Brainstorming for the Block Lotto in 2011

Posted by on October 2, 2010 in Uncategorized | 16 comments

As soon as Fall arrives–even if it doesn’t look or feel much like fall around here–I find myself thinking about what we should do next year for the Block Lotto.  As usual, I’d love to hear your ideas.

I’ve added a poll to the right side bar for some “big picture” input–please click over (if you’re reading form a reader) and vote.  I’m basically asking whether you’d like to:

  • Continue with more liberated-style blocks–playing with string piecing, drawing with your rotary cutter, creating wonky versions of favorite traditional blocks and making more abstract blocks. 
  • Go back to making traditional blocks . . . though not always in traditional colorways. 
  • Make a mix of traditional and liberated-style blocks. I include the “modern quilting” style in here, too.
  • Since next year will be the 10th year of the block lotto, pick some old (and new) favorites to make again in new sizes/color-ways. If you are relatively new to the lotto, you can see the complete list of blocks made so far on the Block Patterns page and the Lotto Block Archive posts.

I’d also be interested to know if you would prefer to make larger or smaller blocks, blocks that are the same size all year (and what size that should be) or a mix of sizes.

Please also let me know about any specific blocks or techniques–liberated or traditional–that you think we should add to our repertoire.  (If you have mentioned something to me before, feel free to bring it up again . . . remember that I accidentally overwrote my wish list of possible future blocks.

And if you have a color combination that you’ve fallen in love with or would like to try . . . I want to know about that, too. (Demanding, aren’t I?)

Keep in mind that my “filter” for all things Block Lotto is that it be beginner-friendly (with an occasional s*t*r*e*t*c*h block or technique) and that I do try to include a mix of techniques, whatever the selection of blocks.

Ps.  You don’t have to be currently participating in the Block Lotto to vote in the poll (under the followers on the right) or to add your opinion in the comments here.  I’d be interested in comments like,  “I would join the block lotto if you did …” 


  1. I like 8 or 9 inches blocks, but can be happy with any size.
    Have we done black and white or black, white and one color? I like quilts in those combos.
    Cupcake blocks would be fun to make, and lots of them!
    I also like a Christmas fabric month.

  2. Oh, I forgot to say THANK YOU SOPHIE for doing all the work of the block lotto! It is so much fun!
    Maybe we should have a birthday cake block month to celebrate!

  3. I like the idea of birthday cake or cupcakes to celebrate our anniversary.

    Christmas fabrics are not appropriate for everyone, so that one is tricky. We'll probably do them again, but I doubt it will ever be an every year thing.

    We have done Black & White plus something a few times. This year's Reeds (black & white & lime), last year's Thrifty Blocks (Black & white & pink), Stamp Baskets (black & white & bright) and Darting Birds (black & white & blue) in 2008, Scottie Dogs (black & white & blue, again) and Hearth & Home blocks (black & white & red & gray) in 2006 … yep, I like that colorway, too 😉

  4. There is a tutorial on line for a 6 minute circle block. I would like to try this. I also would like to try ticker tape blocks. I like most colors and have enjoyed your choices so far. I like the blocks being different sizes.

    I would like to try some traditional blocks but di them in different color ways. I like liberated but some of the months have been blocks I was glad to send to the winners and other months it has been hard to put them in the mail.

  5. We actually did circle blocks (AKA Polka Dot) last December, and piecing them a la the 6 minute circle was an option. Ginny made Stars & Polka Dotsand a Baby Quilt and Rho made a larger bed-size Polka Dot Quilt.

    I like the Ticker Tape blocks, too. They would be a great choice.

    I know that I can't please all the people all the time and not everyone will love the blocks and/or colors for every month of the Block Lotto. Each month I hope that it will be a block in colors that enough people will be interested in trying to make it fun.

  6. I like liberated blocks, a few more would be nice mixed with traditional blocks, or both techniques combined in the same block. 8" or 9" size is a good size. Coulld we try a blue and yellow block? I like all colours especially jewel tone brights.

  7. I've been playing the lotto for a number of years now, and have tried almost all the months. There have been one or two that didn't really appeal, but what I like best about the lotto is that it gets you to try stuff you might not normally try – whether that be a particular block or technique or colourway – and sometimes you really get inspired by that (sometimes not, but that's ok, too, because then you've had a go and you know the technique isn't for you, but you're not stuck with a dozen blocks you don't know what to do with!)

    Sophie always amazes me with her ability to come up with ideas which are not too difficult yet somewhat challenging and which have a broad appeal. I helped brainstorm the lotto one year and I tell you, it's seriously hard work and requires a huge knowledge of quilt blocks & techniques. Not to mention the administrative hassle (though it's a lot better in that respect since it went completely online).

