Block Swapping

It’s high time this blog got stitchy again, so sit back and enjoy some block swap action from earlier this summer.

Last year my friend Mary Allison and her mom Sally did a swap with their friend Ruth who lives in Asheville. Then early this year, I stumbled onto Ruth’s blog, saw a pic of MA’s son and made the connection. After marveling at how small the world actually is, I friended Ruth on Flickr, subscribed to her blog and was lucky enough to be invited to participate in this year’s block swap which also included Ruth’s friend Emily.

We sent each other fabric and instructions on how to make the blocks we wanted. This sort of swap is a great way to expand one’s quilting experience by making different kinds of blocks. It’s also fun to work with new fabrics that someone else chose.

Ruth’s package arrived first with lots of Heather Ross’s Mendocino and instructions for spiderweb blocks. These blocks are not for beginners; it takes time and patience to piece all those triangles and match up seams. But the result is absolutely worth it. Check it out!

First we foundation pieced strips of fabric onto a triangle.

Spiderweb block step one

Then sewed four triangles together to make a block.

spiderweb block step 2

The spiderweb design will appear when Ruth pieces all the blocks to make the top.

spiderweb blocks together

Fortunately, the remaining blocks were not so complicated. Emily had us do an hourglass design with some really pretty fabrics.

Hourglass blocks for Emily

Sally wanted a straightforward nine patch using Hope Valley with a few other prints thrown in.

Nine patch blocks for Sally

Mary Allison assigned us large blocks inspired by Denise Schmidt’s Hop Skip and Jump pattern. MA instructed us to to do actual improvisation rather than fake improvisation using the pattern. I am guilty of having done said fake improvisation twice, but found out that actual improvisation is much more fun. Especially with the crazy combination of fabrics provided! There was an array of weights and textures that seemed very random, but made for some knockout blocks.

Actually improvised blocks for Mary Allsion

When all the blocks were finished, I wrapped them in pretty fat quarters for the recipients to keep.

Blocks ready to swap

For my blocks, I cut up this stack of thrifted clothes collected over several years, and asked for 10.5″ log cabin squares.

Thrifted clothes

The fabulousness I got back just blew me away!

*Edit* Copious amounts of leftover fabric from these blocks have gone into another quilt.

Quilt blocks from thrifted clothes

The best part was meeting up in North Carolina to swap blocks in person. Ruth and Emily drove up to meet the rest of us at the Montreat Conference Center. We had a great dinner with a variety of delicious homemade pizzas, Ruth’s mouth watering peach cobbler and gin and tonics all around. You can see what a great time it was!

block swappers

My blocks

Our work was subject to a rigorous taste test.

Blocks undergoing taste test

I spent the rest of the week in Montreat attending a women’s conference in the mornings, doing a lot of porch sitting in the afternoons, enjoying the cooler weather that comes with higher elevations and buying out four (!) fabric shops in the area. The textile goodness I brought home merits its own post which will appear soon in this space.

Not to be outdone, Larry took his own vacation. Can you tell where he went?

Where in the world is Larry?

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5 Responses to “Block Swapping”

  1. hope Says:

    I love this! It almost makes me want to make a quilt… I love your and MA’s blocks!

  2. Get Stitchy with Sarah Says:

    Patty is right! He went to Chicago and then to Wisconsin to check out some Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

  3. patty Says:

    I love your log cabin squares!!
    and Chicago!

  4. themsrevolution Says:

    great recap, sarah. what fun we had!

  5. Sarah's Sister Says:

    Those are some awesome log cabin squares!! I love the small touches of blue in them.

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