Monday, March 30, 2015

My First Year of Swaps

As many of you know, last year was my first year of swaps, and I participated in many.  It was a good way to get to know a bunch of other crafters, and I made or solidified friendships with many wonderful woman.  I also got a lot of wonderful swap items from (most of) them!

But it wasn't all good though, and I honestly wasn't prepared for the amount of anxiety, frustration, annoyance and disappointment I experienced through the year.  You don't hear much about the slackers, or poor workmanship, or horrible communication that can occur in swaps.  I love that this community is so positive and encouraging, but I think we're doing ourselves and each other a big disservice by not also discussing the negative experiences we have.  I think if I had been better prepared that things wouldn't be as awesome as everyone implied, then I would have tempered my expectations.  But to be fair my expectations are almost always too high.

My 2014 quilts--13 of the 21 quilts shown here were Pay It Forward or swap quilts!

It all started with some Pay It Forwards I signed up for in 2013--I signed up for them expecting I'd get some type of gift from those people, and also had signups for people to get some type of gift from me.  First mistake: committing to pay it forward before receiving anything from the people I'd signed up with.  Second mistake: taking on too many people to pay it forward to.  Third mistake: making each of those gifts I sent out much more complicated and time consuming than I should have (Case in point: a super tote and 5 mini quilts--Hexie Sewing MachineAMH FeatherHakuna MatataFlight of the Bumblebees, and Raven Feathers).   I did send out two smaller, simpler gifts to two others that signed up: gathered clutches and Starbucks giftcards.  It's been over two years since I signed up for those pay it forwards and I've accepted that I will never recieve anything from those people.

Mini Quilt from Jessica from Quilty Habit, side A

My next swap was a private one with Jess at Quilty Habit.  It was awesome--we both made double-sided quilts for each other (without knowing what the other was making) and really put a lot of effort into making something special for the other person.

Mini Quilt from Jessica from Quilty Habit, side B.

I was then invited to join a traveling quilt group--you can read more about that good and bad experience here.  The short version is that my first quilt I sent out went MIA with the group leader and neither have been heard from since.  But the rest of the group pulled together and created some amazing quilts despite the setbacks!  So although that started out as a bad experience, it transformed into an amazing group--and we decided to do a second round this year.

Birthday gifts from Julie at 627 Handworks--sew together bag, pin cushion and goodies.  (The firetruck wasn't apart of the gift, my son insisted it be in the photo.)

Otherside of the Sew Together bag--love the flying geese and butterfly print!

I love the little snap fabric inside the Sew Together zip pockets!

Then in a small zip pouch swap I received one that didn't even open all the way, and despite listing yellow and orange as colors I don't like, they were very predominately used (with teals and feathers fabrics, ha).  I ended up having to take most of the bag apart to fix the zipper.

Birthday gifts from Stephanie at Quarter Incher.

Inside of the Necessary Clutch from Stephanie at Quarter Incher.  Even enough room to hold my cell phone if I don't want to carry a big bag!

The next swap I joined was the Birthday Bash through flickr.  I signed up for it because my birthdays always end up feeling like a big let down.  There's so much hype for birthdays and parties and gifts...and I'm a low key person mostly, and my birthdays don't live up to the hype.  So when I was invited to join the swap I thought it would be a great way to add something special to my birthday--a bunch of handmade gifts all for me!  For my birthday!  I was excited, especially after seeing what several of the other women got for the birthdays that came before mine.

Birthday gifts from Amanda at What The Bobbin--a sew together bag, roadtrip case and pin cushion.

But when it was my turn to receive birthday gifts...I didn't get any.  My birthday came and went and I didn't receive any gifts.  It was like my annual day of disappointment times 10.  Additionally only one person had bothered to communicate with me about my gift and let me know it would be late (good communication is really important to me, and I really appreciated knowing they at least remembered!).  I waited...and waited...and waited....two weeks and still no gifts.  At that point I was pretty angry, and decided to leave the swap group.

