Quilt Guild Swap & Challenge Ideas

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hi there!

Recently I've been thinking back on some fun swaps and challenges I've participated in over the years (online and through my local quilt guilds) so I thought I'd share about some of them here in case you're in need of some ideas.  I'm always on the lookout for new, fresh swap/challenge ideas too so I'd love to hear your ideas at the end of this post!

You can break swaps up into 2 different categories: fabric swaps and block swaps.

Sometimes block swaps can be a bit tricky (especially if you're the OCD type and are worried about block sizes finishing correctly).  Maybe I'm a little bit this way, so I tend to participate in fabric swaps more often than block swaps.  That way you can you can exchange with your friends but you have more control over the finished product.


Here are a few ideas for fabric swaps:

1. First, plan a year's worth of monthly themes 
(ie. January - Winter, February - Hearts, March - Green, 
April - Swirls, May - Flowers, etc.).  Have 12 people sign up to participate.  Each month everyone brings 1 fat quarter that matches the theme for the month and puts it in a basket as they walk into the guild meeting.  After all 12 fqs are in the basket, draw one of the participants' names to win those 12 fqs.  The next month, everyone still contributes their fq's but the previous winner(s) names do not go into the draw to win.  Each participant will eventually win a fat quarter bundle at some point throughout the year.  You could call this a Fat Quarter Frenzy Fabric Swap.  Encourage the participants to take no more than 12 months following their win to make a project with their 12 fqs.

[example of a red, white and blue Fat Quarter Frenzy Fabric Swap bundle]

2. Choose a theme (ie. low volumes, tiny florals, Disney, etc.).
Have as many people that would like to participate bring a fat quarter, a 10" square, a 5" square or a 2-1/2" x WOF strip for each person participating.  This is a nice way to get out of your comfort zone or simply get a good assortment of prints without having to purchase all of them.  In 2017, I participated in an online swap of tiny floral fabrics.  We were told how much fabric to buy, how to cut it to yield the necessary number of pieces, the hostesses shipping address and when to have it shipped to her by.  She gave very specific instructions and rules and made sure there would be no duplicates.  Then the host of the swap divvied them all up and shipped bundles of 42 assorted tiny floral 10" squares to each person.  A small fee was necessary to help cover return shipping.  Here's the beautiful bundle of fabrics I received:

3.  Present each swap participant with a beautiful photograph featuring an inspiring color scheme.  Have everyone return the following month with enough fat quarters (or whatever predetermined size pieces of fabric) that features one of the colors pictured in the photograph.  They should bring the same amount of fqs/pieces of fabric as there are swap participants.  The assortment of fabrics they receive in the end should be a fun representation of the photograph (it could be surprising, depending on what colors people chose!)  Note, we did this swap in my local quilt guild.  Everyone decided beforehand that they wanted to make my Fall Flowers quilt so after divvying up the fqs we also gave them the pattern.  They chose their own background fabric and made their own quilts but the Fall Flowers were made with fabrics from the swap.

[Image by Lulie Wallace via The Jealous Curator]

Block Swap Ideas

Here are a few ideas for block swaps:

1. Choose blocks that have some room for squaring up, such as these heart applique blocks.  
We swapped 1 large heart and 2 small hearts with each person.  
See THIS post for more details. 

Or these Plus Blocks.  Click HERE for the free instructions
(excuse the note at the beginning about how many we were to exchange, etc.).

There are so many more blocks out there that allow for trimming down.  But, you can swap blocks that don't allow room for trimming too.  Any block will work really, I just find that no matter how much you stress using an accurate 1/4" seam allowance, without fail there will be some blocks that end up too small or too big.  So it's just my personal preference to swap blocks that allow for trimming.  (With that being said, I have seen many beautiful quilts that were the result of a swap and even if points were cut off in the making you can't really tell in the end unless you look close.)

2. Choose a block pattern for the swap.  Have each participant give a colorful scrap of fabric (for inspiration) and the required amount of background fabric of their choice to each of the other participants (given in a ziplock bag with their name on it).  Then each participant makes a block (or two) using fabrics that coordinate with each persons fabric scrap and gives it to them the following month.  That's what we did for these Spool quilts:

[Sassy Stitchers circa 2013]

More info about these Spools quilts can be found in THIS post and THIS post.

3. Try learning a new technique together (such as paper piecing) and then swap the finished blocks.  One night, we each learned how to make a set of identical half square triangles.  We asked that everyone use 1 red and 1 cream fabric for their set.  At the end of the night, we put them into piles and were able to take a couple of each of the different fabric combos.  We went home with a scrappy assortment of HSTs.  HERE is a similar pattern to what we used to make the HSTs.  I ended up making this flag quilt with mine:

Guild Challenge Ideas

1. This next idea was a challenge to try new blocks and test our creativity!  Together, our small guild, picked out several blocks we liked from the book, Around the Block with Judy Hopkins.  Then we each went home and made the blocks in our own time and in our own color scheme.  We put them together however we liked and shared them later in the year.  It was fun to see how different everyone's quilts turned out.  Here's mine:

[More details about this quilt can be found HERE and HERE.]

