Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fabric Swapping

One of the best aspects of this wonderful place we call "the internet" is its ability to connect people who would otherwise be strangers using a common bond such as quilting. Blogging for me has opened up a vast array of outlets to share information about the art of quilting and crafting in general. I've had conversations with quilters from all walks of life and have learned a great deal. It has put me closer to the designers I enjoy, more so than I would flipping through the pages of a magazine. I can certainly say that if it weren't for the handful of friendships I've created here I wouldn't be half the quilter I am today.

Swapping and quilt a longs, for me, is a big part of my online presence. Flickr and Swap-Bot are two websites I frequent often. Participating in swaps has been a great way for me to force myself to try new techniques and challenge my quilting abilities. I'm not at all surprised to discover that the online community of quilters as a whole are a caring, generous bunch.

I received a wonderful unexpected gift in a swap package from last week. Jeannie received my name in the Swap-Bot Modern Noodle Swap I host and went above and beyond the requirements. Inside the envelope she sent was an awesome bag made from some pretty neat fabric. The outside had some of the new Sweetwater Make Life and in the center was a Hershey's candy bar print! Take a look...

Very cool! Apparently she read that I was a big fan of Hershey's (and only Hershey's) chocolate and thought I needed a bag to keep my chocolate stash in. Inside the bag was two noodles of Paula Prass fabric in red and aqua, a piece of batik print, a BIG BAR of chocolate (not shown because it is now GONE) and a note.

Also included in the package was a copy of McCall's Quilting which features our very own blogger friend Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts! Thanks for being so thoughtful Jeannie!

I've been asked to write an article about online bees and fabric swapping and would love to hear your input! What drew you in to swapping fabric and participating in bees online? How has the experience affected you?

I'm drawing the names of 2 lucky winners this evening for week 3 of my April Month of Giveaways! Stay tuned!


  1. What fun gifties.....totally the tote!

  2. Ryan, I don't do a lot of swaps due to time constraints. In the past I did a lot of swaps with a mail art group. The camaraderie and sharing of creativity is what draws me into a swap.

  3. Thank you for the nice write up!
    I think swapping and quilt alongs or bees bring back the sense of community of like mindedness. If you are lucky enough to live where there are good quilt guilds then that can usually fill the bill.
    Besides it is just plain fun to see all the talent that is out here. All of you are so generous even with your busy lives!

  4. Hi Ryan, I've just finished an "Ugly Fat Quarter Swap" here in Australia. It was great fun and I have now made a new friend. It's amazing how someone can't think what to do with a piece of fabric, they pass it onto someone else who then comes up with a great idea and finished article. You can see what Amanda and I made each other on my blog. Regards, Christine

  5. LOVE the Hershey bag!!! My favorite candy too.

    Guess I got drawn into swaps and bees because I realized it would expand my small world. It has taken me in directions that were not in my comfort zone which has been awesome.

  6. What a fun and thoughtful gift! That Hershey's print is awesome.

    I was drawn to bees and swaps because they give me a chance to collaborate with people who share my interests. My local friends are not crafters, so trading bee blocks, pillows, fabric, and whatever other cool stuff a swap host comes up with gives me an outlet to talk about all of this stuff with people who care about it! I'm also forced to work outside the kind of quilting I would normally do on my own, both in terms of new skills and different fabrics. The only downside is that it's easy to get carried away!

  7. Hi! Just wanted to share a story regarding swapping. My very first swap ever was actually one of your modern noodle swaps! I emailed you thinking my noodles weren't modern enough because I was nervous about being a! Anyway, if you'd like you can read a bit about another experience on my blog here:
    (I'm not trying to promote my blog or anything, just didn't want to leave a mile long comment).
    Good luck with your article! If you're so inclined, some of my other posts are about quilt alongs and other swaps I participate in, as are some flickr sets. =)

  8. I'm still fairly new to the online quilting community, but I am currently involved in my very first bee and swap. I decided to get involved after seeing photos of what other people were making or had received in bees and swaps. One of the big draws is, of course, meeting fellow quilters and crafters. Another reason I decided to start a virtual quilting bee, though, was because I had more time than money to spend on crafts, and because it's a great way to be forced/encouraged to try new techniques.

  9. Love that Hershey bag, what a sweet gift, LOL!

    Fabric swapping and bees are so much fun, and it's lovely to be able to share fabric and creative skills with friends.

    I didn't have any friends who liked to quilt before I started blogging and now I have so many friends in the online community who share my love of quilting and sewing in general, and they also share my fabric addiction! It's great to be able to connect in a tangible way with these online kindred spirits, through fabric swaps and bees.

    Can't wait to read your article.

    Kelly :-)

    PS: Did you get the fabric I sent you awhile back, when we did the swap - SITC birds? A lot of people I sent fabric to around that time haven't received their parcels, so I just wanted to check to see if you had received yours? Let me know, because I'm going to send new packages to anyone who didn't get the first one. Thanks! :-)

  10. love that bag... so cute!! and my mag... thanks for the link love!

  11. I LOVE swaps! (So much so that I write the SwapDex, a blog where people can find out about swaps all over blogland!) I find swaps a great inspiration (I love a deadline!) when I might be feeling ambivalent about choosing a pattern or theme. Fabric swaps are a great way to get out of your own little box, when you get fabric you might not buy yourself, you learn new things about how you can use color and pattern instead of rehashing the same things you've done over and over.

  12. You make some amazing stuff, Ryan!

    I haven't done any swaps or bees yet (I'm pretty new to the online quilting community), but I see it happening at some point. Look forward to your article on it!

  13. i never knew about Swap-bot until you mentioned it!!!
    i just started swaps on flickr a few months ago and am totally addicted!!!

  14. Wow, what an awesome swap. Jeannie really did a great job. The bag is so cute and it was nice of her to include some chocolate! Thanks for sharing!


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