My first birthday gift arrived over 2 weeks after my birthday.  One person said they thought they had the whole birthday month to send an item, while I had been under the impression to send things so they arrived by the birthday.  An unfortunate misunderstanding.

The cutest little hexie pin cushion and decorative pins!

Inside of the Sew Together bag.

Inside of the Road Trip case--lots of extra goodies!

I get that life happens, babies born, family emergencies, sewing machines break, other opportunities come up and take precedence over making and sending a birthday gift.  I feel that a gift being late is forgivable for any of those reasons, but what I found so upsetting was the lack of communication.  It would have taken less than 5 minutes to send a simple message saying that life had gotten crazy for whatever reason and my gift would be late.

Road Trip case made by Mara at Simon Says Sew.  This fabric is probably one of my favorites ever.  I wish I had yards of it.

Inside of the Road Trip case.

I did end up getting gifts from all but one person (even though I did send her a birthday gift, I'm sure I will never, ever get anything from her--I've heard she is a repeat flake in swaps despite her popularity), and I did rejoin the group and sent out gifts for the last two birthday girls.  In the end I got a lot of wonderful handmade items from the birthday swap and made some new friends, despite my grumpiness and the delays. 

Birthday gifts from Nicole at Snips Snippets.  Nicole and I share a love of teal and grey!  There were a lot more of those Coffee Crisps...I ate most of them before taking this photo. :-D

Also included in my birthday gift from Nicole--this gorgeous feather dresden mini quilt!

Despite the birthday swap issues I decided I would try one more group swap--the #igminiswap on Instagram.  I ended up getting a really nice mini quilt, and then a couple of months later I got to meet Jo at QuiltCon!  It was so fun getting to know her in person.

#IGminiswap quilt received from Jo @mybearpaw.

I've intentionally tried not to call out the people I've had issues with.  The ones I've become friends with I'd had a lot of good communication with and any problems I perceived have been forgiven.  And those that went MIA and in no way reciprocated the swap- I feel it is not my place to discredit them publically, though I think they obviously deserve it.  If you think that sounds mean, then understand that they entered into an agreement to swap items, and they did not follow through, and therefore their word means nothing.  It is not fair to me or future swap partners to believe otherwise until they have proven themselves to be capable of following through with their commitments.  If you are dying to know who they are, I will tell you in a private email, as I think you deserve the fair warning that they may do the same to others in the future.  On that note--I found out at the end of the #igminiswap that one of these women was in my group, and honestly if I had found out at the beginning I would have dropped out or asked to change groups because the possibility of having her as my partner is not worth it!  Luckily I had a wonderful partner.

The quilt I received from Afton at Quilting Mod in a private swap last fall.  It was this swap that I realized how much better private swaps are than group swaps!

Now here's my problem with all the big swaps I see on instagram--there are a lot of them, and all of them sounds like such fun it is hard to have the self control not to sign up for all of them.  This is especially true when they say something like, "You don't have to send out the item for 3 months!  That's plenty of time to stalk your partner, make something and send it out in time!"  Well, it's also plenty of time to sign up for 5 more swaps, forget half your obligations, and then barely make something at the last minute and still mail it out late.  I've seen this repeatedly on Instagram.  People have good intentions and get swept up in the excitement, but it is really hard to keep up with all of the swaps!  And the detachment of doing it all online, anonymously, makes it so much easier to make excuses for items being late, or forgetting them all together.

But you don't hear much about those problems--you mostly see or hear about the fancy items and/or high profile people involved.  But it's a lottery!  I've heard just as many stories about poorly made items, forgotten or lost items, and people that don't communicate at all.

This is why I've decided not to do group swaps anymore, or at least not with people I don't know.  It's just not worth all the anxiety, and potential frustration and disappointment!  But I still want to swap items, which is why I've started initiating private swaps with various blogging friends.  These swaps are fun through the whole process, and I know the other person's abilities, and to some extent their workmanship and work ethic.

