Recently, Kate used her Cracker Blocks to make a baby quilt. She had some blocks left over and sent them to me. That was a good thing because I didn't really have enough to make anything other than a wall hanging. I finally took a closer look at the blocks and was very much disappointed. Mind you, I will admit that most of the blocks were exactly what they should have been, but there were a few that really makes me wonder. I took several photos to show all the things that you should not do when swapping/trading or sending off for someone else to use. I was going to write a whole tutorial on this subject but decided against it, I don't need the hate mail.
I took many of these blocks apart and re-sewed them and I think they now look great. There were some that were not usable. I took them apart also and will be using the parts in string blocks.
So let me list a few of the no=nos .........
First and most importantly, the block should measure whatever the requirements are. A 6.5" unfinished block should measure 6 and one half inches. Some blocks I received were as much as a half an inch too small. It is possible this was caused by the overly large seam allowances. In addition, if the instructions say use a white background, you should not be using dark blue.
I hate twisted seams. It's not hard to get a seam going in one direction, is it? It is hard to quilt in the ditch if the seam is twisted.
I cannot explain what the proper stitch length should be (we all have different machines). But some of the blocks I received had a stitch length equal to what my machine uses for a basting stitch (the good news there is that it was easy to remove). On the other side of the coin, some blocks had stitches so small, there was no way to remove them rendering the block unusable.
I also have to wonder about the kind of thread some gals are using. I have a bunch of different threads, some expensive some not so much. But this is the first time I have seen thread that melted when ironed. I guess that's why the maker didn't press the block.
My intention here is not to embarrass anyone (that's why I didn't post the pictures) but to give swappers something to think about before sending a block to a stranger.