2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop!


June 14, 2015 by tessaraewilliams

Hi! I’m Tessa! Welcome to Half Square Quilts!

I’m a little nervous to be one of the first stops of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, but I’m really excited for the opportunity to learn from all these awesome quilters/bloggers! My team is the Sew Fabulous Hive, hosted by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter!


About me…


I am a preschool teacher in Kansas City, MO. I’m a recovering craft swap addict! I joined my first swap in February, and at my worst I was signed up for 15 swaps! O.o Now I’m down to 12. haha! Right now I’m really interested in Dresden plates, and I want to put one on EVERYTHING. My fabric taste is primarily novelties, rarely floral or geometric. I love motifs that look hand-drawn and have interesting subjects. Some of my favorite designers are Heather Ross, Aneela Hoey, and Sarah Jane. The next quilt I have planned is the Cuckoo’s Calling quilt found in Issue 20 of “Love Patchwork and Quilting”. I plan to use “Brambleberry Ridge” by Violet Craft.

I’m probably one of the oddballs of this blog hop, in that my blog isn’t strictly a quilting blog, though my main craft is quilting. Most of my posts focus on craft swaps! If you’ve never been in a craft swap, they’re a really fun way to try out new techniques, meet fabulous friends, and give yourself an excuse to just MAKE! I’ve seen craft swaps on Instagram, Flickr, and other blogs. I usually blog every Tuesday, and I keep a running list of open craft swaps at the end of every blog.

Here’s a couple craft swap packages I’ve sent!


My first swap package I ever sent! The theme was obviously Disney. πŸ™‚ My partner had mentioned “Beauty and the Beast” and “Lilo and Stitch” as her favorite Disney movies.


This package was for an ongoing Birthday Club swap! There are 12 participants, one for each month. This Curvy Clutch features Anna Maria Horner on the outside and Heather Ross on the inside (she had listed those as her favorite designers). I also gave her some Briar Rose fat quarters and hot sauce, because she had mentioned liking hot sauce on her form. πŸ™‚

And just for the sake of fitting in, here’s my latest finished quilts! :p


I made this quilt for my boyfriend for his birthday. I used Passport by Moda in all the colorways of the Tokyo maps. He lived in Japan for a year, and really loves everything about Japan. I improv pieced this quilt top, which was loosely based on the (free!) pattern Shoreline by Tula Pink.


Ok, so at this point it’s just a quilt top, but this is the free Ribbon Box Quilt pattern by Cloud9 Fabrics. I used all but one print from the Acorn Trail line by Teagan White. The last print will be the binding. πŸ™‚

Blogging Tip

Again, since I’m the oddball, I don’t have a blogging tip. My tip is to join Instagram if you haven’t already! Follow me @tessaraewilliams. I don’t have any real-life crafty friends, but I’ve made TONS of truly awesome crafty Instagram friends through craft swaps!

Quilting Tip

Ok, not a quilting tip. :p My tip is if you haven’t joined a swap, GO FOR IT! New swaps open all the time, so you’re bound to find a theme that calls to you!

What are some of your reasons for joining/not joining craft swaps? Let me know in the comments!

Check out the other participants posting for the blog hop this week!

Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon

Jinger at Trials of a Newbie Quilter

Kelly at Quilting It Out

Johanna at Sewing Time with Brownie


This past weekend I helped my favorite local quilt shop, Modern Makers, move to their new location! So. Many. Bolts. (in a good way!) Check out my Instagram for pictures from the move!Β Their new location is so cute and going to be totally perfect when it gets up and running. AND the owner Elizabeth is letting me do some sample sewing for the new shop window! Did I mention I will be working with Heather Ross’s new line TIGER LILY?! :O I’m so excited!

Also exciting news, this weekend is the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival! I’ve never been to anything like it, so I’m sure it’ll be eye-opening to see so many people interested in quilting all in one place! I’ll be working at the Modern Makers booth on Friday! I can’t wait!

Onto the open craft swaps!

  • #Sherlockswap2015 – hosted by @madamerouleau. Sign-up here.
  • #CriminalMindsSwap – hosted by @bendigolioness. Sign-up here.