So now I'd like to hear about YOUR swap experiences--have they all been good?  Or bad?  Or some of both?

Linking up with:
Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story
Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation

28 comments:

  1. I have yet to agree to any swaps, for pretty much every single reason you list here. And on top of that a pretty huge case of self-doubt and worry that what I make (or my style) would be so far away from what my partner would like that I am pretty sure I'll continue to steer clear. I am glad that the birthday swap ended up working out so well for you (there are a lot of beautiful gifts there!), but I am totally with you on communication.

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  2. Well done for saying what I half-heartedly said a couple of years ago on my blog. I had bad bee experiences. A bee mama who set the whole group and then promptly disappeared into the wide blue yonder, never to be heard of again. And a bee where I was practically at the end of a 14 month line so by the time it came to my turn, several of the members has disappeared. One in particular never even returned the fabric I sent her when I contacted her to say I accepted she wasn't going to make me a block but could I at least have the fabric back...when it had been her month I had volunteered to make her two, rather than one block. And a bee mama who kind of lost interest in the situation because by then she'd become real life friends with the aforementioned person and was too busy turning her quilting hobby into a business.
    In the grand scheme of things it's 'just' fabric. However, it's also more than that: it's trust, honesty, following through on what you say you're going to do and generally just treating others as you'd like to be treated yourself. That last experience completely put me off swaps and since then I have approached people I admire on IG or via their blogs and asked if they wanted to swap and have been absolutely thrilled with what I have received. I would regard these people as online friends. I have just joined my first IG swap and am slightly wondering if I will regret it for reasons I'd rather not post here. I have a back-up plan if it all goes wrong though! Thank you for writing this post and sorry I went on so long!

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  3. So frustrating! I joined two swaps this year and a bee. This is a first for me and I'm a bit nervous now. I hope to have good experiences, but I can see where it could go bad quickly. I'm glad you're still enjoying swaps, even if it is on a more intimate basis. I honestly can't blame you for it.

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  4. Thanks for saying all of this. I've done three IG swaps and they have been nothing but wonderful for me. However, I have stopped doing swaps because I see what you see -- so many swaps, so many people signing up for swaps, and so many people signing up for so many swaps. Many of them seem like inexperienced swappers who don't understand the commitment involved.

    The way IG swaps have become reminds me *a lot* of how bees were on Flickr right before they peaked and died. People would signup for a kabillion bees at the same time and then either flake or make crap. I think it's what killed bees on Flickr. The last bee I was in had a 50% flake rate and most of the blocks I got are not usable. I participated in a couple of travelling quilts bees as well, both were giant disasters (in one, the leader disappeared with a couple of the quilts in progress and three years later they are still missing.) On the other hand I am currently in a travelling quilts bee that has been an enormous success. It's a private group that I was invited into and it was a requirement that we all know each other (having participated in bees and swaps together before.) We are all experienced swappers and quilters. I wonder if this is the direction that IG swaps will start moving toward, especially after seeing so many comments like yours lately.

    A good example of a successful swap is the Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr, which was very successful for multiple rounds. Their success was because swappers had to apply, they had to demonstrate a successful swapping and sewing history, and not everyone was accepted. I would happily participate in a more exclusive IG swap that was choosy about who got in.

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  5. Our swap was amazing and we'll have to do another sometime in the future! I'm still quite bitter about the sisterhood incident (to me, the noncommunication/keeping the two quilts is unforgivable).I LOVE that feathers fabric and that's the one colorway I never got my hands on. Lucky lady! I have 3 big IG swaps coming up (for the first time ever) and I'm just hoping all goes well.

