She explains that the center nine patch represents the honey comb while the three melon shaped pieces symbolize the honey bee.
She suggests using plain fabric and light yellow prints or "delicate golden yellow on a background of white" to make the Honey Bee quilt "everything it should be in a charming and unusual quilt."
However, if you look at Nancy's original pattern here, you will see she gives specific fabric colors that are a little different than what she wrote in her column. I used the colors from her pattern when making my 6" Honey Bee block.
A Honey Bee pattern by the Progressive Farmer is shown here. It is very similar to Nancy's pattern but suggests the bee body be made of a dark plain fabric with the wings being made from a light print. The center nine patch was to be made of white and a dark print. I wonder how often quilters used the suggested fabrics?
Here's a shot of the parts of this block-
The center nine patch is made from squares of fabric that are cut at 1 1/2" making the nine patch finish at 3". The four background squares are cut 2" square and the sides strips are cut at 2" X 3 1/2". It seems kind of silly to cut the corner squares when it's all the same fabric but it does make it easier to place the parts of the bee that are appliqued on. I fused my bees on but they can be appliqued any way you like. The little bee parts are shown around the edge of the block.
My pattern can be downloaded here. There is a pattern for a 10" Honey Bee block at Quilter's Cache if you are interested in making a larger block. Quilt in a Day has a pattern for an even larger Honey Bee block here. They don't give the exact size but I think it's 12 1/2" finished. This block can also be found in Electric Quilt's Blockbase program as #2217.
This block must have been popular because I found several quilts made using the pattern. Click on the links below to view the Honey Bee quilts.
on point with alternating plain blocks
with alternating flower blocks
with vine border
green and yellow quilt