Guest Blogging about TRADING FABRIC

 For my third post on Stash Manicure, I decided to discuss the joys of trading fabrics. Be sure to click on the above link to check out the details.

Would you like to host your own fabric exchange? It's quite simple, really. Decide who you'll be inviting to swap, first. Your local sewing club or guild is a great place to start but there are also informal groups meeting at the local church or library, online trading groups & quilty friends from near and far, too. Check your organization for suggestions and/or guidelines before you get really excited about trading. I'm a no rules kind of gal, but not everyone is and the more quilters involved in swaps, the merrier.

Next, you'll need to come up with an outline of suggested swap themes and poll to see what's most popular if you're able. Sometimes trades are slow to start but as members see how much fun you're having and what you're doing with the swapped fabrics, you will get more interest. Really, I promise. Stick with it.

It may be that your group has a pretty common theme or color fabric that everyone already owns. If your group tends to LOVE brights or can't live without batiks, start with those. If everyone gushes over red/white/blue combinations or reproduction fabrics, put those first on your list. It could be that holiday fabric appeals to the quilters in your circle AND that's timely, too. What could be better? You'll find more suggestions along the way as quilters become involved.

Be sure you are very specific in writing your guidelines and be willing to tweak them over time, if necessary. Include the most popular size/shape of your trades, even if it's not your favorite to work with. As you move along and gain additional interest, you'll be able to get the perfect precuts for your stash...hang in there.

I like to use layer cake sizes to trade, but I'm a charm quilter and many quilters prefer more fabric to work with. Fat quarter swaps have grown on me over the years. Some people prefer strips, others small charms, still others like to trade yardage, books, notions, etc.

Once you narrow down the fabric size options, be sure to take a larger size into account if there is a lot of interest. It may be that strip traders are willing to do a fat quarter swap, it's jus not their ideal. A FQ can still be cut down to multiple half length strips and you'll have a lot of happy traders. Plus, you could always offer 2 size options or make the following month strips. Whatever works best for your group. 
A little cooperation goes a long way.

Do your research. Check out the internet for some free patterns and cut and paste the links in handout form or check out a book in your local library and ask your wonderful librarian friend if it can be held for your group members. Get all the details for your potential project list together so people have a good reason to dig into their stashes and get cutting.

Imagine having a mess of a stash and giant list of to-do projects and someone says, hey lets swap green fabric! Wouldn't that be fun? UH, no.

On the other hand, if you showed the latest must have free quilt pattern and point out we could all have lovely quilts from a free block of the month program like THIS, cut from our very own stashes by trading 4 fat quarters each month for the next few months, adding in your choice of background fabric....you'll hear a resounding YES!! When can we start this awesome project?? Then you can review your organized details and say...How about next meeting?

Unsure of something? ASK. Get suggestions from members most likely to trade. Know that you can't please everyone all the time. Check with someone who has coordinated successful swaps for ideas or to help guide you through the process.

 Last, let the trading begin!!

Happy Quilting (and bartering!!),


  1. These pointers will work well for the guilds I participate in. We've been looking for new ideas and this is perfect for us! I think I'll start with my guild before looking on the computer, but I read your post on Stash Manicure and look forward to trying that eventually.

  2. Great ideas. . . and I love your 30's stash!! Yum. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I love yours! Reeze

  3. Great read Heather :) Loved your article on Stash Manicure too :) Ellyx


Your comments are always welcome. :)