Yep, it’s that time again! Start packaging your sets and sign up to swap. I KNOW that many of you are already hooked, but I encourage you to invite a friend to join this time. The more swappers, the more variety. So, here we go again! While this is the last official swap in 2012, there will be at least one if not two swapping opportunities next year as well. I must be crazy!
The October Postage Stamp Quilt Fabric Charm Swap begins today. You can sign up to swap, or request a Newbie Gift, anytime between October 6-21, 2012. Read on to learn more! OK, if this is your fourth swap, you might think you can just skip to the end and sign up. Well, you could, but there are a few important changes, which are included here and noted with a red star.
Even if you didn’t take part in a previous swap, you are most welcome to take part in this one. And if you have been here before, I am comforted to know that my obsession is shared. Be sure to put your collections and progress shots up on our Flickr pages! We have 58 photos so far, and there are a couple of really fun variations shown.
What is this all about? Postage Stamp Quilts (PSQ’s) are made with small square charms, ranging from 1″ to 2.5″ before sewing. Most quilters strive to make one with as few duplicate fabric squares as possible, but there are some really striking quilts out there that have alternating solids, or lots of repeats. A lot of people are like me, they collect fabric scraps or charms with the plan to make a PSQ sometime. The goal for this year is to get people to actually MAKE a postage stamp quilt.
Me? Obsessed? HA! My collection of two-inch treasures reached well over 40,000 charms, and I started stitching them up a couple of years ago. I have finished six of them, with 3-4,000 charms in each. If you are new here, or just want to prove to your family that SOME people have more piles of charms than you, read more, and even more, about my journey to use my collection.
Help a New Quilter start a charm collection! Newbie Gifts are included in the swap this again round. I hear from new quilters who want to make a PSQ quilt, but do not have 100 fabrics to cut charms from. This is NOT a swap, it is a gift. If you are a new quilter who cannot swap, but would like to start a charm collection, sign up below. If you are a quilter with charms to spare, please sign up to donate a set or two. Details below.
I am repeating the basic rules (updated here!) for swapping below, but also want to refer you to the main Postage Stamp Quilt 2012 Swaps and Challenge page, and the FAQ’s About Postage Stamp Charm Swaps.
One note for returning swappers: I am not a meanie, really, but if your partner(s) still hasn’t received their charms from you, I will not be matching you with a new partner this round. Fix it, and you can join! Email me if you have lost your January swap information.
How to Swap PSQ Charms
|Preparing your Charm Sets to Swap||Sign Up to Swap||Newbie Gifts!||Puzzled? Find help!|
Before you sign up to swap, you should already have your charm sets ready to mail. That saves time at the mailing week, and ensures that you actually have as many sets as you want to swap already cut and ready. Last minute cutting messes up swapping big time! Please note, for this October swap, you are limited to swapping 12 charm sets in each size that you select.
You have to decide which size charms you want to swap. Check out the info in Let’s Talk Size, which compares sizes and the number of charms needed for a quilt, then pick 1.5″, 2″, or 2.5″ charm squares, get out your scraps, and start cutting. Cut some for you, and some to swap. Please use only 100% cotton fabric that is suitable for quilting. When you hold it up to the light, you should not be able to see through it. Homespuns or flannels should not be used for this swap. Hopefully, your fabric has been pre-washed before cutting, but that may not always be possible. Be sure to use good cutting practices while preparing your charms, no selvedges, never torn, no ripped out stitch holes showing, and so on. No one cuts perfectly, but strive for accuracy in your cutting.
For this swap, if you are interested in one inch charms, please cut two-inch charms to swap. You will have more people available to swap with, although you will have to quarter the ones you receive.
Keep cutting. Fussy cut some fun novelties. Solids, stripes, plaids, prints, metallics, embellished, almost anything goes. Bust up as much stash as you want. Cut up strips and charm squares that you are not using.
Make sets of 100 to swap. Count them out into stacks of 100, with no duplicates in each stack. (Large-scale prints may read as different fabrics when cut into small charms, which is acceptable.) So every set of 100 charms will have no duplicates, and is a UNIQUE set. If you cut 400 squares from 400 fabrics, you have four unique sets. If you cut 400 squares, 4 each from 100 fabrics, you have four matching sets. OK, that may sound confusing, but think of it this way: with unique sets, you could swap them all to one person, but with matching sets, you would swap one set to each of four people, so no duplicates came through!* Don’t sweat it, just holler if you are stuck. If you have 100 charms to swap, you will get 100 charms back. If you have 1,000 charms to swap, you can get 1,000 charms back. You are limited to swapping 1-12 sets in each charm size you select.
*Note: A UNIQUE set has each one different. Two UNIQUE sets have 200 different fabrics. If you only have one set, with all different fabrics, it is UNIQUE. TWO MATCHING SETS means that you have two sets cut from 100 different fabrics, but each set is the same. The sets match each other. A goal with postage stamp quilts is to have few or no repeats, so ‘coordinated sets’ – say with 4 each of 25 fabrics, are not acceptable for this swap. That said, however, some duplicates are acceptable in Newbie Sets, read below.
Keep some for yourself. Set aside the number of these stacks that you want to keep for your own stash, after all, they are YOUR little treasures! Once you get started, you may want to make more than one quilt.
Sign Up To Swap!
Now that you have cut and counted, you are ready to sign up to swap. I will be matching you up to one or more other swappers, and emailing you both so you can share mailing addresses. With a little help from a friend, I will be getting those emails off as fast as I can, but please do not worry if you do not hear before October 31! Once you have the swap info, you should contact your partner/s and arrange for mailing your charms and get them out within one week.
