Starting in autumn 2011, the online magazine 'Quilt around the World' organised a truly ambitious project – a global quilt block swap. Quilt enthusiasts from around the world, who were interested in working together in a multinational and cross-cultural patchwork project, were invited to take part.

With a finish date of March 31st 2012, the quilters had time to sew 12 quilt blocks according to their individual taste and quilt mastery. The blocks were then exchanged within internationally mixed teams. "We expected 40 to 50 participants at best," states Jutta Hufnagel, managing director of Quilt around the World GmbH. "But what happened was beyond our wildest dreams."

168 block packages from 16 different countries arrived at the Munich office. Participants from across the globe - Austria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA - submitted their quilt blocks along with picture postcards from their home towns and personal greetings.

As promised, the organisers kept the cost of packaging and postage as low as possible and donated all monies left over – 1,000 Euros in total – to the humanitarian organisation Médecins sans Frontières (www.msf.org) as a small contribution to their global work in disaster relief and emergency aid.

"The overwhelmingly positive response showed us that through this project many new quilt friendships have been forged around the world," Hufnagel continues. "As a result, we are planning a travelling exhibition featuring as many of the finished swap quilts as possible. This will be a great opportunity for some of the new quilt friends to meet up in real life."

In addition, Quilt around the World is already preparing its second International Block Swap which will start in spring 2013 with the deadline probably in late autumn. The decision on the theme for the 2nd IBS is not final but it may be around the element "water". In any case, the new subject will leave enough room for imagination and creativity again. More information on the International Block Swap project and a photo gallery can be found at www.quilt-around-the-world.com, where quilters and other textile enthusiasts find comprehensive and well-structured information about quilting, patchwork and other forms of textile arts & crafts. Included are comprehensive tutorials, interviews, book- and product reviews, travel reports and a global event directory. All articles are available in both German and English.