My name is Chana, and I am a Ravelry swapaholic.
You may be asking yourself what is a swapaholic? Some of the muggles among you may even be asking what is Ravelry? (^_^) Well…..first of all, Ravelry is an online knitting and crocheting community that is so much more than this phrase can possibly convey. It has space for personal records of anything connected with fiber, an amazingly wide data base of patterns, yarn, tutorials, etc., and hundreds of forums including special interest groups. And many of these groups hold swaps occasionally. (Some groups are formed solely for the purpose of swaps.)
Simply put, a swap is where you receive a partner (and someone receives you). There is usually some sort of theme to the swap, and of course, it always includes some yarn and knitting goodies. You then have a determined amount of time to put together a package for your partner. This involves stalking … um, learning about your victim …er, partner, seeing what groups and forums s/he is in, what projects s/he’s done, what goodies s/he likes, reading her/his profile, posts, blog, etc. Then you mail off the package by the deadline, and wait anxiously for two things – one, for your package to arrive, and two, for your partner to receive his/her package! Sometimes it’s a reciprocal swap, where you and your partner send each other packages, sometimes it’s a round robin, sometimes a secret swap when you don’t know who is sending to you.
So this is my addiction, your honour. I honestly don’t know what is more fun, getting a package filled with surprises, or putting together a package to surprise your partner! I take part in at least one swap a month, and I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way. Staying in touch after the swap is great fun. My stitch-n-bitch group is so used to me bringing along the newest treasures to show off (and sometimes share).
Examples of swap packages I’ve been lucky enough to receive:
I’ve been in two swaps in my Jewish Fiberholics group.
For Chanuka last year, I received from Helen in England: Packed (of course) in purple paper, some soft Rowan chunky lambswool, a sachet of stitch markers, a book of magical short stories (by a local author), a CD Helen prepared herself of “Music to Knit To” – folk music that I’ve listened to a lot, a scented candle, dark chocolate in shapes of vintage buttons, vanilla sugar for an extra special cuppa tea, and scented (purple) bath cubes! Eight gifts, each one fantastic!
And then for the Winter Doldrums swap, I received from Marcia in Pennsylvania: A great purple box that now serves as storage for some very special goodies, with a purple message on a chain. Then, inside, (wrapped in purple paper) three skeins of Cascade alpaca lace yarn, a purple rose button, highlighter tape for lace charts, a big tin of Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro tea, two bags of Reeses Pieces, and a darling itty bitty witty knitties card!
I’ve been in two swaps with my Mystery lover’s group, where one sends a mystery and all the goodies have to tie in.
From Bonnie in Texas I received The Poyson Garden – an Elizabethan mystery by Karen Harper, Knitpicks Shadow merino yarn (in royal purple), three Elizabethan lace patterns, a bunch of yummy teas (including Stash Vanilla Creme, oh my), tea filters that I can’t get here, some virgin olive oil soap (the Virgin Queen), and a Texas coaster!
From Mel in Washington I received: two of Maggie Sefton’s knitting mysteries, a pattern for a mountain lace scarf (the series is set in Colorado), enough gorgeous Cascade Heritage hand painted yarn for two scarves, a puzzle book, 2 beautiful handmade stitch markers, oodles of Tazo organic chai tea, and Dagoba organic dark chocolate with cranberries, cherries and vanilla!
(Can you see why I’m addicted to this? Need I say more in my defense?)
In my Cuppa Tea group:
For Valentine’s Day, I received from Kerrieann in Oregon a tough puzzle and Chanakara tea (Chakra #3 – Honeybush vanilla)
For the group’s second anniversary swap (cotton – appropriate for tea towels, no?) I received from FPWear in Calgary, Canada: Two very elegant tea towels, Shibuikints sock yarn, a handmade project bag, a postcard from Canada, and of course teas! A package of loose Totalitea Rooibos Provence, and a selection of Northern Delights Inuit Herbal Teas with names I can’t begin to pronounce but with English translations like Cloudberry, Ground Juniper, and Arctic Blend, among others.
In my Vintage Bitches group (women over 40 who can still kick ass), we had a “Yarn of Dreams” swap. Oh, my. I received from Angie in Britain: A skein of Lorna’s Laces worsted rainbow, a skein of Araucania sugarcane (already mentioned in this blog), two balls of artesano alpaca, and sock yarn in the colours of spring! And if that wasn’t enough, there was a collection of patterns for socks, hats, & project bags, an assortment of teas that I love, a Cath Tate knitting greeting card, needles, point protectors, a row counter and beautiful beads for my next beading project!
In my “This is What a Feminist Knits Like” group, we told about a woman or group of women who greatly influenced our lives, and the package was built around that. I chose the original Olivia collective and women’s music. I received from Nina in Oregon: Two books about women in rock, fingerless mitts she knit for me, Knit Picks Imagination yarn, Knit Picks needles to knit it with, beaded stitch markers, Stash tea, a teapot appliqué, and a “Moon” postcard.
In my Purple Rules! Group, I received from Julie in Washington: Soft purple bamboo yarn from South West Trading Co, Peaches-n-Creme cotton, the Vogue book of Scarves Two On the Go, a windmill dishcloth, cable needles, darning needles, Salada Asian Plum White Tea and a tea bag holder, a purple pen, and a Washington key chain!
In the Yarn & Falafel group’s swap, I received from Yael in Be’er Sheva some handspun/hand-dyed merino yarn named “Chana Massala” after me, handmade stitch markers, a scarf, Trader Joe organic chocolate drink, and a ball of pink acrylic boucle (for a laugh, but I have the perfect use for it!).
Keep in mind that for every package I receive I’ve had lots and lots of fun making up a package for someone else! And I haven’t even covered half of my swap goodies, more at a later date….. An addict can’t help but talk about her addiction, after all…..
My name is Chana, and I’m a swapaholic…