    Anyway, in terms of blocks, I am happy to have a go at just about anything, though I think my favourite things are modern takes on traditional blocks or something fairly liberated. While I can precision piece if I need to, I tend to play the block lotto to warm my brain up or to fill a small gap of work time, so it's not really where I want to do the intensely challenging stuff. Then again, I am a fairly advanced quilter these days, so if the block lotto stays beginner-friendly, I doubt there'd be too many month's choices which really did my head in.

    I also have really liked the fact that most months choices can be made without having to go out and buy fabric – it's not that I mind buying fabric, you understand 🙂 but I hate thinking, ooh, I'll sit down and make some blocks and finding that I've nothing appropriate to work with. As the fabric choices are usually fairly broadly ranging, this isn't usually a problem. And I like that we've been given advance notice on colours and styles this year – that would certainly help if a there was a stash gap!

    Not sure that was at all helpful, but it does sum up how I feel about the lotto, at least!

  8. Well poo. I just typed a VERY long comment and it was apparently too long, so it didn't publish. Unfortunately, the back button wouldn't let me go back to it, so blogger ate it, the doodyhead. How annoying. Grr.

    Trying again. I've been playing the lotto for years, and have tried most of the blocks on offer, with a few exceptions (usually due to time constraints, though I do confess to skipping one applique month as it's not my favourite thing to do).

    What I like best about the lotto is that it often pushes you to try a block, style, technique or colourway which you might not ordinarily gravitate towards. Sometimes, this introduces you to something new, that you might not realised you enjoyed or were too scared to attempt; sometimes it simply reaffirms your hunch that you'd not like something, without leaving you with a half quilt's worth of blocks you can't do anything with. (publishing now to avoid length problem. will continue in another comment).

  9. The blocks I like best to make are the modern takes on traditional blocks or the liberated ones – partly because that tends to be my style and partly because I tend to use the block lotto as a brain warm up, so i don't want anything too complicated. While I can precision piece when I need to, it's not really what I'm looking for when I do lotto blocks, so I'd prefer not to do that. Though the occasional block with lots of pieces is fine, just not every month. These days I am a fairly advanced quilter so if the lotto is staying beginner friendly, there's probably nothing which would hurt my brain too much, which is good.

    The other thing I like is that Sophie's colour choices tend to be broad enough so that I rarely have to go out and buy fabric – not that I mind buying fabric, but it's nice to be able to sit down and just make blocks without running into too many stash gaps. Having some advance notice about block colours this year was helpful as well – I liked that.

  10. Last bit, I promise!

    One year, I helped Sophie with brainstorming and planning the lotto and I have to says, it requires a huge amount of creativity and knowledge about blocks and techniques. I was constantly amazes at Sophie's ability to balance the blocks to suit as many people as possible over the course of several months – and astonished at her seemingly unending well of ideas. It also requires a lot of effort in terms of administration, though that has got better since we went entirely online.

    Not sure all this helps with the brainstorming! I think for me, the best thing is to have a good variety in terms of technique, style and colour. That way, you never feel like you just did the same thing last month. In terms of size, I think the medium sized blocks work best – say between 6 & 10 inches square (not that they have to be square). But again, the occasional block outside that range would probably be ok as well.

  11. I'm fairly new to quilting and block lotto. The thing I love is that the blocks are beginner friendly. I have learned a lot about myself and my ability trying the various blocks. One thing about liberated blocks is they are more forgiving that traditional blocks that want precision. I am amazed at what all Sophie does, even when she's involved in a big move and personal change. Thanks Sophie. I'll give anything you think up a try. It's fun.

  12. I just voted for mixing it up. I've only been following since June and participating since August. I like the liberated blocks but being a beginner, I'm really curious about all the other block types and fabric combination's too. I like the size that fits in an envelope that doesn't need to be folded more than in half, like 9.5" or less?? (not sure what size that was) I look forward to more quilting fun!

  13. I like the idea of mixing it up and adding in some past favorites. I think differant sizes each month would be nice (I prefer the 8"-10" sizes)
    looking forward to what you come up with.

  14. What is the difference between liberated and modern quilting blocks?

    I like having the colors restricted (even more when I don't need to get any fabric like this month). It's fun to use different colors each month (but for us all to follow the guidelines and keep within the colors).

    I sort of like the idea of having the blocks all be the same size – but that might get tiring.

    It's been really fun for me to be part of the BlockLotto this year!

    Thank you Sophie for working on this project.

    : )
    San Diego

  15. I meant to include link to my beginning thoughts on the difference between liberated and modern – I couldn't find a definition that did the compare and contrast. Will be interested to see if I'm on the right track…
    June/San Diego

  16. I included the term modern quilting because it seems to be referenced a lot these days … and I think a lot of the characteristics generally thought to be part of the modern quilting movement apply to us, like a new twist on the traditional art of quilting and, this, from the Modern Quilt Guild site:

    The piecing could be improvisational and wonky, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your own. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines or a very “free” have fun, quilt as you go style.

    (IMO, "modern quilting" really seems to be more about attitude than technique 😉

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