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  6. What an interesting post! I did the pay it forward with the same results as you. Worse, a friend sent a quilt to Ireland and never even got a thank you! I was in quite a few rounds of the 3 x 4 swap with generally good results. It did annoy me to get a completely simple block when ones I sent took a day each to make. Maybe that's not fair. Now I swap with a private group I met in the 3 x 4. We all know and trust each other. We are doing a traveling quilt this year and all the ones that have come by me have been amazing! I only hope this group continues since it meets all my swapping needs.

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  7. You certainly had a mixed bag of results, didn't you? My first ever swap I wasn't even assigned to a partner to make for me, so I ended up with a quick (but decent) angel quilt. My experience in the #IGminiswap was much better. Unfortunately, I was the less-than-perfect partner in that one, sending the quilt I made to Australia by surface mail which took foreeeeeever to arrive and I felt awful for making my partner wait so long. I think I'll skip the big swaps from now on and stick with private ones. Like you said, knowing the person already makes it more likely the swap will be all that you want it to be.

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  8. I thankfully have had good experiences with the few swaps I have done. But the best one was the private swap I did - we just communicated all the time, and there is much more accountability involved. I hate seeing people in my groups on IG not getting their swap item after all the work they put into theirs, and the number of swappers who are not active on IG at all is just not right. I think the swaps where you have to sign up, and those running them can check whether you have been active or not in other swaps, is the way to go.

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  9. I have never joined in a swap, although I have considered it. I do participate in bees and I agree that communication is everything - there have been good and bad experiences for me. Your post topic is so interesting and I appreciate hearing someone else sharing their bad along with the good.

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  10. I really appreciate this post. I put off participating in a swap for a long time because I was intimidated by the thought of making for another sewer. (Ridiculous, I know.) I only recently joined a swap on IG. Why the change of heart? (1) I really admire the work of the ladies who are organizing the swap, and I wanted to support their efforts. (2) I wanted to connect with different crafters in addition to those I'm already in contact with. (3) I love, love, love sewing for other people. Admittedly, I have very low expectations -- probably because I get such a thrill out of plotting handmade goodness for someone I don't know; I've forgotten at time that I'll be receiving something, too. I'll let you know how it goes!

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  11. P.S. I covet your feathery Dresden mini. And if you ever encounter the manufacturer of that snap fabric, I want to know!

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  12. I love your honesty about your experiences with swaps, etc. i did a crochet swap once and sent out my twelve squares and received ten squares. That's the only swap I have done. I am new at quilting, both the piecing and quilting, and have no idea what makes a good/acceptable/lousy swap.

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  13. Renee, your honesty in this post is greatly appreciated!! I have never participated in a open call swap or bee. Why? I had read so many things on forums and blogs (bits and pieces, never the full enchilada like you have here) about hurt feelings and empty mailboxes. I guess I just figured it wasn't worth the risk. I did however participate in a private fabric swap once - that was loads of fun! There were three of us and we each gave one word and sent fabric based on that word. I would definitely do a private swap again but I don't see myself jumping on the swap/bee band wagon any time soon. I have to admit though, when your group and a couple others that are doing round robin quilts like you guys are doing I do perk up, I think that would be very cool to have a quilt that had so many creative minds involved. But again, I would be wary of it unless I 'knew' all of the participants. . .

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  14. Such an honesty post. I was the lucky recipient of your sewing machine mini - and it still hangs on my sewing room wall. However I too have been a non recipient from PIF that I have signed up for and people I have sent to, haven't honoured their end of the bargain either. I thnk their have been a lot of problems lately with IG swaps, I don't have IG so can only participate through Flickr, but I am picky about which ones I join too. Love some of the minis you have received and especially love that feather dresden.

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  15. I know the feeling you're talking about. I've been in a bee where the organizer completely flaked off and went awol, after being the first to receive blocks too! That was very frustrating. I do still take part in bees, but the ones I'm in are with people that I know and have been in the same group for 3 years now. We know we can trust each other.

