The art of the swap

The world of craft is a somewhat otherworldly enterprise that only intermittently intersects with the known world.

Crocheters, knitters, quilters, and all of the other myriad groups and subgroups, speak their own language, organize their own events, and meet up in ways that our families most likely regard as just a touch peculiar.

One such activity is the swap.

In the world of craft there are swaps for every occasion as well as every non-occasion.

There are purse swaps, motif swaps, glove swaps, fingerless glove swaps, yarn swaps, dishcloth swaps, hat swaps, amigurumi swaps, and even beer cozy swaps. There are also swaps for non-craft related items: chocolate and coffee being two of the most popular.

However, despite my longstanding interest in crochet, it was not until this past month that I took the plunge and, at the invitation of a fellow crocheter at ravelry, joined a swap. The swap I joined? The African Flower hexagon swap.

It is a well organized affair. When you join the group, you submit your preferences as they relate to color and fiber, and you are asked about any allergies. This information is then put into a spreadsheet that you are able to access so that you know your swap partners’ preferences without having to ask them.

Yesterday, I received my first swap item:

crochet flowers crochet hexagons
African flower crochet hexagon received as part of a swap

It arrived in Friday’s mail, and just the novelty of getting something that wasn’t an advertisement or a bill made it special. When I opened the envelope it was even better. In my hands was something that had been made for no other purpose than to be given to me, an idea that is both simple and powerful.

This was, as it happens, a hugely effective catalyst for me and propelled me to finish the 7 hexagons that were my swapping responsibility, and by early this afternoon, I had completed all of them and had the ends woven in and trimmed.

I selected colors based on the stated preferences of my fellow swappers, so I was working somewhat outside my comfort zone when I used a few pastels and made one motif in much more muted colors than is my won’t:

crochet flowers crochet hexagons
Seven African flower crochet hexagons

Now all that’s left is to get out my fuchsia colored Sharpie pen and address the envelopes.