Halloween Tell Me A Story Block Swap 2023

Amy FriendUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Blocks must ship by October 6th. 

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.

2. The idea of the Tell Me A Story block is that you are telling stories with your fabric selections.  It’s silly fun. Basically, come up with a fussy cut fabric and a border fabric that together tell a story. 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:

Theme Options

This swap has two different options to choose from at the time of sign up.

***Halloween Swap: I think of pumpkins, spider webs, skeletons, candy corn, ghosts, etc. There is no color restriction so the new prints in pinks and purples are good too.

***Fall Swap: These blocks should reflect the fall season rather than Halloween. I am thinking fall leaves, squirrels with acorns, apples, etc. Below are some examples of fall fabrics that are not Halloween themed.

For fun, I am also adding in Halloween Transitions this round (you can see those blocks in the graphic and find the pattern here. If you join a Halloween Transitions team, you will send one Transition block to each member of your team. I will cap the teams at 5. They might be smaller depending on interest. This allows you to participate in the Transitions swap and the TMAS swap without getting overwhelmed.

3.  The fussy cuts should be modern fabrics or quirky Japanese prints.  I suggest Cotton + Steel, Ruby Star Society, Art Gallery Fabrics, Heather Ross, 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.

Swapping Logistics

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. I can no longer attempt to avoid matching you with previous swappers so you may have repeats in your group from previous rounds. If you request multiple teams, you may get overlap too.

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 October 6, 2023.  You may ship early! In fact, I love it when people send early!

If you joined a previous round and did not send your blocks, you will not be allowed to participate in the next round. If you are sending replacement blocks from the previous round at this time, please wait to sign up until those are in the mail.

Sign up here.

I also wanted to remind you about my TMAS block swap quilt labels that I have in my Etsy shop! They are perfect for your finished swap quilts.