Postage Stamp Charm Swaps . . .

Updated for 2020.

August 10, 2020: Sign-up for the August 2020 PSQ Charm Swap is now CLOSED.
2020 swap logo

People had so much fun with the The Curious Quilter’s Postage Stamp Quilt 2012 to 2016 Charm Swaps that I have decided to continue the swaps at least through 2015. The 2020 swap signup window will be August 1-9, 2020. These swap will follow the rules listed in the signup posts (posting on August 1, 2020) and instructions cited here.

Before you can signup to swap, there are some rules you need to understand, and some prep work to do! No, I am not trying to be an officious ogre, but these swaps get big sometimes, and this ensures that things go as smoothly as possible.

1. READ: The Basics. This is an absolute MUST, even for return swappers! There you can learn:

A favorite Postage Stamp Quilt.

Look around my blog to find more photos of this and other Postage Stamp Quilts.

  • What three sizes of charms you can choose to swap.
  • How many charms in one swap set, no duplicate fabric charms allowed.
  • What fabrics are allowed, and what is not.
  • That your charm sets MUST be cut and counted out before you can signup to swap!
  • And you will find many tips for prepping your charms for the swap.

2. PREP: Sort your scraps and get the charm sets ready! Once you decide on the charm size/s you want to swap (you can pick more than one size) start getting the stacks ready right away. Find some pointers here:

  • Include friends in the fun! First, it makes for more swappers, and more variety of fabrics for all swappers. Secondly, if you can’t come up with the number of non-duplicate charms needed for a set, have a friend add the reset and split the charms you get back in return!
  • When you read The Basics, you get some great info to start with, like what fabrics you simply cannot include in the swap sets.
  • Find some pointers about cutting many sets of charms, and spare sizes for your own use, out of fat quarters in my 2011 post Things I Have Learned While Cutting Squares.
  • A red cardinal for fussy-cutting.Get tips on adding fun novelty fabrics to your stacks, and your quilts at Cutting Novelty Charms for Postage Stamp Quilts.
  • About the time that you (or your family) begin to think that you have become obsessed with small squares of fabric, read Thoughts from a Fabriholic, No Obsessions Here! and see why my stash of tens of thousands (or more) “two-inch treasures” made me decide to start the swaps.
  • Cut carefully. It’s in The Basics, but rotary cutting is preferred, tearing fabric can get you banned from swapping here forever. And remember that, when you get your charms from others, even the most careful quilter cuts things slightly different from one cutting session to the other. Heck, I have days when I cut a tad generously and days when I am stingy without even trying. (Unless you use die cutter, but there’s a ton of fabric wasted there.) PSQs are very forgiving–they are “busy” to look at and slight imperfections in matching corners will not make an ugly quilt!
  • Cut some NEWBIE sets too. please (in The Basics!) New quilters with limited stash become future swappers pretty fast! Share your obsession. Oops, did I say that out loud?  IF YOU ARE SWAPPING FIVE  or more sets of 100 charms, you MUST put at least one newbie set of 50 charms up for donation. More is even better!
  • Decide how many sets you are willing to swap with people in other countries. For every five sets of 100 charms you are swapping, please include at least one International set. Most swappers are in the US but there are tons from Canada and Australia, and large handfuls from other places as well. Since 2012 we have had swappers from every continent except Antarctica. Even though it will cost more to mail your International sets, you will be delighted with what you get back. And hey, all you US swappers, remember that all of those swappers NOT in the US are reading this part and thinking, HUH!, knowing nearly all of their swappers will be requiring International postage rates.
  • A 2013 discussion of postage rate changes and International mailing is included on the post Next Postage Stamp Quilt Charm Swap Starts On October 12, 2013.
  • Do note that International rates for all countries have gone up, often significantly, since that time. If in doubt about shipping your charms to your International partners, email them for guidance.
  • SPECIAL NEW NOTICE FOR GUILDS AND MULTI-QUILTER HOUSEHOLDS:  Households with more than one swapper, and guilds with multiple swappers, please note other members of your household and/or guild that are swapping on the signup form where  indicated.  Understand that I will make every effort to not give you swap partners from that list, or to overlap with others in your household BUT that may not be possible. Note: If every guild member has unique sets of charms, not charms from a shared pile of scraps at the guild, they can sign up as individuals. They may be matched with other guild members.  Trust me—monitoring this gets messy for me, so help make my life simpler by letting me know on the signup form, available 8/1/2020.