2. The Mystery Bag Challenge.  I learned about this idea from my grandmother many years ago.  She had done it in her quilt guild and I passed the idea on to my quilt guild.  Put two crayons in a small paper bag and seal it shut.  Make enough bags as there are participants in the swap.  Let each person choose a bag.  The challenge is they have to make a quilt using some shade of just those two colors (they can also add in black or white if they desire). This challenge helps quilters get outside of their color comfort zone and it's also fun to see the inspiration colors turn into a quilt (tell them to hang on to their crayons to show with the finished quilt, down the road).

The next swap my little quilt group is doing is a 4-Patch exchange using 3" bright/low volume squares.  I'm excited to get making!

I'd love to hear your ideas for guild swap/challenge ideas.  Have you done anything creative in your group?  Please share in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by today!

American Patchwork and Quilting Radio

Monday, September 17, 2018

Happy Monday friends!
I want to invite you to listen in on a chat I'm having with Pat Sloan later today.  
I'll be a guest on her podcast for American Patchwork and Quilting!

The show times are 
4 pm Eastern
3 pm Central
2 pm Mountain
1 pm Pacific

Click HERE for the link.
It should be fun!

Quilt Samples & Fabric Destash

Monday, August 13, 2018

I thought I would let you all know about a little sale I'm having on Instagram under my destash account - @gigisthimble_destash.  It's time to make room for some new items.  So sadly, it's time to part with some of my samples and fabric that are just not getting the attention they deserve.

I've got a few quilts listed, like this one:

And some fabric bundles, such as this: 

And even some smaller projects like this table runner.

There are a few more items listed, some of which I think you'll be surprised to see!
I do hope you'll check it out!  Click HERE for the link.

Thank you all for your continued love and support!  
I love what I do and couldn't do it with all of you that believe and encourage me!  
Have a great day friends!

Tilda Sunkiss Dresden Plate Quilt

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Good morning.  I finally did something that I've been meaning to do for a while now - 
I took some pictures of my finished Sunkiss Dresden Plate quilt!
I've got so many fun pictures to share with you...I hope you don't mind :).

When Devonstone Square reached out to me to let me know that they are a brand new wholesaler in the USA, carrying Tilda Fabrics by Tone Finnanger (from Norway) and asked if I wanted to collaborate - of course, I said "Yes!!!"  I've been a big fan of Tilda Fabrics for a while now and was excited to get my hands on these beautiful, unique fabrics! 

I wanted to use a pattern that really did these fabrics justice so I chose one of my all-time favorite quilt blocks - the Dresden Plate.  I used the Pretty Petals pattern from my book, Vintage Vibe for the Dresden Plate blocks but omitted the alternate patchwork blocks.

I enjoy making these blocks now...but you need to read the story in my book about how I USED to feel about Dresden Plate quilts.  I used to swear that I would never make a Dresden Plate quilt.  Are any of you currently in that same boat?

Dresden Plates are really not that hard to make and my book walks you through every step of the process.  My book is actually out of print now and I only have a few autographed copies left so click HERE if you're interested in picking up one for yourself.

I do enjoy applique...I just don't do it very often anymore.

You get to spend some good quality time with your fabrics.

And as I always say, "A little progress each day adds up to BIG results!"

Do you like applique?  I think most people either love it or hate it.

My quilt finished at 53" x 53".

It was custom quilted by Kaylene Parry in Lehi, UT.

I love the crosshatching she did in the centers.  Actually, I love everything she did!

I used a light pink solid for the back so the quilting would show up really nicely.
The color is "New Color Petal DV121" from Devonstone Square.

And I decided to do a scrappy binding because I thought it would be a fun touch around the white background and borders.

I had so much fun making this quilt and hope you enjoyed seeing some of the process.

Edited: this quilt is now for sale on Instagram under my destash account.
Click HERE for the link. I'm sad to see it go.  A lot of hours and love went into this quilt but I just don't have a place for it.  It's time to make room for upcoming projects so I've decided to include it in a small destash sale I'm having.  I do hope you'll check it out.

Have a great day friends!
Thanks for stopping by!

Mon Beau Jardin Project Tour

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Welcome to the Mon Beau Jardin Project Tour!  

Today, I am so excited to share a sweet baby quilt I made using fabrics from the new line, Mon Beau Jardin by Nadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake Designs/Penny Rose Fabrics.

