Details and Decisions

This post is mostly for those involved in our Christmas Cottage Block Exchange. I was going to address this in an email to all the participants but since there are several people undecided or those I don't have email addresses from yet, I'm going to discuss the exchange in a post. And I have received lots of questions so hopefully this will help some of you. And to those of you not in our exchange. I promise not to constantly post about this exchange everyday but you may enjoy following along with us as I have enjoyed watching from the side lines in other swaps.

First off I'm really excited about the response to the block exchange and very happy to have everyone involved. I don't have final numbers yet but we are a big group. For those on the fence or still wanting to join, you can still sign up until Monday evening. By Tuesday I want to be able to have a final count and email or post groups. There are still some that expressed interest that I don't have email addresses for. I'll post those people a reminder on Tuesday.

Over the weekend I've had some time to think and talk to some of our participants about how to carry out this exchange. Since we do have a big group I've decided to post the rules today in the event someone has 2nd thoughts.

1. The finished block size is 10 1/2 x 12. All seams should be 1/4". There will be some natural variation in block size as someone's 1/4" may be more generous than others. And some fabric used may not be fabric you would have necessarily picked out. But that is the nature of the exchange. Making all blocks work together and enjoying the differences we all have is part of a swap. We will have all levels of expertise. Make it work girls.

2. Use my tutorial for constructing the cottage blocks. You can find it here. And on my side bar under tutorials.

3. Most of the participants in our exchange will probably make Christmas quilts out of the blocks. So with that in mind, and with Stephanie's helpful suggestions, I will divide the participants into groups of 12 or 16 (depending on our final numbers). That way you will have enough blocks for a quilt and more than enough for table runners, or Christmas gift applications. These blocks are very simple and even those less experienced can make them easily before October 31.

4. These blocks will be scrappy. I'm sure we will get a good mix of color and fabric. I am not limiting colors or dividing groups into colors (after giving that much consideration). However the blocks should all be made from the tutorial and should in some way represent Christmas or winter/holiday season. You do not have to use "Christmas fabric" but again, the blocks should go along with our Christmas theme.

5. The light color (white in the tutorial) used around chimney and the top strip of the block does not have to be plain white. Since "white" comes in so many shades I worried about blending all of our blocks with the many shades of white and having it look cohesive. So I've decided to embrace the differences and allow any shade of white or a neutral print that is light in color and not too busy. See my picture above. I think since we are making the blocks scrappy the light or neutral color would go best if there were some intentional variety to it.

6. Fabric should be 100% cotton quilt quality.

7. This exchange is open to bloggers and non-bloggers. I think it will be fun for anyone to participate in as it takes bloggers and readers both to make for a successful blog. And we all have something to offer and learn.

8. Optional * - I expressed an interest in participants using embroidery, a stamp, or some kind of initials or name somewhere on the block so this will become a memory project. You could put an abbreviation of your state or country on the block, anything like that. That is totally up to you if you want to do that or not.

9. The blocks need to be finished and mailed out no later than October 31, 2008. The sooner the better.

10. T from Purple and Paisley has volunteered to help me with sorting the exchange part out with the completed blocks. Some of you will mail your blocks to her and some of you will mail your blocks to me. You'll be contacted on where to send them. We in turn will organize the exchange part and mail them back to you. This gets tricky internationally but I still want to make this opportunity open to everyone so I'll figure out that later. You will mail your blocks along with a packing envelope or manila sized envelope with return postage on the enclosed envelope. I think what you want to do is put the same postage amount on your return envelope as what it costs you to mail it to T or me. Is that part clear? I hope so.

11. I can think of lots of fun ways to sew the blocks into a quilt. Final projects will be all so different. You can sash the blocks so many ways such as with a candy cane fabric or fussy cut snowmen into sashing. I hope to spotlight different ways to put the blocks together during this process. And I hope you will share your ideas with me and the group.

12. Share your blocks with us on your blog on in pictures to me or to T from Purple and Paisley. T has created a little "mock quilt" montage that will show our different blocks together from time to time to keep us motivated.

13. Not every single block you make has to be identical. The idea is just that everyone gets blocks from everyone in their group. In my picture above I have used several different fabrics since I have fat quarters mostly. So don't think you have to make all of your blocks in exact duplicate. You can use trim for the roof, a button for a door knob, embroidery, or embellishments as you desire. Use your creativity and have fun making the cottages.

14. If you have a blog you can grab the Christmas Cottage button on my side bar that T made for us to show you are participating in our exchange.

I'm really excited you want to join our exchange and happy to make new contacts and friends. Expect an email from me sometime Tuesday with more details. And if I haven't covered your questions - please email me.


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Purple and Paisley said...

great post...and, yes, it is very clear...the postage and everything...if you make 15 blocks, you will receive 15 in exchange so postage should be the same both ways...let me know if you want me to post my group or whatever just ask...=)...

Trisha said...

Sounds great, Nanette! Very clear. It is going to be so fun to see everyones blocks!

Kim Walus said...

Hey Nanette, I hope I'm in your group because we live so close to each other that I can just deliver my blocks to you and pick them up when you want me too. I can even help you divide them up or anything else you may need.

I work full-time but I can make any afternoon or evening available to help you. Just let me know how I can help.

I'm glad you talked about using other neutrals for the roof corners and sky. Everything else looks great and I've already made two cottages.

Karla said...

I'm so excited to begin this project. It is going to be so much fun to see what blocks come back. Hmmm... looks like a stop into JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow!!

rachel griffith said...


{^ this is me smiling.}

SUPER excited.
and 'rules' were well stated.

Candace said...

Nanette, I am SO honored that you are the first commenter on my brand new blog! It's still pretty rough around the edges, but I'll be getting the hang of it after a while! Count me in on the exchange - the turorial is excellent and I can't wait to get started!

CJ said...

I hope that you do include posts about the swap! It will be fun to follow along.

Dawn Brown said...

Would love toparticipate in exchange - is this where i sign up?

Abby and Stephanie said...

Can't wait. Very clear and concise post.

pratima said...

Nanette, your little cottages are so charming. I love scrappy quilts and this is going to be such a fun quilt. Very excited to see everyone's versions. Thank you :)

Eileen said...

I am way behind this week in signing blogs.. but I am SO glad I made this one in time! Ok.. I'm in. Sign me up. And I won't sign up for anything else. (ha-ha-ha!) But I really want to make these little houses and participate in yours and T's wonderful exchange. :-D

em's scrapbag said...

Thanks for all your hard work. I am really looking forward to this.

quilterpolly said...

sounds awesome...I am so excited...I can't wait...:)

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Very clear! I am so excited!!

quiltingnana said...

the blocks look easy to make. I have already pulled my fabric!

Unknown said...

Hey Nanette,

I hope its not too late to join in. Please let me know. What fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I just found your blog via Sherri of "A Quilting Life" -- these cottage blocks are simply too adorable!

I like your blog.

Browndirtcottage said...

thanks nanette,,,i dug around today and found some christmas fabric that would work too! it was fun and easy...thanks for sharing this!

Pam Marshall said...

Sounds great. Where you lead we will follow.
I'm not sure if my e-mail came thru before but it should this time.