Saturday, November 7, 2009


The December 2009 block swap block is up & I am still getting "but wait a minute" messages/calls so I thought I would just walk anyone who cares through the steps.

First a disclaimer:  the block (& idea) are from an old Fons & Porters Magazine & can be found at that site under 'Quilt Guild Bingo'.  Maybe.  I was told the site is not cooperative & then I had some trouble myself.  So I sent everyone here.  But it does not have actual step-by-step directions.

Let's just begin.  We are making a 5x5 grid of 2.5" unfinished squares.  Each row is a different color.  The colors are red, blue, green, orange/yellow & pink/purple.  The color rows can be in any order so long as the center square (the 3rd square in the 3rd row) is black.

There are also pattern categories.  The categories are:  batik, dots, floral, geometric, heart, leaf, metallic, holiday, novelty, paisley, plaid, solid, star, stripe, or 1930's print.  You can only have a particular category once within a single color but you might have the same category in different colors.  For example: it is OKay to have a red stripe & a blue stripe but you cannot have TWO red stripes or TWO blue stripes.  The original idea was for 'red stripe' to be called out as B-5 might be in an actual bingo game.  There would never be two B-5 squares on the same bingo block.

Which brings me to another clarification point:  we are not actually playing bingo.  I am not aware of any guild or group that plans to use these blocks in an actual game.  There is nothing wrong with that if someone wants to make enough for many players & then swap so they get back more variety (please send me a message though if you plan to send more than five sets of five blocks),  but I swear I am not using the block swap group to make bingo cards for some party not everyone is invited to.  We are however sticking with the rules, mostly to keep things interesting.  After all who wants a 5x5 grid of nothing but striped fabric?  Well, OKay that might be cool, but that is not what we are doing this time.

Because we are not actually playing Bingo, we do not need to be sure that every block is different so you can speed things up by strip piecing. I cut 2.5" strips of (from the top) blue dots, blue floral, blue holiday (or metallic or stars), blue plaid (gingham is plaid, right?), & blue novelty.  You can see that there is another color of each of these:  a red star & a red novelty; an orange/yellow stripe, an orange/yellow plaid, an orange/yellow, an orange/yellow floral & an orange/yellow holiday; a pink/purple dot & a pink/purple novelty; & a green plaid & a green novelty but no repeats of any category within the same color strip.

If it seems like I am harping on this it is because I am.  Everytime I have done a workshop or program or swap or anything to do with this block there is always at least one person who says there are not enough categories for each 2.5" square to be unique.  & for every one person who complains about that, two people turn in a block with category repeats in the same color.

Once your 5-strip piece is made, press the seams in one direction.  Do not press to the dark or open or this way & that way.  Press all seams in one direction.  This will make it easier to sew to the other colors.

Then cut this piece into 2.5" strips.  Repeat for all colors.

If you have pressed all the seams for each strip in one direction, you can flip them when you stitch them & they will lock together. 

Finally assemble five strips, one of each colorway.  It does not matter what order the colors are in so long as the center square -the 3rd square of the 3rd row- is black.  It can be solid or patterned or whatever so long as the primary color is black.

Putting these colors in any order is a variation from the original Fons & Porters pattern.  The last time I did this project a handful of people were making these for a much larger group & one of the ways we made the smaller variety of fabrics make a larger variety of bingo cards was to mix the colors.

It is perfectly OKay to put your color strips in different order for the same swap.  It is OKay if you use different fabrics in each block.  If you look at these three blocks you will see one has a different pink/purple novelty than the others & one has a different mix for the red row.  This is because I was using up scraps & not all the strips were of equal length.

As always, I am collecting 6th blocks-you send your set of five blocks & get back five blocks & you can send a 6th block which goes to a community project quilt.  Anyone who participates in the current swap & has participated in at least two previous swaps can ask for the 6th blocks, they just need to commit the blocks they themselves get back in this swap to the project & to put up pictures on the Facebook group of the quilt(s) that get made within ?6? months as well as some other fairly loose guidelines: the quilts made need to go to the quilt user, they cannot not used as a fund raiser so no raffles or auctions; this should be part of a larger quilt drive with other people not associated with this swap also making quilts.  These are just to avoid quilts ending up in limbo when the quilt is completed but not delivered, or being redirected to a more personal recipient.  This is a 'random acts of kindness' sort of thing, not 'my neighbor's preemie grandchild really needs a quilt' sort of thing.

Project Linus has already received four 6th block quilts, so I would like to see another group get these blocks.  As it was a Pennsylvania PL chapter, other chapters could certainly ask.

Finally if you are not currently part of the Quilt Block Swap Group but would like to be you can:
  • go on FaceBook, search Quilt Block swap Group & ask to join
  • leave a comment to this posting asking for the info that includes your e-mail & I will e-mail you the directions

We swap every other month.  It is up to each swapper to get their blocks in on time with a SAS envelope to return their swapped blocks in.  This particular swap is due-to-me the last Saturday of December 2009, which is 12/26.

Last but not least- a picture of a quilt made from 16 bingo blocks, using what regular readers of this blog will recognize as the reconciling the disparate sashing:

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