Kitty over on "A Left-Handed Quilter" asks 2 questions every Tues. Today one of her questions was "do you like swaps?" Because I don't want to 'hog' her blog - I decided I'd go into more details here.
I do like swaps. I joined quite a few swaps when I was first learning to quilt. It gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I joined one swap for "beginners" and the swap hostess was very clear about she would critique everyone's quilt blocks and send you her critique on your blocks when she swapped. I truly did appreciate what she had to say and I think it helped me. Only one time did I get totally burned. It was for a Maple Leaf block swap and one of the requirements was that everyone had to buy a certain brand black background fabric. I love the Maple Leaf block and liked the idea of a black background. I signed up for two sets. I bought not only the specific black, but also invested in quite a few fall color FQ's batiks. I sent my 24 blocks in and in return, I received an empty envelope. It was stamped by the postal service that it had been received (somewhere along the way) opened and empty! I contacted the swap hostess and got no response from her - nothing! I did also post on the site publicly about receiving the empty envelope and a few of the other swappers individually sent me replacement blocks. I never did another swap from that site. And it wasn't the site's fault. The particular site has guidelines for their swap hostesses and not just anyone can host a swap, but I was done at that point. (I want to insert a note here - one of the requirements for these swaps was to send all your blocks in a ziplock bag that was labeled with your name and address on it - your swap blocks would be returned to you in said bag. Now I would think that because my label was on that plastic bag, and that said bag had (or should have had) 24 quilt blocks in it, that somewhere along the line the postal service would have found said bag and sent it forward???) I also have received in swaps some (IMO) just plain junk. Blocks where the fabric was pieced then cut to make a block unit. Blocks where the fabric looked like it came from a shirt that had been washed a million times.... but that's a chance you take when you swap. When I swap, I feel as though I'm representing myself and I want to give the recipient my best. And... I've also hosted a few swaps which I believe were pretty successful (I didn't hear otherwise!)
Okay, Swaps I don't like - well the specific brand requirement burned me - so I would no longer join a swap that was brand specific. I don't like swaps where you're required to purchase a pattern, book or magazine to participate in the swap. I don't like a swap that says "LQS" (local quilt store) fabric. Who the heck ever said that quilt store fabric was so superior?????? I've bought some beautiful fabrics from JoAnns and Hancocks (and on line) and I've also bought crap at quilt stores. Also, how do they know where I buy my fabric????? And lo and behold - I also buy sheets and shirts at thrift stores to use in my quilts - OH CRAP - hope the quilt police don't read that - I may end up in quilt prison!
Better go before I get into some real trouble :-)