79 thoughts on “2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop!

  1. mumbird3 says:

    Loved the tip on the Sherlock swap! Thanks for feeding my addiction to swaps! Heheheheeh


  2. Cindy says:

    Dresdens are on my to do list. I haven’t joined a swap. Might be something to look into.


  3. Johanna says:

    I haven’t tried a swap yet! It seems quite addicting, not sure if I need another habit to take over me. They seem so fun though πŸ™‚


    • haha! It’s super fun! My favorite thing about it has really been making a lot of great friends. I’m in so many that I’ve gotten partnered up with a few people that I’ve become friends with before the swap and I’m totally going to go all out for those packages!


  4. Sandra says:

    I have not tried a swap, and, ahem, I’m not on Instagram…need to check that out I know! So much computer time, interferes with my sewing time. I love the colours in your quilts! The Cuckoo’s Calling in those colours will be to die for. Mmm! Congrats on the sewing for your fave quilt shop!


    • I had an Instagram for a few years before I really got into it. I didn’t realize there was such a large crafting community there! Now that I’ve found them, I post like 5 times a day! Haha!

      Thanks so much! πŸ™‚


  5. Kristen says:

    I love your idea of brambleberry ridge for that quilt. And you are ambitious- 12 swaps right now ?


    • It’s not an addiction! I can stop any time I want! πŸ˜› hahaha! I have 5 due in July, so once I get past July it should be smooth sailing! πŸ˜€ It will definitely be a busy next couple weeks though!


  6. Tish says:

    Is is bad for me to admit I had never heard of a swap until I joined the 2015 New Bloggers. You definitely make it sound like a lot of fun πŸ™‚


  7. Wow, I am so impressed with the number of swaps you are part of and also a working woman – that is commitment! πŸ™‚


  8. Kelly says:

    I haven’t gotten into swaps yet. How does that work? Do you add a lot of little extras into the box as well? I love the ribbon box quilt top I hope you share it when you are finished.


    • The rules are different for every swap. Some are required to have a certain dollar amount of extras in each package, while others are extras optional, and some say no extras at all. My opinion is that extras are generous, never expected, but always welcome. In my swaps extras are optional. I like to add useful things as extras, like fabric scraps or notions, or whatever my partner listed that they would like.

      Thanks! I’m hoping to find a long armer soon!


  9. RuthB says:

    Love a modern looking Dresden – they look so hard and are really not and have great impact!


  10. Tabitha Hogan says:

    Your are so Darling!! I’ve been following religiously since I found you blog new swaps weekly πŸ™‚ im actually thinking of hosting my own swap because I’m addicted but can’t find many that fit my forte any suggestions to be a swap host? I wanna do it right but thinking of just plunging in head first 😁 again love your instagram and blog so wish I could quilt your awesome 😘


  11. Quite a few years ago I had a blog. While I was learning and posting I began a postcard swap. It was a wonderful way to meet fellow bloggers and quilters. Swaps are a lot of fun for everyone. Dresden quilts are awesome and there are so many ways to create them. Have fun creating!


  12. So nice to get to know a little bit more about you Tessa! I thought you were joking a little about being a swap addict. I guess I was wrong. I’m quite new to the swap world. I see these amazing things people make, but honestly, I don’t have the time to make a lot of complicated swap items. I did well in the one I joined. My partner had fairly simple taste (if her Instagram account is anything to go by) so I managed to put together something pretty, but quick to make, and she seems to like it – although of course at this point she doesn’t know that she is the recipient of it. Hopefully I can jazz it up a little with the quilting. I’m not sure that I’m proficient enough in other crafts to enter any of the more mixed swaps yet. Maybe eventually.


    • Honestly, I just have more free time than many other people in craft swaps. I have no children, no pets, and my boyfriend can fend for himself for dinner! So I just come home from work and sew most days. I’m definitely putting a limit on myself on joining any more swaps! I’m probably done joining for the year. If I could do it over again, I’d give myself more time to work on fewer swaps.


      • Sounds nice. My husband tries to fend for himself on the dinner front, but isn’t always successful. He’s less good at finding things for lunch and breakfast.
        Have you ever received a swap item that you really didn’t love? I’m always worried that I would end up imposing that on someone else.


