The answers to all the questions you have, but might have been afraid to ask about the Ribbon Star Swap. And some maybe you didn’t think to ask. And maybe some you did ask but didn’t think anyone was listening! Anyway, here’s the run-down.
Why is the block called a Ribbon Star Block?
The Ribbon Star Block is a modified 9-patch block. It has a friendship star in the center and half-square triangles on each corner. When the blocks are sewn in a straight set, without sashing in between, the light colored background forms a flowing ribbon as a secondary pattern.
What size is the Ribbon Star Block?
Ribbon Star Blocks can come in any size that 9-patch blocks come in. The Ribbon Star Block for this swap is 5″ square, and therefore will finish to 4-1/2″ in a quilt.
How many blocks do I need?
That all depends on what you are going to make. One set of swapped blocks is 12 blocks – enough to make a pair of place mats, a table runner, the pieced exterior to a bag. To make a toddler sized quilt (about 40×60″) you’ll need about 126 blocks. For a large lap (50×70″), about 176. To make a twin (70×90″), over 300 blocks. And 400 or more blocks for a queen-sized bed quilt (about 90×90″) Of course none of these estimates and numbers take into account the possibility for borders, sashing, and additional elements in your project. The pattern provided is for the block, the rest of the project is up to you.
How many blocks do I have to make?
You can make as many blocks or as few blocks as you like. The swap will be done in sets of 11 blocks (Make 12 blocks, keep 1, swap the remaining 11). More than one set of blocks may be swapped each month. At this point, we’ll continue swapping blocks until there is no further interest. You can join whenever you like, take a break, and quit when you’ve had enough. There is no entry or exit fee to participate. You just have to follow the basic rules: purchase the Ribbon Star Kit which contains background fabric and Little Scrap Grid interfacing, and follow the pattern carefully to construct your blocks.
Do I have to swap blocks every month? What if I’m going on vacation or I can’t get my blocks in on time for the swap?
You can join any time, or leave any time, and come back any time. As long as there are blocks to swap, we’ll keep swapping them. Might be a few months, might be a year or more. We’ll just have to see!
What is in the kit?
If you are swapping with your local quilt shop, purchase kits and swap blocks at the shop.
The Basic Swap kits are available here in the Hummingbird Highway shopping cart. They contain enough background fabric and interfacing to make 12 blocks. You add the fabrics for the star center and points and corners from your stash. The TwoFer Swap kits are available here, and contain twice the amount of background fabric and interfacing.
Where can I find the pattern?
Download it here, it’s free!
Do I have to use the Little Scrap Grid Interfacing to make my blocks?
Yup. No exceptions.
Of course, if you aren’t participating in the swap, then you can make the blocks however you want. To be included in the swap, blocks must be made with the Little Scrap Grid.
What color fabrics should I choose for the star and corners?
The background color is a light warmish neutral color. ANY color BATIK fabric (other than a light warmish neutral color) that you choose for the star center and points and the corners will be fine. Brown, purple, orange, red, blue, etc. Patterned or solid-colors. The star points and centers must match. And the corners much each be different from the star in each block.
Is it okay to use up scraps?
Absolutely! Just as long as each of the star components match, and each corner colored fabric is different within each block, you can use up scrap batik fabrics to your heart’s content.
Does the fabric have to be pre-washed?
Personally, I’m a big fan of pre-washing my all my fabrics, especially batiks because the colors tend to run when the final project is washed. However, since it’s nearly impossible to monitor that, especially when pre-cut batiks may be involved, fabrics do not have to be pre-washed. However it is highly recommended that dye-catching laundry sheets be used especially for the first few times your final quilt project is laundered.
Do I need one of those pressing sheets?
In a word, no. As long as you are careful to trim the interfacing around the edge of the partial panel before you start, you should be fine even though there is a little built-in interfacing ‘breathing room’ between the squares once the fabrics are placed on the grid. Placing the pressing sheet on top of the carefully arranged fabric squares tends to jiggle them a bit. Every so often, I give the iron sole plate a good cleaning with a commercial iron cleaner and I’m good to go. Also, with a pressing sheet, the whole concept of steam goes right out the window.
How does the shipping work?
If you are participating in the swap through your local quilt shop, shipping fees most likely will not apply. Check with the shop for their shipping costs.
When you buy the swap kit, the shipping cost built into the online shopping cart will include the cost to ship the kit to you as well as the prepaid cost to ship your swapped blocks to you. So, if you only make one set of blocks, once you purchase the kit, send in your blocks, you won’t have to pay postage again to get the blocks back. If you continue with another swap in the following month, you may qualify for reduced shipping if you purchase your next swap kit with a coupon code and allow us to ship the kit and your swapped blocks together.
If you are in Canada, additional shipping is already included in the shopping cart. Those living in countries outside the US and Canada will likely incur additional shipping costs. If you see a cart item identified with your home country (Australia, for example) add that item to your card. The kit and the shipping item will cover your shipping costs. If you don’t see your home country listed, then place your cart order for the kit, then you’ll get an email from me with further instructions.
Will all blocks received be swapped?
Hope so, but reality is, probably not. Blocks sent for the swap will be returned for the following reasons:
- The Little Scrap Grid wasn’t used
- All the fabrics were not batiks
- The background fabric does not match what was provided in the kit
- The block was not made correctly (half-square triangles facing the wrong way, for example)
- The seam pressing does follow the instructions
- The blocks aren’t the correct size. A little bit off is perfectly acceptable. Blocks that are more than 1/4″ off just won’t fly.
Blocks received too late to be included in the swap will be swapped the following month.
How will the swap work?
Buy the kit. Choose some batiks. Make sets of 12 blocks following the pattern. Keep one out of the set of 12. Send 11 to Tracy the Swap-Master. She’ll mix ’em up and send them back to you. Repeat. Make stuff. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, have fun at every step of the way!
If you are participating in the swap through your local quilt shop, Tracy the Swap-Master won’t be in the picture. You’ll return your blocks to the shop, then pick them up from the shop, unless otherwise instructed.
What if I get blocks I don’t like?
One of the universal rules of a swap is that you agree to accept the blocks you get. If we see blocks with serious problems, we’ll send them back to their maker with the reason for the blocks’ return. But everyone comes to quilting from different perspectives and at different sewing levels. On the plus side, your blocks and the resulting project will come from quilters you may never meet in person–across town or across the globe! It’s kinda awesome, when you think about it.
Does it matter which way I press the seams?
Yes! Follow the pattern instructions carefully, and review the tutorial for detailed pressing instructions.
What is the timing on all this stuff?
You can buy your initial swap kit at any time. Around the first of the month, watch your email inbox for a coupon code. The coupon code will allow you to purchase your next kit and save on shipping. If you use the coupon code, the swap kit will be shipped with your most recent swapped blocks. If you don’t have a set of blocks to ship, you may not use the coupon code.
- Around the first of the month, a coupon code will be issued to those with Swap Kits
- 10th of the month, blocks must be received to be included in the current month swap
- 15th of the month, swapped blocks are shipped (with swap kits if ordered)
If you are participating in the swap through your local quilt shop, all this coupon stuff probably won’t come into play at all, so don’t fret about it!
What if I need help!
We’re here for you! Join the facebook group page–Log in to your facebook account, do a search on Ribbon Star Block with Joan Ford and ask to be admitted to the group. Or contact us by email. Everyone is welcome. The basic group rules are be nice, no selling, and have fun.