Book Review: Stitch ‘n Swap

I borrowed this book from the library in Kindle format. I kept it for a long time and then it was yanked from my digital bookshelf by the tyrant that is the app?

Stitch 'n Swap: 25 Handmade Projects to Sew, Give & ReceiveStitch ‘n Swap: 25 Handmade Projects to Sew, Give & Receive by Jake Finch

This book is described as a guide on how to organize and participate in successful community swaps. My mind immediately went to swapping with other members omy quilt guild. The authors, however, weren’t limiting their ideas to just guilds. They use the term “like minded stitchers,” which is a very nice term! They also mention bees, small groups or other regular congregations of those with whom “you have something in common.” There are 25 projects and one of the projects inspired me to borrow this book.

The books starts off with an Introduction, which clearly and succinctly explains swaps. It explains what they are, different types and how they work. Fun is clearly at the forefront according to the author. The authors mention having a theme and offers up a few as examples. My guild does this every year. One year we had a kitchen themed swap and I received a gorgeous casserole carrier. Other theme ideas are a single fabric, a type of project, like pincushions or something like storage containers. The author has compiled projects from a variety of designers. One of the designers is Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

Next comes the guidelines for organizing a swap in a chapter called ‘Organizing a Swap’. The author believes that any kind of swap should stretch your creative muscles. As you know I am a pretty confident bag maker, but in the last guild swap, I learned some new skills when I made the Oslo bag for Cyndi. In this chapter, Finch provides a list of guidelines for leading a swap, including written guidelines and list of participants as well as a backup plan. There are also optional guidelines, what to do when you are using a commercial pattern and a little on working with kids.

One of the suggestions is to keep the swap to about 20 people. Having some kind of ice breaker event so people can get to know each other could make the swap more successful. These optional guidelines are followed, in the book, with theme suggestions, style and advice for a successful swap.

Of course there are always dropouts. Life happens. I have often acted as a swap ‘angel’ where I make something that will be given to the dropout. One good reminder is to just be philosophical and accept the dropout gracefully. It does not good badmouthing the person to other swappers.

After these two chapters, the projects start. There are pincushions, a sewing kit, a variety of bags, a scissor case, baby organizing supplies, such as a diaper changing mat, a few small quilts, cushions and many more.

Most of the projects are not exciting and I have other versions of these patterns already in my workroom. I was excited about the fabrics used and some of the interesting piecing. In Anne Deister’s couch scarf, she sewed rainbow strips unevenly so there is a lot of movement along the width of the couch scarf (which is described as “a long, pretty quilt”).

My favorite project is the Interchangeable Monster*. This is a one eyed stuffie, nominally like a dragon, but with wings and legs that can be moved around and changed -like Barbie clothes, maybe? Most of the other projects are cute, but not that interesting.

There is no index, and no gallery of projects at the beginning. I am glad I borrowed this book so I could take a look at iti. If you are new to organizing swaps, you need this book. If you want a lot of small projects for swaps or gifts, this is a good book for you.

*Since this is a Kindle book there were no page numbers, which is why I have not given you any references.









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