        • Just once. It was a bag swap, everyone was making the same bag. The bag I got was well made, but I felt like it truly was not made for me specifically. It felt like she ignored my fabric preferences and just did whatever she felt like. My opinion is as long as you are making with your partner in mind, they will love it!


          • That’s disappointing. I expect that happens more often than most people would like to think. I know I had a tough time with this swap because I couldn’t afford to buy a lot of fabric, and my stash was pretty limited in terms of what my partner liked. I didn’t have her favorite designer on hand, and she said she liked pastels, and all I had on hand was a charm pack I’d already cut in to 60 degree diamonds. Well, it is what it is now. I wish I could have bought some fabric for her, but I’m already significantly financially encumbered by having been given a swap recipient who lives on the other side of the world.


  13. Lisa says:

    I’m also not on instagram and I’ve never joined a swap because I never find out about them. I guess I’ll be checking back on them here.


  14. I just joined Instagram…from participating in the blog hop. Now to take some photos and figure out how to use it. Happy swapping!


  15. I want to do some swaps too! Can you hear the annoying whine in my voice when you read that? I’m such an IG ignoramus that I can’t seem to find them until they are already in progress. The whole process is such a mystery to me. I could never do as many as you though. First, I’m not such a prolific crafter. And second, I’m too much of a minimalist to have that much stuff around. I can barely wear simple jewelry but I secretly wish I could wear layers of loud pieces. Thanks for sharing your fun crafting life!


  16. Eleanor says:

    I’ve never done a swap and after this I’m thinking I should really try!


  17. Jayne says:

    Yea, well, I haven’t tried a swap either! Every time I see one I want to do, it’s way past the cut off and its full! One of these days I will!


  18. quiltingmod says:

    We definitely have similar fabric tastes! I love the designers you mentioned and the collections you’ve used. While I only have one under my belt, I love Dresden plates. I visiting as part of the New Quilt Blogger Hop; I participated last year. I blog over at http://www.quiltingmod.com.


  19. Hi Tessa! Hope you’re enjoying the hop. I was part of last year’s and learned so much and made so many online friends. Love some of your projects – dresdens are on my bucket list – have the template but just haven’t made the time to try them.


  20. Adrian Kelly says:

    Fellow Sew Fabulous Hive member here. Love the swaps and the list. Who doesn’t love getting fun things in the mail and making fun things to give. I have been debating making the Muppet Quilt too! My husband is a huge Muppets Fan! This Hop has been so much fun connecting!


  21. Hi Tessa, wow, you say you are not a quilt blogger but I LOVE your quilts. πŸ™‚ I need to learn more about swaps, I haven’t joined any yet, and actually am not sure I get the point. I does seems fun to get a mail box full of goodies, but I am so confused when it comes to seen IG posts, and partners, and the extras. I’ll check out your blog to learn more about it.


  22. Hi Tessa, you sound like a lot of fun! I’m a bit ” old school” and haven’t tried instagram. I only joined facebook for this blog hop but I’ll never say never! Who knows what I’ll get myself into next. It’s very nice to meet you!


    • Thanks for reading! I’m totally obsessed with Instagram, but I’m almost never on Facebook. They’re like two different worlds to me. The thing about Instagram is that it’s only as fun as the people you find to follow. If you end up joining, follow me! I’ll get you connected with some cool people!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Carrie says:

    My friend Lindsey would have killed to receive that Disney swap package. She loves Beauty & the Beast (great mini BTW) and Lilo & Stitch.

    I can’t wait to see your Ribbon Box quilt finished up!


  24. Thanks so much for joining the Blog Hop this year! I love that your blog is fun and different, and offers such a unique service to readers. You have a niche withing a niche, which is awesome!


  25. Sarah Goer says:

    I’ve become a bit of a swap addict myself. Sent off my Alison Glass mini quilt this week and need to finish attaching binding and get my Cotton & Steel mini in the mail tomorrow. Then I can catch my breath and reassess about what’s next on my list. πŸ™‚ I really like your Tokyo map quilt. It has such interesting fabrics and you chose a great way to show them off. I bet your boyfriend loves it!


