Is all the swapping on IG getting a little crazy? How about a little Happiness Sewing?

I admit it. I am so excited about all the cool swaps happening on IG (Instagram) right now. I want to join Every. Single. One. 

My friend Emily at has even made a hash tag to keep you posted about all the cool swaps happening on IG #sewingandswapping. I check it all the time.


Seriously! I want in on the Harry Potter Swap, Downton Abbey Swap, Nerds Craft it Better (perfect for me), Valentine’s Day Pincushion Swap…oh why list them. I want to be in all of them. I want to have a stitched image of Nathan Fillion on a pillowcase so I can lay my head on top of him every night.  I want any and everything Downton Abbey.

There are people like Kari from who have written entire series on how to have a successful swap and even how not to be black listed from swaps.

SWAP, swap, SWAP!

flickr inspiration board

I love watching what everyone is making for their swaps. I love their inspiration boards and often hunt down the original source to check out what other things the people make. I get great new ideas for things I want to make in the future with all the eye candy involved. I get excited to see who is making what and wondering if it is for me.

I instantly start singing the song from Echosmith “Cool Kids”. I want to be a cool kid! I want people to think I am awesome and want to be partnered with me. I want people to be excited with something I’ve made and hope it is being made for them. I want to meet new people in the process.

I’m the happiest when my swap partner spells out exactly what they want. When they are so detailed, I know what color underwear they wear. Ok, maybe that is a little much. The more detailed they are, the happier I am.

It is just so exciting!

The reality for me is I become a little obsessed. I worry that what I’m making isn’t the perfect thing. I put it aside for a little while while I stew over it not being perfect or a perfect fit. In the end I fall in love with the item and even hate to give it away. Then when I receive my swap, I feel bad when they send too many awesome things. I feel like I’ve ripped off the partner I swapped to. I wonder if I’ve thanked my partner appropriately. Did you see how awesome my last received swap was? It is gorgeous! And yet, somehow I feel guilty about something, or I’m sad it is over, or something.

Oh, the rollercoaster! For me it is a rollercoaster. And at the end, it is like a drug and the drug has worn off. I have my gorgeous item. It is time to sign up for another round of swaps to keep that excitement going. Hoping along the way that other people will be excited about what I’m making. Worrying about whether or not my partner is going to love what I’ve made for them based on a usually vague “Oh make anything, I’ll love it no matter what.”

Wow! Apparently I have a lot of opinions about swaps. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that it is ok not to join every single swap. Don’t get me wrong. Swaps are fun. They are a great way to get to know people. I still follow the first person I swapped with on IG. I’m glad we are friends now. I’m not saying swaps are a bad thing.

I love that swaps take me out of my comfort zone. I play with colors I wouldn’t have before. I play with designs I’ve not been drawn to. I push myself to make something as awesome as I can make it. That is exciting.

I wonder if I should be really thinking about exactly what I want, and making it for myself. Maybe that sounds selfish. Sometimes at the end of a swap, I’m left with another thing, lovely though it may be. I have lots of stuff. I wonder if I should make specific things for me that I need. I need some sort of organizer at my sewing table. I need more organization at my cutting board/pressing station. I really need better totes for going to sewing days with my quilt guild. I need a new purse of some sort. I need more organization for my hand sewing. There are things I need that I could easily make myself. I NEED some clothes. I have a few patterns from Kitschycoo that I’ve never taken the time to make.  And then there are things that I want that I know I could make. I could make my own Nathan Fillion pillow. I could make it exactly the way I want it, with the softest fabric so I could rub my face on his face every night. I’m talking specifically about Nathan Fillion from Firefly. I gotta get some of that. 

Why are my wants and needs put at the bottom of the pile? I don’t have an infinite amount of time where I can just sew for other people all day long.  How do my wants and needs get pushed aside for wanting to impress someone else?

When I make something for a swap, I often spend more money on the supplies than I do when I make something for myself. Why not make something for myself with the most beautiful fabric ever?

