This post has been bouncing around my brain for about two weeks now, so it’s probably about time to let it out. If you found me through Instagram, you’re probably aware that I have a minor problem. Okay, I might eventually need rehab for this problem, but it’s not alcohol or drugs. I’ve become a swap-a-holic.
I signed up for my first swap ever in August 2014. It was the Stitch It Swap, and we made little pouches full of office supplies. I joined because I saw the post on FB and was like “huh, apparently people who sew hang out on social media together and that’s super cool because no one I know sews.” (Excepting, of course, my cool friend out in Texas.) I felt very isolated in my sewing. Sure, I was making baby quilts and a couple people were talking about paying me to do things, but for the most part, my sewing was something I did to give away part of me. Which is awesome. I love it. And I really love seeing my baby quilts that have homes (as opposed to the ones sitting half-pieced on my sewing room floor) in the wild, being played with and on and it’s fantastic.
Seriously, getting those kinds of pictures warms the cockles of my stone cold heart. Also, I love those kids. As a quick side note, 2015 is the year both of their moms are getting married, and I’ll have the honor of having been in both weddings. ❤
But, as you probably know, there’s something about a project when you’re in the middle of it. And you need to talk about it and share it and just let it keep living on its own without smothering it. Until I started swapping, the only person who ever lived a project with me is the same person who still lives them with me – M. He’s pretty phenomenal, and he does a great job of humoring my need to talk through projects in real time, but he’s not a creative type, and he’s fairly easily bored by my “well, what do you think about this vs this vs this?” I felt incredibly isolated in what I do.
And then, I had my first swap. It was magical. I had all of these people who cared about the fabrics I picked and what I was doing with them. So, I signed up for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap (Round 3) and got addicted to swapping on Instagram. Since August, I’ve sent out six little projects to new homes, and I have another 13 due to ship before the end of the year. And I’m hoping to host one…more details coming in the next few months.
My point though, is that I started swapping because I felt so stinking isolated. Sewing and quilting wasn’t something I did for fun or to escape anymore, it was something I felt like I had to do because I had made quilts for a few people so I should probably make them for everyone. I don’t feel isolated anymore. I’m back to sewing to escape “real life” – the pressures of work, mostly. Swapping partially gave me the courage to join a guild. Our guild is awesome, btw.
Why do I keep swapping? I keep swapping because these swaps challenge me. They challenge my creativity, they challenge my skills, they make me a better quilter. They make me a better artist (I use that term loosely – my drawing skills are crap.) Do you know what I made for the IG Pincushion Swap? A fairy home. Out of felt and furniture sliders and clay, because wood wasn’t allowed based on customs rules for Australia. Six months ago, I would have looked at a similar project and been like “holy crap that’s the most amazing thing ever.” I conquered it this year.
I swap because I love connecting with my partners. I love learning more about each of them over the course of whatever the timeframe is by interacting with them on IG, and I love how often those little interactions turn into inspiration. I’ve had/have a few partners that I can’t find a connection with, and putting an idea together is actual torture. I’ve spent almost four months banging my head against a wall for one of my partners because we have nothing in common, including the swap theme. I have another partner who has basically not been active at all on IG since signing up for the swap. For more on this, please check out KarriofBerries’ post here.
And about that, in case you’re making something for me and you’re irritated because I haven’t been super helpful. For starters, I’m sorry. I do try to stay ahead of the swaps, but I’m not always super successful. Work gets in the way kind of a lot lately. I am going to spend the next week or so catching back up, and then getting some selfish sewing projects back into my rotation, so that my IG feed isn’t full of things for everyone else. Be patient with me, I’m working on getting there!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk a little about logistics around here. I’m going to try to post actual blogs on M/W/F. This was actually planned to go up yesterday, but I got stuck on the phone with Cox and then had to run to run club to make our run. (Thanks to mailfromcheekymonkey for getting my tucus back in gear!) And then I had to actually finish that LPS Disney Hoop Swap mosaic when I got home, instead of this. So, let’s run M/W/F. It seems most practical.
I’m also going to try to start linking my Wednesday posts to WiP Wednesday over with Freshly Pieced. I swear she used to have a button, but I can’t seem to find the code on her blog. I’m going to try to get it and add it over on the sidebar. And also a DCMQG one. Because why not?
For this week’s WiP Wednesday, I’m going to focus on the stuff that has to get done ASAP to get me caught up:
1. Finish quilting, then bind AG Mini Quilt.
2. Fabric pull and pattern finalization for SPD Fairy Tale Mini Quilt.
3. Finalize extras for AG Mini
4. First cuts for Broadway Mini Quilt
5. Fabric pull for Hogwarts, and quilt math.
6. Finish up exterior for mom’s Sew Together Bag, then finish assembly.
I think tonight is going to focus on finishing up my AG Mini to send out. I have one extra for that done, five others cut and ready to piece, and then I need to get myself to a couple places to pick up a few things.