I "borrowed" this photo collage from The Houston Modern Quilt Guild Blog at houstonmodernquiltguild.blogspot.com and it shows some great examples of some minis:
Some of the more popular swaps are the #schnitzelandboo mini quilt swap (@schnitzelandboo), the #igminiswap and countless other swaps that include other items besides mini quilts. Many of them have themes that you are supposed to stay within. For example, The Strawberry swap has a strawberry theme, $itchesgetstiches (expletive) moderated by (@weenchaweena) has a swearing theme, and countless others are themed after seasons, holidays, etc.
Typically, these swaps have rules and guidelines you are supposed to follow, and the intention is to make connections with other sewists across the globe.
These swaps are so much fun to participate in, that I felt the need to do a blog post on them. Many people don't know where to start, but they are really simple to get involved in, and probably the most difficult part is meeting the deadline before the sign up closes! Many swaps have limits for how many people can sign up, as they are usually free to participate in, and overseen by a Regular Jo with a real job.
Here are some pointers I personally have for you if you plan on participating in a swap:
1. Plan ahead. Have some ideas you can easily use and alter to fit your partner's likes.
2. "Stalk" your partner's social media accounts to find out what they like. This is really a lot of fun, and you can easily uncover favorite colors, patterns, and other fun things about your partner's interests.
3. DON'T BACK OUT! Someone is looking forward to your handmade gift. If you can't commit to the swap, don't sign up! How disappointed would you be if you took the time to make an awesome mini for someone, and then received nothing in return?
4. Once you have your partner assignment, get your fabric and pattern early, and get to work! Have your mini done way before the deadline so you don't have to sweat not making the ship date.
5. Put your personal touches into the gift. Don't forget a quilt label! You want your partner to know where the quilt came from, who made it, and when.
6. HAVE FUN! These swaps are intended to be fun, so HAVE FUN!
I absolutely love making things for other people, and it makes it so much more fun when you don't know them. It's awesome to have the challenge of making something for someone else by trying to find out what they're interested in.
The first swap I participated in was the Sewing Loft Blog Mini Quilt Swap. Here's what I made for my partner:
The pattern I chose was @Sewwhatsherlock 's Spiderwebs paper piecing pattern, which is available on her blog for FREE. It's an awesome pattern, and she really does a great job with all of her paper piecing patterns. All of the fabric is Cotton + Steel. I made this at one of our guild's sewing retreats in Kerrville, Texas at Creations. SO much fun!
The second swap I sign up for was the #IGMiniSwap moderated by @curly_boy1 and several other swap participants that signed up to help. We haven't reached the ship date for this one yet, but here's what I made for my partner:
I'm not sure what the blueish smear is on the picture...it isn't on the fabric! All I can say is I'm definitely not a professional photographer ;) The pattern I chose for this was "Swoon" by ThimbleBlossoms.
For my third swap, I wanted to offer a swap within our guild, The San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild. Unfortunately, I didn't end up "signing up" for this swap since I was doing partner assignments. I didn't want to know who would have me...so I opted to just oversee. I can't wait to see what all of the extremely talented guild members come up with. You can see what they're working on by checking the Instagram hashtag #samqgultimateswap .
@weenchaweena has just offered a x-rated sort of swap, if you will. It's called $itchesgetstitches (expletive), and I also signed up for this. I haven't gotten my partner yet, but the swear words/puns should be lots of fun. This swap is probably not for everyone, but I have a fondness for "Debra" in the sitcom "Dexter", and enjoy her needless use for random cursewords and how she strings them together. I also have a different kind of humor, and enjoy seeing silly things like "poop" free-motion quilted into make up bags. Like I said...not for everyone.
I'm currently waiting for @schnitzelandboo to offer a new swap sign up, and can't wait to hopefully participate in it!
I'm not endorsing any of these swaps, just sharing my love of participating in them!