Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tree Pairs "Pre-flight" Checklist

Here's a list of things to check BEFORE you begin to make your blocks:

___ My fabrics are 100% cotton and of good quality--nothing so thin you can see your hand through it, nor loosely woven.

___ My fabrics have been washed by me, so that all the blocks will have fabrics that have been pre-shrunk and checked for any running colors.

___ My fabrics follow the guidelines.  I have at least one BLACK fabric--it can be a solid black or a black-on-black (BOB) Some BOB prints look almost dark gray-on-black--they are OK.  For each pair of tree blocks, I will use a different tone-on-tone (TOT) print in jewel tones.  A TOT means that the fabric has different shades of the same color and NO OTHER colors.   Jewel Tones are just what they sound like, rich colors that could be described as gems: Ruby, Saphire, Amethyst, Citrine, Emerald, Aquamarine, Topaz.  Here is a set of jewel tones (with a BOB on the left) from my stash:

___  I have followed the Quilter's Golden Rule and used ONLY fabrics that I would be happy to receive.


So, as some of you might have guessed,  based on some of the brainstorming, I was thinking about the idea of 3 checklists, so we could check, check and recheck our lotto blocks, at three steps:
  1. To double check your FABRICS before you begin (like this one)
  2. To check your BLOCKS after they are made (before you post them on the blog)
  3. For WINNERS to check blocks as they arrive for their readiness to be put into QUILTS, so they can give me a heads-up about any problems. 
Would this help?  Please don't automatically say "yes" because you know you can just skip it ... it would mean another few steps for me--steps that I would have to have to complete before I could send out the sneak peek, so the sneak peekers would have the first two.  Depending on what else is going on in my life, sometimes just getting the sneak peek out can be a challenge ;-)

But, as someone brilliantly pointed out, it is a place where any special challenges/potential problems with fabric choice or block construction could be discussed.

What else should be on this list?

The Finished block check list?

The Winner's check list?  For the last, I really want it to be easy for the winners ... they shouldn't have to think about it or pull out a ruler and measure each and every block or take copious notes.  I'm thinking that winner's DO need to take a moment, look at each block they receive and ask themselves if they will use it.  If not, THEN they need to be specific and let me know why.


  1. I think this is a good idea, but too much work for you to change it each month. It should be a generic list that you can post as a reminder once or twice each month. With things like-

    1. I have reread the guidelines for this months block.

    2. I have rechecked to make sure that my background fabric(s) follow the guidelines for this month.

    3. I have rechecked to make sure that all my focus fabrics are in line with the guidelines for this month.

    4. I have remeasured my blocks to make sure they are exactly the right size according to the guidelines for this month's block.

    Etc, etc. I think you get the point!

  2. Debbie, the reason I don't think a generic list (or lists) would work is that many people (most?) would read through them the first time ... and never think of them again. The fact is that a lot of the stuff is already on the site on the About the Block Lotto page (and has been there for a while, and before that was linked from the side bar). I blogged about or emailed the link to that About page and the FAQ page so everyone should have seen/read it.

  3. oh my! all this talk has me really second guessing my blocks! I felt good about them, but I really hope they were up to standards!

    I think basic guidelines posted each month, maybe even twice once shortly after the block is posted and once just before the end of the month similar to the list above but with links included to the specifics, I think the check list this month was a bit much, but I get the point.

    I also think there should be something like "if I am contacted about yoru blocks more than once in X amount of time, you will be asked to send blocks to me prior to sending to the winner and will be responsable for the extra postage (in an extra addressed envelope) if problems continue you will be asked to stop participation until your skills have improved etc. I know that's a little extra work for you but sometimes things might be a mistake one month but the person is better than that and most the time it should not need to be escelated. I also know I wouldn't mind being contacted by a winner asking to re-make a block if they are truly unhappy, I'd much rather try again then have someone upset.

  4. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel discouraged about their blocks/quilting skills because of this discussion. This EXAMPLE checklist is based on questions that have been asked this month (on the blog or in email to me). It's an effort at being perfectly clear and anticipating questions that might be asked ... and not meant to intimidate anyone.

  5. This is a hard question for me to answer, as I admit that I'd be a person who would not really look at any sort of general checklist - I do go back and check the colour combo, size, fabric limitations for each block, but in terms of general guidelines, well, I've been playing the block lotto a long time and I know what's what. However, if I were new to quilting or even just new to the lotto, a checklist might be a very good idea. Not sure if it needs to be specific to each month, or just what we have now - general guidelines/FAQ which apply to all months and then specifics for the individual month's block (i.e. how many different times you can use one fabric, etc).

  6. Oh, meant to add that while I'm not sure a checklist per se would be necessary for those receiving blocks, maybe a few quick notes about what would make a block "unacceptable" - these could be the same each month, so they shouldn't cause too much extra work. i.e. more than 1/4" (or whatever) off the correct size, drastically wrong colour fabric (i.e. navy background when it should have been black). Any major errors in following the directions - like putting only 2 rounds on a log cabin block when the minimum was three - should be caught when blocks are posted and therefore can be corrected early, but some things are hard to tell in a photo.

  7. I think it's important to remember that some of our quilters have been quilting for years, and others for less than 1 year. Also, often the blocks here include a technique that some of us have never tried before. It would be possible to anticipate problems that might develop with a particular pattern and those can be addressed at the start of the month.

    I think the check lists would be more effective if they come up sporadically and are therefore more noticed. Something that is the same every month will get glossed over, I think.

    Are we really having that many problem blocks that we need to micro-manage this? I still think everyone is trying to do their best, especially knowing that the likelihood is that their block will be sent to someone else. Do we spoil the fun, especially of attempting something new, if we put additional fear into the process that our work is not going to be "good enough"?

    If there are too many of us, maybe we split into two for advanced quilters, and one who is, or is willing to accept the work of, beginning quilters.

  8. I can recall when I began the Lotto, general guidelines and an occasional email from Sophie when she saw a problem in the photo I posted and gave me instruction on how to correct was far easier to deal with than the posting of my block in a private blog with the details of what was wrong - which I know happened on one occasion. (Though I learned from that criticism, I really did not care whether I participated with that person again.) I believe my work has gotten better because of the way Sophie has handled corrections. I hope my blocks have not been unacceptable. I do recall a few of my wins, I received blocks that were 6" - not 6.5". I simply set those aside and worked with the remainder. Some folks are a bit pickier though.
    I do have to say that like Kate, I have been doing this a little while and I am not as careful with general checklists, but am far more careful with specific checklists. I found myself rereading this month's specs and the specs for the roses just to make sure.


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