If you have ever participated in a block swap, you know that most people have a "personal" 1/4" seam allowance, and the more complicated the block, the more likely blocks from several people will not fit together--that is, those blocks don't play well with others.
After a few of those experiences, a new idea came up among a small group of my friends some years ago. Now we try to find "units" to make that can be trimmed to the desired size by the recipient, and the owner then puts those units into her own quilt. It worked very well with 3 separate groups I worked with.
So, here are some ideas for our next swap, which will involve about 20 quilters, most of whom are very experienced:
1. X Block--this comes from Sharyn Craig's book Layer 'Em Up
|Top I made with the last swap I did with these units|
|Size possibilities: 8" or 3" finished blocks|
|Quilt I made with swapped sixpence units some years ago|
|The unit, very fast to sew and the pressing and trimming is done by the owner, not the person who sewed it|
|Top in Progress|
|The plan: only the 4 outer corner "wedges" are sewn by the group. The owner chooses her own center rectangle and squares and sews the block together, so it should fit.|
|A test block I sewed--notice I sewed the corner "wedges" in the wrong orientation--OOPS!|
Here's another layout for those "wedges" or X units:
|String blocks sewn to paper--like old telephone book pages|
Each of these units will have their own very specific size and sewing rules and the number of units to make will be defined. Each person will sew as many as she receives--the beauty of such a swap is the wide variety of fabrics that one gets in their blocks, without having to buy it all. And each person gets to determine what colors she wants, old reproductions, 30's, batiks, very bold Modern fabrics, whatever she wants.
I already know I'll have a hard time choosing which to do. I hope the others like these choices. Stay tuned as this project gets going.