Postage Stamp Quilts Playing with Color3. When we swap: Remember please that this is a process! Despite the nifty bit of software that “harvests” the swapping data you supply when you signup, it takes at least a week for me and a helper to get all the matching done, and send out the swap emails. Your patience is appreciated! And yes, I have a family, a lot of other things on my plate, and a life beyond the swaps. Actually during swap season I never get time to sew!

4. Dream and Plan! How will you use your charms? Yes, you can simply collect, but I really encourage you to start sewing with them right away. Here are some ideas for that:

  • Check out our very own Flickr group, and be inspired! when you complete a project with Swap Charms, you can post it there!
  • Read about PSQs: Playing With Color and explore options for random or planned placement of colors in your quilt.
  • While there are many ways to assemble a PSQ, check out Postage Stamp Block demo 017my tutorial: Postage Stamp Quilt Block, my demonstration, posted 8/31/2011.
  • Take a look at …A Lot of LINKS to PSQ fun things! Great inspiration, but I admit it needs updating.  I hope to do that before the October 2016 signup starts.
  • Find me on Instagram and say HI to me as mary_thecuriousquilter . If you aren’t on Instagram, there is an abundantly prolific world of quilters out there who will inspire you every day.
  • Plan to have some FUN!

And thank you for joining the Postage Stamp Quilt Charm Swaps!
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot com Signature©2012-2020, The Curious Quilter.


74 Responses to Postage Stamp Charm Swaps . . .

  1. J. Johnson says:

    Hmmm… this sounds like FUN! I may get motivated enough to make one of these quilts yet.

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  3. Virginia Gregoire says:

    Hi What do I have to do to join? Sounds like fun.

  4. Peggi says:

    How big does the quilt have to be in order for one to join?

  5. Andrea says:

    I would be interested in joining in. Call back on the 6th? It is the size of the quilt that would swing it for me. YOur quilt looks lovely though, definately and heirloom.
    Happy New Year too.

  6. Judy Purman says:

    Count me in! Try it – you’ll like it!

  7. Well, I have a complete postage stamp type-tutorial on my blog already: 100 patch quilt. And I have a few more in the works…They are the BEST! Yes, I have a slight obsession with tiny pieces of fabric. I would be interested in knowing more about your plans and I might be able to help out, depending on what you are looking for. Deanna.

  8. Astrid says:

    WOW! Sounds like tons of fun! I made my very first PSQ last year (2011) and I just looooved making it and I loooove how it turned out! I have yet to sandwich & quilt it. After reading this post I’d love to make another one, and perhaps another one… lol! It’s a wonderful way to get rid of all the strips I have saved. I have already pulled out the boxes with strips! 🙂

  9. Sharon Jones says:

    Wow – I would love to join in and make one of these quilts – I live in Australia and hope I am eligible to participate – I am more than willing to post squares to where ever in the world – I have been saving some small pieces of fabric.

    Is each “postage stamp” a different piece of fabric?

  10. pat p. says:

    You can soooo count me in!!! I linked up to you thru Wedding Dress Blue and had already started my cutting on Christmas Day for my very own scrapalicious postage stamp masterpiece. My youngest son has already put his request in for one of his own- he says in these modern times it would be sexist to deny a son a hope chest stocked with all the appropriate goodies therein. Good point. As this will more than likely multiply to include his brothers and no doubt a handful of great nieces-well-you see where this is going… A fabric swap is a super idea I’m really looking forward to participating in. It seems that I am going to have to learn how to post pictures much sooner rather than later.It is good to keep the middle age brain learning new things,I keep saying to myself over and over……..

  11. Jen Robertson says:

    I’ve been thinking of doing this as one of my projects of 2012 for about 4 months now and have gradually been accumulating scraps from willing donors. What a coincidence that you are blogging about the very quilt I am wanting to make! Sounds like a lot of fun 🙂

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  13. Jonell says:

    I have been saving scraps all this last year. And we made 6 scrappy quilts for local children’s home. I would love to join your postage stamp charm swap. I will write you privately to ask more questions. I don’t have a blog but hope I can still join you 🙂

  14. Sharon Jones says:

    Do I need a blog to join? I wrote above (I am from Australia) but have no idea how to set up a blog?
    So looking forward to commencing this project – I have heaps of bits and pieces left over from quilts etc.

