Do you participate in swaps?

I’ve learned that swaps and bees are a bit of  a crapshoot.

Maybe you get something totally awesome that you love. Or maybe someone uses the ugly fabric they want out of their stash and hastily makes something. So it’s a bit of a gamble.  But fun, right?

I’m making a biggish bag for the Sew Sew Modern 6 swap (SSM6), and my partner won’t know who is making her item until she receives it. I really want her to be excited when she receives it.

SSM6 Bag

I’ve checked out my partner’s Flickr favorites.  I’ve looked at her comments on all the inspiration/prep pictures so far in the Flickr SSM6 photo stream.  I understand mercury is still in retrograde.

And I’ve narrowed my ideas down to these four choices.  (Yes, I’m purposely being vague about the specific bag I’m making; it’s part of the fun.)

First, no patchwork or piecing.  Just a straight up tote with accent and coordinating fabrics.


Next, a more loosely framed idea at the moment – something that uses the penny square paper piecing template that I borrowed from my Penny Sampler.  I made these a few weekends ago when my in laws were in town with the thought that they might go into a bag, but I’m on the fence at the moment.


But maybe my partner would like a pieced feature panel on a bag?  I’d offer her this star if she hints that she’s a fan of it. I’m a little short on the exact matching blue, so I thought I might piece the bag around the star in subtly different shades of blue to add a little interest and disguise my shortage.


And then there’s the scrappy approach. I’m not sure if this really my partner’s style, but so so many people use the Flickr “favorite” feature to note the scrappy items that pop up in these swaps.  Scrappy can go in so many different directions that if my partner says she’s interested in this, I hope she says, “More blue.”  Or “Less novelty and more subtle prints.” Or “Needs more low volume.”


I’ll post a collage of these images in the Flickr photostream and see what she, and everyone else, thinks about these ideas.

What would YOU pick if someone were to whip up a bag just for you?


Linking with Freshly Pieced.


  1. Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl

    I am personally a less is more kind of gal when it comes to totes, bags, and purses. Details like coordinating color pulls and beautiful stand out stitching details (ie off-white finishing on navy) are what tickles me. Good luck figuring out what will work best for your partner!

  2. Afton

    It looks like your partner is going to get something awesome, no matter what you decide. I don’t see anything remotely unlikable.

  3. Sarah Schraw

    I honestly think all 4 options are a great start! If you reeeeally twisted my arm I might choose the penny patches. But I also think the plainer options at the top would possibly make the most useful bag… but on the other hand the colorfulness of the scrappy improv would match anything too! Did you see Noodlehead’s new free pattern? I’m going to try that one soon I think! Maybe not big enough for what you’re looking for for this project though.

  4. Lin Marsh

    The star is gorgeous! It would make a bold statement on a bag. Good luck deciding which way to go. I’m sure the mysterious “she” will love whatever you pick. They are all great!

  5. Ruth

    I love your scrappy selection – that would be a unique tote bag! All of your options are lovely and your partner will be happy with any of them I’m sure.

  6. Kathy

    I love those scrappy fabrics, especially the novelty ones… but then I love the other looks you’re playing with too.  I’m sure it will be a memorable swap!

  7. Serena @ Sewgiving

    … I’d go with the scrappy option with atad more blue (and perhaps some more of those kissing pigs!), then it would co-ordinate with most things that I wear … jeans, jeans and jeans 🙂

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