Guidelines for hosting a successful swap.
Set very specific rules for your swap. If your rules are clear and easy to read, everyone will know exactly what is expected of them. The more exact you can be in your requirements, the more likely it is that the swapped blocks will all look good together.
Examples of guidelines are
g) Deadline for you receiving the blocks. Be sure to give everyone enough time to make blocks, and to mail them. Short swaps leave out people who have to mail to you from a long distance, and people who have busy lives.
Once you have set your guidelines, stick to them. If you receive blocks that do not meet your guidelines, they should be returned to the maker unswapped. This might sound mean, but if all the other blocks are 12 1/2 inches and one set is 10 inches, it is no use to the other swappers. If everyone used bleached muslin as set up in the guidelines, and one person used unbleached, those blocks should be returned to the maker unswapped.
Do not ever criticize the blocks you receive. You should assume that each person has done their best, and tried hard to send you perfect blocks. We do not want to discourage anyone from participating and/or trying new things. And we do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. If the blocks do not meet the guidelines, return them to the maker, and explain politely exactly why you are returning them.
It's always nice to remind people about the swap with friendly emails. Don't just assume everyone who signed up will remember the swap. Send reminders to encourage them, and remind them as well. Be sure to acknowledge the receipt of every set immediately, so the mailer knows you got them. I like to use my acknowledgement emails as reminders to the other participants of the swap.
Hosting a swap can be a great way to get to know other guild members, share quilting tips, and see other people's work. Encourage new members and beginning quilters to participate in your swap. Encourage all your participants to share photos of their finished projects.
Sand Star Swap from 2002
Here is a page showing swapping in progress.
Here is a Sampler Swap I hosted in 2005.
Updated July 15, 2020