I’m constantly amazed by the opportunities for real life connections that the Internet has brought me over the past few years. From all of the kind comments that are left here on my blog and on my photos, to swaps and friendships that I’ve made online, I cannot imagine my life without it.

So, in the newest of those opportunities, I joined a project called the 12 Squared Quilting Bee. It’s interesting how it works: for the next 12 months, we’ll all be making blocks for each other. One person sends her fabric out to the other 11 quilters, we make blocks to her specifications, and then send them them back to her. This month I made blocks for Valerie–month one down!

May blocks

Truthfully, I was really overwhelmed when I got the fabric for May. I loved the fabric, but together they’re big and bold and just not what I’m used to. Plus, seriously! It’s nerve wracking to make parts for other people’s quilts.

Block No. 1

But I really didn’t need to be worried, because Valerie has a great sense of color and pattern. The first one I did, I pieced like how I do my quilted totes. No plan whatsoever.

Block No. 1

But this one is my favorite. I love the fabric in the center of the block and I really felt that it needed to be framed by a log cabin.

Looking forward to next month’s set of fabric!

There are those projects that are destined to be failures even before they start. This is one of those projects.

doll quilt swap

On first glance, it doesn’t look like a fail. Looks can be deceiving though.

I signed up for a doll quilt swap back in March (or maybe earlier, I can’t really remember), and had really good intentions about getting something started. Between the combination of lack of inspiration, other projects I was more interested in, and good old fashioned procrastination, I managed to hold off beginning this until about the last week in April. Turns out, if I had read the information (at all) I would have noticed the quilt was due the last week in April. Well crap.

doll quilt swap

In the meantime, I received my super awesome quilt from Alison. It’s so fabulous. I love everything about it–the colors, the design, the quilting. She did a fantastic job, and sent along a handmade pincushion to boot. She’s so talented, and I was lucky to be her recipient. Did this help me be a better swapper? You be the judge.

doll quilt swap

But finally, I managed to finish the quilt earlier this week. Since I decided to hand quilt it, it took a longer to finish, but it looked good. I ended up buying a store bought, pre-made bias binding for the edge (which I’ve never done before, but why cut all that fabric when I just wanted a red border?) and at that point, thought I was ready to go. A quick toss in the sink, then a run though the dryer and I’ve got a soft, wrinkly doll quilt.

doll quilt swap

Did you know you have to wash store bought quilt binding? Neither did I.

The red dye from the binding was everywhere. I took to the quilt with a bleach pen. It seemed to work, but at this point, I had to come up with a way to get the bleach out of the quilt. I took a chance and washed it again in colorsafe bleach. It took the dye out, but now, the water had soaked the bleach through all of the layers and dyed the back of the quilt. Splochy and overall ruined really.

I couldn’t bear to take a picture of the quilt afterward. I sent it out anyway, with an apology note and a few other goodies to make up for my craptastic swap.

So….who’s interested in doing a swap?? I promise it can’t get any worse than that.

It’s been practically a year since I did any real quilting of any kind; last summer I got on to the bag making kick that I’m still in, and quilting kind of fell from my radar. I’ve been meaning to get back into it all, and so I joined up with the Doll Quilt Swap II project to get myself motivated.

Doll Quilt

Like normal, I was supposed to send this out yesterday, but I just finished the binding on it this evening. It took some extra time to do all of the hand sewing on this, but I really think it made a difference. I was really on the fence about just machine quilting and binding it, but I know my work looks better when I take the time to do the hand work.

Doll Quilt

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put any borders or sashing in, and in the end decided not to, mainly because I was running out of time. In the end, I’m really glad I decided to skip it. I think it would have been too broken up that way. Maybe it’s me being lazy, too.

Doll Quilt

I was seriously happy with how the backing turned out. It worked perfectly to just use the small amount of color so that you could really see the quilting from the back. Part of me almost likes the back side better than the front side.

Off to the post office in the morning with it! I hope my swap partner likes it as much as I do. If not, I suppose she can send it back to me. I wouldn’t complain!

Oh how I love to get mail! Recently I recived the most beautiful swap from Claire of Needlebook.

Needlebook Swap

I was so excited to get one of her delicate needlebooks. It’s so beautifully made and I’ve seriously shown it to everyone I know. I was also thrilled about the two pieces of fabric that she also put inside. I’ve already got big plans for both of them! Thank you so much Claire!

I’ve been neglecting my poor blog! Even worse, I’ve not shown off my beautiful goodies from the Gifty 3 swap yet. Yikes!
Vicki from Turkey Feathers sent me so many pretty things!

Gifty 3 Swap

I really felt very spoiled! She sent buttons, Amy Butler fabric, pom pom and tassle trims, darling patches, one of her amazing sachet peeps and a perfect heart needle book! I never realized just how much I needed one of those before; I’m carrying it everywhere now. I had so much fun with this swap–thank you Vicki for being a terrific partner!