These fabrics are beeeeeautiful!

I am absolutely obsessed with them and couldn't help but take 
about a million pictures along the way!

The pattern I chose highlights the fabrics perfectly I think.
It's a simple, classic, and FREE baby quilt pattern by my friend, Andy Knowlton 
of A Bright Corner.  Click HERE for the free pattern.

Whoops, how did this picture get in there?
Say "Hi" to my sweet little Molly.

This pattern is perfect for beginners and goes together really quickly.
 It's the Stairway Baby Quilt and it's based on the classic Rail Fence pattern (which I've never made before).
I'm kind of in love with this simplified version, actually.
It really lets the fabrics sing!

There is a great assortment of prints and colors in this line!  

I used Riley Blake's Le Creme Swiss Dot in Baby Pink for the background 
and Mon Beau Jardin's main floral print in aqua for the back.

The quilting was done by my friend Cathy Barney in Alpine, UT.  I love the floral design we chose called, Ginger Flower.  I wanted something that wasn't directional and had some nice curves since there are so many straight edges in the quilt pattern. 

I wanted to incorporate all of the fabrics from the line so my version is much scrappier than the original pattern.  The only fabrics I did not end up using were the sweet little stripes.  Not because I don't like them, but just because I thought they were too light.  I thought they would blend in too much with the background fabric.

I ended up not getting enough of the backing fabric so I used a little bit of a different blue floral from Mon Beau Jardin to piece the back.  I don't mind.  It gives a little "make-do" feel to the quilt (which I love).  Do you ever piece your quilt backs?  How do you feel about that? 

This is my new favorite quilt. It finishes at 48" x 48" so I'll probably give it away as a baby gift someday.  I might be a little sad to see it go but I think whoever I give it to will love it.  I may have to make a bigger version sometime to keep for myself!

Mon Beau Jardin is available in stores now!
If you want to see some more beautiful images of this fabric line visit Nadra's blog HERE.
And be sure to check out these blogs on the specified dates for more Mon Beau Jardin projects!

8/7/18 Jemima - www.tiedwitharibbon.com
8/14/18 Ange - www.alittlepatchwork.com
8/21/18 Jennie - www.cloverandviolet.com/blog
8/28/18 Nadra - www.ellisandhiggs.com

I hope you've found a little inspiration from these darling new fabrics and sweet baby quilt pattern that I've shared today.  I love sharing my quilting journey with you!

Have a great day!

Rustic Romance Project Tour

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

When I got invited to participate in the Rustic Romance Project Tour, I couldn't say no.  It is such a pretty fabric line, I couldn't resist!  Pretty colors with lots of florals, plaids, paisleys and polka dots.  Yes, please!

Rustic Romance is a new fabric line by Gerri Robinson for Riley Blake Designs.  It's available in stores now.  Click HERE to see the whole line.

I found the sweetest pattern that I thought paired perfectly with these fabrics.  It's the Kiss Chasey Quilt by Jemima Flendt.  I got the PDF pattern off the Cosy Project website (it's a site full of patterns and classes from Australia's well-known magazines, Homespun and Quilters Companion.)  And guess what!  I have a 20% off coupon code for you!  Just use "GIGITIM" at checkout to receive 20% off any patterns or videos!  The discount is good through 6/30/18.   

I knew I was using a solid grey fabric for my background so I chose several fabrics from the line that I thought would contrast well with the grey to make my hearts.

To get my bearings on my first few hearts, I used Lori Holt's Alphabitties to keep all the different pieces straight.

 I think the white floral fabric (above) is my favorite print from the line!

The pattern had lots of half-square triangles.  I just made a baby version of the Kiss Chasey quilt but it still took me a while to finish it because of all the trimming!

My little helper and I had lots of fun planning out the color placement!

This quilt was long-arm quilted by Cathy Barney in Alpine Utah.  She used the pattern Modern Loops and I love how it turned out!

For the back, I used one of the plaid prints - which makes me so happy every time I see it!  

And to finish off the whole quilt, I used some of the leftover red fabrics to make a scrappy binding and then machine bound the quilt.  Do you do your bindings by hand or machine?  I used to do all of my bindings by hand but within this last year, I learned how to do machine binding so it looks nice enough.  Plus I was finding that on some of the quilts that we use a lot at home, the bindings were coming undone in several places.  I don't think I'll start machine binding all of my quilts, especially heirloom or big quilts, but since this is a baby quilt, I thought it would be nice to do machine binding since it will probably get washed a lot.  It doesn't have an owner yet so I'll keep it on hand for the next time I need a baby gift!

Well, that was a fun little project!  Thanks for stopping by today.  
I hope you enjoyed this stop on the Rustic Romance Project Tour!  

Have a great day!