SWAPPERS! Any time between October 6-21, 2012, leave a comment below ON THIS POST ONLY, stating each of these items: (it will be helpful if you use the numbers to answer)
- Your first name.
- Your City, State or Territory, and Country.
- Are you willing to swap with people in other countries? (Often more variety, but slightly higher postage rates may apply.)
- What size charms you want to swap, 2.5, 2 or 1.5 inches. If you are doing a 1 inch project please swap 2 inch charms.
- How many UNIQUE sets or MATCHING sets of 100 you have to swap. LIMIT 12 SETS per charm size.
- How many NEWBIE GIFTS you have to share.
- A brief comment progress report on what you are doing with your charms. Please, start sewing asap, do not just save charms!
Please DO NOT include your email address or your mailing address! You email address is held privately when you submit the comment form. By joining the swap, you are giving me permission to share your email information with your swap partner/s.
Here is a sample blank SWAPPER comment, you could copy it and replace the info with your own:
2- St. Paul, MN, USA.
3- Yes Int’l.
4- two inches.
5- three matching sets, and two unique sets
6- two Newbie gifts.
7- my seventh PSQ, BUT all I seem to do lately is organize swaps and not sew, so this quarter I will SEW!
If you swapped in the other three swaps this year, an effort will be made to give you different swap partner/s this round, to help you get more diversity in your charm stash. But this will not always be possible, so please just enjoy what comes your way!
After you sign up, double check that your charms are all set to mail! If you have your heart set on a swapper from a particular area, go ahead and say so. Barbara and I will do our best to make it work, if it is possible. HOWEVER, please do not directly point a comment at another swapper asking them to swap with you. The only sharing of info between swappers should be through myself or Barbara.
OK, I know I am repeating myself here, and I said this before up there, but: If you did not send some of your partners their charms last round, you are on Santa’s Naughty List, well, actually Mary’s Hold List. I need you to clear the air with your former partner before I will give you a new one. Sorry. I am not trying to be cruel, just fair. I have a handful of names already, and do not want more!
NEWBIE QUILTERS! Are you requesting a NEWBIE SET? Read those rules below. To actually sign up, any time between October 6-21, 2012, leave a comment below, stating each of these items: (it will be helpful if you use the numbers to answer, you can copy and paste sample below and type over my info)
- Your first name.
- Your City, State or Territory, and Country.
- What size charms you are collecting, 2.5, 2 or 1.5 inches. If you are doing a 1 inch project please request 2 inch charms.
- A brief comment about what you are planning to make with your little squares; or share some comments about progress on your project.
Please DO NOT include your email address or your mailing address! You email address is held privately when you submit the comment form. By signing up for Newbie Gift/s, you are giving me permission to share your email information with your donor/s.
*Note: Please Do Not Share Info once you get your swap lists! Not a change, but a stern reminder. Looking ahead to the matching, please remember that you simply can not share your swapper’s names and emails with other swappers. This is a privacy issue, as well as a swapping issue.
What is a Newbie Gift?
Who Donates Them?
Any quilter with charms to spare! As you probably know, most quilters are very generous people. They may be stash-busting, or have duplicates to share. Or they just may take delight in helping stash-less quilters become fabric addicts!
But they are donations, not swaps, so they REALLY appreciate an email when the gift gets to you. Sounds so basic, but well over half of our NEWBIES in the past have not acknowledged receiving their gifts. Do let your donor know!
Who Can Receive Newbie Gifts?
Any quilter who has insufficient stash to create a charm set of 100 different fabrics AND HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED NEWBIE SETS! But please note, if you sign up to swap, you cannot receive a Newbie Gift. While you are waiting for gifts, you might enjoy my PSQ tutorial. Then, keep cutting so you can be a SWAPPER in a swap next year! When you GET your gifts, remember to send your donor an email letting them know it arrived safely.
How Do I Participate?
Follow the directions in the Sign Up section, above! Donors, use the SWAPPER instructions. New quilters will find their own instructions there as well.
How Can I Build My Stash?
Our Newbie Gift Goddess BARB K., who helps me do the NEWBIE part of the swap, has a few super ideas for building your own stash quickly, and moving into being a swapper.
- Join a local quilt group, as quilters are always willing to share the wealth. Ask for small pieces they don’t need anymore, tell them why!
- Check at your local quilt shops, one near Barb has a basket that people leave their leftovers!
- ecycle or freecyle! Check online for local free-cycle sites, craigslists, and more. Join these groups locally online and place an ad that you are looking for unwanted fabric suitable for quilting. You will have to pick it up.
- Buy SMALL! Buy from your local quilt shop, or the chain stores like Joann’s and Hancock Fabrics. Barb buys a 3″ piece when they are on sale and cuts it into squares. Most of the time the fabric piece is around 35-50 cents. She doesn’t know how small a quilt shop will cut but most Joann’s and Hancock’s will cut as small as 2″ BUT allow for crooked cutting and shrinking and get at least half an inch extra. (Mary says: When I find nifty small novelties, but feel broke, I treat myself to an eighth of a yard, and get as many fussy-cuts as I can out of that!)
Have fun! Keep watching for more Postage Stamp Quilt goodness. And thanks so much for taking part!! Oh, and do not forget to start SEWING the charms together. Collecting is fun, but a finished quilt is an accomplishment. And a QUILT is the goal of all this swapping!!
©2012 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.