A few years ago I ran a Civil War era friendship quilt block exchange amongst a far flung group of friends. We had a lot of fun shopping for fabrics, choosing block patterns and trading our finished blocks.
Now whenever we look at our finished quilts we remember the good time we had creating them, and think of all of the people that came together to make each of our quilts.
When I was thinking up ways to celebrate my 25th anniversary in business, it occurred to me that an Izannah Walker doll sized friendship block exchange would be a great activity to mark the occasion and share something special with all of the people that make me love doing what I do.
Friendship quilts were all the rage in the 1840’s. They were an outgrowth of the practice, in earlier decades of the 19th century, of keeping albums containing the signatures of friends and relatives. The signatures on the quilt blocks were a remembrance of the individuals who signed, and often made, the blocks. Friendship quilts were most frequently made for people who were moving away from their communities, or to mark important occasions such as weddings and births.
So pull out your scrap bags, thread your needles and help me commemorate my own important occasion by joining in my friendship quilt block exchange.
Even if you have never quilted before, I think you will find this to be an enjoyable, easy project. If you don’t want to quilt your finished coverlet, you can hand tie it instead. I’m sure your Izannah will love it either way. If you can manage to sneak the quilt away from your doll, it would also look wonderful hanging on your wall.
The rules are simple:
1. All fabrics should be roughly Civil War era material, either reproduction or the real thing (if you are lucky enough to have antique fabric in your stash). That way the quilts will be just right to keep your Izzys warm at night.
Please make sure all of your fabrics are pre-washed, so that they will not shrink if they are washed after the quilt is made.
2. We are exchanging 3 inch blocks, that means that the finished size of the blocks, when pieced together to form a quilt are 3 inches square. The blocks that you send in should measure 3- ½ x 3 – ½ inches, which includes a ¼ inch seam allowance all around the block. Please make sure your measurements are exact. It is unbelievably frustrating to try and piece together quilt blocks that are all slightly different sizes.
3. Your blocks may be of any Civil War era design you would like, either pieced or appliqued. You may piece blocks as simple as a four patch, or log cabin, or get crazy and do more elaborate blocks. The only thing I ask is that you make blocks that you would be happy to have someone else give you. 🙂
5. You may send in as many blocks as you wish and will receive the same number of blocks in exchange.
6. Please send a self addressed postage paid return envelope in with your blocks. Include a note with your name, mailing address, email address and the number of blocks you are sending in the envelope. Make sure that the return postage is enough to cover the cost of mailing your blocks back to you.
7. All blocks sent in to the exchange must be post marked no later than July 1, 2011 (please mail your blocks earlier than 7/1/11 if you live outside of the United States).
Mail your blocks to me:
A Sweet Remembrance
172 Aspetuck Ridge Road
New Milford, CT 06776-5611
You will receive all of your exchanged friendship blocks back in time to stitch together a wonderful doll size quilt before fall. Did you know that in days past, most quilting was done in the warmer months to take advantage of the additional hours of sunlight to sew by? The majority of the quilting in New England was done from May – November, with May and October being the busiest quilting months.
If you email me photos of your finished quilts I will post them here for everyone to ohhh and ahhh over.
Happy Quilting! I’m looking forward to trading blocks with you 🙂
* if you would like to read more about friendship quilts I recommend Northern Comfort New England’s Early Quilts 1780-1850 by Lynne Z. Bassett and Jack Larkin
Need More Inspiration?
Here are a few more photos from my previous full size Civil War Block Exchange.