I have participated in exactly 2 quilt block swaps. The first was with a group of quilters that were fairly close friends, with each other. They did private quilt runs, had private quilt retreats and in class all sat together in their own little clique. Having said all of that, they are nice ladies who are social away from the quilt shop. I was the outsider who wanted to join.
The rules were that participants make a preselected quilt block for each exchange member out of whatever fabric each person chose within the parameters that is be Halloween themed.
The block pattern was very intricate with lots and lots of points to match up. I like matching points, but since I was presenting these blocks to other quilters, I decided that they had to match perfectly – all of them – all 1000 of them. Well, maybe they each didn’t have 1000 points, but they seemed to. I can’t tell you how much I stressed over them.
I finished the exchange and was not invited back. I don’t know if they had another or not, but I am not sure that I would have joined again anyway. It was more stressful than I want to be. I learned from this experience that I am more of a perfectionist than I already knew I was. And that I truly cannot make myself follow a schedule (maybe I did already know that last part!)
I am going into my third year of my next foray into block exchanges. That perfectionist/show off-edness is still rearing its ugly head, but it is manageable. The rules here is that we are to do a 3 ½ inch block of some particular theme per month but it is up to us to decide on the materials used (one person used candy wrappers once – awesome!) and what techniques to employ.
I have done several types of appliqué, lots of embroidery, regular piecing, paper piecing, 3D piecing and whole cloth (3 ½ X 3 ½ ) quilting. There has been ample opportunity to experiment and create.
But, let’s revisit my second issue with the first experience. I cannot follow a schedule. The blocks are due by the 10th of the assigned month. Even when I have the blocks competed (yes it did happen once or twice) I haven’t been able to complete that whole post office thing.
But, I do always manage to get them done, eventually. I don’t mean to frustrate the other participants and I did offer to drop out if I was causing too much consternation. They accept my chono deficiencies and I am happy with this group.
The bottom line is – figure out an exchange that marries what you are willing to give with what you are looking to receive. There are lots of quilters out there with lots of different expectations.
Quilt block exchanges are a terrific way of showing off what you can do and appreciating the talents of other quilters.
I give block exchanges (the ones that fit you) a hearty two thumbs up.
http://onlinequiltingclassesmembership.ning.com/ and join the free membership for ideas.