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Nifty Fifty 28
Signature/Album Quilt Swap



album block

This swap is closed and finished.

Your hostesses for this swap is:

Suzanne Pratt.....Coordinator

This swap is intended to be patterned after the old pioneer quilt swaps and album/signature quilts from the mid 1800s. After the Civil War especially when the westward movement was in full swing, men looked forward to settling in the rich abundant farmland that was described to them.   The women, however, were more reluctant, all too aware of the dangers and hardships that awaited them, the close ties they would be breaking with the women among their family and friends where they lived. They knew that most likely they would never see the people they left behind again. To ease the separation and to help keep the memories of old friends alive in the hearts of those departing for the west, friendship quilts were made for the departing women as a remembrance of those left behind.  To read more about the pioneer quilts visit the site, which has a series of articles on the various periods of quilting. 

For this swap, Marcia Hohn of Quilters Cache has kindly given us permission to use one of her original designs and her patterns for two of the blocks similar to what would have been made for the friendship quilts.  ONLY THESE BLOCKS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS SWAP  - THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS!!  Everyone will make 27 of each block - 25 for the swap and 2 sample blocks.

The blocks are as follows:

NF28 Quilt Blocks
Signature Star Pattern

Each of these patterns will make a 12 inch block.  With seam allowance your blocks when you send them to me to swap out should measure 12 1/2 inches unfinished.  Be sure to measure your blocks accurately and to look at the NF28 tips and rules for blocks.  Blocks that do not meet these guidelines will be returned to the participant and either done over or the participant replaced. 

Upon joining the swap, the participant is asked to remit the swap fee of $10 within 2 weeks.  You can submit this by check in the mail to the hostess or by paypal, whichever you prefer.  This money will be used to buy the backing and batting for the charity quilt, to pay for any quilting fees, and to pay the postage to send the charity quilt back and forth to the long-arm quilter I have used for each of my swaps. None of this money goes toward the mailing of the swapped out blocks back to the participants.  The participant should send in on the second deadline with their last set of 25 blocks a self addressed and stamped priority tyvek envelope or priority box for their blocks to be returned in. Blocks will not be returned without this but will be held until the mailing materials and suitable postage arrives. If you want tracking or insurance on your blocks be sure to add that in also.  Insurance would have to be purchased at my end, so you can enclose the money for it in your envelope with a note as to how much you want the package insured for. 

2 Sample blocks of EACH pattern will be due within a month after we have a full 25 people signed up.  You may send them in earlier but please do not start on your blocks until you get the approval from the hostess so you do not find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to do many blocks over if they do not pass instead of just 4 blocks over.

One of the sample blocks will be used for the charity quilt which for this swap will go to the St. Jude's Hospital for them to use in raising money for their research and the care they give children with cancer.  While this is not the usual charity that is picked for NF swaps, this is the LAST swap for Nifty Fifty that I will be hosting so I picked the charity for this one.  The other sample block will be given to Teresa Drummond, who founded the Nifty Fifty quilt series swaps, for her Nifty Fifty archives. 

Reproduction fabrics from the 1800s (mid to late 1800s) will be used for these blocks.  No Aunt Gracie materials will be accepted and no muslin will be accepted.  I would like to go with the color scheme shown on the Signature Star at Quilter's cache - with the black calico background, a sand fabric for the signature area and your choice of 3 shades of one color for the star.  (I believe there are 5 different fabrics in the block pictured).  Scans of the black and grey fabrics are posted with links after this paragraph.  Do not use fabric types that did not exist in the 1800s no matter how pretty they are - I am a big fan of batiks but those would be unsuitable for this type of quilt.  If you see any fabric online that you think matches what is shown on Marcia's block, please let me know where you saw it with the item number so I can evaluate it. If you stick with in the 1850 to 1880 period you can't go really go wrong.  Use the same fabrics for your Signature Cross block as well.  The tan fabric shown below should be used - one like the black can be used as Reproduction Fabrics is running low on this fabric.  (And yes, it can have other very dark colors in it as long as it gives a very dark background like the example shown). 

