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Rules for Swaps

  • LoraM
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LoraM created the topic: Rules for Swaps
Swapping quilt blocks, fat quarters, and scraps can be a lot of fun. Not only do you get to create and share with others, you get to receive unique items from people just like you all over the world. It's a great way to make new friends and share common interests.

In order to make swapping successful, each host/hostess establishes the guidelines for that swap. It is imperative that you follow the guidelines for that swap. It is also important that you follow swap etiquette rules, as described below. This ensures that everyone will have an enjoyable experience.

Follow the Host/Hostess Swap Directions/Rules
Each swap will have a host or hostess who is responsible for setting the ground rules for the swap. Please follow the directions carefully and ask questions if you are unclear on any rules before deciding whether or not to join the swap.
The host/hostess will establish rules regarding:
a. Type of swap (block swap, fabric swap, apron swap, etc.)
b. Type of fabric to be used
c. Whether fabric is to be pre-washed or not
d. Type and size of block (if applicable)
e. Timing for mailing, receipt, and distribution of blocks
f. Cut off date/number of members for swap admission
Sometimes before the swap rules are finalized, the host/hostess will conduct a poll to find out what you want to do with the swap. Share your ideas and be open to others.

Fabric Quality
As we all know not all fabric is created equal. There is quilt shop quality fabrics and there are bargain fabrics. For swaps on this forum, please use only quilt shop quality fabrics. You get a nice selection of fabrics of the highest quality (not necessarily the highest price) from The Thimble Bee or other on-line retailers. Bargain fabric (I'm talking cheap quality not just cheap price) should be avoided at all cost (pun intended).

If the swap is for a certain type of fabric, say 30's Reproduction, Moda, Hoffman Batiks, etc., make sure you do not send fabric that "looks close enough". Respect your fellow swappers enough to send what they expect to receive.

Fabric Color/Style
Again, your host will establish some rules here. Be sure to following them carefully.
If the swap calls for sharing green fat quarters, do not send white fabric with green dots; do not send a quarter yard cut instead of a fat quarter. The swap host/hostess will give you instructions on whether the fabric needs to be green overall, have some green in it, have a green print, be solid green, be tone-on-tone or marbled, etc. Make sure you understand what is required before you sign up for the swap.

Fabric Preparation
To pre-wash or not to pre-wash, that is the question. Your swap host/hostess will make a ruling on this question.

Sometimes a block swap will call for the fabric to be pre-washed before being made into the blocks. Pre-washing fabric will minimize shrinkage and color bleeding related issues once you put the blocks together in a quilt top. The swap host/hostess will also set rules for the type of detergent that should be used when washing fabric, whether or not the fabric should be washed with fabric softener, and whether the fabric should be dried in the dryer.

Fabric swaps usually do not pre-wash the fabric before swapping, but again the swap host/hostess will make this call. If a fabric swap calls for sending 10" squares or 2 1/2" strips, make sure you measure very accurately if you are going to cut your own fabric. Measure twice, cut once.

Pieced Blocks
As important as accuracy is in cutting your fabic, it is equally important when piecing your quilt blocks. If your seam allowances are off, the whole block will be the wrong finished size. If you do not have a 1/4" quiltling foot with a seam guide, here are a few tricks you can use to ensure a consistent 1/4" seam allowance:
a. Take a small piece of weather stripping with the sticky back and attach to the bed of your sewing machine a quarter of an inch away from your needle position.
b. Stack several layers of masking tape together (six to eight layers thick) on your cutting mat. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to get a straight edge. Align this tape bundle one quarter of an inch away from your needle position.
c. Don't forget that the markings on a standard lined index card are 1/4" apart. You can drop your needle down on the line and measure out to verify your index card line is exactly 1/4" apart. Use this measurement to mark where you place your guide (either the tape bundle or weather stripping).
d. There are tons of other nifty tricks, but we can share those in the forum.

Please ensure that your pieced blocks are done accurately and neatly. Trim all excess threads. Square up your finished blocks and make sure the finished measurement is exactly what is required for the swap.

Consider your own skill level before deciding to join a block swap. There will be swaps for beginners through advanced. Participate in swaps where you are comfortable and confident you can meet the expectations of those that will be receiving your blocks.

Many times the swap rules will state that you have to mark your finished blocks with your name, location, forum name, etc. Be sure to use a permanent fabric pen and make your markings at least 1/2" to 1" inside the edge of your block. If you don't have a fabric pen you can purchase one from The Thimble Bee, Michael's, JoAnn's, or your local quilt shop.

Probably one of the most important aspects to a successful swap of any kind. The host/hostess will set deadlines for getting your swap items in the mail. Please make sure you get your swap items in on time every time! If for any reason you are unable to get your items in the mail by the deadline, make sure you notify your swap host/hostess as early as possible -- immediately as soon as you know you won't make the deadline. We all know and understand that life happens, so we'll work with you as much as possible.

It's a real good idea to put your swap blocks or fabric in zip-lock bags (squish out all the air) before mailing. Also a great idea to include your mailing information inside your package along with your swap materials. This way if your envelope or parcel gets damaged in the mail, the host/hostess still knows who sent the swap materials.

Make sure that you have sufficient postage on anything you mail. Also make sure that you include sufficient stamped postage on all self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASE). Do not use metered mail for SASEs. Metered mail is dated and postmarked with the city of origin. A post office in CA will not accepted metered mail dated a week ago from NY. Therefore use stamps for all SASEs.

For international postage, please consult your local post office as well as the foreign post office for rules and rates. Be doubly sure to include sufficient postage on all parcels, envelopes, and SASEs. For SASEs, a money order in the amount of the postage would be best so that the postage can be purchased in the national currency. A US Post Office will not mail a package to Canada using Canadian postage.

Host/Hostess Gifts
While certainly not required, I know they are always appreciated. Even just a thank you note means so much. There is a lot of hard work that goes into hosting, organizing, coordinating, and running a swap. To know they are valued and appreciated is a blessing.

Confidentiality and Privacy
The information you receive regarding other swap participants may contain confidential information like their home mailing address, personal email address, phone numbers, etc. You must safeguard the information you receive and not share it with anyone else. If someone needs information about another swap member, they should contact the swap host/hostess. Also, you should not use the personal email you receive from swap members to send email unrelated to the swap (such as jokes, virus warnings, etc.).

Most Important Rule of All
HAVE FUN! Swaps are a great way to share projects, build your stash, and make new friends from all corners of the earth. Good communication is key, so be active in your swap and encourage your swap members.

Quilting isn't just a pastime, it's my passion!
Last Edit: by LoraM.

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