Sunday, September 8, 2013


This is an idea that a friend suggested to me when I took a group of ladies on a retreat earlier this year.  I wasn't able to implement the idea for the earlier group but another group of friends are going on a retreat together this fall.  I thought it would be fun to exchange some friendship blocks with each other and then make small quilted pieces to remember our retreat together.  

I decided to ask everyone to make enough blocks so each person would receive one block from every other person at the retreat.

I chose a simple pattern.  I think a Rail Fence block is very easy to do and easy to get accurate.

A suggestion is to choose two fall colors to go with an off white neutral fabric. 

The strips are to be cut at 2 1/2" wide.  You may use strips cut from yardage, fat quarters or from scraps.  The blocks will be 6 1/2" unfinished squares.  So, if you use scraps you must have at least     6 1/2" by 2 1/2" scrap in order to get the size you need for the
completed block.
I chose an orange, and an orange, green, gold print to go with my tone on tone off white.  I used yardage and cut my strips 2 1/2"
by width of fabric.
Next I sewed them together. . .
Now they are ready to be cut into squares.  The width of this 3 strip strata should be 6 1/2".  It is a good idea to check this now since you will be sharing these blocks and they need to fit nicely with all the other exchange blocks you will be receiving.

Using a 6 1/2" square up ruler is the easiest way to check the measurement of the width.  The middle strip should measure 2 inches and the two outer strips should now measure  2 1/4" each which will give you a perfect 6 1/2" square.  If your strata width varies from this measurement, now is the time to correct it.  Either make the seam allowance larger or reduce the seam allowance to get these measurements.

It is time to cut the strata into individual squares that measure
 6 1/2".  I use my 6 1/2" square up ruler for this.  Be careful as you go along the strata to continuously check that you are getting a perfect square on all sides.

Here is your 6 1/2" square.
If you are using yardage strips you will be able to get six squares from the strata strip.

Now that your blocks are completed, you simply autograph the center strip.  Remember!!!  LEAVE A HALF INCH MARGIN on each edge to allow for seam allowance and a little extra.

You may use whatever method you prefer for signing your blocks.  Pigma pens work well.  Be sure to heat set them after signing.
You may choose to hand embroider your name or you may use machine embroidery to do this.

My favorite pen to use for making labels and signing quilts is a Prismacolor pen.  They come in different sizes and you can usually find them in an art supply store.

I think it is wise to heat set the ink on these pens also.

Now you are ready to take your blocks to the retreat and exchange them with everyone else.  It will be fun to see how folks choose to set these together and quilt them. 





  1. I think you picked a great block Sandi cause they really can be put together in allot of different designs....