Blocks must ship by February 26th.
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:
The center fussy cut is the word Yarn with a ball of yarn…the outer border is a row of socks. So this lady was know around town for giving all of her friends homemade socks that she knit year round. Simple story…don’t sweat about it!
This swap has two different options to choose from at the time of sign up.
You can choose the Beach Theme and make blocks with stories about the beach. Fussy cuts could include sailboats, beach umbrellas, sandcastles, beach balls, bathers, lighthouses, mermaid, fish, lobsters, shell, beach games, seagulls, etc.
My story for this one is “It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini.”
These swappers will choose fabrics to tell any story that they like, no set theme.
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, Windham, 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). Double check this before you start piecing.
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. 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 greeting 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. Do weigh your envelopes because they can go over the one ounce limit and you may need to add a tiny bit more postage. Extras are not included in this swap. Just send your blocks and their stories!
I made a video showing the best way to fold your blocks to mail them. Check it out here.
I am sorry but I have to eliminate Australia from the swap. It has become too expensive and difficult to ship blocks out from Australia.
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.
What Happens When Blocks Don’t Arrive?
I will send an email to your team when everyone has mailed their blocks. If you do not receive all of your blocks after about 3 weeks, let me know and I will ask that person to make and send new blocks. I cannot go to their house and physically make them do this. If a swapper does not follow up on their obligations, you will not receive the blocks, but they are not welcome to swap in the future.
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 February 26, 2024. 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.