SWAPS. What are they and how do I get in?

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Aha! I’ve found something that seems easier to understand than the online Quilting Bee, which is the IG world of the “Swap”. Since my post about how I was going to go and figure out the online quilting bee scenario, I started trolling around Instagram like crazy and found a couple of treasures. If you are new to this, like I am, read on and maybe some of this will help you out.

The first treasure I found is the wonderful online community of quilters like me. I feel like I’ve found my tribe, my people, my sisters in fabric hoarding and project overload. I love the way one Instagrammer puts it: “My friends that live in my phone.” I am glad to be one of her friends that live in her phone. She makes me laugh and inspires me, as do so many of my new “friends who live in my phone.” How did I find this community? I did some hashtag searches, such as: #quilting #quilt #fabrichoarding. I think you get the drift.

Several mornings and breaks in my day, I sit down and immerse myself in the world of other people’s sewing rooms, fabric stashes, new projects, “happy mail” (when new fabric orders arrive in the mail), finished projects and random life photos, quotes and maybe even find out what TV shows they watch. But my favorite discovery has been the SWAP, the second “treasure.”

In a matter of a week and a half, I went from “how to join a bee” confusion to officially signing up in four swaps. I’m crazy. I’m addicted. And I’m moving in about three weeks!!! The first space in my new house to set up will be my sewing area. I’ve got deadlines, people! That does bring up a good point, though. Make sure you can make the deadline, and don’t over extend yourself. Think of what it would be like if you were the organizer and people weren’t making deadlines. That’s a brand of stress no one needs. Having said that, there are those unfortunate circumstances where someone can not participate and for that there are “swap angels” or “sewing angels” or “block angels” (I think we get the picture!) who will sew instead. For more “swap etiquette”, check out this post on thesewingloftblog.com.

So, what is a swap? Well, the name kind of says it all, but in the world of quilting/crafting/sewing, an Instagrammer might put out a post asking if there is an interest in a particular item (fabric? tote bag? sewing supply bag? etc…). The “host” (organizer)  then creates a Google form and links it to their IG profile, where people can sign up, providing their name, email, mailing address and other pertinent info.

swap google docs

Some swaps ask the participant specific information, such as favorite colors, fabric designers, etc. In one swap I’m participating in, the organizer asked all the participants to post a collage of things they liked in that particular theme. Here is mine for the #Parisswap

paris swap collage

This particular swap involves secret partners so we are encouraged to stalk our partner’s feed for ideas about what they might like.

Another swap I’m in involves sewing 27 quilt squares from Liberty Tana Lawn fabric (Eeee! I’m so excited) and I’ll get the same number of squares back from other people.

libertyswap

In another swap, I’ll be sewing an organizer bag and getting the same bag back. I can not wait to pick the fabrics and get sewing. This one does not have secret partners, so I’ll be able to find out before hand exactly what kind of fabric this partner enjoys.

sew together swap

Maybe you are asking, how do I find a swap? Sometimes people will share/repost the picture of the swap so you can find out who is hosting and go join if you are in time. They fill up pretty quickly. Just keep trolling and snooping around until you find something you like. As you can tell from this assortment I’ve shown you, they are various and plenty! There are specific hashtags for swaps so you can quickly find photos of projects in progress, as well as other participants.  The organizer will advise what the hashtags are. It’s a good idea to follow the other participants in your swap to experience the fullness of the community experience! So fun!

I’ve been on Instagram before…as “myself” and kept it private..not as the sewer, quilter, swapper lady with a public account. I can say this experience has broadened my experience of the quilting world instantly (Insta-glee!). I get to see sewists in Australia and England and their beautiful projects and fabrics…and sewing rooms, and on and on. I’m hooked.

If you have your own swap tips, please share them! Or maybe a swapping story to share?

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