What would you do?

Posted by on October 13, 2015 in housekeeping | 33 comments

What would you do?  What should I do?

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about the Block Lotto for next year.  But instead of being able to think about themes and blocks, I am distracted by the fact that visitors and downloads are up, but participation is the activity for which this site was created is down.  I hoped to create a community and make friends, but the only interactions I have had with members of this “community” in the last few months are to argue things like whether using two different colors in a block where the rules say two different fabrics that are the same color should be OK, because “percentage-wise” someone else made a block that you think is more rule-breaking than the block that you made.

I feel utterly disrespected.

I feel that I have failed to create interesting blocks that you want to make, that I have failed to create block directions and guidelines that are understandable.

I am personally at an all-time low in my life and MY experience here is no longer an escape, nor support, nor friendship–just more rejection, more dismissal, more of the message that I am not enough.  I guess it goes without saying that I have failed to create community or friendships here, too.

I will publish guidelines and block patterns for the rest of the year.  I will contiue to play “hall monitor” for those that think the rules shouldn’t apply to them. I will share the rows of my sampler quilt.  Beyond that … I cannot say what the future of Blocklotto.com holds.


  1. Sophie, Oh my goodness, I hate to read this! I love Block Lotto and would hate to see it stop. I would hope that everyone knows that guidelines have to be read carefully and enforced for the blocks to work together. I have had to do some over (several times in fact) and I bet everyone who plays has had to redo in the past at one time or another. I figure I can always use the mid directed block in another project. Each month I learn something new and I so admire your creativity in planning the blocks and the ideas for whole quilts made from the year of blocks. I truly appreciate all the work you do for this group and encourage you to keep it going.

    • Barb, I replied to you via email I think, but I would like you (and everyone) to understand. I don’t begrudge anyone for lack of participation, but–unfortunately for me–the participation in the lotto and the blocks and quilts that get made are how I perceive the response to my ideas and the time and $$$ from me to maintain the site and the lotto.

  2. so sorry that we have let you down. Life has gotten in the way for me in the past months, work is very busy, and have just not had time to play! (I had 4 blocks cut out last month but only got one sewed. I love the challenges and hope you continue, but full professors do get sabatticals, so one option is to declare a six month sabattical, invite us to keep posting about work in project, new blocks we’ve discovered, finished projects, etc., and maybe finish the year with a “best of” sampler challenge with favorite blocks from the archives. Just for our own sampler, no drawing at all. A virtual show and tell. I wish you were closer! WE need coffee.

    • Thanks for your sharing your ideas, Linda. If I declared a “sabbatical” and didn’t produce the monthly block/guidelines, but still kept the site going, I would be skipping the parts I enjoy and still have to endure the often frustrating aspects of this site. Remove the creative parts and I am just spending time and $$ … and still having to deal with complaining emails, problems with the site, etc.

  3. I’m sorry, Sophie. I do not think you have let us down at all! I think that the blocks are a good challenge — both in technique and design. Some months I’d like to win them and other months they don’t appeal as much but I do make a couple of blocks, at least, to keep in the game. As for the ‘community’ — I still consider myself a BL newbie. It’s not as easy for me to post on this site, compared to FB and to the YahooGroups (but I’ve been a part of those a lot longer)–I guess I haven’t gotten to know the BL regulars very well.

    I do appreciate all that you’ve done to maintain Block Lotto. If you’d like to take a break, how about letting us “sponsor” a block each month in 2016? You pot the sign up sheet and twelve of us will volunteer. Each will be responsible for choosing a block, colorway, etc., and handling the monthly drawing.

    • I DO appreciate your ideas, Nann, and I am trying to figure out a way for others to propose or “sponsor” a block. Unfortunately, like I replied to Linda, you are suggesting taking away the things that give me joy while leaving me to continue the much less creative and often frustrating task. Plus, even if someone else were having fun suggesting blocks and guidelines, I know from past experience that keeping track of blocks, using my data base and keeping everything straight isn’t an easy task. My gut feeling is that even if someone took all the fun tasks off my plate, I’d still receive complaining emails about the block, the directions, the guidelines and maybe even the sponsor for the month … plus I would have the added task of supporting that sponsor in using the site–which as you said, still isn’t as easy for some as Facebook and Yahoo.

  4. Oh Sophie, this breaks my heart. I am fairly new to block lotto, so I don’t know everything that’s gone on. But, I must say, I have enjoyed, very much, the months that I have been here. Your choice of colors and blocks have been great. I hope you will continue, but, that makes me feel so selfish now. You must do what is best for you. If stopping the lotto stops your being miserable the least little bit, then stop doing the lotto. Everyone here is an adult, and we all must do, and we do, what makes our lives easier. We here will be just fine. Honest. Take care of yourself now. Simple. That being said….I will miss this.

    • Deborah, if I continue the Block Lotto next year, I believe it will be mostly unchanged for those that make blocks … I do appreciate you all and love to see the blocks and quilts you make–for me, that is the payback for creating the patterns and color ideas.

