My family and I have lived in several different states, and in each one I’ve searched out the friendship of fellow quilters. One of the best parts of belonging to quilt groups is participating in different exchanges. I’ve participated in round robins and have exchanged everything from fabric (strips, squares and fat quarters) to blocks to rows—all different, and oh so fun!
One of the first things I exchanged was 2 1/2″ fabric strips. Everyone received five identical strips of plaid fabric from each participant. This was before there were ready-made pre-cut strips—how easy would that have been?! By cutting the strips in half lengthwise, there was enough to make this Log Cabin quilt.
Just for fun, I cut applique shapes using cookie cutters for a border.
One of our exchanges was rows. We each specified a theme and row width and didn’t get to see our rows until the grand unveiling. I started mine with a row of lighthouses and received some very creative rows! One note: the rows weren’t sewn together until the end.
For our round robin, we each started with a block for the center. This turned out to be one of my favorites!
Here are a couple of block exchanges. And, yes, these still need to be put into quilts!
Exchanges don’t have to be with groups of people. One of mine was with just one quilt friend. We each made 4″ blocks (two of each so we could share one). I’m setting mine into an 8″ Evening Star and then adding a 1″ finished border.
I exchanged 3″ Pinwheels with co-workers over the course of several months. I set mine into 6″ Pinwheel blocks for this quilt that I just love!
It’s called Pinwheel Party. You can find the pattern in Quiltmaker, March/April ’09.
And, finally. I loved Paula Stoddard’s Peppermint Candy from our Nov/Dec ’13 issue. This is a great quilt for which to exchange squares of fabric with friends, but I just made this one myself. The pattern is included in a brand new ebook called Red and White Quilts. Three great patterns for just $7.99.
Although quilt exchanges are a lot of fun, they can also lead to disappointment if the “rules” aren’t clearly spelled out at the beginning. Here are a few guidelines for successful exchanges:
- Set a reasonable time frame for each part of the exchange.
- Specify the type of fabrics—traditional, batiks, plaids, reproduction, etc. Exchange only high quality quilting fabrics—and give the type of fabrics you want to receive.
- If exchanging blocks, choose an easy-to-sew quilt block. Determine the number of blocks to exchange during each time period.
- Spell out any considerations clearly, such as which way to press seams, special techniques to be used and whether fabrics should be prewashed or not.
I hope you’re inspired to try an exchange with your quilty friends. If you’re not part of a local group, you can find exchange groups online. And if you have participated in an exchange, I’d love to hear from you. What did you exchange? How did it work? Leave me a comment and let me know! Maybe we can create a future blog post with more exchange ideas based on your experiences.
If you’d like to send us photos, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear from you.
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Other quilt patterns perfect for exchanges:
Quiltmaker’s Devoted to Scraps book is a must-have if you love scrap quilts. They’d all be perfect for exchanging fabric with friends!