The Curious Quilter’s Postage Stamp Quilt 2012 and 2013 Charm Swap & Challenge features four charm swaps, open to all who wish to join the fun. Save your scraps, cut charms, and get ready to share. You can find lots of inspiration and tutorials on the 2012 Postage Stamp Quilt pages.
Please review this page before cutting charms or signing up for a swap, and before emailing me with any questions.
Swappers may sign up at any time during these periods. On the first day of each swap a new post will announce that signup is open. Follow the instructions on that post to join that swap. Your charm sets should be cut and ready to mail before you sign up. Matches will be assigned and emailed to all swappers within a few days of the close of signup.
Upcoming 2013 Dates:
March 15-25, 2013. Sign up on the post published March 15, 2013.
October 12-20, 2013. Sign up on the post on October 12, 2013.
Previous 2012 Dates:
January 6-18, 2012
April 6-22, 2012
July 6-22, 2012
October 6-21, 2012
Cutting and Preparing Charm Sets to Swap
All charms must be cut from 100% cotton fabric appropriate for quilting. For these swaps, please no flannels or homespuns. Try to avoid using fabrics that you can see through. Remove selvedges before cutting.
Prewashing of fabric before cutting is preferred. If you are cutting charms from precut strips or packs, prewashing may not be an option.
Charms come in three sizes: 1.5 inch squares, 2 inch squares, or 2.5 inch squares. Quilters seeking one inch charms should select the two inch swap and plan to quarter those charms.
Please cut carefully. We are all human, and variations will occur, but accuracy in cutting is appreciated. Charms must be cut, rotary or scissors is fine. (Tearing distorts the grain, which matters on these small pieces, and leaves nearly 1/8-1/4 of an inch of the charm unusable, even in a seam.)
We swap sets of 100 charms, and each set should have no duplicate fabric squares.
You can swap as many sets as you wish. (NOTE: For the October Swap, each quilter will be limited to swapping no more than 12 sets per size.)
All charms in a set of 100 must be the same size.
One set of 100 charms with no duplicates (cut from 100 different fabrics) is considered a UNIQUE SET.
If you cut sets of charms from 500 fabrics, you will have five UNIQUE SETS. Because all these charms are different, you could be assigned 1-5 swap partners.
If you cut several sets of charms from the same 100 fabrics, they are MATCHING SETS. If you have five matching sets, you will need to be assigned to five swap partners.
Solids, batiks, metallic highlights, and fussy-cut novelty fabric are all acceptable and can add a lot of charm to a Postage Stamp Quilt. Feel free to include them, and if your swap partner does not want to use them, they can pass them along to another quilter.
Swapping: Signup, Partners, and Mailing
Each swap will be announced with a post on the start date.
That post will list specific directions for joining the swap. Please be sure to state if you have UNIQUE or MATCHING sets as defined above.
You can swap as many sets as you wish, and may be assigned several swap partners. All sets should already be cut and ready to pack for mailing prior to signing up! Do not count on cutting them after you get your assignments.
Participants come from all over the world, and so does the fabric pool that they draw from. You may have the option to decline swap partners from other countries, but it will limit your partner pool. Shipping rates for these small parcels are modest, January participants found the average international rate to be USD$3.00-4.75, with US domestic running about USD$1.75. This was updated October 2013, see also the postal discussion on the October 6, 2013 post.
After the signup period closes, swap partners will be assigned and contact details emailed to all swappers.
Please allow up to a week for me or my helpers to get all these assignments out to participants!
When you receive your swap information, contact your partner/s by email immediately, and give them your mailing information. DO NOT share their information with another swapper!
One set of 100 charms will fit in a standard envelope and can be sent via first class mail. It is recommended that you wrap the set in plastic. Over-size postage rates will apply due to the thickness.
When mailing internationally, you may need to fill out customs forms. (Consult your local postmaster with questions.) Please state something simple like Fabric Samples, or Fabric Charms. I state a $5 value.
Mail your parcel! Please, do not chuckle, it seems obvious. But most of the delays in the January swap came because people failed to get packages off their desk and into the mail. Hopefully all will be mailed within one week of swap assignments.
Email your swap partner when you send their charms. Expect that international delivery times will vary.
When you receive charms from a partner, please email them to let them know their little treasures arrived.
If you do not hear from a swap partner within a reasonable amount of time, please email me with the info and I will check on it. Do NOT send nasty notes to the other person, please! It will not help, and besides, there may be an excellent reason for the delay.
Should challenges arise between partners, please contact me and let me help. I can run interference, scrape up a new partner, or find some other resolution.
People who do not mail within a reasonable time, share contact information between swappers other than as assigned, or fail to resolve problems will be excluded from the next swap.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How many little squares will I need to make my quilt size? Check out the chart here.
- Unique sets and matching sets? What do you mean? Please read The Basics: Cutting and Preparing Charm Sets above. The goal of a swap is to share the wealth and diversify everyone’s charm stash. You can turn your duplicates in (via matching sets) for others, and get unique ones back! A duplicate or two may sneak in unintentionally, and everyone just has to cope with those, but I do not want people to get sets with several of each charm.
- What size charms should I use? This is personal preference, but scanning through all the links on …A Lot of Links to PSQ pages should help you see the variations available.
- What is the most common size charm being swapped? While purists may seek smaller charms, the two-inch charms are the most popular size for this project. They are large enough to make a quilt quickly, but small enough to get the full effect of a PSQ.
- I haven’t heard from my swap partner, or received my charms! Please email them to nudge them. If you do not get a response, drop me an email and I will see what I can do.
- I missed the swap deadline, can I join anyway? Please start cutting and setting up sets to swap in the next round.
Welcome new quilters! Newbie Sets
New quilters may not have 100 different fabrics to cut charms from, but want to grow their charm stash. At the urging of readers, I am trying a NEWBIE SET system starting with the April swap. When signing up, new quilters should request a NEWBIE SET instead of Unique or Matching sets. Quilters who have stash charms to share can donate NEWBIE SETS for these quilters. This is a donation, not a swap. It is a way that the community of PSQ fans can help new quilters get started on their own fabric charm selection. All donated sets will be divided among NEWBIE SET requests. This will be part of each swap starting in April 2012.
- Quilters with stash can set up a NEWBIE SET of 50 charms, cut from 50 fabrics.
- When signing up, state how many NEWBIE SETS you have, in addition to the number of UNIQUE or MATCHING SETS.
- Experienced quilters will get the email address of the new, stash-less quilter. They should write to request mailing information.
- Please email your new quilting partner when you mail the set so they know it is coming.
- New quilters receiving NEWBIE SETS should email their donors when the sets arrive.
- New quilters can receive from one to ten NEWBIE SETS during the year.