Autograph Quilt Block Exchange

Rissa Peace Root 2004

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I was rereading Elizabeth Musheno's Book of Colonial Needlework and was inspired by a photograph on page 71 of an Autographed Presentation Quilt. A group of women had each made and autographed a square that was pieced and quilted, then presented to a pastor's wife in 1847. Later I "googled" Autograph Quilts, Signature Quilts and Friendship Quilts and saw that there was a lot of great information out there about this type of quilt.

I was inspired to create my own Autograph Quilt with squares from friends, family and other CQ enthusiasts. I presented the idea on a few email lists and got a lot of positive feedback. After taking some polls regarding square size, theme, and how to organize such a large undertaking, I decided to start a private email group on Yahoo and pursue this venture. Surprisingly, there were a few bumps at the very beginning, but now, with the help of, it looks like this will be a viable adventure.

I am hosting an organized exchange of Autograph Quilt blocks, 6" x 6" finished working area with a minimum of 1/2 inch seam allowance, in the makers choice of theme and style. The block should represent the maker and definitely have a signature. It will make the swap more meaningful if the participants add a note with each block, either describing the block, the maker or both. Blocks can be sent in batches or one at a time, with no real time limitations. All of your blocks need not be identical and you can make as many or as few as you desire.

I will act as exchange coordinator. Everyone can sign up on the list and come and go as they please, whatever will fit into his/her lifestyle. Participants will mail completed blocks to me at their leisure, along with an SASE with sufficient postage attached to accommodate return blocks. Foreign participants can make private arrangements with me to cover postage costs. For every square sent to me, one will be returned. I will track and log all incoming and outgoing blocks to try to prevent duplicates and to keep members from getting stiffed. I will need personal information, such as full name, snail mail address and email address, for every block sent. I will transfer everyone's information to a 4" x 6" index card so that I will have a paper trail as a back up to my database. I will keep everyone posted on individual block status and post basic data to the Yahoo group. That should make this easier on everyone. I am willing to host this for an extended period of time, right now I am tentatively planning on a year, so that people can collect enough squares to complete a quilt top. If it runs longer or I lose my mind, we'll figure out what to do then.

The yahoo group can be used as a place to share ideas and photos. Since not all of us come from the same online crazy quilting community, it will also be a way to establish ties with other participants in the swap. That said, all personal information such as last name and address, will be kept off-line in my private database and card file. The list will allow attachments so that we can share photos, but please limit them to under 100 K each, since not all of us have high-speed connections. I will be documenting this project as it grows and writing a series of articles for I will want to use some of the photos and scans shared on the list for the article posted on their website and my own. This is a project that excites and terrifies me, but I can't wait to see the end result!

This is an open swap for everyone in the online Crazy Quilting Community, including novices.  If you are interested in participating, send an email to I imagine the majority of the blocks will be CQ or mixed media, but there is no cardinal rule, as long as it is a 6 x 6 finished block that can be sewn into a quilt top. Think about this swap as the fiber version of an Artist's Trading Card and above all, have fun!

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