Swappin and Socks

Ahh…. blocks are swapped, envelopes sealed, everything packed into a tote bag.  Swapping is a lot of work — it took at least 2 hrs not counting the time to lay everything out so with as many blocks as came in this time it was a good 4 hours at least I spent in swap land.  Course  part of it is cause I didn’t come up with the right block count.  So went back and recounted (one of the reasons the swap rules say to write number of blocks on the plastic baggie you enclose them in – double check system.  But I think someone mistakenly wrote down two more than they sent or I included extra in someone’s envelope (though I checked them all twice).  In any event, I just used two of mine to even things out since I was tried of looking at those swap blocks. 🙂

I did make my raspberry muffins — yum, one of my favorite kinds especially warm from the oven.  Did one load of laundry (enough work for one day) and think I’ll go sit and knit for a while.

  I think I’m going to be close on yarn on this pair of socks since I probably made them a size larger than I needed to, but I knew here was a brown yarn in the stash that just might be a close shade to the browns in the main yarn.  I was right.

When I originally got the brown yarn I was so disappointed since the photo on the website was NOT brown – it was a pretty shade of green.  After receiving the yarn, and having to email the dyer several times without response, I finally got an answer that I did in fact receive the yarn I ordered.  NOT an acceptable answer.  I looked  at that yarn on four different computer monitors in four different places – it did not look the least bit brown.  It was not a usual place I order from and will never be a place I order from again.  BUT the mucky brown goes really well with this  light aqua and brown yarn so I will make the toes brown just to make sure I don’t run out of yarn.

So hopefully I’ll get this sock finished off tonight and get the second one cast on.     In looking for the brown yarn, I found the separate container that I had put the Opal yarns in that I had bought at a prior Simply Socks sale (not the most recent one).  Hmmmm…. there was more in there than I thought and some really pretty ones.  I was thinking I only had darker more murkier looking colors but no… there’s some lively ones in there.  Okay – I’ve got enough Opal to last me a good long time. 🙂


Bloomin’ Basket Swap

Yes – I finally started swapping these blocks — well, it took over an hour and half to pull them all out of the envelopes and get them laid out so I can begin to swap — more on exactly why it took so long below.

But here’s a sneak peak at just some of the lovely blocks that were sent in.

  The photos are taken at sort of a wierd angle so not the greatest shots but they are laid out on the breakfast bar so I had the camera held above my head to get the photos.  That’s just a sampling of the pretty blocks that were sent in.


And thank you to the swappers who sent in fat quarter goodies, little books, postcards from where they live.  I haven’t had time to check them all out thoroughly but will enjoy doing that later.  Again thank you.

Not pictured is another stack of swap envelopes sitting on another table that will be returned to the swappers with their blocks unswapped.  I’m always sad when I have to do that, and I’m sure the recipients who get their blocks back unswapped will not be happy, but I stick to the swap rules when swapping blocks and the TQP gals and return swappers who join in most of my swaps know this and expect me to.   If you participated in this swap and end up getting a couple or all of your blocks back unswapped — these are the things to look for that may be wrong.  Everyone gets swap blocks back from time to time due to a problem — my very first swap – yes indeed I misread the rules and got several blocks back because the fabrics weren’t right.  It wasn’t the swap hostesses fault; I did something contrary to the rules.  So what’s listed below are some of the reasons blocks are coming back and may help you or others, seasoned swappers and newbies alike, to recognize the types of things to double check and make sure they are doing correctly for future swaps no matter who the swap hostess is.  So this is NOT a rant — it will hopefully help people to realize the types of mistakes that are made and avoid them when they are swapping.

Did you use the specificed fabrics? This is a common one. If it says tone on tone (which the background and basket fabric was supposed to be with the exception that the basket fabric could be a wicker/basket weave print fabric) – did you use only tone on tone or basket weave/wicker.    Fabrics with more than just shades of the same color are not tone on tone.  Green and white polka dots are not tone on tone.  A large plaid print of multiple colors is not tone on tone or a wicker/basket weave print.  You get the idea — always follow fabric requirements and if you’re unsure, ask the swap hostess for clarification.

Incorrect block size — right on the pattern page it said to measure the pattern to make sure it printed correctly.  Settings on your personal computer/printer can alter the pdf so it does not print its full size. You need to always check it even if you think you have all the settings correct.  The paper pieced pattern  was 7.5″ unfinished.  So blocks that I received that measured 7.5 x 7.25 — well they won’t fit together with everyone else’s blocks since  there’s a whole seam allowance missing.  Did I measure every block – no.  But when pulling out that many blocks it’s easy to see when they look smaller.  With the paper on the back it’s also easy to see if they printed smaller but then were squared to 7.5″ anyway — the baskets themselves will not the same as everyone elses.

When paper piecing you trim all excess fabric away leaving a 1/4″ or scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Not trimming away the layers of fabric makes for a bulkier block and the darker fabrics underneath shadow through.

The paper was to be left on — if you took it off and that was the only thing not according to the rules I did swap them.  If your stitching did not extend all the way to the edges of the blocks — several blocks had 1/2″ or more that was not stitched down or the stitches had come loose when trimming threads  even tho paper was still attached – they get returned.   And of course if you didn’t use the right fabrics in the right spots (used handle fabric where it should have been background, etc) those blocks should never have been sent in.

So the thing to take away from this — no one else who receives the blocks you make should have to do anything to your block in order to be able to use it (other than in this case, take the paper off the back) — not trim away many excess layers of fabric, not be unhappy because the correct fabrics weren’t used,  not have to restitch seams because they aren’t stitched tight — not have blocks that aren’t the correct size.

One other thing — postage.  If you are from out of the country – you always need to contact the swap hostess.  Never ever expect her to simply pay your return postage.  Also regarding postage – swap rules specify  return postage needs to be “in stamps” for a reason.  Postal stickers that the postage office uses when you go there in person, as well as postage labels with postage on them purchased on line have DATES on them.  The post office will not accept postage that has a date a week or two ago on them.    I do put those back in the mail but be aware they may simply return it to me and if that happens, I will be contacting you to send me stamps in order to return it.

WHEW !  Swapping can be great fun but it can also be alot of work.  So double check and triple check those swap rules to make sure you won’t be disappointed by missing out on getting blocks from the other swappers.  AND if you have to drop out of a swap (okay this part is a little bit of a rant since it’s such a pet peeve with me) please have the courtesy to email the swap hostess and let her know you will not be able to participate after all.  Be warned that if you are seen as a “chronic signer upper but not a follow througher” you may not be allowed to participate in future swaps.

Okay – I have promised myself fresh from the oven raspberry muffins when I get the swapping done so I need to get back at it now that I have been fortified with several cups of coffee.

Swap packages that are not over the weight restriction (16 oz maybe – i have to look it up) that I can just toss in our outgoing mail at the office should go out in tomorrow’s mail (unless it’s raining cause I don’t want packages getting wet on my way to the bus).  Packages over the weight restriction will be mailed later in the week when I’ve had a chance to run to the post office on my lunch hour to take them in.

Let the swapping commence……..

One person is lucky I have a good postman – the wrong apartment number was written on the envelope but it made it to me anyway. 🙂