Saturday, November 28, 2009

Swaps Beware!

I generally go into swaps with eyes wide open, but still expect good quality work from all. For the last 9 months I have been doing a row robin swap. On month two, our hostess went AWOL on medical reasons and we have had little to no leadership or overseeing of quality since. The latter sure would have been nice.

I received my rows back recently. I chose something simple (or so I thought) - a row constructed of five 9" stars. I sent background fabrics out to each person too, which added to my cost since I had bought the fabric. Never in a million years would I have thought making a block (or 5 of them) with points would be so daunting. Of the six rows, only two of them are actually the right length, and are nicely designed & constructed. One row measured about an inch and a half too long. Those blocks definitely are not 9" are they? On top of size variations, I have seen the worst in thread choices. I have one entire row sewn in a rayon embroidery thread (yes, the satiny kind), and on a basting length to boot. Part of this row was even sewn with her tension all out of whack. It sure made ripping every seam out easy, but really, what was this person thinking? I may be able to salvage 2 of those blocks at best by resewing. The other three had too many HST's that had no point on them, and it's just too much work to remake them. My personal favorite was receiving a block that had a piece paper-pieced onto it upside down! Are you telling me that this was not obvious enough to fix before sending? And then there's those other 2 blocks I got that were not even stars, as I had requested, at all. I roll my eyes...

Yes, there are good swaps, and I have been a part of them and I have hosted them. They take vigilance and care to make certain that each person is doing his or her part to make each person that is a part of the swap a quality block/row. This one sadly lacked management to make it successful.

Now, I am left with a pile of at least 8-10 blocks that need reworking, a few that are completely unusable, and needing to figure out how to assemble these so as to salvage what I have despite significant size variations. On a day which I'd prefer to be just sewing, I find myself using the seam ripper for hours. I will make this work because the fabrics and blocks are lovely. Where there's a will there's a way. And for those of you that think I make a living complaining, that's not quite it either. My expectations are perhaps higher than they should be, but it is only because I do actually like many of these blocks that I am bothering to try to repair a large quantity of them Thanks, ladies, for making these rows and for putting up with my fussyness!


Sewing Junkie said...

I prefer to do my own. If I am not happy I can't blame anyone. Swaps are great if you are in a guild where you know the members and know the quality of their work.You have learned a lesson. At least you were sent something others have not gotten things back on other sites. I feel for you since you have to send off something also. Chris

Jeanie said...

Unfortunately, I have to "ditto" most of your comments. I, too, am amazed at what someone will send. When I sign up for a swap, I mentally prepare myself to expect that only 50%-75% will be usable and the rest will either need to be redone or tossed away. If I approach it with that attitude, I'm not as disappointed when a bad block finds its way to me. My work is far from perfect, but I do give it my best and I redo my blocks if any are substandard and wonky. I truly believe that most of the people that send poorly made work, honestly do not see it as being poor work. However, once they receive a well made block, you would think they would recognize that their own work was not up to par in comparison.
Oh's just a chance you take and I'm sure I'll continue to sign up for swaps, hoping for the best.

kwiltmakr said...

Humm, I am not so sure your being fussy. What is right is right. If one is in a swap one should take care to do it better than one would for theirself, at least try hard to do that anyway. I am so sorry about your blocks. Fabric is expensive and none of us enjoy ripping out seams. I hope you can get it all fixed up soon.

Desiree said...

This is one reason why *usually* I only participate in block or fabric swaps from the N2Quilting list I've been on for years. I've done a couple round robbins and row robbins that were so disappointing, it wasn't even funny. The round came back with only 2 rounds, after one woman had it for a YEAR! The row came back 2 rows short also. Sigh.

Tho even with my own list, the last time we did a mini quilt swap I ended up without a quilt (even tho I was the hostess!) Needless to say that woman didn't participate in the next one.

Better luck next time.

creativedawn said...

That is sad, it seems a large number of us are not very particular about our work ethic or perhaps we haven't any at all. I just did a swap where what I received had holes in the item...large enough to put your fingers through it...just don't understand why anyone would send it along. It left me scratching my head????

bingo~bonnie said...

oh that so stinks! I'm so sorry that you had such a terrible experience in your row swap. :(

I'm curious as to what group this swap was with so that I can stay away in the future. But I'm sure you are not naming names. Thankfully I've only had the best results with my online swaps that I've hosted and participated in.

Love from Texas! ~bonnie