    I agree with you that people who flake repeatedly should be publicly outed, but I'm not sure what the best way to go about that is. I have heard that there is a black list floating around, but since I've never organized a swap, I've never had any real reason to go looking for it. I wouldn't mind knowing who the flakers are though. It sucks to get taken in by people like that.

    beaniekins84(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. I know the feeling!!! I really am glad you have written this post, because sit shows that life is not all wonderful packages in swap land. I have signed up for a few pay it forwards and only ever received one thing in return, I have always sent my gifts on to whoever signed up with me though as I couldn't bear to let someone down. I have had some lovely swaps, one that I never received, but also some so dreadful they had to go in the bin. It really is a lottery, but I am surprised how frequently there are problems, especially when you only see and hear about wonderful packages on blogs. x

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  17. Swaps - hit and miss in my opinion. Some are great, some are not so. I've found some great swap groups on both Flickr and IG that are kept small, well managed with experienced swap mamas and have been and continue to be wonderful experiences. I have learned however to avoid these mega swaps that are beginning to appear more and more often. The swaps where the initial swap organiser seems more interested in getting even more participants than they did in their last mega swap, and where the swap ends up divided into multiple smaller swap groups etc. I have not had great experiences with these swaps. They are much too impersonal for my liking. I will admit that on the few ocassions I did join in such swaps I did get lovely mini's from them but I never once saw a post from either the partner I was sewing for or the partner who turned out to be sewing from me until all had been sent and finished which took so much of the enjoyment out of the whole process for me. Now I stick to the small established groups I know and trust. These are groups where I know the swap mama, know that she will not tolerate flakers, or those who do not communicate and where I know she will go that extra mile to ensure that it is the best swap possible for those who are taking part. And as for flakers and those who don't believe the rules are for them, well as far as they are concerned then I do believe in naming and shaming. There are some people out there who are only trying to get as much as they can out of others and they should be stopped if at all possible as they are only ruining things for everyone else.

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  18. I appreciate your honesty. I have only done 2 swaps. I had a great experience with the first swap. I was lucky. I would see other people posting about how they had not gotten anything. I got something beautiful. The next swap I joined was a birthday swap. My birthday was the first one. I got wonderful gifts. But then it was my turn to make something. I had so much fun with the making, but when it was time to ship out - I wasn't done. I felt horrible. But I am in school and I just couldn't make it a priority. I also stressed over the "gifts" that were expected. My funds are pretty limited and making something is about all I can afford. I emailed ahead of time to let all of the ladies in the group know that I would be late with their gifts and they were amazing about it. I still felt so terrible. So no more swaps for me until I get done with school. I don't want to be the "lazy" one. Ya know? I love all of your quilts and minis and am glad that you finally had some good experiences. I hope you have many more.

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  19. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with the birthday swap, Renee. I never participate in swaps. No fun? No pressure. No disappointments. No worries. Hope your next birthday is wonderful!!!!

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  20. I did four one year (one I hosted)
    one I ended up stepping up and doing double blocks because we lost someone
    One I actually jumped in half way through because they lost someone (and I had been on reserve!)
    One was ok but all beginners and I took apart several blocks to fix
    And then there was mine!! What a nightmare!! One gal had march got her blocks and was never heard from again!! Like her blogs (one quilting one cross stitch) have not been touched since!! I made double blocks for months and only two other girls were keeping up! I feel very bad for those two who actually participated!! I believe by August everyone had fallen off!!! Lesson learned!!!
    I also did one swap (just a mini) and my person did not have a blog! Lived in Australia and I never did find out if my package was well received!
    Probably wont do any swaps any time soon!!!

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  21. I wouldn't join swaps simply because I never know one day to the next if I would be able to fulfill MY obligations, never mind what 20 other people plan to do. I'm sorry to hear of the shortcomings of your swaps, but the good stuff is very pretty and ever so cool!

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  22. I have done two swaps so far and had great results - and two more in play so we'll see how they go!!