Maybe I should make up my own widget for an anti swap? I should come up with a cute and catchy name for no swapping. Let’s call it the Happiness Swap. Or how about The reason I sew in the First Place Swap? Sew for Yourself Because you are Awesome! Sew for yourself because you have needs. Sew for yourself because you know exactly what it is that makes your heart pit a pat. I challenge you all to a self swap. Dig down into your own Pinterest boards and find something that makes your heart pit a pat. Find the most beautiful fabric ever, no matter the price. Source the best supplies, even if it is a $20 polka dot zipper from Japan. If it is what is going to elevate your piece to the highest level, why are you not worthy of it? Push yourself to make something out of your norm, that you’ve always wanted to try, but never took the time? Make something purely for your own pleasure, for your needs and even wants. Why is this considered selfish sewing? Why are we not good enough reasons to make something? I think it should be called “Happiness Sewing”. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. It isn’t a luxury to take care of your self.   Don’t we all sew because to at least some degree, we enjoy it? Why can’t we mix in sewing for ourselves with all the swaps for other people?

So there is my opinion. There is my challenge. Anti swap with yourself. Make sure you take time for Happiness Sewing or Self Care Sewing too.

Sew what you love

I saw a saying on Pinterest that said “Do what you love.” I decided to make up my own that said “Sew what you love.”

I think this is still exciting! And no roller coaster! The process is still the same. Create an inspiration board. Share fabric pulls if you are not exactly sure of the pull completely, or just to share what you will be working with. Share the process of your make, from initial design to completion. In the end, you won’t have to be sad when you send something lovely away. YOU GET TO KEEP IT! In the end, you remember what it is it that you love about sewing. In the end you have still challenged yourself. In the end you have maybe still shared inspiration or eye candy with your friends. In the end, you are important too!


8 thoughts on “Is all the swapping on IG getting a little crazy? How about a little Happiness Sewing?

  1. Bravo Anjeanette! I haven’t been overly caught up in the swap craze, but I am participating in one right now and it’s hanging over me like a ball and chain. I started following the organizer on Instagram when I signed up and she has organized at least 3 more swaps since the one I signed up for. I just don’t get it. Is it a contest?

  2. This is so well said. I told myself this year I would be much more picky about the swaps I join. I don’t think I do too many but I often find myself disappointed when swapping. It’s so hard to know what the other person would want & especially if you don’t know them or they aren’t very detailed in their forms. And then there is the financial aspect. I will always spend more to get the perfect piece of fabric for a swap. But I won’t do that for myself. Why not? I think it’s just mindset really. Thanks for putting this out there.

  3. Wow thank you for sharing this. These are my thoughts exactly!!! I’m doing my second swap ATM and although I have enjoyed both swaps and making beautiful things for someone else, it’s been a little heartbreaking giving away these gorgeous things I have fallen in love with. I promised to make the exact same thing again for myself, but I probably won’t. So this year I’m going to step back a little bit and stop trying to be a people pleaser and just take a deep breath and make some of the things on the bottom of my to do list because that’s where the stuff for me always ends up. Thanks so much for your honesty in sharing your heart

    1. This is so accurate. I love it!, Happiness Sewing! This is exactly the reason why I’ve stopped swaps- apart from the birthday club I’m in which goes through to July, I promised myself no more swaps! They are a financial strain and also I’ve discoveted that not all senders care so much about sending something lovely – it’s hard when you’ve put in a huge effort and get something mediocre in return. And I’ve started working off my own list of happiness.

  4. I hate the hashtag #selfishsewing I agree why is it considered selfish to do something for ourselves? I have one more Bee Block to make and then I’m out of the sewing for other people game. Thanks for this post – I love it!

  5. Oh, I just have to thank for every single word you wrote in this post. I have been disappointed with swaps before. My daughter says I just expect too much but if I’ve put my all into what I send to others, I think I have the right to expect my partner to do the same.
    You are so right. Partners can’t read minds and don’t know exactly what you want so stop swapping and start making what you want the way you want it. I find quilters are the most generous people and it’s not wrong to take time to make ourselves something now and then. Do it now!!!

  6. Anna sent me over here to read this. I haven’t done swaps in a long time for several reasons, but mostly because I just don’t have enough time to do the list of projects I want to do! So it was nice to see that in your post. I almost wavered this week on IG, I am retiring soon and will have more time but I see the pressure to have the perfect swap and fill up with just the right extras. For now I think I am happy to stay at the not so cool kid table.

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