Words in my Head

Playing with the Cool Kids

Now that it’s not especially cool (or as easy) to blog as it is to use IG, I guess I’ll start blogging again. Seriously though, if you happen to follow me on IG or are friends with me on Facebook, you’ll probably know more about my life than some of my family members. So I can’t really figure out anything that I could show here on my blog (in pictures) that would be “news.” I did work on something over the weekend though (shocker!) although I really IGed the heck out of it and some of it is a secret because it’s for a swap.

Let’s talk about swaps

I think swaps with random, unknown people are for the birds! I’ve participated in 3 swaps IN MY LIFE and so far, haven’t been impressed. The first two were through a Flickr group. There was so much hype about participating and being “selected” (especially if you’re a newbie swapper) that I was just so thrilled to be accepted! My mistake was joining two swaps which had deadline/ship dates that were VERY close to each other. Considering that at the time I had a 6-8 month old child and full time job this was probably not the best idea. Then, the items I received in the swap were either half finished (and really late) or just sort of “eh” I mean, I don’t think the girl really took my tastes into consideration even though I was incredibly specific in my reply to the questionnaire we filled out. Plus, the theme of the swap was SUPER general, one was Sew Sew Modern. Can you GET more general than that? But you know, that was all part of last year and I’m pretty much over it. Pretty much. Although, due to the disappointing results of those swaps I promised myself that I would NEVER participate in another swap. And if you’re on IG, you KNOW that there are swaps GALORE to join in! Plus, the images of what people make and send and receive in those swaps are so amazing that every one is like a little voice saying “join the swap, join the swap”

Always listen to the voice of reason.

Well, this fall, against the other voice in my head, I joined another swap. This one was through IG. This was a little more structured, we had to make a mini quilt from a specific book. Great! That really narrows down the choices. But somehow, I managed to be matched with a partner who doesn’t use IG to shout to the world what sort of colors she likes or fabric she likes. She is a very sweet person, but from what I could figure out after IG “stalking” her was, she has a cute dog, was renovating her house, and seemed to like more traditional colors and designs when it came to quilts. Well, I guess I managed to guess pretty well because her feedback when she received the quilt was that she loved it! Now, have I received mine yet? Nope. But I have been told that it’s almost done (she decided to start over) and she’ll be shipping it out shortly. OK, that’s fine. I’d rather have something that the sender can be happy with/proud of than something that was just thrown together and sent anyway just so it would be sent on time. At least now I can hold off with asking hubby if I received anything in the mail, for a couple of weeks anyway.

The SAMQG Ultimate Mini Swap

I’m participating in one last swap for 2014 and I think it may be my last secret swap ever. This one is a little different though. It’s with my “home” guild, the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild. I am making a mini quilt for someone whom I have met in person and hung out with on occasion. I know more about this girl that what is just on a form we filled out or what is on her IG feed. I did learn something new about her color preferences which helped guide my fabric choices for this project. And let me tell you about the project. Well, I thought I had decided on a pattern, I already had my fabric and I was ready to go. I started working on something and it didn’t go as well as I hoped. I realized I had pieced it wrong and I just wasn’t really “feeling it” Then I opened a free pattern from Sam Hunter, author of Quilt Talk, that I received because I signed up for her newsletter. When I saw that pattern, with the words “YOU ROCK!” right in the middle. I absolutely KNEW that was the quilt I needed to make for my partner. Because, well, she does rock (more about that after the reveal in January).

The GOOD thing about this swap, was the thoroughness of the form we filled out. Even though we mostly know each other (our partners are a secret though) we could learn something new about them and get a good feel for what to make. The funniest thing is that the SAMQG isn’t really a big “swap” kind of guild. We make amazing stuff and share it with the group each month but swaps were never a huge focus. But when I moved to Houston, the HMQG, has been doing some sort of swap EVERY month (optional, of course), and well, I never really participated in the swaps (shocker, right?)

I absolutely know in my heart that whatever I receive for the SAMQG swap will be awesome. There isn’t a single person in the guild (and I don’t know all of them in person since I moved to Houston 2 years ago) that I wouldn’t just adore whatever they make. And I think that makes all the difference. 

Plus, as my husband pointed out, he couldn’t really understand why I went to all this trouble to buy fabric, stress over what my partner likes or dislikes, make something against a deadline, just to send it away! I might as well buy fabric I like, make something I like, on my timeline, and hang it in my sewing space (or office cubicle) and enjoy it and the time I put into it.

Quilters are Generous

I strongly feel that a whole, quilters are incredibly generous people. We want to make things for others because while we would love the final product for ourselves, making for others and seeing the look on their face (or the number of heart emojis on their IG post) makes giving that special project away something even more special. Also, when there is a deadline, and a specific recipient, it’s a reason to MAKE it! If we just waited until we had time to make something for ourselves, it would probably never get made. (Although I’m an admitted selfish quilter and I’m fine with that.)

In the end, if you want to participate in every swap out there and work against crazy deadlines and get all excited about what people send and receive, great! Do it! Swaps are NOT my cup of tea and in 2015 I’m committing to only work on projects I want to work on, on MY timelines. Because the very limited time I have to make things should be spent making what I want to create.

That means, if I want to make something for a special friend who comforted me when I was depressed or another friend who was generous with her time, I should do that, and not stress over the time it’s “due” because it will be due when it’s done.

Let me mention that this is difficult for me because I’m a “joiner” I’m one of those people who never really got to sit at the table with the cool kids so I would join whatever clubs I could and if I couldn’t find a club, I’d create my own. So refraining from all those cool IG swaps is going to be tough. But that’s part of becoming the person I want to be. I don’t want to be stressed out and cranky because I’m making something I don’t love.

Life is too short to make things you don’t love!

What do YOU think about swaps? For the three people who actually read this blog (thanks for getting this far!) I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Stitches,

4 thoughts on “Words in my Head

  1. saroy says:

    I’ve completed two swaps and am currently in the middle of two more. I’ve really enjoyed them so far! It’s fun to have a reason to make something neat, and the packages I received from the first two were both really great. Maybe I’ve just been lucky so far?

    I did set myself a couple rules though — no more than 2 swaps at a time, and nothing with a short turnaround. The two I’m in right now started in November but aren’t due until January, so I knew I would have plenty of time without being rushed.

  2. Cathy says:

    Well now you have 4 people. I have done many swaps before and I loved them but that was because I was swapping blocks. We had very specific directions and long deadlines. And a block doesn’t take long. But I’m new to modern quilting and the SAMQG and don’t know the people well and this was more stressful than I thought it’d be. But I took your advice posted a pic and my swap mate liked it, so yay! Now I can make my other idea for myself. I too am a selfish quilter.

  3. Lisa in Port Hope says:

    I was taught to appreciate any gift I received. I would like to receive a swap item which is thoughtfully designed and created and different from anything I would make for myself. I have never had bad luck from a swap and I think it’s a great way for me to create relationships when I don’t have a real life modern guild to hang out with.

  4. laura west kong says:

    #5 here. I’ve participated in a few guild block swaps. This year I tried an online one, which was mostly fun. I noticed the blocks people chose when it was their turn fell into one of 2 categories: 1). Fairly quick, fun blocks I might make an entire quilt of someday, and 2). Blocks whose main purpose seemed to be finding out just how many pieces of fabric can be squeezed into a single 16″ block (hint: its way over 16). I would do a block swap again, especially if its limited to wonky blocks. But entire quilt swaps? As tempting as they are, I know myself and my unpredictable schedule. I haven’t dared try any yet. I don’t want to be that swapper who mails off her quilt long after the deadline passes.

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