Finally. A quilting post! 2012 small group exchange

Things have somewhat settled down since we returned from our Ireland/Scotland/England trip.  I say that somewhat tongue in cheek because starting a new assignment at work is not exactly business as usual….  And, this week a friend had a family emergency so I’ve been helping out with the logistics of that too.  However, “back to normal” does mean getting back to quilting.

I haven’t exactly gotten BACK to quilting but at least I’m thinking about it.  Almost every year my small group does some sort of exchange or challenge.  In 2012, we each picked a focus fabric, and made a block using that fabric.  We then passed the block and a yard of the focus fabric on to the next person.  Most of us had some sort of guideline or rule… for example, size of block, types/colors of coordinating fabrics to use, etc.  The fabric I picked was from Northcott, the “All Tied Up” line by Dawn Spencer:


This was a little different than the “blue/turquoise/green/purple” rut that I’m usually in.  For some reason, last year I was in a “let’s push that envelope” kind of mood; I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a little. 

I came up with a block and sewed it up, and then passed that block and a yard of the above fabric on to the rest of the group.  For my quilt, the only “rules” were that each person had to use a recognizable amount of the fabric and their contribution had to be a 12-inch finished block.  Here’s the block I came up with; it’s from one of the Quiltmaker 100 block collections:

2012-01-15_13-39-40_397Once we made our initial block, we would put it and the yard of focus fabric in a bag, and pass the bag on to the next person on the list, and then each month we would work on a block to add to somebody else’s bag.  At the end of the year, each bag would go back to the person that started that particular project, and the bag would contain a block from every other person in the group.  We had eleven participants so that’s how many blocks we each ended up with, but we didn’t get to see ANY of the other blocks in our bag until the end of the year. 

At our December meeting we had the big unveiling, where we each finally got to see what everyone else had added to our quilt during the course of the year.  These ladies are awesome quilters…. they are somewhat intimidated because I’m not afraid to try complex designs, and I’ve entered my quilts in shows…..  But, they really came through!  Here are the blocks that I got back in December (my initial block is on the upper left):

2012-12-05_12-18-09_707Isn’t this fantastic?  And, you know what?  EVERYBODY got back a set of blocks that were really AWESOME!  The really cool thing is that one lady had this … excuse me… really BUTT-UGLY fabric.  I had no idea what I was going to do when it was my turn to add a block.  And you know what?  Out of all eleven projects, the collection of blocks that lady ended up with was my favorite!  The really cool thing about an exchange like this is that you are really pushed out of your comfort zone, you have to work with colors and styles that you would never consider.  I can now say that I really like yellow and gray…. and I used to HATE yellow!

Our local quilt guild has a show every October, so our little group decided that each of us needs to finish our 2012 project into a quilt and enter it into the show.  So, now that I’m done gallivanting around, I need to figure out how to set these blocks and get the top pieced and quilted by mid October…..  Holy crap.  That’s only three months away!

I have a few ideas.  In my initial block I used some color gradations (dark to light blues, greens, browns and oranges) and I set aside that group of fabrics with the intent of using them in the final quilt.  I need to figure out how to set the blocks, and what (if anything) I can do with sashing.  And, I need to get this all done in the next few weeks so that I can have enough time to get the top quilted in time for the show in October.

Ummm…. I guess I’d better sleep now while I still have the chance!

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