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Opinions/Thoughts re: Swaps and Robins?

Opinions/Thoughts re: Swaps and Robins?

Old 10-22-2011, 08:24 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 708

I enjoy swaps a lot, and some of my very favorite quilts were round robins. You do need to know that a few swappers will not come through and not everyone uses the finest fabric. I never send out anything that is not made with high quality fabric and I feel a little disappointed when I get a poly blend or very thin cheap fabric in return. I am not the best (or the worst) quilter and I love getting any and all levels of workmanship. I think you should jump in if you are willing to risk not getting every piece back, variations in quality, and variations in workmanship.
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Old 10-22-2011, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 88

I've only participated in the swap with Luvtooquilt. It was great. I had to drop out due to time constraints. Not enough hours in the day for me. I highly recommend her swaps.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Topeka, KS
Posts: 3,813

I have participated in themed block swaps and have had very positive experiences. I have loved most of the blocks I got back and appreciate all participants and the hostess. I always do my best to double check the fabrics I send to make sure they are name brand fabrics that would come from a LQS. I have an Accuquilt so the blocks will be 6 1/2" unless I have a problem lining them up on the Accuquilt and have to cut them down to 6". That is within the rules 6" to 7" usually.
I think I would like the kind of swap where you send around an envelope stuffed full, take what you want, replace, and send on. That does sound like fun.
I haven't done any swaps where I would put together a quilt or handmade item for someone else. I just don't feel confident enough yet for that.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:09 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 106

I have participasted in boomersng snd blovk swaps. I enjoythe varied blocks I have received although I had some that were too small to fit in the quilt. I liked the challenge of making blocks with other people's fabric. I tried new blocks and found it exciting. I did however make a new block that did not make the 12 1/2 inches. I accendently wacked off too much when I squared up the block. I contacted the person through the board and asked for another fat eighthShe sent it to me and I sent back a good block and the short block. You need to be honorable. It is a great place to exchange work. I like making complicated blocks so it is not so boring. Others need to grow into that. I let the fabric and colors speak to me. You will get some blocks you can not use but you will also get some fantastic blocks. It is the nature of the world as it really is. Any experience gains you knowledge and many are willing to help you. It is a great place to learn and also to be appreciated.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,265

Originally Posted by fabric_fancy
swap are only as good as the host.

it is up to the host to properly swap out the blocks, coordinate the people in the swap, and make sure everyone follows the rules.

i've been in some great swaps and i'll always join anything she wishes to host and i've been in some terrible swaps and i'll never work with that host again.
OVERALL: I've had the same Block Swap experience above as fabric_fancy: swaps are only as good as the host, and the host needs to be willing to make some people who don't follow the rules, who submit substandard construction, and who miss deadlines unhappy by enforcing the rules.

SWAPS: I belong to an online block swap which has an EXCELLENT host/admin who enforces the rules ... which had made some people leave, and others cheer. She does speak to people about substandard construction privately and has on occasion returned blocks as unsuitable for exchange back to the maker. This online block swap is every other month - you participate in those swaps that interest you, and she does ask for (and use) suggestions made by participants. Instructions (with photos) and samples on Facebook for each swap are posted at least three months in advance. Each month varies in size as well as color/theme/block. Everyone submits swap blocks in groups of 5 (i.e., you send in 5, 10, 15, etc. depending on how many you want back). There have been a few Special Swaps - such as a calendar swap (which was particularly fun and very high quality work). I have a lot of fun with this group and have not been disappointed once. Again, KUDOS and a zillion roses to the host/admin of the swap!

ROUND ROBIN - ROW-By-ROW: I participated in a Row-by-Row friendship Quilt Workshop with several members of my guild - one coordinator taught the block that formed each of the six rows. All participants were divided into five teams of 5 people. EVERYONE turned in quality work, quality fabrics and we all had great fun.

