And Now For the Tutorial!
Again, method is totally up to you, but here is one way to do it. This is for the most basic row of books.

Get your book spines ready. These will be strips of varying widths and heights. Lay these out in the order you like. I found it useful to take a picture at this point to refer to later.

line them up and when you like how they look, take a picture

Cut a long strip of your background fabric.  I cut mine 8″ x WOF; if you have shorter books this may be cutting it to close, in which case do 10″ wide.  You won’t need the entire width of fabric.

Take your book spines and your background fabric to the sewing machine.  Place each spine face down against the background piece, and sew the  short end to the background piece.  Leave about 1/4″ in between spines, and chain piece.

chain piece each book spine to the background fabric

This is what it will look like when you have sewn them all to the background:

all sewn together!

Now line up your ruler and trim each book and the background sewn to it.


Press each book piece.


Sew your books together, lining up from the bottom of the books.  This is where having a picture from before you started sewing helps!  Your backgrounds will not line up at this point.

books sewn together, before trimming

Trim your block to 13″ high.

finished block

That’s it!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks so much, and I can’t wait to see what you make!

Looking ahead to 2018

I have had such a great year with you ladies, and I am thrilled we all want to continue in 2018! Many thanks to Irene for leading us this year. I am honored to take a turn as Hive Mama next year and continue in her footsteps.

I’ve been talking to our fabulous Mastermind Kate, and we’ve set up the basic groundwork for 2018. We are going to double up on Queens in two months: March & September. This will leave November as a catch-up month.

If there are any months that you do NOT want to be queen due to whatever reason, let me (Emily) know–comment on this post, comment or PM on Facebook, or email will all work. I’m going to put all our names on slips of paper in one bowl and the months (with 2 Marches and 2 Septembers) on slips of paper in another bowl. I’ll draw a name and a month. If that name has the drawn month on their “no” list, both slips go back in the bowls. Otherwise, match made. And so on. So it will basically be a random draw with people getting to say no to certain months. I think it will be the fairest and simplest way to assign months.

I want to give our January queen as much notice as possible, so I’m hoping to announce the month assignments mid-November. (I’m aiming for November 15th, 2 weeks from today.) So if everyone could get me their “no” months in the next week, that would be great.

Enough about 2018, let’s finish 2017! I’m looking forward to Paige’s tree block and since December is such a crazy month, I’ll get my tutorial out early so we can wrap up this year!

nine patch cubed for Irene

I had a little bit of an advantage on this block.  Irene & I are in the same hive for the Stash Bee and she was Queen there for April.  I knew she planned on using the same block for both bees, so I was able to make the May block last month.

May BeeInspired

I mailed this last week, so I’m hoping it’s already made it to Irene.

Irene and I got to meet in person in February!  Here is photographic proof!  I’m on the far left and Irene is in the light blue shirt.  The other 2 ladies are Flora (far right) and Sana (between me & Irene), both friends of Irene’s from her guild.


We both live in North Carolina, though we’re about 3 hours from each other.  Irene had an extra bed at her Airbnb for QuiltCon, and she invited me to join her and her friends.  I had never met any of them in person, but both friends are librarians and we know some of the same people.  I had a ton of fun with them and am so grateful that Irene offered me the opportunity.  It’s truly great to get to meet Quilty friends in person!  I also met Paige while there, though we were only able to chat for a few minutes.

I can’t wait to see your finished quilt, Irene!  I hope it looks beautiful in your newly redone bedroom!

Trees & Gnomes for Kate

I had a lot of fun with this, Kate!  I’m not sure that my trees are all that wonky, but I followed the directions and tried to cut at a variety of angles.

A few of my background fabrics looked better with on the wrong side, so I used them that way.  It hopefully isn’t obvious in the picture, but Kate will be able to tell when she sees the back of the block.

I hope this goes well with what you want.  I can’t wait to see what you put together with all these!

March BeeInspired

February Block for Sue

I hope this deep green works for what you are looking for, Sue! I enjoyed making this one.  I wrote the instructions down correctly but still managed to cut to many squares of both fabrics, so I have an extra set of HST that I am sending you as well.  I hope you can use them.


I wrote the instructions down correctly but still managed to cut to many squares of both fabrics, so I have an extra set of HST that I am sending you as well.  I hope you can use them.



Charlotte Skyline

Sue asked about where we live.  I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, and have been here for 11 years.  Charlotte is a big city, though I frequently forget how big it is and how many people really live here.  While you often hear that everyone in Charlotte is a transplant, I actually know quite a few native Charlotteans.


North Carolina is generally thought of in three geographic parts: coastal, mountains, and Piedmont.  The Piedmont is in the middle and that’s where I am.  I like that I am about a 2 hour drive to the mountains and a 4-5 hour drive to the coast.  I go to the mountains much more than the coast–I love the Blue Ridge Mountains!


The view from one of my favorite overlooks in the Blue Ridge Mountains.