Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Bee Inspired :: Building a Bridge

First...big news!  We have a baby!  Saturday little Esme Eloise decided she was ready to enter the world!  A whopping 8.2 ounces and 19 inches, Mama and baby are doing well and happily at home!  Were so happy and excited for the family!

I say it every time, but some of the prompts my Bee Mates come up with are amazing!  

Last year was an amazing year of challenging prompts from my Bee Inspired mates, and so far this year is no exception!  We've had a couple of changes in the 'mate' department and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.

Our new line-up with links to their Instagram...Drum roll....

Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Audrey @artandstole
Christine @ccpquilt 
Daisy @warmfolk 

Our Hashtag if you want to follow along and see what were up to:  #beeinspired2019 

And of course, the original Bee Sewcial group:  #beesewcial  #inspiredbybeesewcial

Kicking of a fresh new year, Audrey started us off with this prompt:

Bee Inspired 2019 starts this month and I hope to make a quilt that encourages people to do things that bring relief and maybe even joy to others. Let’s make bridges to represent reaching out, and positive words that have personal meaning to you.

Block 1: a bridge span side view, blacks and dark grays on off-whites

Block 2: a word or phrase that represents or describes how you reach out to others in your own life, in blues and greens on off-whites.

I have to say I put off making this block for as long as I could!  Luckily I have understanding bee mates, and it seems I wasn't the only one who waited so long.

Finding a bridge for inspiration wasn't hard at all.  When I think of bridges I always think of Portland Oregon where I use to live.  Back then I didn't care much about bridges, other than the fact that my daughter Britt and her best friend Anne were crazy about them.  They were 8 or 9 years old and I remember my husband taking them on a day trip to visit all the Portland bridges before we moved to Tennessee.  

24" x 15"
There were a couple things that I knew had to be included in my block to accurately represent the Fremont bridge.  The rainbow arch, an upper and lower deck for traffic and the iconic flags on top.  

The Fremont Bridge is the second longest tiered arch bridge in the world, it was built in 1973, it's 2152 feet long, the rainbow arch is 381 feet above the water of the Willamette River and the lower deck is suspended from the upper deck.  Fun facts!  

Back in the day when I wasn't a quilter...I had no idea that this bridge has Flying Geese spanning the arch!  While looking for inspiration pictures I discovered that fun fact and knew then and there that this was my bridge!  I briefly contemplated trying to figure out a way to add the geese to my bridge, but quickly realized I'd be crazy to try!  

And now the reality of the 'prompt'!  I had to figure out how to construct my bridge!  I started by making an off white slab thinking it might be the best way to start.  I though of it as a solid piece for the background.  

The first cut was the scariest part.  I had to cut the arch!  I made sure it was large enough to work with and where I could easily add the vertical strips.  I sliced off a piece for the lower tier of the bridge and then was free to add my road ways.  I feel like that was the easy part!!

I hadn't thought about how I would include the flags until right before I added the fabric for the arch.  I settled for one flag and miraculously was able to seam rip a small section and add it with very little frustration!

Where I struggled was the arch!  The first try was a disaster!  My strip was too skinny and it didn't allow me wiggle room.  The second try was much better and the arch was born.  

Which left me with the sides.  Matching the sides to the top section wasn't easy either!  Somehow I managed and was able to complete my bridge.  

It looked like the Fremont Bridge to me!  However I wasn't fully convinced so I asked Britt if she knew what bridge it was and without hesitation...she named it!  Whew!

The background colors in these pictures are actually lighter, much more subtle.  And we were given creative license with our bridge color.  I wanted to use neon pink, but settled for Kona Prussian blue.

Since I was on a roll, I figured I may as well get my word finished too!

23" x 10"
Bear in mind that all of our blocks are meant to be improv, so using rulers for straight lines isn't part of the process.

I had a hard time up with my 'word'.  When someone says to describe yourself, I go blank.  I thought long and hard about it and decided Empathy was my word.  

Empathy:  to understand or feel what another person is experiencing, the capacity to put yourself into others position, caring about other people.

In someways there seems to be a lack of empathy these days, then again I'm inspired and amazed at how much empathy there is.  I don't know if that makes any sense!

Using the same background for this block as well, I began by pulling blues and greens for the letters.  I wasn't sure what I was doing, but it was so much fun figuring out each letter!  All by the seat of my pants and some better than others, but there is a consistent theme!

Audrey certainly pushed me with both of these blocks!  I know we are suppose to interpret the prompt as we see fit, but one thing I know for certain...I want it to be right for my queen!

Last, I thought I share my very last 2018 block made recently for Jenny @pappersaxsten .  Jenny is the queen of curves and when she asked for 'Cogs, thistles or caterpillar wheels'.  Sounds easy enough, but you know that can't be!

This is Jenny's quilt.  I was lucky enough to see it at QuiltCon and was even more in love with it after seeing it in person.  

The concept I could easily grasp, the execution was a bit more difficult!  The double circle came together with little trouble, but when it came to the cogs that's when I started to struggle.

Eventually I worked it our and was able to semi-easily add the extended row of cogs.  Hopefully this block and the others made for Jenny will come together in a quilt!  

So far no one in our Bee has assembled a quilt from blocks collected.  I imagine it will be soon though!  I hope to share the Morse Code blocks I requested and share them soon!



  1. I m impressed that anyone even comes up with these ideas, much less executes them! Love your bridge.

    1. The prompt was a tough one! I put off building my bridge for as long as I could, but I do love how it came together and turned out!!

  2. I love your bridge blocks and knowing the story behind them. Empathy is a great word for you, suits you perfectly. I love watching your bees blocks evolve

  3. I love that bridge! Portland is one of my favorite cities. You've really captured the feeling of it! And empathy is such a powerful tool to build bridges in the world :)

    1. Portland is a wonderful place and I’ll always consider it my home. There are so many amazing bridges there and it was difficult to pick one!

  4. Yeah for a new baby! The bridge is awesome.

  5. oh wow. These prompts may be the end of us! ;-) Loved hearing your process though, and your blocks look terrific! Survived to sew another month!

  6. Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Fabulous blocks too. Visiting from midweek Makers

  7. The improv blocks are lovely, Jayne! Your curve piecing is amazing, and you also did a great job with the cogs. Your Bee Mates are going to love them.


  8. So fun! And I recognized the bridge right away, too!


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