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The Connected Project

August 19, 2020

A few months ago I was contacted by the NJMQG about doing a guild talk and possibly teaching a class by Zoom. New Jersey had really been through the ringer with COVID-19 and the guild was looking for a way for their members to connect during this time of isolation. Instead of a workshop, I came up with an idea for a group activity that their members could participate in safely from their homes, but that would remind them that they were each an integral part of a bigger picture.

The plan was similar to the Sisterhood Quilt Swap that I coordinated in 2019, where a there was an FPP block design with 8 sections. People were divided into groups of 8, each person got one section from the design, and they all made 8 of that section. They then kept one for themselves, and mailed out the other seven to the rest of their group. In the end everyone gets one of each section to complete the block, which is a memento of their friends in the guild, and this time they spent thinking of each other during the pandemic.

The big different with this project, and what made it special was that we decided to keep the overall design of the block a secret. Nobody knew what the finished block looked like – only the one section that they got to piece. They were not allowed to open their envelopes until the big reveal party on Zoom when everyone had their machines set up, ready to sew their blocks together as a group. This definitely added a lot of intrigue and excitement!

It was such a sweet idea I had to share it with my guild, Vancouver MQG too. As usual, a good size group signed up to join in on the mystery project.

The block design is of a link in a chain, the symbolism obviously being that as guild members we are all connected, as quilters, as friends and as a community. Each participant chose a favourite colour when signing up., which was what became the main link in their blocks. They were also appointed two other colours – one each for the joining links on either side. The big idea being that when we finally all get to hang out together again in person, that if we all stand in a circle in alphabetical order (which was the order that we had coordinated the colours in), our colours will match up with the person next to us, thus making one big circular chain. Pretty nifty, huh?

The block finished block size is: 16″ x 12″

There are a variety of options for each template, so everyone’s block ended up looking slightly different. Since not everyone is big on Foundation Paper Piecing, most options are suitable for beginners. The blocks can easily be made into a whole quilt too.

The Big Reveal Zoom party was a blast. Since we couldn’t meet in person as we had hoped we would have been able to do by now, participants sent me a pic of their blocks instead, and I created a digital comp of our finished chain.

Since this was a community project, I chose not to charge NJMQG. Instead of paying a class fee participants made donations towards a local NJ hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center Foundation. They raised over US$1,500! How awesome is that at a time like this?!

I made a little video for both NJMQG and VancouverMQG members to see it all come together since we couldn’t meet in person.

Pattern for Guilds & Quilty friend Groups:

It was such a fun and happy project for everyone, and people really did feel a sense of connection with each other in the process. For this reason I am making the pattern available for other guilds. I ask that in exchange you collect a small donation from each participant to donate to the Handmade Collective Awards.

I have included instructions on how to organize the swap in the pattern instructions. If you want to keep it really simple you can give instructions for warm colours for the circular links and cool colours for the horizontal links.

You can download the pattern here:

IMPORTANT: Please read before sharing. This pattern is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. You are free to share this pattern with friends, family or other groups or guilds with the intention of creating connectedness at this time. YOU MAY NOT SELL or PROFIT from this pattern in any way. You may teach classes with this pattern, however you MAY NOT CHARGE A PATTERN FEE. Redistribution or reproduction of the templates for sale in any way is not permitted. Items made with this pattern may not be sold for profit. Please be sure to use the hashtag #theconnectedproject. Always credit BERENE CAMPBELL of HAPPY SEW LUCKY for the design. Thank you!

I hope that many other guilds and friend groups enjoy this doing this project. We really all do need to be reminded that we are not as alone as we feel right now. We are in fact all part of a bigger picture of belonging. If we reach out and connect with each other we can do good things together.

❤️ Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be kind. Wear a mask!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Patsy Musaraca permalink
    August 20, 2020 4:53 pm

    This message is not encrypted but sent from a verified user on the dmail blockchain how do I join this swap group?

    Patsy Musaraca

    On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 11:18 PM happy sew lucky patterns & kits wrote:

    > berene posted: ” A few months ago I was contacted by the NJMQG about doing > a guild talk and possibly teaching a class by Zoom. New Jersey had really > been through the ringer with COVID-19 and the guild was looking for a way > for their members to connect during this tim” >

    • August 22, 2020 7:09 am

      Hi Patsy. As I mentioned in the post this swap was a guild one and is over now. However the pattern is available for free for other guilds or friend groups to use to organise their own swaps. So contact your guild exec or sewing buds and have fun with it.

  2. August 22, 2020 12:19 am

    What an amazing design where do you pull them from?

    • August 22, 2020 7:13 am

      Thanks! My head is a busy thoroughfare. I just try to direct them to the right places. 😆

      • May 3, 2021 4:03 pm

        How weird Berene, I only just today got this reply..8 months for email and we think snail mail has been slow!🤣🤣🤣

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