Well folks,

I’ve had to make some decisions lately about my priorities…don’t we all? And looking at my schedule of projects that need to be completed (or started!) I’ve realized that I’m a little over extended. I had to make the tough decision about what to let go. The most logical thing seemed to be to look at my bees. They are the longest time commitments; they are monthly; and I have a lot of them that I am in. Note to self: 7 bees is too many!

I run 2 of them, so they didn’t seem like good ones to back out of. I’ve been in a couple of bees where the leader backed out and pretty much the bees fell to pot. I wouldn’t do that to the people in the groups!

Two of them, I’ve already had my month in, and it is one of the tackiest things (in my opinion) to pull out of a bee that you’ve had others do work for you but you haven’t done work for them. This can be touchy because obviously there are any number of COMPLETELY valid reasons why this may need to happen, but it should be avoided if at all possible. I’ve also been in bees where people just drop out, take your work with them, and don’t even say goodbye or give an explanation. I really do always try to assume the best, but it’s still not great conduct on that person’s part.

One bee hasn’t begun yet and I think that I will have a lighter load by the time that it does…so I’m hanging onto that one for now.

But there were two other bees that I’ve really enjoyed being part of for the last few or several months that seemed to be the most reasonable to give up. In both bees I had the last or second to last month. In both bees I believe that there were more than 12 members, so technically I don’t think that they would even have to go through the trouble of replacing me. And in both bees, I’ve felt that I learned a lot, met some nice people and gotten a taste of what the bee was about.

So what are these bees that I’ve had to drop out of? Well, the first one was the Japanese Bee. It’s been very fun to see all those fun japanese fabrics and get to work with them. But honestly I’ve kind of gotten the japanese fabric bug out of my system. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of them and now I really know what I like. I know that there are some great months coming up, but I was overwhelmed by the commitment and didn’t have a clear idea of what my own quilt should be. Plus, I was slightly concerned about the expense of buying enough Japanese fabric for the bee. All of these things have relatively simple solutions, but all being said and done, this was a good choice for me to let go.

The second bee I let go of is the Bee Liberated bee based off of the style of Gwen Marston. I’ve had great fun getting to be a liberated quilter and even purchased Gwen’s book for this bee. She shows you how to be liberated…which is something that my straight line, right angled brain needed. But again, I feel like I’ve really learned a lot and can peacefully let go of this bee knowing that I worked hard for everyone and am only losing out myself on my own month.

So this brings me to an interesting point that seems worth bringing up. How do you gracefully pull out of a bee?

Well, it’s important to contact the leader of the bee and let him/her know first. It’s not nice to take them by surprise and let them deal with the aftermath.

Also it’s very important that you either finish up the blocks you’ve been sent or return fabric promptly back its owner so that if they can send it off to the next person if needed. Or offer to send the fabric off to the new member yourself to save on time and postage for the owner of the fabric. Ideally, you would pull out before the newest fabric is sent off but after you have completed your commitment for the month.

Give the leader plenty of time to replace your month. ie. don’t pull out abruptly when your month is the next one up. It can work out, yes, but it’s still not polite. So try to avoid that. LOL.

I personally think that it is important to say goodbye to the whole group. It means more to me when someone explains themselves why they need to leave rather than leaving it to the leader to explain. Plus it helps to maintain those relationships and express your feelings personally to the group. You don’t need to over share, but a simple goodbye goes a long way!

And for pete’s sake don’t burn any bridges! No need to say that you don’t like what people’s designs are, or you haven’t liked the fabrics, or the members frustrate you. Save that for your diary. It doesn’t do any good to go out in flames!

It’s a reality of life that life itself can get in the way. Commitments change. Opportunities arise and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. But treat people the way that you would want to be treated and it should all go well.

Take a lesson from me and try not to overcommit. Because sometimes I think that I should be committed to a mental hospital for all that I’ve taken on and want to take on!

13 thoughts on “Beemoved”

  1. I feel over-extended sometimes too, but I really can't (or don't want to) drop out of anything! I stopped doing ALFALC and STUD and other monthly swaps, but I just can't give up my bees. I have got some stellar talent in my bees and I'm selfish enough to want their creations. 🙂 I have one bee that's falling apart a little bit, which is sad. I also feel guilty because since I went first, I had no problems and received blocks from everyone. A few of my former bee ladies should read this blog post about the "proper" way to drop out of a bee!

  2. I love your point of view. It makes sense and really you are doing the right thing.
    I have signed up to do my first bee, starting in Nov., so that will be very interesting!

  3. Well said! I am considering paring down on my commitments but am putting it off for now. I am hoping that since this is the first month where I feel this way, it was just a bad month for me. If I do decide to resign from a bee, I will definitely take your words into consideration. 🙂 Its nice knowing it isn't only me!

  4. I am so there with you! I am only in 4 but seems like a lot. I think maybe 2 is a good number. You still get the experience and blocks but not overly done as 4 blocks arent too bad.
    Nice post 🙂

  5. any advice for someone in a falling apart bee?

    I'm in one- the moderator left…. someone else took over, but is MIA. August had like 4 blocks photos uploaded to the pool, and we never got fabric for Sept. I haven't had my month yet, and would love to leave– because I find it SOOOO frustrating. But not sure how to do it gracefully, and w/o complaining tons.

  6. "any advice for someone in a falling apart bee?

    I'm in one- the moderator left…. someone else took over, but is MIA. August had like 4 blocks photos uploaded to the pool, and we never got fabric for Sept. I haven't had my month yet, and would love to leave– because I find it SOOOO frustrating. But not sure how to do it gracefully, and w/o complaining tons."

    I think that the best thing to do would be to privately discuss the bee amongst the members who are continuing to participate. I had this exact thing happen to me in a bee last year. We had half the members drop out without notice. Some had reasons that they came back and said later…others literally disappeared from the internet (blogs gone, no longer on flickr, etc). The last half of us rallied together to make sure that the people at the end of the year got enough blocks…and some of us went on to continue the second round of the bee.

    If there is enough interest, then I would say do a mini bee. Even if there is only 6 of you, if you all make 2 blocks then you have enough for a quilt.

    If there are less than that, then I would suggest agreeing to disband. Just be honest. I've found that every time I have a concern about a bee that there are at least three other people who feel the same way.

    Good luck!

  7. This is a fabulous post Angela, very sound, helpful advice.
    I am only in 2 Bee's, but they couldn't be more different from each other. When one finishes I think I might start up one of my own, asking people that I *know* online to join. I think that would be fun, being in a Bee with people who you've already had some interaction with.

  8. A nicely put post. I would love to sign up for a billion bees and have the time to sew in them all but have come to realise that one is enough for me at the moment. Perhaps 2 should be the most. When people are spread too thin it can feel like there is little connection with the rest of the hive other than using their drone labour, rather than having a thriving and supportive community. It is a brave move to step up and say you can't continue with the commitment. I think you have handled the situation in a thoughtful manner. Well done.

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