Uh oh! I don’t like my swap package!


June 2, 2015 by tessaraewilliams

You are super excited about a swap. You follow the hashtag religiously. You pine over all the amazing crafts being made. Then the day comes where you’re happy mail finally arrives! You open it up and… you are less than enthusiastic about what you find. Sometimes, it happens. Hopefully not often, and hopefully not to the majority of people in craft swaps. But it does happen. Before you go off on your partner, I want you to stop and think if there’s something you may have done to lead to this.

Me?! How can you blame me for not liking my gift?!

Let’s start with the sign-up form. How thorough were your answers? Did you just fly through it and convince yourself you’d be more thorough in an Instagram post? These forms are how the hosts pair you. Personally, I try and match people with similar interests, and if you don’t have a lot on your form, I have to just throw you in somewhere. So you may get paired with someone who isn’t ideal for you. When asked what you’d like to receive, many people write “anything”. But would you really like to receive anything? REALLY? Again, being more specific here helps your hosts pair you properly.

I filled my form out perfectly!

Next, let’s talk mosaics. Like, did ya make one? :p Often, mosaics are a better way to get a feel for your partner than the form answers alone. Let’s say I’m your partner and I want you to make me a Kevin Smith-themed craft. If you are not familiar with Kevin Smith, you might not be very pumped you got me as a partner! However, if I make a mosaic showing who he is and why I’m such a fan, that could possibly light the spark to get you going on ideas. Click here to learn how I make my mosaics.

I made a mosaic!

If you’ve done everything within your power to be 100% clear about what you’d like to receive, you’ve done your part.

As a maker, I’d like you to think about these things as you’re putting your packages together.

  1. Give yourself time! It is often obvious when a craft is rushed. Time crunches lead to stress which lead to mistakes! If the craftsmanship is less than you know you are capable of, consider slowing down, or starting over.  Swaps are meant to be the best work you can put out there. You are sending to people who don’t know you, so they will judge you based on your efforts. If you can’t make the proper time commitment, consider not joining any more swaps. Also, when everyone gives it their all, everyone is happier! If you gave it 100%, then you receive a gift that looks like they gave it a solid 50%, you’ll be frustrated!
  2. It’s perfectly acceptable to use swaps to teach yourself new skills. Sure it won’t be as perfect as someone who’s been doing it for years, but as long as you give it your best effort, that’s all anyone can ask of you. 🙂
  3. No one joins a swap just for the extras. Sure they are a nice gesture, but you can’t hide a shoddy gift behind some fat quarters and clover clips! Are you padding your gift with extras to compensate for a less-than-great gift? This may be a time to reconsider what is most important in swaps (hint: it’s not the extras!)
  4. Here’s the most important advice I can give: your gift should be made SPECIFICALLY for your partner and their interests. Personally, I’ve had only one experience so far where I wasn’t happy with the package I received. The gift was well-made, and the extras were nice, but I felt as if the gift itself was truly not made for me. It felt as if it was just something they had laying around. Sure it fulfilled the requirement of the swap because they sent something, but it had nothing to do with any of the things I said I liked in my sign-up form. Strive to make it obvious that this gift was made with your partner in mind.

And now a moment to brag. :p

I sent out two swap packages last week and they arrived to their new homes yesterday! I’m very happy with how they turned out.


#spoilthebirthdaygirlclub June Birthday Girl! She said she liked Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross. I’m not versed on my AMH, but I happened to have some voile squares I’d been given as a gift, and they worked perfectly for this Curvy Clutch! The lining inside is the yellow crickets from the Briar Rose line by Heather Ross. Also gave her some Briar Rose FQs and some local hot sauce, cuz she likes hot sauce. ;p


This was for the #onehourbasketswap2. My partner listed several designers she liked, but I was only familiar with Cotton and Steel. The idea behind this basket is that from one side it’s in black and white, and from the other side it’s in color. I thought it was a fun idea, and it turned out nice. Forgot to take a picture of the complete package, so the extras are missing.

Onto the open swaps for the week!

  • #WinnieThePoohSwap – hosted by @the_geeky_knot (name twins!). Sign-up here.
  • #squishyfaceswap – This swap is about dogs with squishy faces! IE Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, pugs, bulldogs, pitbulls, etc. Hosted by @happimadkewpie. To sign-up, find the post about the swap and comment with your email.
  • #monthlybdayswap – hosted by @alyoungblood144. Looks like February is the only month left, so if your birthday is in February and you’d like to join, comment on her post about the swap!
  • #downtonabbeycraftswap – hosted by @tabelite25 and @bee_flake. Sign-up here.

