On Instagram, I would see pictures of small quilts with some extra items; I didn’t know where they were coming from, but I knew I wanted to be part of the fun. I investigated a little and signed up for my first mini quilt swap.
My first mini quilt swap involved me making bats. Oh! Did I mention that this was a Halloween swap? Well it was! And being a Halloween baby, this idea was too perfect to pass. This bat has been haunting me ever since I got my fingers on it, making bat block after bat block. So far, I have five blocks, but the numbers, even after the end of the swap, seem to be growing. I have great plans for my little bat friend [insert evil laugh] Whaaa Haaaa Haaaa! (see my bat tutorial and bat quilt). Since I enjoyed my first mini quilt swap so much, I would like to tell you a little more about my swap experience and what I’ve learned.
What is a Mini Quilt Swap?
A mini quilt swap is an internet gift exchange. Participating crafters exchange a small quilt created to fit the guidelines or rules laid out by the swap host. Extras can be included in the gift package but are usually not mandatory. Most of the time your partner is a secret, so don’t tell them who you are.
To join a mini quilt swap, you’ll have to find a post with an entry call — this can be a little hard. Luckily, I’ve been successful by viewing/searching Instagram posts that use the hashtag #miniquiltswap or #openquiltswaps. Since the entry will be reposted by the people that sign up for the swap, duplicating the post many times, you will need to figure out who the swap host is. Usually, the host will be tagged in a picture with the description of the swap (like @sarahmgoer is shown here).
If the swap is still active, the link to an entry form will be in the host’s Instagram bio or on the host’s blog. The entry time period usually lasts a week or until the swap is full, whichever happens first.
The entry form will ask for things like your shipping address, things you like, dislike, things you are allergic to, etc. These are all good and important questions because you will be making a small quilt for a complete stranger. And last, please provide all correct and current information. I unexpectedly moved in the middle of the swap and had to let my host know what my new address was.
Here’s a quick outline of the host’s and participants’ job:
The Swapping Host Duties
-Creating the rules and deadlines for the swap.
-Setting up an entry form for the swappers to fill out.
-Call for entry image post.
-Splitting the swap into different teams and sharing the team members’ Instagram names.
-Assigning swap partners.
-Making sure the participating swappers are on track to meet the deadline by posting Instagram picture and emails.
The Job of the Participating Swapper
-Post a mosaic/collage image of items you would like to receive.
-Follow swap team members and hashtags (provided by host).
-Like and comment on team swap images.
-Create a mini quilt.
-Post progress images, as laid out in the rules.
-Create extras: if you’d like, you can add a few goodies into the package.
-Mail out your mini quilt on or before the date the host provided.
-Wait for your package to arrive by mail.
-Post a thank you image of your gift.
The host is in charge of her/his swap and their swap only. Each swap can have different rules, themes, and deadlines because each swap is unique. About a week after you sign up for a swap you will get an email asking you to post a mosaic/collage image of things you like (quilt patterns, colors, shapes, etc.). There are phone apps that make this easy, like Instacollage. I used this free app for the swap. The mosaic/collage will provide inspiration and ideas for YOUR PARTNER to work with. The host will usually split the swap into different teams and send out emails with your partner’s information. My email had the information my partner had filled out on their entry form.
The Halloween Mini Quilt Swap host split our swap into Team Frankenstein, Team Mummy, and Team Witch. The host also asked the swappers to post images of their Mini Quilt progress (which the update can be monthly). That way, she was able to make sure everyone was on track as long as we added our specific hashtags to the images like #HalloweenMiniSwap or #HMSTeamFrankenstein.
In my opinion, I think it’s a good idea to follow your whole team so you can see what other members are making. One of these team members might be making something for you. So like the photos you think are cute and comment on the photos you like because it’s nice to let them know they’re on the right track.
The partner that I created a mini quilt for was @klassynatalie. I used her mosaic as my guide, but I have to admit I was a little worried that she wouldn’t like what I made. But her response to my gift was humbling. She was very sweet. Here are the images she posted on Instagram.
The partner that created my mini quilt was @edwardandthewhitebear
I just love it!! The witch is just too cute. So much time and detail was spent making it and I just want to thank her for that. I love the button spider on the quilt, and the one that she printed on the fabric. I received a lot of extra items as well, like a ribbon, cat charms, a mug rug (which is the funnest thing ever… it’s going on my wall, too), a set of charm squares, and spooky pencils.
Also, I want to give a big thanks to @sarahmgoer for hosting a wonderful swap! I know it takes a lot of time and I am so grateful that you put it together. It was so much fun.