    I also did a bee last year and had a totally lame response rate, which was really disappointing. The thing that got me the most was not the lack of blocks, but the complete lack of courtesy from the flakers (love that term, I am acquiring it from you!). No thank yous, no letting me know that they'd received the block. But these same people were still posting all the other things they were making on IG, just apparently not my blocks. I deleted them from my feed because I just got mad when I saw their posts.

    I am also in a birthday swap and I have gotten about half of my gifts so far, but I am confident (hopeful?) I'll get the rest. The ladies in my group are fairly active on IG and are good communicators.

    I have a bit of swap fatigue now, so I am not doing any more for at least 6 months. I want to finish some things for me! Good luck with all your future swaps :)

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  23. I have never participated in a bee or swap, and really don't know that I would ever want to ~ I have so many things in my head that I want to make and can't seem to find time for, that I don't know how on earth I could make for strangers, too. In a less busy season of life, I would probably enjoy the challenge, but currently, even the idea stresses me out!
    I did receive a little package of hexies just a few days ago that are super cute ;-) and am pondering the perfect project for them - that'd be worthy of the sweet sender....

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  24. I just found your blog and this post and thought this is exactly how I am feeling right now. I was about to write a blog about my swap disappointments. I have participated in many swaps and I always like to research my partner and make sure I use fabrics she likes, colours she has asked for etc. I have even gone out and bought fabric specifically for their item. I get all excited about making something for them and then the disappointment comes. The items I have received are so poorly made or nothing what I had put in the requests. I have joined 15 mini quilt swaps and only 3 have been able to be put up on the wall. (Here I was thinking I was going to have a wall of mini's to admire while I sew)

    The last swap was the worst. Holes, binding already coming off, some of the fabric is not quilting fabric but polyester, and the paper piecing is soooo bad you can see every stitch, not one point matched and in some places you don't have to even pull the fabric apart to see the wadding underneath. In some places she has even used glue to hold the fabric down to the wadding because all the stitching has come apart. There was bit of thread over it and it had not been ironed, well the ironing would have been impossible because of the puckering and the polyester. When I went and checked out her IG feed the mini I received was for something else she was participating in and had hashtagged a different swap. Maybe the date of the rainbow mini came up and she used it instead of making one. It did not match one request I put in..... I have thrown it in the bin...... But in these circumstances do you let the swap organiser know? What would you do?...

    I have one more swap that I have committed to and will fulfil my obligation. But this is the last swap I will participate in. Even though I have met some beautiful ladies participating in these swaps and made some great friends it is not worth all the disappointment and frustration and then anger I feel over the next week.

    Its even got to the point that my kids laugh at them as they arrive and rank them to other bad swaps. But I always take a photo, post it up on my feed and say how great it is and thankyou. Which is the bit I hate the most, because I want to tell the truth, and say how terrible it is......I feel like such a fake and liar each time I say "oh its gorgeous, thank you, I know the perfect spot to put it..... and everyone goes and likes the photo and everything goes on all merry, while i'm frustrated inside... anyway little do they know the perfect spot was the bin.....

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  25. Renee, I appreciate your thoughtful and honest post about this subject. I've been sewing on a regular basis for just a year now - still a total newbie - and have often wondered how to go about making friends in this online community of quilters. I just joined a charity bee, and have participated in one charm swap. I was excited about the swap, even took two spots on the list and sent my fabrics in. When I got my charms back I was so excited, until I looked closely. Some had cut so close parts of the selvedge were on the 5" charm and about 20 squares were NOT the required 5"-- more like 4.75" !! I mean, really people??? I thought I was safe dipping my toe into that -- and I was obviously quite wrong.
    I would love to do private swaps with people I feel will communicate and whose work I admire. But most of all, I really, really want to get into a group and do a traveling quilt. I love the concept and I have the time and the stash ( too much stash) LOL to do it and do it well. I'm so sad to hear about your bad experiences......but thanks so much for sharing so honestly.

