Monday, December 24, 2007

2007: So Many Blocks, So Many Winners

In the 11 months of the lotto in 2007 , forum members made 1,097 blocks . . . and another 182 blocks for two charity efforts.


Photos of all the blocks can be found in my Flickr collection 2007 Block Lotto.

A total of 40 sets of lotto blocks were mailed to winners this year. A few of those have already become beautiful quilts.

Better Late than . . .

I never blogged the November blocks . . . so here they are.

Sophie Michelle Michelle Michelle Michelle Michelle Michelle Vanessa Vanessa Kate Kate Kate Kate Amy Amy Terri Kate Kate Amy Colene Colene Colene Colene Colene Colene Colene Pat Pat Pat Lee Ann Lee Ann Ardyth Ardyth Julie Julie Julie Robert Robert Robert Robert Robert Robert

These blocks were won by Pat and Robert. Chief Elf Pat asked that all the blocks be sent to Robert so he could make something wonderful.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Q & A

Frequently asked questions and the answers will be added here as they come up in the forum discussion (or in the comments).

Revised March 1, 2009.

Q - Is the Block Lotto (or you) going away?

A - No. I've held the block lotto nearly every month sine 2002, except during 2004 when someone else took over . . . and the lotto died. I picked it up again in 2005 when there was a demand for a BEGINNER-FRIENDLY activity on the Quilting Forum. In early 2009, I decided to move the Block Lotto to Blogland.

Q - Who can play?

A - ANYONE. The blocks will continue to be BEGINNER-FRIENDLY. This doesn't mean that they will always be easy-peasy, but they will always be achievable by beginner quilters. I have always thought of the Block Lotto as an opportunity to occasionally S-T-R-E-T-C-H our quilting skills (or practice them)

Q - Do I need to let you know in advance how many blocks I am making?

A - No, you do not have to commit to a number of blocks at all - when you have made however many blocks you want, post the photos and you will get one chance to win for each block (or pair of blocks, if specified that way) you have completed at the point of the draw, up to the maximum (which beginning in 2009 is 9 blocks or pairs).

Q - Is it ok for me to take part if I am in Canada [or elsewhere outside the US]?

A - Yes, of course. The block lotto has always been open to those outside the US, and, with the changes made in 2008, it will be even easier for folks elsewhere to take part.

Q - Why are we using a blog to communicate rather than the forum?

A - In March, 2009, I made the decision to move the Block Lotto entirely to Blogland.

Q - I am a beginner quilter, will I be able to make the blocks?

A - All the blocks are beginner friendly, designed to give you a chance to learn (or practice) basic quilting techniques.

Q - Where do I find the block patterns?

A - In the first blog post of the month, there will be block pattern information and a link to directions. There will always be a link to the main informational post in the left side bar.

Q - Do I have to make blocks every month?

A - No. You can play as frequently (or not) as you like. No commitment required.

Q - Can I donate my chances to someone else?

A - Our tradition has been to donate chances to the first-timers (aka newbies), to avoid the block lotto becoming any kind of popularity contest I've seen elsewhere . . . and keep it friendly and welcoming to newcomers.

Q - How can there already be so many blocks made on the first day of the month?

A - As an incentive to make blocks, anyone who enters blocks at least one week before the deadline receives "sneek peek" email with advance information about the next month's block and will be encouraged to make blocks and send me photos to use so I can provide eye candy to everyone else to encourage them to make blocks for the lotto.

Q - If I make a paper-pieced block, should I remove the paper?

A - Yes, please do. Although when we are making projects for ourselves, we're taught to leave the paper in until the blocks are sewn together, I ask that the paper be removed from lotto blocks for 2 reasons:
  1. So you can see all your seam allowances and make sure that there aren't any OOPS too small allowances (if you are new to paper foundation piecing–or even if you aren't–trust this can happen . . . ask me how I know ;-)
  2. So you can ensure that none of your seams pull out with the paper, which can also happen if your stitch length was not set short enough.
If you have non-square edges at the outside of your block, please stitch INSIDE the seam allowance before removing the paper.

Julie posted some good photos of examples of things to watch out for on paper pieced blocks, Some Advice for Beginners.

The Guidelines

Revised December 30, 2009

The Block Lotto is open to anyone. NO long-term commitment is required; you are free to make only those blocks which interest you.


To participate, you will:
  1. Contact me (Sophie) by posting a comment on the block lotto blog indicating that you'd like to join the group or contacting me via email. Once we've connected, email me with your real name and mailing address and URL of your blog, if you have one. I'll respond with an invitation to become an author of the block lotto blog.
  2. Make blocks.
  3. If you are already an author, post a photo of your blocks. If you don't want to become an author or post your own block photos, you may also email them to me and I'll post them on your behalf.

In 2010, we will NOT be making the same size blocks each month, so read the announcement message posted on the first of each month carefully.

Each month, you may make up to NINE (9) blocks to enter for chances in the lotto, or TEN (10) blocks (5 pairs) during any month when we make pairs of blocks. In the months we make pairs of blocks, each pair will be good for one chance in the lotto.

In 2010, we will be exploring blocks made using free-style or "liberated quilting" techniques. Gwen Marston's Liberated Quilting books are a good source for additional information. Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville web site also features directions for some blocks made in this style.


Fabrics should be pre-washed 100% quilting cottons and follow the guidelines given for the month. Your finished block shouldn't be more than 1/4 inch smaller or larger than the specified size. The golden rule of swapping also applies to the Block Lotto: Enter blocks that you would be happy to receive if you won.


The deadline for posting a message with a photo (or link to a photo) will be NOON, eastern time (9AM on the US West coast, 5PM in the UK) on the last day of the month or the posted deadline date.


If you finish and post your blocks at least one week before the deadline, you'll receive a sneak peek email message with the next month's block. Photos of early blocks from sneak peekers may be used for inspiration when the block is announced.