ROUND ROBIN - ADD-A-BORDER: I also participated in an Add-Half-A-Border Round Robin with an out-of-state guild, which was GREAT fun after I fixed someone else's badly made block and added my border. THAT SAID, it is one of my favorite quilted wall hangings because everyone else did such wonderful work and showed a lot of creativity with the simple rules we had. The Round Robin worked this way - first, everyone made their own 12x12 (finished) starting block which was packaged with at least a fat quarter of each of the fabrics used in the starting block so that the next quilter could use those coordinating fabrics in their contgribution. Each quilter had to create two adjacent borders according to the instructions (border 1 HST, border 2 9-patch, border 3 appplique, border 4 free choice, etc.). The first block I got had me tearing my hair out - one unfinished side was 11 3/4", another 12 1/4, another 12 and another 12 3/8. It was clear to me that this person grabbed a crappy-construction orphan block, threw it into a bag and figured the rest of us would "fix" her junk. So, thinking of the other 9 people ahead of me, I threw my hands up and re-made her block (fortunately I had enough of the same cheap fabric she used in my Trial Blocks Stash) and then added my 2 adjacent borders and sent it on. I got my quilt back, with this same Crappy Construction Queen putting on the last two borders of my quilt - one whole side seam of the quilt had the seam allowance whittle down from 1/4" to NOTHING, and wouldn't you know it was a sawtooth border. Fortunately, it had a black background, so I fused a strip of black fabric to create the missing seam allowance so I could at least put the binding on; the colorful binding hid this in the end, but it still gripes me that this person ruined 9 quilts with her thoughtless crappy construction and yet received top quality workmanship in the one she took home. Despite the simple rules for each half-border, it allows for a lot of fun and creativity.
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:42 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Boonville, Missouri
Posts: 186

I love doing block exchanges, round/row robins, and some times secret sister exchanges. I will say that I have been much happier when it is a group where everyone knows each other pretty well and is at least at an advanced beginner level. There should be clearly defined rules such as the quality of the fabrics required, size of the blocks, theme if applicable, certain colors if required, whether or not the fabric has to be pre-washed, to name just a few. If there is a hostess who will receive everyone's blocks and then swap them out, she should be willing to address the issue of poorly made blocks or ones that don't follow the other rules. Quite often hostesses worry so much about not hurting the feelings of the people who don't follow the rules that they end up hurting the feelings of the people who do. That is really unfair and groups will end up losing participants.

As to some of you who never received back quilt tops, blocks, etc. contact the U. S. Postal General's office. Your local postmaster can give you the information on how to do this. It is illegal to keep another person's property and they can be charged with mail fraud. That would be the extreme, but it has been known to happen. Generally just a letter from the PO General will get them to at least return the item. I have heard of circumstances where the recipient passed away & her spouse was not clear what to do with several boxes that had come in the mail. Why he didn't just mark them return to sender is beyond me, but he did return everyone's tops after receiving a letter from the USPS.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:40 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: East Texas
Posts: 3,021

First one I did was fun. Did receive some blocks I will never use. 2nd one was bad. Somebody didn't send their blocks in on time & delayed the whole process & a lot of the blocks were very inferior. A lot of people were made over this one so I don't do them anymore. Some people can sew & some think they can. Like the man says- you pay your money & take your chances.
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Here and there
Posts: 1,669

Originally Posted by Mad Mimm
I am considering trying a swap or Row/Round Robin and have never done one before. I was curious what experience my fellow quilters have had with these? Good/Bad, were you happy with the experience, what did you learn? Also, any advice for a newbie who is nervous about "taking the plunge?" Thanks in advance! :-)
How do round robins/row robins work? froggyintexas
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:18 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,210

I have only been quilting for a bout a year. I joined this board and have had good and bad expericences with swaps. It is what you make it. The positives far outweigh the negatives so I keep joining swaps. I would say the only real negative is when someone doesn't follow the rules and doesn't submit what they have agreed to. They are a lot of fun otherwise. Join a swap!!!
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,148

I can only answer with reference to the Row Round Robin I participated in with my quilt guild. Each of us was given a number, chose a theme and made a row. We put our completed row in a brown paper bag with any specific instructions or extra fabric from our row for others to use
for continuity. Each month (at guild meeting) we passed our bags to the next number in sequence til it came back to the owner. The only big "rule" was you couldn't show anyone the quilt-in-progress to anyone. You had to wait til the end at show and tell.
One lady did an applique cat row. Someone else did a red hat theme. Mine was a Maryland theme...crabs, sunflowers, ocean waves. Everyone got their quilt back and seemed delighted. One lady who wanted to play but didn't feel like she could commit offered to act as "design consultant" for participants who needed some help coming up with ideas. She was the only one who was allowed a preview peek.
Originally Posted by FroggyinTexas
Originally Posted by Mad Mimm
I am considering trying a swap or Row/Round Robin and have never done one before. I was curious what experience my fellow quilters have had with these? Good/Bad, were you happy with the experience, what did you learn? Also, any advice for a newbie who is nervous about "taking the plunge?" Thanks in advance! :-)
How do round robins/row robins work? froggyintexas
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