  5. Sorry to say I’m one of the ones who hasn’t participated much lately. No real excuses except other distractions, work, travel, and such. I did make some blocks last month but wasn’t happy with how they came out so I didn’t post them…

    It does seem like a huge amount of work you do — and it’s well appreciated! — but maybe it’s too much? How about if the BL were every other month? Less hassle for you, more time for blocks to get made. And/Or, go back to simpler blocks/color schemes so there is less room for misinterpretation? (Yeah, I don’t really like that idea so much)

    • Julie, I honestly fear that if the Block Lotto were less frequent, it would drop even further down the priority list of most of the quilters here. I really don’t begrudge anyone who doesn’t make the blocks, for whatever reason. Like I said in my email to you, I also suspect a year of simple (foolproof?) color combinations in blocks would be less interesting to me (and everyone else).

  6. Sophie I am sorry to hear you are feeling like we let you down. I have not been on here participating for a while because I was taking care of my Mother. She passed away in Aug. I do enjoy the block lotto and and tho I have not won I enjoy the fact that my blocks travel all over and bring, I hope, a smile to someones face and maybe brighten someones day. I do hope that I have not been a bother to you. I understand completely if you want to give up on this if it is bothering you and upsetting you. I will miss it and you. You have always been patient with me when I mess up. I am also sorry I f I have not said Thank you for all that you do. What ever you decide to do I will miss the lotto and your insight and all of your hard work. You do what you need to do to make yourself happy and take care of you, no one needs something that stresses them out weighing on them every day.

    • Also I forgot to mention when I posted my first block I said it did not meet standards it was my standards It did not meet It came out wrong ans its points were off. I hope that I did not make you think It did not meet your guidelines. I just did not meet mine and then was another block my daughter adopted..

    • Glenna, like I said in my email to you, the Block Lotto has always intended to be beginner friendly and making perfect blocks has never been a requirement. I appreciate the support from you and others, but honestly, this post wasn’t just a plea for sympathy–I feel that Blocklotto.com either has to change in some way that I have a better measure of the response to my ideas (since so many never have or are no longer making blocks) or be retired.

  7. So sorry you’re feeling low, Sophie. This is a big job, and I appreciate what you do, but also understand the frustration. I have every intention of participating more often, but find myself busier than I like. Summer is always busy for me with canning and gardening. I had hoped to get more involved over the next several months, but can never guarantee anything. For now, I think you need to take care of yourself in whatever way works best. If it means shutting down the Block Lotto, then so be it. Knowing when to say “uncle” and knowing when to let go are strengths.

  8. O my goodness Sophie. I am so sorry to read this. I am one of the guilty non-participators. If it helps, its not BL AT ALL: I have several work projects coming to fruition and I haven’t sewn a stitch of anything since about Feb/March–my longest stretch of non-sewing since graduate school. Its killing me because I have 2 BL block quilts in progress, plus a couple of others. I check in 1-2x/month. The only reason I saw your post tonight is that I’m home sick–but I’ve really loved what I’ve seen. I feel that BL more than any other quilting experience, has challenged me to learn new techniques.

    It seems there are 3 problems–the disrespect and quibbling, the drop in participation, and Sophie’s loss of joy in BL. I think people are making some concrete suggestions and I’m happy to help–in the summer. BL is an amazing creation for which you deserve more celebration than we can offer online. But I think you should do what feels best for you.

    • Perhaps moving forward, I won’t politely ask if the blocks that look “wrong” are actually “wrong,” I just will pronounce them so and move on, with no back and forth (and back and forth) emails on the subject. It’s not my usual approach, but … it might work.

      • Honestly Sophie, I think you could be a little more hard-nosed about BL. BL runs on your energy and time. You don’t need to be everyone’s quilting nursemaid.

  9. It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re surrounded by turkeys.

  10. Hello, Sophie – I’m one of those visiting, downloading and not participating, but I love to see all the great blocks you come up with. For me, life is just inundating me from one crisis to another. I chose not to make blocks this year because I am also drowning in WIPs and UFOs and I must work on those. I have noticed that there is a lot of competition for BL now as it seems more and more quilters with blogs are sponsoring QALs, SALs, Mystery BOMs, free BOMs – it goes on and more, and much more than just five years ago. As a quilter who writes instructions for blocks for my Guild, I admire your very good directions for blocks. I am so sorry that some are giving your grief, but know that many of us think the world of your talent, generosity, and creativity. Blessings,

  11. Sophie,
    So sorry to read you are feeling this way. You have done an outstanding job with the Block Lotto. I’m sorry to learn people are being disrespectful – there is no excuse for that behavior. You don’t need negativity in your life from something that is supposed to be fun so if it is time to the Block Lotto to be out of your life, then it is time.

    I think you are wonderfully creative and could write volumes of books with your knowledge of quilting. The Block Lotto has improved my quilting skills and I’ll always be grateful for it.

    Thank you for all the work you have put into it over the years and the joy it has given many of us.

  12. I have just joined BlockLotto and was thrilled to find this community! I am sorry to hear that you are distressed. I hope we, as a community, can find ways to recharge your batteries instead of draining them.

    I am in awe of the amount of effort you must spend to make this the welcoming and inspiring place it is!

