Exchange Quilt

53 comments
In light of the Christmas Cottage Exchange coming to an end and knowing those cottage blocks are going out to 47 women I thought I would share the story of my apple quilt. This quilt is displayed in my family room where I look at it everyday.

A few years ago I participated in a block exchange in my local quilt group. It was my first block exchange. Our local quilt group was subdivided up into smaller groups for the exchange and I would bring 12 identical blocks every month and go home with 12 different blocks. We made the apple quilt from "Quilting with My Sister" By Teri Christopherson and Barbara Brandeberg. That book is one of my favorites and my apple quilt is a treasure.

I remember being nervous about my own block construction and fabric selection because I wanted the women in our exchange to be pleased with my blocks. Of course everyone's blocks were so different, even though we used the same pattern and everyone used red fabrics. There was such a distinct difference in fabric tastes. And to be quite frank, I ended up with a few blocks I wouldn't normally have picked to put in my quilt.After all my exchange blocks were sewn together I still wasn't sure about some of the fabrics. And yes, everyone had a different "1/4" seam and individual construction methods were not identical.

If you haven't noticed I'm a little competitive. I wanted to be the first person finished with my apple flimsy in our whole group. So I was quick to get the leaves appliqued and my get the finished product to the machine quilter, Wren. When my quilt was finished I was delighted. First of all Wren did an amazing job quilting it with a circular pattern in each apple and small stitching around the apples to make them "pop". I bound my quilt in time to take it to our local quilt show and it was a hit. Yes. I was first!

Of course now love the quilt. I love all the different fabrics and textures that each individual woman in our exchange brought to the finished product. I would not have picked many of those fabrics but when they were stitched together those apples made an awesome statement - the differences in taste fell away and the beauty of each block and the person it represented was apparent. It is a great memory quilt and represents women I share a hobby with. It is a wonderful patchwork of personalities. I wouldn't change a thing. I hope our 47 Christmas cottage swappers find the same experience in their cottage quilts.

-nanette

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53 comments

Suzan said...

Our small quilt group did a block exchange of tea cup blocks. The cups were pieced and the handles were embroidered. No two people seemed to have the same idea of what a quarter inch looked like so the blocks were all different sizes. Putting it together was an adventure but it came out beautifully and it is one of my favorite quilts because more than anything, it represents friendship.

Messy Karen said...

that's a beautiful quilt. and wise words for those of us getting ready to put our cottages together.

jacquie said...

hey nanette, did you see your little dresses on craft gossip? so cute, i love that pattern.

Stephanie said...

Delicious quilt Nanette! I think it's fun receiving blocks from others even if their taste is not our own. Makes for a more interesting quilt.

Lynn said...

I love the apple quilt - I think that's what makes a block swap interesting - plus the fun of working in fabrics I wouldn't typically use. I did a scrappy circle block swap recently and not all were the same size - but it adds to the scrappy part of it!

Carrie P. said...

The apples are all so neat. It is always fun to see the fabrics people use.

Amanda said...

I love that quilt, and I have wanted to make it for myself. Doing an exchange was a great idea.

Yes, doing an exchange you do get a lot of different ideas in fabric choices, but that's the beauty of participating. You sort of know that when you start.

I'm looking forward to getting my blocks in the mail!

Amanda

Susan said...

So true, Nanette, very well written. Sometimes I hesitate getting into swaps and exchanges but it all comes together nicely in the end. I always enjoy your posts.

quiltingnana said...

your apple quilt is so special and what a wonderful memory. I just love the pattern and the variety of apples.

MichelleB said...

What a cute quilt! And it's wonderful that you have such great memories to go along with it.

Purple and Paisley said...

very wise post, friend...and isn't the same true in life? so many differences among us, but if we all just come together? we "mesh" just fine...=)

~D Spack~ said...

"Patchwork of Personalities" I like that. AND I love the apple quilt. It is neat, for all the reasons you extolled. I love to click on the picture and get an upclose of all the fabulous fabrics.

Threeundertwo said...

This is why I love quilting - the whole is always greater than the sum of it's parts.

That apple quilt is wonderful.

Annie said...

what a great segway to those who are in their first exchange. Lovely job. I love my apple quilt too. (On display in Annie's house) And, if I haven't said so before, you are a terrific writer.

flora said...

annie was logged on my lap top. Oops. Her comment was really from me. AND I LOVE MY COTTAGE BLOCKS. Going to be adorable. Thank you, thank you.

TLC said...

Well said! I can't wait to get my cottage blocks!! I am hoping my idea for putting them together works as well as I am imagining!

jenny said...

the apple quilt is great, very visually striking.

TLC said...

Sorry, I forgot to say how adorable your apple quilt is. I love all the different reds. What a great idea for an exchange quilt.

Muddling Through said...

But that's what quilts are: a trip down memory lane, even if you are the only one with input into that quilt it still brings back memories of the places you got your fabric, the difficulties you encountered in putting it all together, and in some scrappy quilts - the clothing you or your children have worn that is now in your quilt. It's a personal, comforting craft. That's why I love it!

beth at aunties said...

I loved the apple quilt and isn't wonderful they are all so unique just the way Heavenly Father made each of us:) what a fun quilt to decorate around.
It's like everyone making the he very same recipe for a church dinner and the food all looking so different!

cornbreadandbeansquilting said...

Oh girl sometimes my OWN blocks are an adventure to put together, so I feel confident that I can push, pull, and drag those blocks into a quilt no matter what sizes they are, I have practice ! hehehe
I am waiting on pins and needles to get them and play with them =)

So what's next? A valentine heart block exchange perhaps? LOL I can't wait to do another swap.

