Blocks must ship by July 28th. There will be no extensions to this deadline so please think about the timing and if you will be able to complete the swap.
Why swap? Well, if you are working on this quilt, you quickly find yourself running out of fussy cuts from your stash. By swapping, you will receive a variety of fussy cut blocks to include in your quilt top. You also meet new quilting friends from all over the world and have a reason to run to your mailbox!
If you are new to paper piecing, I have a YouTube video available to help you. Find it here.
In order for a swap to be successful, there need to be guidelines. Here they are:
Making the Blocks
1. You must purchase a copy of my book, Intentional Piecing, in order to get the Tell Me A Story block pattern. Signed copies are available in my Etsy shop with inexpensive media mail shipping to US customers. You can also find my book on Amazon (this is an affiliate link), or at your local quilt shop/book shop, or your town library. The block pattern cannot be purchased independently due to copyright reasons. Please remember that it is against copyright law to make copies and distribute them as well. If you sign up for the Transitions blocks, you must purchase the patterns as well. They are here and here and here.
2. The idea of the Tell Me A Story block is that you are telling stories with your fabric selections. It’s silly fun. You can watch my “Anatomy of a Tell Me A Story Block” video that I made to illustrate this point, or look at these examples. Here’s an example:
This snowman just visited the candy shop for peppermints. He’s hiding them behind his back and is running to share them with his sweetheart before he melts! I would love it if you would share pictures of your blocks and tell their stories on Instagram using the hashtag #tellmeastoryblockswap. If you do not use IG, that’s ok too. It is not required, but it might be fun to share your stories with your partners when you send your blocks.
This swap has four different groups: Christmas (red/green), Pink Christmas, Winter, and Hanukkah. The rules are different for each.
***Christmas Swap: Both the borders and the fussy cuts should be traditional red, green, white, silver and gold Christmas colors. Touches of other colors are permitted but they should read as traditional color schemes overall. (example with the snowman above)
***Pink Christmas: Both the borders and fussy cuts should be primarily pink. Thank you to @moonlightquilters for making these samples for me.
***Winter Swap: Prints must have no reference at all to Christmas (religious or secular) but rather include snow, snowflakes, little winter animals in scarves, etc. Because of the range of fabrics you might find with these themes, there are no color restrictions for the fussy cuts and borders in the Winter swap.
Here’s an example: This deer is getting ready to celebrate the first snow fall of the season at the annual forest ball.
***Hanukkah Swap: All fabrics should all celebrate Hannukah and tell a Hannukah story. Thank you @craftybiggers for sharing this beautiful sample block.
3. The fussy cuts should be modern fabrics or quirky Japanese prints. I suggest Cotton + Steel, Ruby Star Society, Art Gallery Fabrics, Heather Ross, Windham, Riley Blake, Dear Stella, etc. Avoid children’s novelty prints (cartoon like, babyish, primary colors, licensed prints–stay with the more modern aesthetic). Please try to find fabrics with this look so that the resulting quilt tops hold together with blocks that have the same feel.
4. The inner triangles must be pieced in black. You may use any quilt shop quality fabric but it must be a solid black.
5. The borders can be any color to coordinate with the fussy cut, but should tell a story as described above.
6. The outermost triangles must be what I call “way low volume” fabrics. Here is a photo of what I mean. The fabrics should be white or off white and any print must be white, light beige or light gray. I don’t want any colors added in these triangles.
7. Make sure that you photocopy your foundation pattern at 100% so that it measures 6 1/2″ square unfinished (including the seam allowances).
8. When you are piecing your block, take note that you are working with the foundation facing in the correct orientation. When you look at the front of your finished block and turn it over, like the page of a book, the letters and numbers should be in the correct direction (not upside down or sideways.)
9. Please press well between each step so that your blocks are well sewn and will fit together well with the other blocks. Creases and folds in your fabric can make it hard to piece the blocks together.
10. Please leave the foundation papers in your blocks. This will keep them in better shape and avoid any stretching on the bias. If you need to remove them to reduce international shipping costs, that is an exception.
11. Please backstitch. With so much handling, the stitches can come undone. Remember, these blocks are often collected for a long time before they are sewn into quilts!
It’s my hope that by sticking to these guidelines, the finished blocks will work together beautifully in your quilt top and you will have such a great assortment of fussy cuts to round out those found in your own stash.
You will be assigned to a group. The number of groups will depend on how many participants we have. Each group will include 10 people (for the TMAS blocks). I can no longer attempt to avoid matching you with previous swappers so you may have repeats in your group from previous rounds. If numbers do not work out exactly, groups may be reduced in size to 9, or increased to 11.
Everyone in your group will receive your mailing address so that they can ship to you directly.
You will sew a total of 20 blocks and send 2 to each person in your group (keeping 2 for yourself!). You can either make them all different, or you can use a single fussy cut/fabric combo for half the blocks and another combo for the other half. You just want to make sure that you send two unique blocks to each person (in other words, not two identical blocks).
The swap is open internationally but you will be asked if you are willing to send internationally when you sign up.
In order to keep shipping costs low, and to allow international participation, we want to be able to mail as a first class letter. This should be possible if you just send the two blocks in a note card. Putting them inside of a card makes it feel like a thick card and there is usually no problem with a letter stamp. If fabric is detected (when they are loose) then you will be told to send as a package which is more expensive. Keep this in mind! If someone has the means to send extras and wants to, it’s ok. But it is not expected with this swap. It’s supposed to be inexpensive, quick and easy!
I made a video showing the best way to fold your blocks to mail them. Check it out here.
You must email me when you ship to your group. It’s just about accountability! I want to make sure that everyone sends so that everyone receives.
If your swap members do not receive blocks from you, you will be asked to resend. Please also understand that sometimes unexpected things happen and a team member is unable to meet their obligation. If you feel like you will not be able to accept this possibility graciously, this swap may not be for you. There will be no swap angels.
You will receive your group assignment following the close of signups via email.
You must ship by July 28, 2023. You may ship early! In fact, I love it when people send early!
If you have not completed the most recent TMAS block swap, you will not be assigned a team.
To sign up, please complete this short form by June 30, 2023.