  15. merrie says:

    is this only for bloggers???? i hope not..i would like to participate…..

  16. rutigt says:

    I love new challenges. Will definitely try to follow this. The button is on my blog!
    Gun, Sweden

  17. Sharon says:

    I would love to join i sew but have been wanting to try quilting for a long time and had recently started cuting up my scrap fabrics. Don’t have alot of different fabrics yet add to it ever chance I get. Yard Sales are a great way to get different fabrics. A swap would be great, never have joined one before let me know please what I need to do. Thanks Sharon

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  19. Willie Loudermilk says:

    Sign me up.I would like to swap 2 inch squares and do 5 sets of 100 each.At this time Only USA for this time.

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  21. ANNE G says:

    Have lot’s of scraps would love to join.

    2. Flat Top WV
    3.International Yes
    4. 2″
    5. 4 matching Sets

    Thanks – Anne

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  26. uniquebabyquilts says:

    Not sure I can handle something that small. This one will have to wait till next time.

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  29. Marcia says:

    I am interested in joining your charm swap! I la, la love charms! So glad I found this. Please e-m me with more info. Thanks! 8 )

  30. Renee Smith says:

    – Renee
    2- Kentucky
    3- Yes Int’l.
    4- two inches.
    5-no sets yet working on them
    7- frist

  31. Mel says:

    1- Mary.
    2- Apple Valley MN, USA.
    3- Yes Int’l.
    4- 1.5″
    5- one or two matching sets
    6- two Newbie gifts.
    7- my second PSQ.

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  33. Betty Grove says:

    Okay, I give up. Why have I not received the name of my new swap partner? Did I fail to do something required to be part of the swap?

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  35. Helen says:

    How often do you have these PS swaps? I would like to participate in one but I don’t think I have enough fabric yet.

    • In 2012, we have had four swaps, the last one running right now in October. By popular demand, there will be one or two swaps again next year. The dates for those are not yet set, but will be posted on The Curious Quilter when they are.

      There will be other Postage Stamp Quilt Charm Swap options coming up as well, so stay tuned. – Mary

  36. Susie says:

    Can someone please point me in the direction of the sign-up page? Thanks!

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  38. Sharon Jones says:

    Woohoo just over a month away for the October PS charm swap.
    Going to commence cutting 2 inch charms on my next days off 🙂 $

  39. Melissa W. says:

    How do I sign up for the next swap? I subscribed to the page but I don’t know how to get signed up for this swap and I would love to.

  40. Melissa W. says:

    1- Melissa W
    2- Texarkana, AR, USA.
    3- No International
    4- 2.5″
    5- 8 matching sets
    6- 2 newbie sets
    7- I have been saving this size for a while but still have not collected enough to make a scrap quilt which is what I am trying to do as my husband and I both like the scrappy look in our homemade quilts. I did also sign up for a newbie set of the 2″ or 1.5″ size I cannot remember which for sure as I am also collecting 1.5″ but did not have time to cut enough of those for this swap. Hopefully by the next round I will have enough already precut to be ready to go when the next round is announced. I am new to the group so this is my first round at going with this swap and I am excited at getting started with this group.

  41. Melissa says:

    Will you be doing this again in 2014?

  42. Barbara Black says:

    I just found this site on 26 Aug 2014. Seems all swaps are history. Anything coming up for late 2014, or anytime planned for 2015? I am a beginning quilter, so my stash is quite small by comparison, I may have 40 or so different fabrics, certainly not 100. I did really like the rules about fabrics that are loosly woven such as homespuns, and the transparency aspect. I unfortunantly own a few of those, and have found them not to my liking when working with them.
    Barbara from NC

  43. Joyce Lynn Hogan says:

    Is this where I sign up as a newbie?

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  46. Charity Layton says:

    This is wonderful! I would love to join in the fun!

  47. Rene Stoiber says:

    I want to join where do we sign up?

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  49. Barbara Fisher says:

    1. Barbara Fisher
    2. Newport News, VA
    3. yes International
    4. 2.5 squares
    5. 8 sets of matched squares

  50. 1. Frances Cooley
    2. Elm City NC
    3. yes International
    4. 1.5″, 2.0″, 2.5″
    5. 8 matching sets of each size
    6.Halfway thru a king size Irish Chain and full size Postage stamp. I can’t work on just one! lol

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