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  26. I'm actually starting to find myself worrying about what minis I'll receive back this time after sending off 2 awesome ones that i would have loved to keep! I'm fine with receiving something that's made by a new quilter as we've all been new and aren't perfect ourselves, but am more concerned about ugliness :( crossing my fingers though!

    I'm running a designer-themed swap now on IG with a friend. In the survey, we actually asked for sewing level, and things like how often you use IG. While sign ups came through, we actually checked out people's profiles and have tried assigning people accordingly. I'm pretty active on IG and once had a partner who posted rarely (and was away from IG the first half of the entire swap) which was a little frustrating. I tried keeping activity in mind when assigning partners. If someone said they're on IG every day, I didn't put them with someone who said they used it once a month. With my group I'm handling I also tried matching people up with interests so partners have at least one thing in common, whether it's favourite colours or least favourite, or just a throw away line they added that matched with someone else. I've noticed a couple of people comment that they were excited because their partner had the same tastes as them (my goal was if you can relate to your partner in some way you'll have a higher chance of enjoying making it making it something GOOD over finding it a chore by having to work with things not to your taste -- who likes being forced to work on something they don't enjoy doing?!).

    The thing I find frustrating the most is when people don't interact at all in the swap tags. I'm sure I miss a lot of posts because who can keep up, so I'm not saying I'm innocent in not interacting all the time, but my next swap mini that's due, I've seen my partner around in non-swap related posts, and she's signing up to new swaps, so is obviously on IG, but I have just not seen her interact on any of my posts about her own mini in this particular swap (which she obviously doesn't know is hers) but i've also not seen her on anyone else's posts in the swap either. And i'd been keeping an eye on it, trying to catch any random likes or comments to help give me an idea of what she likes or hates in making my own mini for her. So I've had to make a mini blindly, hoping she'll like it. She did say in her survey "I'll like anything you make" but... I don't really like that comment. Lots of people hate brown. I actually like brown. So if I made a mini that *I* liked and thought was great and featured brown, is someone that says "I'll like whatever you make" or "If you love what you made, I'll love it too" really, honestly going to like it?! Because I doubt it. I know people don't want to stifle someone's creativity, but at the same time as a maker, you want to make something you know they'll like.

    Something I noticed with the swap I'm hosting, is that it seems people are jumping into swaps without knowing what they're actually getting themselves into. Like, they just want to do a swap so will signup to the first one they see rather than thinking about if they are interested in it. I've got people in my swap who say they aren't familiar with the designer at all, or hadn't heard of her before the swap, and someone has already dropped out because they don't have any of her fabric in their stash - wouldn't that be a given before you even sign up?

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  27. This was a very interesting and refreshingly honest post! I have been in quite a few swaps over the last 5 years and have had similar results. The first swap group I joined, some of the members were excellent on quality of workmanship, meeting the deadlines and communication, but quite a few would just never send in blocks, come up with constant excuses why they were late and many of the blocks were so poorly made that there were big holes or they literally came apart in your hands. To say nothing of incorrect block size, etc... More than anything it was just so hard to go online and say how pretty the block was and how much I liked it, it made me feel like a liar and I couldn't do it anymore. So a couple of the members who were as fed up with it as I was and I made our own group. Some of the original group were quite snippy about it and made it seem like we were snobby. But it was just miserable to work so hard, spend a lot of time and money and then have at least have of the return blocks be unusable. So now we have a group of known and trusted participants, and it is really tons of fun. We do let in new people, and give them one chance but no second ones! We have been doing row/round robins and birthday block swaps and I am so glad I didn't give up, as the ladies in that group are such nice people and good friends. It does pay to find the group/ people who are really committed.

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  28. I haven't done any swaps. I only made few trades with ladies I knew for a while. So I would say I prefer private swaps over the organized ones. Oh and I'm curious who is the bad girl you are talking about :)

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