Melissa

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

I just love that quilt and understand why you love it too. I know I will feel the same about the christmas blocks, fabric and choices I may not have made but THAT is what will make it special, otherwise, I could have made it by myself, but I know I will love evryone of the blokcs for their own tastes and beauty. perfect post for when we receive our blocks, hugs!!

Sherri said...

Your apple quilt is beautiful, and I'm so looking forward to receiving my cottages as this will be my first exchange block quilt!

ElizabethandJeff said...

Block swaps are so much fun! I love to look at each block in the finished quilt and think of of the friends that made them. My friends are I are now doing a two color quilt with blue and cream.

Catherine said...

What a fabulous quilt and the story behind it is wonderful!
It's such a happy quilt -- made me smile right away.

Sandi said...

What a lovely post, Nanette, and so true. I can hardly wait for the mailman to come this week for he will bring your package with the cottage blocks and I received messages last week that a package is on the way from Lee in Australian in an ornament exchange I am in and my Stitching Angel Anna e-mailed me that her package was sent the end of October. I am waiting on "pins and needles" to hear my doorbell ring!! Have a good day. Blessings and smiles to you!

Kritta22 said...

That's a great quilt! I wouldn't have picked some of those fabrics either but they go together nicely!
I'm soooooo playing in your next block exchange!

RobinE said...

What a wonderful quilt that is! Such a testament to the beauty of diversity. And it sounds like there are a lot of great memories associated with it, as well. Very nifty!

Mel said...

Yummy quilt!

I've participated in quite a few swaps and have always had the additude that other quilters have different tastes and quilting skills than I do. So being aware of that before I begin, makes it exciting to see what is returned.

I've ended up with some that I don't particularly care for, but have also been extremely pleased with several exchanges.

Maybe my cottages will be in my mailbox today!!

em's scrapbag said...

Your apples are great! What a fond memory for you. Can't wait to do my cottages and see what others do with theirs. Thanks for all your hard work!

rachel griffith said...

such a great story...to go with a beautiful quilt.

thanks for sharing.

can't wait to get my vottage blocks.
yayyy.

pratima said...

Such a sweet quilt! The different fabrics in the quilt add a lovely charm to it. Thanks for sharing!

Nan said...

Love the story, and laughed at the need to be 'first' ! ;) LOL Such a cute idea.

Mary said...

I had to smile at your story because it mirrors my own. I got into quilting in a serious way because of my first exchange quilt. As soon as I had my blocks, I put them together and then I promptly quilted and bound it. I was also the first, and the teacher (a friend of mine) commented on how very few actually take the blocks that far. My competitive spirit kicked in and to this day I have few UFOs because I want to be THAT person that finishes her quilts.

Hooray for Block Exchanges. Your Christmas house one is more than charming.

Fiesta said...

Nannette the quilt is beautiful and so is the story behind it. Thank you for sharing it on your blog.

Elaine Adair said...

My very favorite quilt was a Row x Row, done by 6 different women in the guild, and like you, I wasn't so sure about some of those blocks when they came back to me. But by the time I put sashing between, and noted all the variables, and the maker's personalities, and the little story each one told me, it became such a keepsake, that I even hand quilted it. It IS a treasure!

Gentry said...

Dear Nanette,
I got my cottages today and I couldn't be more delighted! It was so fun to open the package and see each and every little cottage. It was great to see where they came from and to notice all the individuality. Love Them. I feel like I have friends all over the country now. Thanks for the little gifts, too.
Love,
Tricia Tolton (no blog) (rtolton@afconnect.com)

Kim said...

Now that would be a fun quilt block exchange for next year- even if they included yellow and green apples
HINT! HINT!
Your quilt is lovely :)

marilynl said...

My guild did a flower basket exchange. I made 40 identical blocks which seem like a whole lot of work for me, who was a novice at piecing. Some of the fabrics that were in the blocks that I received didn't look like they belonged in the color scheme suggested. But I put every one of those blocks in my finished quilt and it is beautiful. There were all kinds of skill level represented in those blocks too. There were fabrics that were my favorite and some not even in the realm of my taste. But you are right when you say it represents women that share a love of quilting with me and I am so happy with my beautiful flower basket quilt.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Love the apple quilt. Very cute.

Mimi Sue said...

Gorgeous quilt. Love the apples and the idea of making memories. Mimi

Catherine said...

Gorgeous quilt!! Love the apple blocks!! CAthy

Busty LaRue said...

That is such a cute quilt!

Caesar Beezer The Wonder Dog said...

I too love Teri Christopherson and Barbara Brandenburg's books - I think I have every one they've published...that's where the circle quilt )that everyone in my quilt group has made over and over) came from! I love the apple quilt - it's just so dang happy! The Other Nanette

suesueb said...

i love it!!

Thimbleanna said...

SO perfectly said Nanette! I can't wait to see the house quilts popping up all over the internet!

amandajean said...

I love the apple quilt. Nanette, I think you and I are an awful lot alike. :0)

Eileen said...

ooops! How did I miss this post?

A very very special quilt. I love all the different personalities shining through. And Wren did a terrific job.. her quilting is marvelous.

Fiesta said...

your towel is aawesome that way. Great job. I love the variety of home you make them.

Ginger Patches said...

I love that apple quilt! I can't wait to see the cottage quilts come together :)

Lily Boot said...

spot on nanette! I cannot wait to hold those little cottages that have come from so far away, from women, who like me, love to sit down at their machine and create. I can't wait to then go to each of their blogs (if possible!) and read about their days and their lives - it will be such a good christmas quilt, because it will be about a community coming together to celebrate! Oh, I've gone all goosey just thinking about it ;-) Thanks!

Nan said...

Oh Nanette - what a lovely story! Such a wonderful keepsake. I know all the ladies in your swap will feel the same way.

Kathy said...

Love how you have described the story behing your apple quilt. It is a beautiful representation of your quilting friends.