Tag Archives: bee blocks

Instead of two larger blocks, Ellyn asked us to make a pile of mini blocks in clear, bright colors for her August prompt. I chose three of the four colors that she assigned us, based on what was plentiful in my fabric stash. She asked for oranges, blues, aquas, and yellows. I didn't have enough variety in true blues, so I stuck with the other three. "Piecing can be any improv technique you like... anything goes!" A true opportunity to play!

The first thing I did was pull fabrics, anything from a small scrap up to yardage. I started with all my smallest bits as I began piecing.

I'm a chain piecer whenever possible. I like to pair up a bunch of fabrics and then line them up at the machine to sew many seams in one go.

Sometimes I have a plan for what will go on after the current seam. In the case of the block above, the right edge is the seam I'm about to put through the machine (top view on the left, bottom view on the right). I have pinned on the next two pieces I'm adding on to this triangular center to keep the pieces together. This helps me stay organized, even when I am working on many blocks at once. After I sew the seam on the right edge, I'll unpin my extra pieces at the ironing board to press my seam and then this block goes back in the queue to attach one of the light orange pieces next.

Ta da! I made Ellyn twenty 4 1/2 inch blocks. That orange triangle block from below is in the bottom left corner.

This is one of my favorites. Often the piecing in random improv blocks is dictated by the shape of my scraps and I love seeing what happens.

The best part of a prompt like this for me is that the finished units all look cohesive, but if you look closely you can see the personality of each maker in the design decisions they made in their piecing.

Ellyn has already put together her quilt top!


Our July prompt for Quilts Unscripted Bee was from E.A. She asked us to make two 13" blocks, one in solids and one in blenders. We could choose any color combination for each block and piece in any style of improv. We were asked to ideally use the two colors equally in each block. And we were encouraged to consider choosing our high school's colors for one of the two blocks.

I went with maroon and grey for the solids, maroon being the school color of my high school. My fabric choices were Kona Garnet and Kona Iron (I think). For this block I started with two rectangles of fabric approximately the same time. I sewed them together, then trimmed pieces off, leaving the remaining parts approximately equal areas. I sewed the opposite fabric onto each side and repeated, cutting and moving pieces around always keeping an eye on staying about 50/50 with each color.

For my second block, I chose purple and teal blenders from my stash. I made a bunch of improv 4-patch units in varying sizes and then arranged them to puzzle together into an oversized square, purposefully avoiding a full checkerboard layout specifically because the units were different sizes. I added a little bonus teal to fill out to square.

This was a fun opportunity to play since we had free rein on style of piecing. E.A. also asked for a signature block for each block (since she intended to make one quilt from the solids and one quilt from the blenders). I included a bit of my scrap fabric in each signature block.


This month Quilts Unscripted, my improv quilt bee, is making blocks for Ellyn. She's asked us to use one of the most colorful aisles of the grocery store as our inspiration... the cereal aisle!

I grew up eating Honey Nut Cheerios, but we never had any other "junk" cereal in our house. Froot Loops and Lucky Charms are the two I now enjoy on occasion, so when Ellyn shared her prompt with me, I knew I would start with one of those. Naturally, I needed to purchase a box of Froot Loops for research. As a bonus, my kids and I enjoyed the treat, too.

Once I had the box in hand, I started matching Kona solids to the colors on the box. Well, the cereal is a rainbow of color and so is the toucan. The colors used on those two elements are actually different colors. This resulted in a broad color palette to start with. 

The full palette here includes Kona Tomato, Peacock, Citrus, Cardinal, Torch, Fern, Tulip, Ocean, Sprout, Daffodil, Water, Watermelon, Amethyst, and Persimmon.

Ellyn had asked us not to make any toucans or leprechauns. She wasn't looking for exact cereal box replication. Instead, she wanted us to be inspired by the colors and shapes on the box. She asked us to take into consideration Margaret Fleisher’s book blocks which I shared about when I made this recent project. Margaret has taken inspiration from the geometry and color in the book cover designs to piece improv quilt blocks. 

My initial sketch had numerous details: some blocks of color to represent the words “Froot Loops” at the top of the box, the toucan, the bowl of cereal at the bottom. I wasn’t sure how I go about piecing the cereal bowl so I started with the toucan. I edited down some of the colors to focus on just the colors that were in his beak and head. I pieced using improv curve piecing (via this technique). After I'd pieced the beak I started to consider making my design more minimalist than initially intended.

I auditioned the panel of colors for the beak of the one feature element with solid red fabric to represent the background color of the box. 

I liked that and decided to move forward by piecing the beak into the background with more Improv curves.

In the end, I was really happy with what I came up with, glad I had edited down my initial plan. And I was the first one in the bee to finish a block this month! The block measures 10" x 15". The final colors were Kona Tomato in the background, and Kona Peacock, Citrus, Torch, Fern, Tulip, and Black. The red in the beak was replaced with a scrap that had better contrast with the Tomato than the Cardinal did.

I did consider using my other Froot Loop box elements ideas to make a second, different Fruit Loops block, but decided to go another way. While on vacation in Texas with my family, we had gotten a package of mini cereal boxes for the hotel room. I kept a few of them to use as inspiration for my cereal bee blocks. While I've never eaten Corn Pops I kept being drawn to the movement of the "pops" on the box and decided to go with that one.

My initial pull of fabric was Kona Citrus, Tomato, Banana, and White.

I decided I would color block the red "POPS" and piece some of the cereals with the whooshing movement lines. I started by piecing improv polygons with six or more sides for the individual cereals. I did this by cutting rough rectangles out of the cereal and then chopping off the corners. I used oversized Citrus triangles to piece onto the corners and bring the cereal elements back up to approximately rectangles.

I pieced the first section of my white strips for the movement lines (intentionally imprecise, but finishing at about 1/8" wide) and added in a bit of blue for the "CORN" in the cereal title. At this point I realized I had a problem. I wasn't happy with the value contrast between the Kona Citrus and the Kona Banana I was using for the cereal.

I auditioned three more colors for the cereals and settled on Kona Grellow (#2).

Ah, much better.

I added two more "moving" pops to the bottom section to represent the area with the cereal bowl (which I omitted). My block is 10 1/2" x 15 1/2". I left it a little big so Ellyn could decide how she wanted to trim it down.

These were so fun to make and I look forward to seeing the whole cereal aisle on Ellyn's finished quilt.

If you were to make a cereal box quilt block, what cereal would you choose? Is there a particular element that you think would be fun to recreate?