I just finished my first swap. I was assigned to an Australian woman, who sent her color preferences to the swap coordinator (as did I, for the person assigned to me), and I made six placemats and eight napkins (six plus two since I had extra fabric), both based on patterns from Amy Carol's book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing. It was at once a challenge and a blessing to be selecting fabrics for someone I didn't know (sure, she says she likes pastels, but maybe she doesn't really like pink? oh well, she can regift it if she doesn't...). With quilting, choosing the fabrics is one of my favorite parts -- but it certainly is one of the more nerve-wracking parts, since you can always rip the seams out of a block and start again, but you can't change what a fabric looks like, short of dying it, and that's just not in my game plan.
The napkins were easy (hemmed rectangles), and the placemats were a bit more challenging, as they required me to make binding tape, and obviously had more steps (though it was the same steps six times, so they were still relatively easy).
I have received word from the recipient that she got the package, and that she likes the placemats very much (yay!), so I can now show them to you!
Pattern: Placemats and Mixy-Matchy Napkins from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing, for the BTRSswap#2.
Fabric: Posh by Chez Moi, for Moda.
I also stepped in and made a Pleated Beauty Bag from the same book, for a woman who had participated in the previous swap, made a bag for the person she was assigned to, but unfortunately didn't receive one from the person assigned to her. The swap coordinator asked for volunteers and I raised my hand. This project was a fair bit more challenging than the placemats and napkins, but I am very happy with how it turned out. It goes in the mail tomorrow, I hope the recipient likes it too.
Pattern: Pleated Beauty Handbag, from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing.
Fabric: Zazu (TG-18) in lime colorway, by Tina Givens for Westminster Fibers.
I hand embroidered the birds in three colors: a dark tan, olive green and chocolate brown.
Now don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed these two projects, and I hope to do a swap again, but I have to be careful. While I was working on these late one night, I was looking around my sewing table for some notion or other and came across Seamus' cicada pouch that I had started, and nearly finished, before the swap came into my life. It was rediculously close to finished, and what's worse is that I had put off sending Isabella's quilt until I could send the cicada pouch with it. So yes, Isabella's quilt is still here, and not wrapped around Isabella like it should be. In fact, it's now spent more time slung over the back of a chair than it spent in the making. I was startled at how I had so easily put off the projects I'm working on for people I know and love, to work on projects for people I don't know, and will probably never meet. That's just not right. So while I enjoyed the swap (there is something about making something for a total stranger that is fulfilling), and I liked these projects, I won't do another swap unless I am without other projects in the queue, however unlikely that may be.