So, back in June or July, I signed up for my first two swaps, hosted through Flickr - the Sweet Pouch Swap and the Sewing Room Swap. They were such great experiences - although very intimidating! Besides attending modern quilt guild meetings, I feel like signing up for these swaps was one of the things that I've done that's really heavily pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and I feel it has improved my sewing and design skills, as well as giving me a bit more confidence! There's nothing like seeing a project come together correctly, especially when you know it's for someone else. I always fill the things I make with lots of love (why are you making it if you don't have love for it?? For the person you're making it for, for the fabric you're using, for the pattern, for the purpose that the finished product will serve...make it full of love ♥♥), and ooooh the feeling of receiving something in return that was filled with just as much heart-warming goodness!
Anyway anyway, lots of preamble...pictures!! Here's the pouch I sent to my wonderful partner, Emma:
I used a pattern from NapkittenPattern; honestly, I love her patterns!! Almost all of them I've either bought or have on my wishlist - I feel like they have really great design. For instance, I love the shape of this pouch, and the piping - little details that make a big difference! It is also incredibly spacious inside. For the patchwork, I used mostly fabrics that I found on her pinterest boards, or by designers she liked (yeahhhh, I hardcore stalked on this one). Why use one fabric when you can use twelve??
The top panel is Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi Velveteen - I was totally stuck on what to use for that top panel until my eyes landed on this ♥ Love the colors and the pattern, and how the texture adds something different to the finished piece!
Used a print from Washi for the back, a little low volume rest. I decided I didn't want any seam lines on my piping, so instead of cutting the fabric on the bias, I just cut it straight. Honestly, there weren't really any problems with sewing it on, either! It was less forgiving, but not impossible or even very frustrating.
Used one of my favorite prints from Out to Sea for the inside, the purple watery chevron. I used it on the bottom, too! And the zipper is a gorgeous deep pink, perfectly coordinates with the Loulouthi print!
The best part about this swap was that you didn't just get a beautifully made pouch from your partner, but that the pouches would be filled with sweet treats ♥ And it was an international swap - international sweet treats?? You see why I had to sign up :D I didn't realize how much I ended up getting until I saw it all together...whoops! She requested pretzel & almond m&m's, but the rest was up to me! I'm big on local flavors and trying unique things, so I gave her a good variety - some chocolate covered pretzels and dark chocolate covered almonds from a local chocolate shop, candy buttons (my husband made me, they're his favorite), a root beer and cherry cola hard candy, salt water taffy, caramel, some Lucas chamoy for some very southwest specific candy, and southwestern flavored popcorn from a local popcorn company (oh man it was so good too, we keep having to resist going back and buying a tub of their caramel corn...). Oh, and a bunch of postcards! I couldn't pick one. And, yes, everything (except the postcards and the popcorn) fit into the pouch! How's that for roomy?
Honestly, I love being able to gift people with things - I don't get the opportunity to very often, so it's good to have an excuse to spoil someone a little bit. I love thinking of things to do and get and find the perfect thing that I think is unexpected but will be loved. I had so much fun putting this package together for my partner!!
And, the best part of this swap? It was an open swap, so we got to email each other back and forth over the past couple months and now I have a new friend!! I love how making things like we do can bring strangers together so quickly.
Do you ever forget by the end of a swap that you're receiving something, too? Because I did. For both swaps!! Haha, I love being surprised by something I was expecting. And I love the moment you open a package and see it all wrapped up tight and waiting for you to see what's inside ♥
Gosh, where to start?? I loved everything she sent! The candies were so, so delicious - me and my husband split them, since I can't have too much chocolate or sugar these days (ARGH what terrible timing that is, right??); he took the koala caramelo, half the wine gums (sadly unpictured!) and the aero bubbles, I had the rest c: Tim Tams and that crazy Cadbury bar that I think I'm obsessed with now...it appeared to have jelly beans, pop rocks, and m&ms inside?? Australian candy names confuse me, I can't trust the label :| Oh oh, and she sent along a tiny pincushion (the size of the rectangles on this thing, omg, very impressed!!) that coordinates with the pouch, along with a few charms from a low volume charm swap she was in! I've already used a few of them, she has excellent taste in fabric :o
|Seen carrying my traveling cross stitch kit ♥ Perfect size!|
The moral of this story? Sign up for swaps! I find it infinitely fun to get both the satisfaction of making the perfect gift and seeing it be loved, but also of receiving something, and feeling loved. It's everything that's perfect about gift-giving, organized amongst friends who know exactly what a quilter or crafter wants to receive ♥