    Although I haven’t made any blocks yet as I am traveling for the entire month, I eagerly wait to see the November block so I can participate! Please keep up the great work!

    • Karen, although it may appear so, I wasn’t just whining for attention and affirmation. I know there are those that love the Blocklotto and appreciate me, but … I really need to find a way to have some measurable response to my time, effort and $$, than blocks made (which seems to be in a downward death spiral) and messages from the community (which have been nothing but arguments from those that aren’t following the guidelines).

  13. Hi Sophie,

    I love your Block Lotto and each month am truly amazed at the effort you put into the blocks and posts. Although I will miss it if you decide to call it a day, what matters most is that you need to do things that make you happy.

    Sending you a big hug!
    Karen in Cape Town

  14. Yikes! I didn’t see this coming. Like the logo says “I love the Block Lotto.” But if you don’t love it so much anymore then maybe it is time to lay low for awhile or do as Nann suggested. I try to participate each month just to give a block a try. I know some of the others from this site through their blogs.

    • Cathy, it’s not that I don’t love it, I still do, which is why the last few months have been so heartbreaking to me.

  15. Sophie, I am sorry you are having a stressful time…being fed up blows big time however, it often gives us a chance to re evaluate our situation and fine tune it. Sounds like you are there. You are a very Smart, Artsy, Creative Old Soul. With that type of character, You need to express and be nourished mentally as well as physically. Is that being looked after? Your Birthday approaches and we all freak out when ‘that time’ comes around! I appreciate the hard work and effort you put into Block Lotto. Any one with a brain couldn’t help but to notice your dedication to Block Lotto, your creativity or your drive. My youngest son Brendan, changed his residence to Heaven in September…For months before that his health issues were filling my days. I may not have been active in Block Lotto, but checking in to it brightened my day…seeing what you would come up with every month gave me something to look forward to, what the girls and guy were doing gave me Hope…hope that I’d be finding peace one day as I sat to peace out blocks. I have tried a few blocks but my hands tremble and the tears cloud my eyes…the work is terrible but, I try. I don’t submit it because it kind of sucks…it is good enough for the charity quilts but, not Block Lotto. Sophie you might never know all the good that comes through your site…the charity quilts, the building of others skills and self esteem, the Joy people feel when they win or the love they express when they work to finish a Block Lotto project and give it a home but, it is all out there. You are in service with your site as frustrating as it can be at times. You do help the World…one new creation at a time…one stitch at a time it counts …it matters. Only you can fine tune this situation and you have all the right in the world to stop or move through and forward. I will understand which ever way you feel you need to go but, I am really crossing my fingers for forward! Remember …don’t even consider if the glass is half full or half empty – Just Know “IT IS A BEAUTIFUL GLASS”

  16. Sophie — Please realize all the joy you have given to others. I am new on the site and I am not sure I can make the blocks, but I do want to try — even if they end up in the “orphan pile”. As Mother Teresa said, we can’t all do great things, but we can do small things with great love. When I tried to join the site and you e-mailed me with detailed directions on what to do, I felt your love. Thank you, and I wish you sunshine and rainbows.

    • Marci, I am sorry you joined us at this particular point in time, when neither my personal life nor the Block lotto are “sunshine and rainbows.”

  17. I’m another one who is watching from the sidelines. I love the idea of this group, I love seeing all the talent that these women have. Unfortunately, my skills are NOT so good. One day I will get up the nerve to make some, but right now, my efforts are just laughable 🙂
    I’d hate to see this group end because I am inspired by you guys and I have learned some valuable skills so far

    • Melissa, good skills aren’t a requirement … hope you will “feel the fear and do it anyway” and jump in and try a block. I am specific about the color guidelines in hopes that when the winners receive their blocks, they will play nicely together … if the quilts in the gallery are any measure, it seems to be working.

      • Sophie — what can we do to “boost you back up”? I too love the Block Lotto and each and every block you’ve posted for us to do. although I might not get to making the block(s) before mid-month, I always anticipate the first of each month for the selection to be posted.

        I’ve enjoyed seeing each person’s “take” on the particular colorings required for each block — even the ones that are a little outside the definitions …. you usually rovide a range of coolor’print interpretations and that makes it interesting.

        Maybe you need some kind of “vacation” from the committment here — but know what you mean by what happens when quilty projects are further apart. There is a lot to vie for any online quilter’s attention and time. ZI’vwe got no real answers but to keep going with who will follow along with you …

        Hang in there and we”ll all stick together with you in this!


        • I know it sounds silly but the blocks everyone makes (and the quilts that follow) are the tangible feedback for the work (creative and not) I do and the time and $$ I spend here and so as the numbers spiral downward, it feels like a lack of validation to me. It’s more likely that it’s just time to make changes here.

  18. As one who has only been able to participate in the lotto once in a while, but have loved seeing your blocks every month, and use them in the “off” months, I would be sad to see the lotto discontinue. At the same time, I understand you must do what is right for you.
    You are a creative, talented and thoughtful person.
    I have one suggestion: have a black, white, and one other color year , leaving you to design the blocks (which I agree is one of the best parts).
    I personally will try my best to give you more photo feedback on the great blocks you design!

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