20 thoughts on “Uh oh! I don’t like my swap package!

  1. Leandra says:

    I am a “get to business” ind of person. I usually start on my swap the day that I find out who my partner is. I start researching, I read their form and scope out their page and usually start creating that same week. As a result, I finish quickly – but in no way does that mean that its “rushed” or not given my 100%, its just who I am and how I work. I hope that people don’t misunderstand what you are saying and judge us work-horses unfairly.

    Great blog post though, I agree with giving it your best effort and making it personal to your partner – and not just what you yourself like. I just worry that we are inviting people to be picky and have demands set upon their partners and forget that we are supposed to be a community of happy craft lovers who are supportive of each other. I hate to see swaps just turn into a “gimme gimme” kind of thing.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Fair points, Leandra. I know you get your packages done fast, but never because you lollygagged and you’re short on time! 🙂 I see what you mean, but I do think that everyone’s allowed to be slightly picky to some extent. People just have differing tastes, and that’s ok! What I meant is that I think both sides should be held accountable for the outcome, not just blaming or pointing fingers. 🙂


  2. Kimberly says:

    I’m currently working on an angel gift because a swapper got a really bad gift. I mean, really really bad. On my first day of sewing my project was miles ahead of this person’s skill level. I think it is ok to be disappointed with what you get when you did all the things you talk about in your post, but you sometimes still get the short end of the stick. The swap mamas saw her gift on IG and decided she would get an angel, thyme asked me to do it because they liked what I sent out. It works both ways, ad I think some people(as you mentioned) rush or get in over the heads. Everyone who does swaps needs to read this post! Thanks for addressing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someone who cares says:

      I sure hope ehoever the newbie was doesnt see your comments. How friggin rude can you be? Who cares if your skill level is way higher than someones. Maybe she tried her best. Maybe she had an emergency in her family that she had to finish early?! At least she went through with the swap and didnt thank. Be thankful you got anything at all. Someone THOUGHT about you while crafting. I would be heartbroken reading this comment if I was said newbie. Swapping should be fun, not some gimme gimme mindset. If you want something specific made, make it yourself!! Personally I would rather be surprised on what my partner interpreted my likes.


      • Kimberly says:

        I didn’t mean to come across like an ass, I’m sorry if this comment upset you (and anyone else). It is frustrating though, at times, to see the work put into someone’s project and they get something rushed and poorly made as their received item. There were lots of issues with this particular swapper and details that won’t be shared for anonymity’s sake. Again, I really do apologize that I got carried away and said something not so nice.


  3. Ginette says:

    This is a Great post! Thank you for pointing these things out. I have learned to be specific in my likes and dislikes because your partner can’t always read between the lines or read your mind!


  4. Cathy Rivera says:

    I really liked your blog. Not so much some of the comments. I am a very new sewer. I try and have probably put in more hours then others because I am new. I also discovered I have a pretty sucky sewing machine after using someone else’s. By saying “they saw her swap on ig and thought it was so bad” I instantly thought, oh my gosh, I hope it wasn’t me. And if I ever found it was I would be devastated!!! It takes some people a lot of courage to even participate and having others come off so negative is horrible. I also believe you have to participate, post, comment, interact, have fun!!!


  5. Lesley says:

    Interesting and informative post , thank you. I have signed up for my first swap and think I maybe should have put more on my form, but have posted loads of mosaics to try to make up for that. Have already started my piece, even though I have seen nothing from my partner yet. I printed off her “list” and keep refereeing to it. Think I’m on the right track!


  6. Love this Tessa!! Its so helpful to new swappers and kinda gives us Swap Mama’s a bit of relief…If that’s the right word to use.

    Some recipients are just SO happy and excited by taking part in the swap because they have a passion for the theme of the swap that they are so thankful when they receive their package and post online to say thank you. Others might just say “thanks!” and i sometimes see it a little dis-heartening. Are they disappointed with the swap? Did they do everything they could for their partner so they could receive a nice thoughtful gift? Did they see other makes and expect too much?

    I always say in my swap assignment emails “The idea here is the gift of giving a gift, making someone smile! Put thought and effort into what you create and send, and have no expectations on what you receive! If you do those, then hopefully this will run smoothly.” Because as a swap receiver, you should have NO expectations on what you “should” received. Some one, you don’t know, has gone to the time and effort to create something they think you will like. And in the world we live in today, this kindness goes a long way!

    I’ve never been one to read many blogs, but i have to say, your blog is my new favorite thing to read!! Thank you!!!!

