Do You Swap? You Oughta!

Opening the StockingWhen my babies looked in their felted wool stockings on Christmas morning, among the assorted wonders they found crocheted play food and handmade matching beaded bracelets—made not by me, because I don’t crochet or bead, but by my Christmas in July Stashbuster Swap partner.

Do you swap? You oughta.

A swap is a theme-based exchange of handmade goods between crafters. You sign up, get assigned a partner, learn a little about each other, then both do your best to craft things to send that your partner will really like and that will fit the theme of the swap.

Bloggers sometimes organize their own swaps, but the biggest games out there are Craftster and Swap-bot. I’m a Craftster swapper, myself. My favorite swaps have been the Craft for my Kid Swap, in which I made my swap partner a crib quilt and a ring sling for her new baby and she made my girls matching rompers and toy bags; the Bargain Hunter Swap, in which I made my partner a miniature quilt out of a thrifted Spanish T-shirt and she gave me a ton of vintage bird stamps to turn into altered jewelry; and the Christmas in July Stashbuster Swap, in which my partner went MIA after I sent her and each of her four children a set of hand-sewn ornaments but my two swap angels, recruited by the swap organizer, totally hooked my girls up with stocking stuffers and crocheted ornaments for our tree.

The best thing about swapping, in my opinion, is that it involves a barter system unrelated to traditional economics. “Spoiling” your partner, or giving more than you need to, is a laudable goal in swapping. Swapping is also good for extending your skill set, particularly when you’re inspired to learn a new craft or try something a little different for the purpose of making just that very thing that you know your partner will really like. And after a handmade holiday in which (ahem) perhaps not all of one’s lovingly handmade gifts were appreciated as fully as they deserved, it’s extra-special to craft something that you know will go to a fully appreciative home and, in turn, receive for yourself something lovingly hand-crafted just for you.

Do you swap? You oughta.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I’d never heard of such a swap before. Thanks for enlightening me, it sounds like a LOT of fun! I think I’m just going to have to think about maybe thinking about doing it!

    Or maybe I’ll just tell some people that actually have time to do the crafty stuff they enjoy about it. 🙂



  2. Craftster is the only one of the swap organizations I’ve had personal experience with, but yeah, it is super fun. My favorite part is that on Craftster, there are billions of themes, everything from zombies to all kinds of fangeek movies to dishtowels to postage stamp quilt squares. Every time I look on the swap list, there are like a thousand swaps I want to do.

  3. I just did my first craftster swap (and swap-bot swap – still waiting for one package) and it was great! Way back in the day, I used to swap on, which was sometimes great, sometimes not so (kinda like swap-bot, I think). I troll the craftster swap sign-ups board like every day looking for the next big swap! I am waiting for someone to organize another dollar store swap… hoping for that one in January or Feb.

    My craftster swap was the kids hoodie swap, which was really great! I had a lot of fun making hoodies and receiving them.

  4. You guys are so sweet!

    This post inspired me to check out the Craftster swap page for the first time in a little while, and within about five minutes I had spotted and joined the Valentine Classroom Card Exchange swap.

    I haven’t really done any cardmaking before, but I’ve been wanting to try it–perfect opportunity!

  5. Great post! The only “problem” with swapping on Craftster (or anywhere, really) is the chance that you might become thoroughly addicted. I did! I saw the Valentine Classroom Card Exchange, and almost joined, but thought I’d better budget my time wisely. I’m organizing the Pin Cushion Swap, and just joined the Valentine Embroidery Swap and the Tiny House Swap! Ohhhh, how I love Craftster.

  6. Oooh, the Tiny House Swap!!! I thought about that one for a long time, but the level of expertise the organizer seemed to hint was required kind of scared me off.

    I might also sign up for the Small Destash swap.

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