I probably mentioned before that very few of the people who work on this quilt are quilters other than for this. Part of the original plan when this fell to us was to involve as many people as possible. We wanted more of the church to feel ownership for the quilts, especially since the person who buys a quilt is frequently one of the people who worked on it. Or her mother, in the case of one quilt where we had a couple of young piecers work on it. Also, of course, the more people who work on the quilt, the more quickly it gets finished. (You probably already had that part figured out.
To that end, we recruit anyone with a sewing machine or anyone who is willing to do a little hand piecing. We put together block kits (we use a lot of Zip-Loc bags for this part), complete with instructions that cover every eventuality that I can think of and color pictures of each step made with the fabric we are using. In order to emphasize the 1/4 inch seam, in later years I have included index cards gridded in 1/4 inch measurements to help people without quilting machines that already have the appropriate markings.The instructions emphasize the necessity of an accurate 1/4 inch seam, which directions to press the seams, and finished size. In years with more than block, this means several sets of directions, of course. All of this (except the directions so we don’t waste church paper making more sets of directions than necessary) goes into a numbered Zip-Loc bag.
Once the kits are assembled, I print up sign out sheets which include the kit number and columns for the name of piecer, her email address, the date the block was taken, and the date it was returned. I use numbered bags the first year, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get them all back. But we learn from our mistakes! And, yes, because I am cheap (or to help the environment) we reuse the bags from year to year.
Then the kits go to church to be distributed. The first four years I stood up in each service (well, at least each English speaking service) and described what was going on. (I like microphones even less than I like cutting!) Last year’s top was already done so I got to skip this step. Over the years I have assembled a pretty comprehensive list of email addresses, so this year I just emailed everyone and before I knew it the kits were gone! 2/3 of them are already back!
The other thing we did this year was use block assembly as the craft for one of our church’s MOPS meetings. You may remember that last year the MOPS group made the “Brown Bear” quilt because they wanted to contribute to last year’s quilt but that had been already done by someone else who donated it. This year I held back some blocks, and we put them together at their meeting this week. Young future quilters!
Below is a copy of this year’s instructions. I saved them for the end because they are only an example and they can be pretty long and boring!
When sewn together, the first row looks something like this:
Row 2 looks like this when you have assembled it:
For the second row, press your seams toward the center square
Your final block should measure 9 ½ inches square and should look pretty much like this: