This Q & A covers everything you need to know about swaps including what is a mini quilt swap? This overview will have you swapping like a pro in no time.
If you are part of the sewing/quilting community on Instagram you may have seen mini quilt swaps floating around. I have participated in a few and they are so much fun.
Unless you have participated, then you probably have a lot of questions on what exactly the are and how they work. So here’s your crash course.
What is a mini quilt swap?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You make a mini quilt to send to your soon to be new friend and you will receive a mini quilt in the mail that someone else made for you.
What is a mini quilt?
A mini quilt is usually 24″ by 24″ or smaller. Your swap host will set the rules on how big or what size the mini quilt should be.
What is a mini?
A mini is a mini quilt. They just dropped the word quilt. So same thing.
How do I know what design I should do for the mini?
Each mini quilt swap has its own theme. I have participated in a few different ones. Here are some ideas:
- Color based like #rainbowminiswap, #rainbowminiswapr2 or #allthecolorsminiswap
- Fandom based like the #maythe4thmqs, #maythe4thmqs2, and #disneyquiltswap
- Size based like the #skinnyminiquiltswap or the #miniminiquiltswap
- Fabric based #alisonglassswap, #tulapinkswap, and #blueberryparkminiswap
- Pattern based #fancyfriendsminiswap or #quietplayswap
How do I sign up?
If someone is hosting a quilt swap they will be promoting it. They post a link to the sign-up page where you fill out your info. It’s usually your name, address, likes, dislikes, allergies, are you willing to ship international, skill level, etc. Pretty basic info. Some people who host swaps are @katebasti, @justjoshinkids, and @lunardreams1. These are some accounts that share swaps @swapaholics and @openquiltswaps.
How much does it cost to sign up?
Most swaps cost nothing to sign up. The hosts are sharing their time for free. So please follow their rules. You will be responsible for the cost of the supplies you use and the shipping costs.
Who is my partner?
After the sign ups for the swap are closed, the host will send out info on your partner. The info you receive is who you will be making the mini quilt for and sending it to. Most swaps are secret. So you don’t share who your partner is until after they have received the finished project. You can go to their Instagram account and check out their mosaic as well as their other posts to see what kinds of things they like.
What is a mosaic?
A mosaic is a collage of photos or screenshots that you have collected of other projects that you like. It’s great to tag the creators account in the image so that your partner know where to find more info on your inspiration pictures. A great idea would be to put your own hashtag on your mosaic posts. That way your partner from your current swap can see all kinds of ideas of things you like. You can do #(your username)mosaics. So mine is #theambersimmonsmosaics.
Do I have to make what they put in their mosaic?
No. That is just for ideas of things that your partner likes. If you want to make one of the projects, you certainly can. Or you can look for colors, themes, fabrics, etc from what they have shared with you.
What materials do I need to use?
You should use quality quilting cotton. That does not include most things at JoAnn’s. Remember that you are making it for someone else and you would want a good quality product to be sent to you as well.
Do I have to include extras? What are “extras”?
The swap sign up usually says if extras are required. Typically they are just extra little gifts to go along with the mini quilt. Here are some ideas:
- Gift card
- Fat quarter
- Zipper pouch
- Binding clips
- A mini mini quilt
- Other handmade items
- Washi tape
- Pens and pencils
- Something that fits the theme (ie rainbow, mermaid, Disney, etc)
The possibilities are endless. It’s just an extra little some that would be fun to open. It’s great to send something like a local candy, especially if you are shipping internationally. I sent flavored Oreos to the UK in one swap because I read that they don’t get all the crazy flavors like we do here in the US.
Remember to not get too crazy. You still have to mail it.
What if I am just a beginner?
That’s great. Lots of other people are too. Typically swaps match partners based on their skill level. So don’t stress. Just try your best.
I signed up. Now what?
After you are given your partner assignment you decide what to make them. You get to work and make it up before the shipping date. Be sure to add a label so they can always remember who made it for them. I include my name, username, and the swap hashtag. Find some extras
You get to work and make it up before the shipping date. Remember to post photos along the way using the swap hashtag to show your progress. You can share the pattern you chose, the fabric you pulled, a stack of cut fabric, you sewing it up, whatever. It’s so fun to see everyone else working on their projects. Don’t forget to share yours. Be sure to tag the host and your team leader in the photos so they know that you are working on your project.
Be sure to add a label so they can always remember who made it for them. I include my name, username, the swap hashtag, and the date.
Find some extras and package it up pretty. It’s so fun to get a package. It’s even better when it’s like opening a gift.
Most hosts what proof of shipping. Usually, they ask for a photo of your post office receipt.
Be sure to keep tabs on the things your host is posting. Sometimes they share reminder and other important info.
What if something came up and I can’t participate anymore?
Sometimes things come up. If for any reason you need to drop out you need to tell your host or team leader ASAP. They will need to find a new partner for your partner.
What is a swap angel?
A swap angel is someone who will make and send a mini to someone who’s partner had to drop out. They will not receive one in return.
Some hosts keep a banned list for swaps. You will be added to it if you drop out without telling someone or if you never ship your item. Swaps are supposed to be fun for everyone. If you hinder that they won’t let you participate the next time.
Also be warned that you will love your creation and want to keep it. So it might be wise to plan to make two. I still need to make myself and R2D2 and a mermaid. I love those SO much.
I hope that this answers your questions on what a mini quilt swap is and gives you an idea of the fun to be had. If there is something I didn’t cover please feel free to ask.
Psst… Did you know I am hosting the Summer Lovin’ Very Mini Quilt Swap? Check it out and sign up.
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Great post! I have been wondering how to get involved with swaps, so this was a great read. I am left wondering, though, if participating in swaps is difficult when your instagram account is private?
Amber Simmons says
Swaps do require public Instagram accounts for the duration of the swap. That way all swappers can see your posts. If you don’t want to do that you can always create a second Instagram account just for swapping and other public posts.
Thanks for this. I am in my first swap at the moment and am curious if we should add a hanging sleeve for the mini?
Amber Simmons says
Oh, that’s a great question. You definitely can. I think a lot of people pin them to the wall. I have started adding corner hangers by putting triangles in the top corners.
Awesome detail Amber! I am linking this in my newsletter and linking to your swap too!
Amber Simmons says
Thank you so much!