  26. Wow, sounds like you really have ypur creative groove on! I have never participated in a swap, still not entirely sure what it is…I also may not have time for it, given that I’m a quilting addict. But you just keep on keepin’ on, girl! I have jpined instagrzm but reLly have never used it, again, not sure how to or how it works…but when I get time I will look i to it. Enjoyed your post.


  27. hashtagabbyking says:

    Dresdens are SO addicting!!. I actually spent a month last year making my own Dresden templates with different core angles to see what they would look like. It was so much fun!


    • Oh that sounds awesome! I’ve been trying to figure out how I can do a dresden with 14 blades instead of 20, but math is NOT my thing! haha!


      • hashtagabbyking says:

        It is super easy math! All you need to do is divide 360 by how many blades you want (360/14) the answer from that will be your center angle on the Dresden. I am getting ready to go out of town, but if you would like I can post a tutorial on my blog if you want me to show you next week


  28. Sarah says:

    I love that you keep a list of open swaps. My initial reason for not joining any swaps was because I couldn’t find them fast enough to sign up. Now I’m really focused on some selfish sewing so it’ll be a while before I start thinking about swaps again. Great post!


  29. Wendy says:

    Hello, nice to meet you. Lovely quilt shops, it’s great to see the novelty fabrics at work in the ribbon quilt, I shy away from them, but maybe I shouldn’t. I joined a craft swap and got a really shoddy parcel in return for all the things I put together in mine, that kind of put me off. Then I signed up for a mini quilt swap and got a partner who wasn’t on social media at all, so I dropped out. That’s me done with swaps now!


    • Thanks so much! After I finish up the swap commitments I have I’m going to take a break from joining any more. I definitely need some “sewing for me” time!
      Were those swaps through Instagram, Flickr, or something else? The great thing about Instagram swaps is that because it’s all visual, it keeps people accountable. You can see what other people are doing, and add more to your package if it’s smaller than the norm. Also, it’s easy to see who’s working and who isn’t, which can tip hosts off to people who may flake and not send anything in the end! I’d say give a try to just one Instagram swap!


  30. I was curious about swaps and finally joined 3 this summer to get to know other crafty people out there. I just had to wait until something crossed my path that I couldn’t miss out on! I haven’t had to send any packages yet, but so far so good. I just enjoy looking at the hashtags to see what people are working on. πŸ™‚


  31. Fred Quilt says:

    Nice to meet you via this blog hop!!


  32. Hey, we’re almost neighbors! lol I live on the other side of Kansas, but have a son in the KC area so I visit a few times a year. Would have loved to have gone to the KCMQG Quilt Show this weekend but too close to wheat harvest for this farmer’s wife. So glad to get to know you better here and on Instagram!


  33. helen says:

    hi there, came to say hello through the blog hop. 15 swaps, the most i coped with at once was 3 and that kept me awake at night!!


  34. Branbelberry Ridge is one of my favourite ranges of the past year – it’s so below the radar, I can’t believe more of us aren’t talking about it! That Tokyo quilt is great! I just came back from Toko and immediately ordered some of the Tokyo map fabric to make a travel pouch for my next trip.


  35. […] TessaΒ @Half Square Quilts […]


  36. Your Tokyo map quilt top is great. I used some of that fabric in a sampler wall hanging I’m working on. All I can handle right now as far as swapping are log cabin blocks through Instagram #logcabinparty. I just have too much going on right now.


  37. […] This Japanese-inspired quilt was my boyfriend’s favorite of the day (no surprise). […]


  38. Ha! This is great, not only are we in the same Quilt Guild but we are part of the same blog hop, although I am with Meadow Mist Designs – New Bee’s. :o) (I was the one who took the picture of you and your boyfriend at the KC Regional Quilt Festival). You definitely are a swap-a-holic! I love it! I love the Muppets, especially Kermit… I’m obsessed with frogs (literally). It’s no joke. You definitely are pretty creative and make lots of things… love love love! I look forward to getting to know you more through the Guild and through this Blog Hop!

    *Stopping by from the 2015 New Blogger Blog Hop – New Bee’s


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