As well as many birthdays, including the dog’s, March marks month three of the #NGAQB and the center-stage positioning of our second Andrew (with an Andres too even the bee members get confused; I’m not expecting you to keep up!)  Like the other one, this Andrew recently shared a bit about himself in our Facebook group.  I’ll go and make tea whilst you get to know him better…

“I’m the other Andrew, or Mr. March.  I went to art school and concentrated on photography.  I now work in healthcare, specifically as an aide in Intensive Care and Cardiac Services.  Quilting was introduced to me by my mother a couple of years ago when I asked her to teach me, knowing she wanted to get back into it.  I made one small table runner and one lap quilt then put my machine away, only to pick it up again 6 months or so ago.  Thanks to social media, specifically Instagram, I started noticing more and more male crafters and quilters.  I started to follow them and began a conversation about an all-male quilt bee…and here we are.”

Yes we are, with tea!  Andrew shares his awesomeness as Testostersewn on Instagram.  For his month, he chose an Inverted Star block.

“I chose the Inverted Star block because I haven’t yet worked with half-square triangles and wanted the challenge.”

We were asked to keep the star solid and the exterior pieces either solid black or a black tone-on-tone print.  As for colours, we were guided by a photograph Andrew shared with the bee.

“I asked for the color inspiration to come from a photograph I took on my last trip with my husband to Key West. We’ve been there twice in the last year and I love it.  Asking for your help to commemorate this new favorite place of mine seemed appropriate.”

I have to admit that I didn’t realise the photograph had a significance to Andrew until after I made his blocks.  I feel so privileged to have contributed to something that will stir great memories.  Whilst I enjoyed making these blocks I don’t mind saying I was a little anxious beforehand!  After reading through the pattern several times, I ultimately decided to ignore it!  Whenever I’ve made half square triangles in the past, my go-to method has always been to stitch either side of a line draw on a square and cut in half.  The pattern called for triangles cut first then stitched together.  Well, I guess cutting on the bias is my bronchitis, coz I ain’t got time for it!  Instead, I made over-sized units and cut them down in an attempt to improve the accuracy of my piecing and have the block come out the right size.  There were a lots of pieces in this block and I didn’t want to lose too much of it!  I fastidiously sewed each seam with a scant quarter-inch allowance and went softly, softly with my iron.  Distortion I did not need!  Thankfully when it came to measuring up, the blocks were the size they were suppose to be, give or take a few threads.

The photograph allowed for a great colour palette; lots of moody blues and greys with hints of whites and marine greens.  I had no shortage of fabric to choose from as these are the colours I love to work with.  I used a mixture of prints and solids and tried to varying their position over the two blocks.  I’m particularly proud of the fussy cutting I did on the Joel Dewberry print in the first block.  I really wanted the pattern in exactly the same place and I think I nailed it.   A small victory in a long-fought battle against steam and seam!

Yesterday Andrew confirmed receipt of the blocks so I can breathe a sigh of relief.  Apart from January, all the blocks I make are destined for air travel and I always fret that it’ll be my package that gets mislaid.  So far, so good.  Andrew seems pleased too.  He ended his mini biography with this…

“Thank you all for the stunning blocks I’ve already either received or seen online.  The work you each produce is amazing and I’m glad to be a growing amateur in such an elite group of fun and talented craftsman!”

Such sentiment!  Three months in and I’m loving every minute of this quilt bee experience.  Sharing my creativity with such a great bunch of guys is so rewarding, I wouldn’t even if I didn’t have a month of my own…actually, scrap that, roll on October, it’s ours and we wants it!

As always, follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #NGAQB.