Honey Bee Quilt

Isn’t this quilt beautiful?  I wish I could say that I made it, but truth is, it’s an old quilt that was bought years ago by my mother-in-law.  The quilt block design is called “Honey Bee”.

Honeybee design

Can’t you see why it is called Honey Bee?  Especially done is this yellow color!  There is a pieced nine patch in the middle of the block and then the body and wings of the bees were appliquéd on.  I am not an expert but the nine patch fabric looks 1930s to me.  Quilter’s Cache notes that the block design is from the 1920s-30s era so I’m guessing this may be how old this quilt is.  Unfortunately, as with many old quilts, there is no label or clue as to who made it.  I always put labels on my quilts, do you? Here is a link to directions for making this block.

This quilt is in beautiful shape.  There are no holes or frays.  However, when I first received it there were many stains and the whole thing was very dingy.  It was a beautiful quilt that looked terrible.  I wrote this post a few weeks ago about a product called Retro Clean.

Retro Clean

Before and after treatment with Retro Clean

It is a product that revives old textiles.  I couldn’t wait to try it on my Honey Bee quilt.  I followed the directions on the package. I washed the quilt, soaked it in warm water mixed with Retro Clean and then washed it again.  The quilt was kept completely submerged for 30 hours (directions say 24 to 48 hours) in a tub which I kept outside in the sun during the day.  It was almost 100 degrees the day I did this and evidently keeping the water warm helps with the cleaning process.  On the second day (which was cool and rainy), I couldn’t see any stains, so I took it out of the “bath”.

Stained quilt before Retro Clean

After Retro Clean – no stains!











After such a success with this quilt, I’m wanting to try it on the first quilt I ever made which was for my oldest daughter probably 25 years ago.  She still has and uses it and she doesn’t live near me (boo hoo), so I’m going to ask her to send it to me.  Fingers crossed!  It has a lot of white fabric in it and every time I see it, I think I’ll never make another quilt with white fabric.  It’s the dinginess factor again!  If I can revive that quilt, I will definitely not be afraid to sew with white. That is an exciting thought.


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7 responses to “Honey Bee Quilt

  1. Kristen

    Remember in the car in NH when I said I wasn’t into quilts? I LOVE this quilt! I think it is so beautiful and I’m glad you restored it. Do you know how to do this type of “honeybee” quilting?

  2. What a beautiful quilt! I love the yellow on white. I really should post my own antique quilts…it,s a good way to keep them alive. And thanks for the tip about retro clean. I will look to see if it can be purchased in Canada.

    • I have not seen Retroclean in a shop very often but they do sell it online and I’m pretty sure they will ship to Canada. Good luck if you give it a try. It certainly did make my quilt “shine”.

  3. This is a beautiful quilt. I’ve seen HoneyBee before but there’s always been a space between the “wings” and the 9-patch blocks. In this quilt, the placement almost brings to little bees to life! Thanks, too, for the review to Retro Clean. I need it!

    • I cannot emphasize enough how much the RetroClean revived this quilt. I hope you will give it a try. I am in no way associated with this product – just a happy costumer.

  4. Pingback: Bee Happy Quiltalong! - Days Filled With Joy

  5. Marie Holly

    Hi Joy
    I have this block in my first quilt a sampler made nearly 40 years ago and on my spare bed at the moment

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