Exchange Organizers Collected Wisdom

Collection maintained by: Marina S

So you want to organize a quilt block or fabric exchange? Here's the FAQ for you!

This file contains advice collected from many organizers of various types of block and fabric exchanges. None of their suggestions are absolutely necessary to a successful exchange, however, you may save yourself time and grief by at least considering their ideas before you jump in head first.

Remind participants that: Explain what you are willing to do as far as tracking blocks.
Various choices are: Sometimes people join exchanges and then lose their net access, their jobs, or both. These events are usually sudden and unplanned. You can avoid losing contact with them if you:

Suggest that everyone print out a copy of the list of participants, or at least your name and address, at the very beginning. Then if net access is lost for some reason, they will be able to let someone know what is going on, by snail mail or telephone if necessary.

Make sure to get a phone number and snail mail address for everyone in the group right at the beginning, so you can contact them if their email account doesn't work.

A basic block exchange can have many variations, but some basics are:


1. Size and shape of blocks (including seam allowances)

2. Number of members in a group (Six is plenty for the first one, once you get good at this you can take on more).

3. How many blocks per member (usually = number of members, but it's possible to ask for 3 sets per person of 9-patches, so that's 36 blocks per person)

4. Pattern restrictions, if any (This will usually be your "theme". Examples are : butterflies, 9-patches, anything with less than 20 pieces per block, cats, baby blocks, etc.)

5. Construction restrictions, if any (pieced, hand appliqued, machine appliqued)

6. Material restrictions, if any (standard call is 100% cotton, prewashed fabrics. Sometimes solids, or certain shades, or unbleached muslin or fancy muslin, etc. Sometimes background only is absolutely specified (muslin of some sort, for instance), with some choice in the foreground (Xmas colors, etc.). The restrictions are usually tied to the theme of the exchange.)

7. Signing (where on the block, suggested color, what information (name, date, year, city, state, etc.)

8. Mailing deadline for the blocks.

9. Be sure to ask for their full name, snail-mailing address, preferred e-mail address and number of blocks or groups they want to make/be in. (Usually number of groups will suffice, except when you also call for groups of varying sizes.)

10. Always give a return path for your address in the call.

11. Mention if you have instructions available on how to make the pattern called for, or a list of books with patterns that can be used.

12. Hand piecing? Pros and cons. It takes longer, and some people are not that skilled at it. Ask if anyone wants to hand piece, and talk with them about it privately before you agree to make sure they can keep up with the rest of the group. They may be better off in a beginner's exchange that has a longer time period.
 World Wide Quilting Page * FAQ's Page