Some of you are chomping at the bit, others are considering their first swap. Either way, the wait is nearly over. On October 12, 2013, the swap sign-up notice will post, and the 6th swap will begin! You should have your charm sets ready to go before you sign-up, so you can mail them off fast at the close of the swap.
I am asking you to get a friend to join the fun this round. Seriously! New swappers mean more variety and more partners. We now have some swappers that do it collectively, one person signs up, but several contribute to the charm set and share the set that comes in return. That is fun for guilds, and great for quilting friends with more limited stash.
As with the past five swaps, people are swapping sets of 100 different charms, carefully cut into either 1.5, 2, or 2.5 inch squares. This time around, swappers are limited to 8 sets in any size. So, if you have 8 two-inch sets to swap, you will get 8 swap partners to send them to, and they each will send you one set back.
The basic rules are the same–quilt quality cottons only, no flannels, no homespuns–and no duplicate fabrics in any set. After the sign-up closes, it takes a few days for me and my helpers to get all the matches set. Once you receive you swap partner lists, please share mailing information right away, and get those little packages in the mail!New swappers, be sure to read all the rules and info found on the PSQ Info and FAQ pages, and check out all the PSQ pages for inspiration!
Postage is sometimes a deciding factor for how many sets people are willing to share. This year, the USPS has changed it pricing, especially for international mailing. Bear in mind that your partner has the same or similar expense. For people in some countries it may be higher. I spent time with my neighborhood postmaster and several sample packs to explore pricing. While your packaging may vary from mine, you might want to use this as a guide in your planning:
- USA ONLY: If you are swapping 2.5 inch charms, a set of 100 can fit in a 5×7″ brown envelope and remain under 1/4″ inch thick, weighing in around 3.8 ounces. That should go across the USA via First Class Mail for around $1.52. More weight, or thicker packaging, and it will range from $1.72 to $2.50. Bubble mailers run slightly higher.
- USA to CANADA: The same 2.5 inch set going from any USA post office to most of Canada will run at the First Class International Large Envelope rate of around $2.65. These can be larger and thicker than the envelopes used under USA ONLY. Bubble mailers do run slightly higher.
- USA to AUSTRALIA, or SWEDEN, or JAPAN: Like Canada, a larger envelope is okay here too. First Class International Large Envelope rate for the same 2.5 inch set runs around $4.60. Bubble mailers might run higher, so ask before closing your packages.
- ALL INTERNATIONAL: Please remember that customs forms are required. You need to state a value of your item. I always use “$5.00 fabric samples” as my content and value. The person receiving the parcel may have to pay duty to get their package, so keep the value low.
- Including gifts and trinkets is nice, but not required. It will alter your packaging needs and mailing costs.
- If a swap partner is in a remote part of the world, I would opt for more secure mailing materials and pay the high postage amount. Shipping time might be longer than you think too.
It should be fun! Remember, you can not sign-up yet, you have to wait for the October 12th sign-up post.