Block Swap Blues
July 16, 2008
My early summer quilting project was a block swap with some of the folks in the Quilters Knitting group over on Ravelry. The envelope full of blocks arrived this week, and I didn’t even stop to take off the name stickers or trim the ones that hadn’t been trimmed yet (like my own) before I slapped them up on the felt wall and started playing with arrangements. I don’t think I’ll end up setting them block to block like I’ve got them up there now, but I am enjoying looking at them that way while I decide what to do instead. Add sashing? Plain or pieced? Set the blocks on point? What about borders? There are so many possibilities to ponder.
I am proud to say I used only fabric from my stash to make my blocks for the swap. The guidelines were pretty flexible; the key one was that the blocks had to read blue. Having started and failed to finish an all-blue quilt before, I knew I’d have to introduce some accent colors to keep myself interested. I found a large scale Kaffe Fassett print that was mostly blue with touches of pink, red-violet, and green and used that as my focus. I complemented it with a royal blue Fairy Frost, three light blue tone-on-tone small scale prints (a dotty/vine-y one, a stripe, and a marble which I wouldn’t have used if I’d had more of the stripe), and a wonderful batik that had blue and turquoise and pink and purple and yellow and green in it. To keep things simple, I chose to do only one block design, an Evening Star variation. That block is one of my favorites, so I’ve made a lot of them over the years and knew I could do a good job with the pieceing. I cut the outside pieces larger than they needed to be to allow for trimming down to size and then I was off and running with the chain piecing, which I fit in all through June in between my trips to Washington and Ohio (where I bought more fabric than I’d used for the swap blocks, sigh).
This swap went much better than the only other one I’ve done (that was back in 2004 with people from one of the LiveJournal quilting communities). I think there was only one dropout of the sixteen people who signed up, as opposed to five of eight in the earlier one. I’m waffling about signing up for the next swap in the group, though. Not only is there the time issueâ€”I’ve got plenty of other projects to doâ€”but this one has slightly more restrictive guidelines. On the one hand, that should result in a more uniform set of blocks that’s easier to make a cohesive quilt from, but on the other, I’m not sure I’ll enjoy being quite that constrained, though maybe it would be a good challenge for me. Like I said, waffling.