    Love Lolly xx


    • Cathy Rivera says:

      Well said….


    • weeksteam.2007 says:

      Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you, Lolly for bringing up this piece of swapping that has always “bugged” me a little. I see so many amazing, heartfelt & truly loving “thank you” IG posts from those who have received their package. Yet, the very few times I just see a “received my #swappackage. Thanks @….”. It makes my heart hurt a little. Not saying you have to love every detail of what you received, but there’s gotta be SONETHING you liked… And SAY IT! Think of the smile you’ll bring to the person who worked so hard on something for (most times) someone they don’t know, just by saying something like “your choice of color was spot on!” Or compliment their packaging … I don’t know, something though.
      And don’t even get me started on those who receive but can’t find a moment to acknowledge…

      Again- the tiny amount of negatives in swaps are few & far between… But as a newbie swapper, I cannot thank you all enough for all of the wonderful tips you’re providing!


  7. Cheryl says:

    This may be easier said than done but you’re absolutely right!! Your partner is a complete stranger and probably needs a lot a lot a heck load of info about you to have a rough idea of what you might like!😊😊 Also, if I might add, everyone should be grateful and appreciative of whatever they get:> even though your partner ought to give you at least one thing, the whole gift is basically a blessing, gifted by grace and mostly in love 🙂


  8. […] post “Uh oh! I Don’t Like My Swap Package” was my most popular post since I started this blog, and the response to it was overwhelmingly […]


  9. love this post. I have wrestled with the forms and how specific to be. I join swaps for the love of making (i LOVE making stuff and giving them, and trying new things!) but I love receiving things from my swap partner that surprise me. I always worry that if i am too specific it will be like getting something made by me.

    THat has yet to come to pass, so maybe i need to just let it go. I am joining the hoards on instagram and I have to admit I am in love with collages. I find them fun to make and fun to stalk and percolate on.

    I will endeavor to be more specific in my forms, but remember, some of us truly do want to surprise of something totally NOT what they would have thought of! 🙂


  10. Teri Reymann says:

    As the host of several swaps I have found that pairing people up first according to skill level works the best. Then I look at who willl or will not ship international. Thirdly I split up according to interests. Interests takes a back seat to skill and shipping preferences. Has worked out beautifully for me!


  11. blueturtle19 says:

    My first swap was a disaster! I was a beginning sewer and made it very clear on my form. I was matched up with a person the didn’t fill out her form very well and didn’t post a mosaic or post regularly for that matter. The IG account and blog listed weren’t updated.
    I made the mini based on what little info I had and to the best of my ability. I remade it twice. There were a couple crooked lines in the end but it was my second completed project and I thought it looked really nice. I used some of my coveted fabric, made some extras and sent a couple store bought ones.
    I shipped and tracked my package and two weeks later still no contact. I contacted the swap mama to be sure that she actually received it and finally she posted that it was received. Simply “received” and tagged with me and the swap mama. No thank you, nothing and it was sent from a different IG account than the one she had on her form. Here she was an expert sewer and teaches classes in a big shop. I guess my being a beginner didn’t stack up to her “expertise”. I checked the new page for any mosaic and there was nothing there either.
    She has since posted several photos of her mini wall and mine is nowhere to be found. It just added more fuel to my fire. It did turn me off to swaps for a while, but I bounced back because I love making things for other people. I now consider myself a confident beginner to intermediate sewer, and I have kept very few things I have made for myself.
    I am making a point to fill out my forms with as much information as possible and make my mosaics as detailed as possible and add more info if I forget. I hav now indoctrinated my daughter into the craft swaps and she is having fun too.
    Thank you for your great posts. I have been reading a lot about swap issues lately and it’s nice to hear different points of view.


  12. jacquicallow says:

    I’ve just had my first disappointing swap package and I’m just going to vent here for a minute before I pull it together and thank her graciously! I was so surprised when I unwrapped it… It’s like she didn’t read my form or look at my mosaics or Instagram feed at all and I’m a bit gutted. I think possibly because of the massive age gap between myself and my maker? As I type this I’m already feeling rude and ungrateful because I can see she has gone to some effort (you can see where quilting has been unpicked). I’m sure she did her best! It’s just… Nothing like anything I like. 😕


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

grey white polka dot instagram social media icongrey white polka dot pinterest social media icongrey white polka dot flickr social media icongrey white polka dot email social media icon

Today's Insta-Posts

There was an error retrieving images from Instagram. An attempt will be remade in a few minutes.

2015 New Quilt Blog Hop

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group


%d bloggers like this: