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