7/5/2007 - Note a new black has been posted since the old one is no longer carried. For those who have the old black, it is still completely acceptable. I tried to get the two as close in value and pattern as possible.


black fabric


There will be 3 due dates.  On the first due date, which will be one month after we have a full list of participants, your 4 sample blocks (two of each pattern) will be due.  On the second due date, which will be at a minimum of 3 months later, everyone will send in their 25 Signature Star blocks.  On the third and final due date, 3 months after the second due date, everyone will send in their 25 Signature Cross blocks and their self-addressed mailing envelope. 

All participants must abide by the exact guidelines so that all blocks will arrive on time and will be compatible in color scheme and size. Please keep in mind this is a large commitment and the cost of fabric for 50+ blocks is usually between $80.00 to $100.00. ALL deadline dates must be kept in order to prevent anxious or disappointed quilters! Also, please understand the commitment you are making when signing up for your state's block. If you cannot complete your blocks within our deadline dates, we will have "holes" in our quilts. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS PLEASE DO NO COMMIT.

All fabric must be 100% PREWASHED cotton and there must be at least one designer fabric in your block which is Quilt Shop Quality Fabric.  Preliminary estimates on the yardage requirements (I got these from EQ5) are as follows for the sample I did in slate and various shades of purple:

Fabric for Signature part - 1 7/8 yard
Black/slate fabric     2 1/8 yard

lite color    4 5/8 yard
medium color 1 1/8 yard
dark color 3 1/2 yard

Now it may take that much or it might take less or even more.....Marcia Hohn has the fabric requirements for both blocks for SINGLE blocks.  If anyone is good at math and can figure out from those how much it will take for 27 blocks of each block then please let me know. I used to be able to do math pretty well, but anymore I just don't have the energy to think that hard!!

All blocks must be signed on the front with your name and state you are representing in permanent fabric pen in the area designated for the signature. Do not sign it so big that you can read it from across town. 

Everyone is EXPECTED to meet all due dates.  If you find you are going to be late, you must give the hostess at least 2 weeks notice so arrangements can be discussed that are satisfactory to both parties.  Please remember that if you have NOT notified the hostess about the late blocks then a quilter will have taken your place and please do not expect the hostess to return any blocks or postage. If this occurs then the blocks that you have already submitted WILL be forfeited to your replacement swapper.

If you have notified the hostess that any of your blocks are going to be late, then the completed packages WILL STILL GO OUT ON SCHEDULE WITHOUT your blocks and you must send in your blocks with enough stamped envelopes to mail your block to each individual participant. Each envelope should have a 55 cent stamp on it. The hostess will mail them out. After your blocks have been mailed out separately then the hostess will mail you your returning blocks from our group. If you have NOT notified the hostess about the late blocks then a quilter will have taken your place and please do not expect the hostess to return any blocks or postage.

So, in short the basic requirements for this swap are:

  • 3 sample blocks for each pattern, due 1 month after we have a full crew
  • $10 swap fee to cover the cost of the charity quilt
  • 19 blocks of the Signature Star pattern on the first due date
  • 19 blocks of the Signature Cross pattern on the second due date
  • 19 blocks of either the Signature Star or Signature Cross pattern on the 3rd due date
  • A self addressed stamped priority tyvek envelope or priority box to send your swapped out blocks back in.
  • Signatures on each block with the state you are representing.  These signatures should be in the place desigated for a signature in the block pattern, not on the back or the side, etc.
  • Adequate notification of any expected late blocks
  • To have fun and make this a pleasant experience for all - I would like to remember the last NF swap I host as the best NF swap that I hosted!

To sign up please use the above box to sign up for our list and then email me with the two states you wish to represent, your name, snail mail address, phone number and email address and what level of experience you have had with quilting or with quilt swaps.  Please note that your information will be kept private and not given out to anyone. No one who has signed up for a NF swap previously and then "disappeared" not fulfilling their obligation or fulfilling it very late (more than 2 months late) will be accepted.  Please note that sign-ups for the email list are not approved automatically, so there may be a short lapse of time between the time you sign up and the time you are approved.  I try to check my email several times a day but sometimes good intentions stay just that!!

Other References:

A Quilted Tour Through Time - articles on quilting throughout American History

Pioneer Women on the Oregon Trail - quotes from women who went on the journey and what life was like

Due Dates:

20 Blocks Signature Cross - July 31, 2008
20 Blocks Signature Star - June 30, 2009

NF28 Quilt Block Quality Rules


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