Sunday 28 September 2014

Fiona's Block Swap

My original advert on Instagram

I suppose some of you have seen the hashtags on Instagram #FionasBlockSwap or #QuiltySistersInstabee and wondered what they were all about?  Well it all started back on the 8th of May when my dear friend Cassie posted a photo on her Instagram feed of a gorgeous blue Trellis Crossroads bee block that she had received from one of her fellow hive members.    
I was absolutely smitten with this design and went looking for a free tutorial so that I could use this pattern as my chosen block when it was my queenly rule for QCA Bee #5 in August.  I was soon to discover that this was in fact a licensed pattern designed by Jessica Kelly and to not breech copyright I would have to purchase the book "Modern Bee - 13 Quilts To Make With Friends".  I then realised that I would not be able to use this block for this Bee as we are only permitted to use free (non licensed) quilt block patterns.
I had commented on Cassie's photo how much I loved the design and a few mutual Instagram friends offered to make me a block or two.  I was totally blown away by their generous offers so I put my thinking cap on.  "What would be a fair way to do this?"  I was still a bit of a newbie at quilting and desperately wanted some more piecing experience, so I thought that a block swap would be a fair thing to do.  If anyone wanted to make me a Trellis Crossroads block, I would happily make them a block (or more) of their choice in exchange. I trotted down to my local Spotlight store and purchased a copy of the book and whipped up a test block in my chosen colours - scrappy lime green, scrappy grey & solid white.

My original test block

I duplicated a photo of my test block in InstaCollage app to check the overall design effect.
I posted a copy of the photo above on Instagram and pretty quickly the offers came flooding in.  I kept a list of everyone who responded.  There was no initial time frame of when I needed the blocks (I was in no hurry) but I was eager to find out what everyone wanted in exchange so that I could sort through my fabric stash and buy any necessary additions and get started making all the various blocks. 
What fun I was to have over the next few months as I played with various designs that were new to me and colour schemes that I had never used before.  Here are some of the blocks that I made:
Cassie wanted some single coloured blocks for her Rainbow Trellis Crossroads quilt.  The orange one was a bit of a disaster so I made her an extra one in Red and also a Yellow block.  The lime & grey one is my test block.
Alison's Trellis Crossroads block - bright scrappy

Alison's 2nd Trellis Crossroads block - bright scrappy
Raquel's Stacked Windmills block in Grey & Radiant Orchid
Janine's Bluebell's Cabin block - bright scrappy

Janine's 2nd Bluebell's Cabin block - bright scrappy
Jo's Come Together block - Bright Happy Colours
Julie's Triple Star in Raspberry & White

Julie's 2nd Triple Star in Raspberry & White

Lisa's Stacked Windmills Block with a medium pink middle row.  I dug out my Tilda for this one.

Lisa's 2nd Stacked Windmills Block with a medium pink middle row.  Lisa loves red & pink together so this one has more red in it.
I had never been on the receiving end of a quilting bee or swap before (as I was yet to experience my Queenly Rule in either of my Quilt Club Australia bees); so I was pretty surprised that instead of receiving just a card with my block/s, PARCELS started appearing in my letterbox!  Yes, parcels! And in these parcels were lots of lovely gifts of fabric, lovely assortments of beautifully home made  & shop bought items, chocolates, mini quilts, chocolates, Nutella, lollies, chocolates, oh and did I mention the chocolates!!  I was (and still am) so blown away (and full of chocolate)! YUM! YUM!
As I received the blocks from each of the girls I set about putting together a special parcel of love and thanks for each of them containing various items of love (and chocolate) together with their quilt block/s.  Acts 20:35 states "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving."  My heart overflowed with happiness as they each received their parcels and I read their messages! 
I cannot believe the friendships that I have made along this amazing journey and the beautiful craftpersonship that each person has demonstrated.  We all live in various areas of Australia (& Raquel is in America).  We may possibly never get a chance to meet in person but I feel such a connection with these gorgeous ladies! 
Along the journey I started to make many more quilting friends online and have since discovered a large network of fellow Jehovah's Witnesses who are quilters (some of whom were members of my original block swap).  As our network and friendships grew, Raquel decided that we should start up the #QuiltySistersInstabee  We are Sisters united by our faith, and our mutual love of Jehovah and of quilting.  We commenced our quilting bee in July 2014 and so far we have over 20 members.  Click here to see the blocks that I have made for the Quilty Sisters Instabee Group.
Originally I had expected that I would have to make more of the Trellis Crossroads blocks for my quilt myself, however I have decided to carry this block through to the #QuiltySistersInstabee group as we are using the "Modern Bee" book as a basis for our bee. So far I have received blocks from 5 Quilty Sisters members and another from a friend in my QCA bee #5 group.
Here is an updated photo of the blocks which I have received so far - 22 blocks as at the 26th of September 2014.  I anticipate that I should have a full quilt top (30 blocks are needed for a queen size quilt) in time for next winter & a very fancy quilt back made up of any extra blocks & the signature blocks.
The quilt so far hanging up on my design wall (26 September 2014)

There is also a signature panel representing each person who has contributed to this quilt.  I plan to turn these into blocks which will adorn the back of my quilt.  I am yet to decide on a design for these or for the back of the quilt.  

The signature panels ready to be made into blocks to adorn the back.
I am really looking forward to snuggling up in this quilt when it is finished and when I do it will feel like I am being hugged by many many very wonderful and special friends! 
Thank you to all of you - you know who you all are!


  1. Quilters are a generous & lovely bunch. The quilt will be stunning when its finished. Hugs, xx

  2. That was so lovely to read Fiona, and beautiful to have that quilt as a nice warm hug from your friends, near and far! I may have missed the swap, but still sending lots of hugs your way! Xxx

    1. Awwww thank you so much Kath! I have lots of cherry flavoured hugs from you and think of you every time I see a cherry related item. I love you my friend xoxo

  3. Hi lovely! Wonderful to read your story and how happy things like this makes us! ♡ I have loved every minute of being part of a wonderful bee. I have met so many wonderful generous people that I feel people who don't sew I feel sorry for as they are missing out! Loved meeting you through IG can't wait to see your quilt finished! Hugs ♡♥

  4. So many amazing blocks!
    Glad to be a part of your quilt too! x
    P.S. do you know that you are a "no-reply blogger"? When you commented on my blog I couldn't reply to your lovely message.

    1. That's weird. I will have to check my settings next time I have the laptop on.

  5. Hi Fiona, can I direct some quilty peeps to your fabulous post here ... I've just been reminded that I am Queen Bee for our UK Modern Instabee this month! I would love to share your photos with them to show them what can be done. I'm the first to choose the Trellis Crossroad block in our group x al

    1. It looks like it's working now Alison. Thanks. And yes to what you asked above. :)

    2. Thanks for letting me know. I think the default settings must have changed following the Samsung Update (I posted from my phone). I will have to watch that ...
      You're a star!


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