Doll Swap Quilts

When I got back into quiltmaking after a 20 year absence, I was amazed at how the quilting world had been transformed. I got back into it slowly, by making small things. Little did I know how important these small quilts would be to my development as a quilt artist.  I joined the Doll Quilt Swap of Flickr, then one of the premier swap groups on the internet.  Here are the quilts I made for the Doll Quilt Swap while I was a member.

Doll Quilt Swap 4
This quilt was made in the summer of 2008, and was the second project I made with Tonya's free pieced letters. My partner liked blue green and greens. Her first name began with "L", hence the pink letter "L." I liked this idea so much that 3 years later this quilt inspired the Red-Letter Alphabet.

Doll Quilt Swap 5
My swap partner for DQS5 indicated she would give the quilt to her three year old daughter to play with, so I wasn't going to make anything spectacular. Instead I scaled down the Slashed Squares pattern I developed and made this small quilt. The DQS quilts were supposed to be no bigger than 24" square. I rarely met the limit, and often went over.

Doll Quilt Swap 6
This quilt lives in Scotland. My partner seemed to like traditional quilts with squares and triangles or other simple shapes with a lot of white. I made this Seminole quilt with lots of squares and white. It really bumped up against the 24" square limit. My son loved this and threatened to steal it.  By this time I was getting quite a reputation in the Doll Swap, and many swappers wanted my quilts.

Doll Quilt Swap 7
The Selvage quilt concept was raging when DQS7 was going on, so I made this smallish selvage quilt. I had wondered what KWIM meant (because I was a novice to chat room lingo). Was it "Kangaroos With Important Messages?" I was informed it meant "Know What I Mean." Thus inspired, I added a blank selvage and filled in "Kimmie's Wonderful in Michigan," a nod to my swap partner, Kim, who lived in Michigan.

Doll Quilt Swap 8
I was learning how to make free pieced trees and houses when DQS8 was going on, so I decided to make a mini four seasons. I revisited this concept when I needed to make a sample quilt for a class on free pieced houses several years later.

Doll Quilt Swap 9
My partner for DQS9 lives in Argentina, loved rainbows and bright colors. I was working on No Rules For Julie at the same time, and one of the birds from the doll quilt had the audacity to fly into Julie's quilt and stay there. Each of these birds had a story. You can read about them starting with this blog post.

I decided to stop being a part of the Doll Swap after DQS9. There was a new "Head Mama" and she decided she didn't like the way quilts were becoming more "Art" quilts than doll quilts. She instituted new, more conservative rules, so I quit.

One of the advantages of the Doll Swap was the opportunity to make friends all over the world. Susan was another swapper and we decided to have a private swap. Susan asked for "an aqua quilt for the bath."  I knew what quote I would use right away, and bought fabrics that made me think of water. When I saw the rubber ducky fabric, I knew I had to include it. After putting the first duck head in the fallout of one of the letters, I knew I had to go for it. This was when I learned that if you are going to "go for it," you can't "go" only half way. You have to go all the way.

My pal Helen lives halfway around the world in Kununurra Australia. I made this quilt for her. It was really a turning point for me and the free pieced letters in that I had designed this "font." It used very thick and very thin elements. The bouncing letters in FUN came about when my cat Millie ran over the letters I had set on the floor, moving them around. I sewed them just the way they were. I ended up making four more variations of the Rules quilts, all different.

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