Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy mail!

After months of anticipation, my first ever swap came to an exciting conclusion this week when the mini made for me arrived in my mailbox and mine made it all the way to New Zealand to its new home.

I've never been so excited to get a package in the mail! This is kinda silly, but I honestly skipped a little bit on my way home from the mail box. I was just bursting with excitement to open the package. My partner crafted the most amazing just for me. I can tell she watched my Instagram feed closely for ideas because she really captured everything I love. Here's all the goodies I found in the package:

The beautiful mini with lots of blues and teals - my favourite - was finished with handquilting (So lovely - I need to try that!) in two colours. She added in a bicycle print too because anyone stalking my IG couldn't help but take note of the many pictures from my bike rides in the countryside and proud odometer posts. Looking at it now, I realize the choice of other prints was very intentional too, since she also noticed my love of nature and picked fabrics with flowers, leaves and other plants. How nice! The mini really is a treasure and I was overwhelmed to receive it. Many times on IG, I liked the sneak peeks she posted - and then surprise, surprise it came to me! I plan on hanging it in my dining room, right across from where I sit every morning for breakfast so I can admire it every day.

Along with the mini, she sent along a red, green and sparkling evergreen garland for the holidays, a zippered fox pouch (no doubt after seeing the foxy pillow I made recently) and milkweed bombs to plant. That's the favourite plant of Monarch butterflies, and its dwindling ranks have greatly affected the Monarch population. By coincidence, not that long ago I was looking at ways to give the butterflies a boost after several close encounters while out cycling.

Almost as beautiful as the front of the mini is the label. I love, love, love how she personalized it. And wow! It's stitched by hand! My mom and I spent quite some time looking at it closely. And more bicycles on the backing fabric!

I couldn't be happier with what I received, which made me very eager for my partner to get my package. Thankfully and amazingly it was just a little over a week making its way from Canada to New Zealand. My partner said she liked colour, modern and bright, traditional with modern twists. I think I got all those in the mini I made. The pattern was inspired by the barn quilt trail my mom and I followed in the summer. I took the traditional Jacob's ladder block, and turned the four-patch into a nine-patch and swapped quarter-square triangles for the middle. And I made it bright! Mostly pink prints, with some purple and then orange and pink solids. I love how it turned out, making mailing it off a bit tough. But a variation on this may just pop up again, since I have lots of fabric left over.

Here's a close-up of the quilting. I started with straight lines echoing the square, then did closer lines in the points and a cross-hatch in the big middle patch. In hot pink, of course!

I sewed a few extras, too. I already shared the doggy zippered pouch with a hexie flower I made using fabric I spotted while on vacation in Barcelona. As soon as I saw my partner had a Westie, I knew I had to make something with the cute white pup on it. A little online searching and I sketched out a simple patchwork pattern for a Westie mug rug. I had to do some very small piecing for the dog and bow, but it turned out super cute. I love the butterfly by its nose.

I gathered a few other goodies (pink note pad, pretty pencil covered in Japanese paper, cute metal clips, ballerina bear button, colourful bunting stickies, flower chocolates and fancy hot chocolate with a chocolate-dipped spoon) and here's the whole bundle I mailed off:

This swap was so much fun! If you're on the fence about joining one, do it! Getting something wonderful in the mail is only part of what makes them great. I loved following the hashtags on IG to see what everyone was making, and boy there were some jaw-dropping quilts! Lots of people used the swap as a push to try new techniques or patterns. I certainly had never used such a bold colour scheme or so much black, and I loved how it came together. Now that packages are being mailed, it's so much fun to watch the hashtag as everybody is receiving their minis.

With this first swap behind me, I can focus on the three others I'm signed up for. Three! And I'm chomping at the bit for the sign-ups to open for a rainbow mini swap. I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about what to make for each swap, then getting really excited when I come up with the perfect idea. The beauty about swapping something smaller is that it's a great chance to try out new things or make your own designs. And I have some big plans for my upcoming swaps! I'm itching for the fabric to arrive so I can finally turn my festive mug rug vision into reality. So yeah, I'm hooked on swaps.

Oh, and here's the back of my swap mini, which is pretty freaking fantastic. I got this crazy wild fabric ages ago and finally the perfect project came along. No piecing needed here for an interesting back! Plus it's got my first ever quilt label, embellished with a few of my leftover bits from the patchwork.

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