SWAPS- love them or hate them? I feel a rant coming on…..

I started swapping a little over a year ago- at the time I thought it sounded like a great idea! Kind of like a modern day quilting pan pal?

Well swapping isn’t all I thought it would be!

You all know the disclaimer that starts off by saying OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND DO NOT REFLECT……blah blah blah.

Well these are my opinions about swaps and do not reflect all swaps in general. I am sure most of the swaps are problem free right?

Email me if you have any comments- I would love to hear them. melonpatch (dot) quilts (at) yahoo (dot) ca

So back to the topic at hand- Swaps. We all know them, you sign up, you get a partner, you stalk them for weeks trying to figure out what kind of quilt they would like, photos are posted for ideas, you work on your swap, you buy some fun extras and secretly mail out your precious parcel and then.. NOTHING! What the hell happens to all the MIA swaps? Is there a Bermuda Triangle just for quilting swaps?

My first swap was a Flickr Swap, called Sweet Swap- where I signed up, posted a mosaic on my likes, was assigned a partner and voila, instant swap. Since it was my first swap, I tried to be a good girl and follow all the rules and be a good swap partner. Some swaps have rules as to how many photos to post online, a deadline to mail your swap by etc. and I did all that right down to the letter! Well over a year later and I still have not received my swap in return. So where did it all go wrong? Who knows? The person running the swap asked for feedback from all participants to let her know if you had sent your swap and if you had received your swap. I followed up with her letting her know that my partner never acknowledged she received my swap- so did she ever get it? Was it lost in the mail? Is she just rude and didn’t want to post the required photos or send a thank you card? All unanswered questions. Even when following up with the swap leader, because I never received my swap, she said she would make me something and send it out so I wouldn’t be left out of the swap and nope, never got that either. Is this the way all swaps go?

Here is an in progress of the mini I made for the Flickr Swap. (I forgot to get a photo of the whole package before sending)

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On to swap # 2- the QuiltCon Lanyard Swap. This was an exciting swap as it was associated with the lead up to QuiltCon frenzy. Who wouldn’t love to make a simple lanyard to swap and then possibly meet your swap partner at QuiltCon to say HI? Sign me up I said, despite getting burnt on my first swap. On IG there was a special # for the swap, lots of creeping going on with partners to see what their tastes were, boy was I optimistic! And this swap leader- Jules seemed to be quite organized and helpful, so what could go wrong? She had a great email with rules and information- partner info- everything to ensure a great swap.

My partner Alex was easy to make for, and easy to add extras as well, she has a cute dog, she liked coffee, no problem! I sent my swap out and thankfully she received everything safe and sound and posted a nice thank you on IG. So far so good for at least ½ the swap.

Here is a photo of what I sent Alex for her swap.

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Jules had a deadline to let her know by, if we had received our swap in return. Once again I had the bad swap mojo and never got a lanyard. Why Me?

But Jules was in fact a great swap host and followed up with my sending partner Hilary who was going to be at QuiltCon and agreed to meet me in Texas and personally give me a replacement lanyard. Better late then never! Hilary was such a sweetie and made me the best lanyard- my faith in swaps was almost returning. Who knows what happened to that first lanyard that was mailed out- hopefully someone at Canada Post is enjoying it.

Here is a photo of the lanyard Hilary made for me and look at her pin that she gave me too!

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Still coming off my partially successful swap high, I decided to sign up for my 3rd swap- the Rainbow Mini Swap hosted by Kate. WOW Kate is a VERY organized swap host, and she assigned some swap mammas to keep each colour of the rainbow organized, sent reminder emails, checked to see if your swap was sent and received- more than anything I had seen in my 2 previous swaps.

But even with all the best intentions, I was doomed again with swapping partners. I totally must have a sign on my back that says- terrible swap partners please swap with me. Because it all went down hill from the beginning.

Kate’s swap required participants to post a few in progress photos on IG so I kept checking on my partner and see what she was making for her swap mini. Kate had made it pretty clear that you had to participate fully or your swapping ass would get kicked out. (my words, not hers- she is way too sweet to say that)

Swappers were not allowed to send your swaps if your partner had not shown enough progress- so guess what, my swapper showed no progress. She posted photo after photo of her cats, but no mini. So, way past the deadline my partner was removed from the swap. What was I going to do with the rainbow mini I had made? I mean I liked it, and I guess I could keep it, but it was intended to be swapped and I really wanted this swap to work- all my future swaps were riding on it. This was a make it or break it swap.

I contacted Kate and offered my mini if she needed one for another participant who had an equally wonky partner like mine. While waiting to see if I had to send mine somewhere, I got some happy mail. I had finally and actually received a rainbow mini swap present from Ginette. It’s like the sky opened up and dropped a little rainbow quilt in my hands to have finally received something in a swap! I think I heard a choir singing as my very first swap parcel was being opened. Ginette had made the loveliest star quilt and added a thread catcher and hand turned wood seam ripper her Uncle had made. Isn’t that the nicest thing? And being the twice burned and good swapper that I am, I posted an IG thank you as well as photos and even sent a written thank you note. I wanted to make sure my partner knew her swap had arrived and that it was just perfect. I didn’t want her forever wondering like I still am.

Here is a photo of the swap present I received from Ginette. So lovely.

Maybe if I followed the swapping thank you rules the good karma would come back? HA HA HA- NO sadly that did not happen. Kate found me someone that needed a replacement partner so I bought some Canadian extras, since this swap was going to the UK, and sent my parcel off hoping for the best. That was months ago and have I heard any feedback if my mini arrived in the UK? Not a tea-drinking thing. I mean, who does that? No acknowledgement of receiving a swap gift? Just plain rude!

I know I sound harsh and that sometimes things come up in a person’s life and they can’t honour their previous commitments, but when given the option to pull out of a swap to ease the burden and they don’t, what is the purpose? Are people signing up for swaps to be swap thieves- get sent a swap but send nothing in return? Have they no morals?
You are just ruining swaps for everyone else people- so stop it!

Please play by the rules; actually swap when you are signed up for a swap- that is why they are called swaps.

Here is a photo of my Kaffe Mini Swap that went to Georgia, with some tea as my partner likes tea.  This did arrive safely to her despite her changing her address the last week of the swap.  And my partner was nice enough to let me know she got it.

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Am I deterred from future swaps? For a while I thought NO MORE SWAPS! But then a really simple swap came up on IG. A Polaroid greeting swap. Just a block, no extras. I could do this, really what harm would it be? Use some of my fabric from my stash, write a short note, and off in the mail go the blocks.

This swap is actually so much fun. There are multiple daily posts on what blocks have been received and I love looking at all the cute fabrics.

Here are some of my latest blocks I received.  Wonderful blocks, personal cards and some interesting facts about the area my swap partners live in.

Once all the blocks come in each person should have 20 Polaroid blocks from all over the world.  I even got some from Norway, Germany and Australia.

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Then last week the Round 2 of the Rainbow Mini Swap started up- and of course since I loved the first round and Kate is just such a sweetheart, I signed up. Can’t tell you much about this swap other than my partner is in Toronto and we are both on Team Red.  I already follow her on IG so wonder if she will know I am her secret partner? I will post progress on this swap as I go along.

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So what experiences have you had with swaps- and please I hope you have had more luck than I have! Renew my faith in swaps!

OK getting down of my soap box now.