Swapaholic on a Budget

My name is Chana, and I am a swapaholic….but I am trying to be financially smart.  (My partner will have her doubts about that…)

In these trying times, swaps can definitely be a strain on the budget.  Granted, it’s an exchange, you’re buying goodies for someone but you’re also receiving some great items that may not be available to you at all or may not be available at the price someone else pays…but even so, can one allow oneself the indulgence in these treats?

The little voice of my inner enabler says yes, if you don’t (over) splurge on other things for yourself as well.   And I only occasionally (*cough*) join the big swaps.

That is why I am so happy to belong to a swap group that puts a limit of $10 on each swap (not counting postage, let’s be real here).  No more than $4 should be spent on yarn, and the rest depends on your ingenuity to make a great package for your partner.  There are usually many hand-made things in these swaps.  I love this group!  It began in January, and I’ve joined every month.

In January I swapped with Nadja in Slovenia.  She sent me La rocca fleur de lis yarn that she bought in nearby Italy; she also knitted me a tea wallet with a lot of Slovenian teas; a map of Slovenia, a CD of a popular artist; a booklet of traditional Slovenian recipes; and a lovely postcard.

 $10 Jan

Then in February I swapped with Denise in California.  She sent Patons Grace cotton yarn (which I knitted into a Baktus scarf), patterns, Eucalan woolwash, Felicitea, Tazo, and Numi teas: heart chocolates for Valentine’s Day, postcards and local info, a notepad and pencil, she knitted a fish toy for the cat (who ended up in every picture trying to get the toy), and a tote bag from Stitches West!

 $10 Feb

SW tote cat toy


In March we went “green” – the package was to have a recyclable tote bag.  I swapped with Fran from North Carolina.  I got a “Cozy” tote bag, Knitpicks Essential yarn, some lovely and soft mystery yarn, a book of essays by Adrienne Rich, a cd of folk and jazz, shells, crystal beads, Tazo teas, brass stitch markers,  and a rubber snake (since I had mentioned what pets we had and that the family won’t let me get another snake)! 

 $10 Mar

In the April swap the group decided to destash, and get rid of yarns that we weren’t going to use ourselves.  (Very difficult, that…)  I swapped with Erin in New York.  She sent 3 balls of Sugar-n-Cream cotton (LOVE it), some bamboo wool, two skeins of Knitpicks Memories, another ball of unidentified wool, and then puzzle books, and amazing pyramid teas from Tea of Life.

 $10 Apr

In May we played a game – the Magic Yarn Ball.  Everything we sent was wound up in a big ball of yarn, and we unraveled it to get to the goodies!  Emma in New York used two balls of yarn (Sugar n Cream cotton and Reynolds Lite Lopi virgin wool from Iceland) in order to wrap everything up for me, she sent a knitted bookmark, stitch markers, a row counter, coil needle holders, needle point protectors, a chart magnet, coloured ribbons, a chart highlighter, raspberry tea, candy, and a teapot tape measure that is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!  Emma was also my youngest swap partner, having celebrated her 11th birthday shortly before the swap.  She’s quite a knitter, too!  I doff my cap to her.

 $10 May

In June we were to send our partner things we love.  I swapped with Kathleen in Tennessee.  Her fantastic package included two magazines (The Strand, Mental Floss), Kraemer Tatamy Tweed cotton yarn, a bandana, a button (best things in life), binder clips, lots ‘o teas, sock-shaped point protectors, a postcard from Tennessee, a bumper sticker from her LYS, a CD filled with her favourite music – some by local musician friends, a fossil from her farm, a sachet of lavender, and goodies – green tea candy, violet candy, ginsing gum, and ginger jam.

 $10 Jun

The July swap was about local interests.  Noelle in Chicago sent me a skein of Jaeger merino/alpaca, The Onion, Games magazine, a mystery (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency), coasters from her local burger joint, a chart magnet, a Chicago fold-up tote bag, a frog tea infuser and yummy tea from Republic of Tea, a pecan & honey bar, an iTune to download, and a ticket stub and schedule from a Cubs game!  (She couldn’t send me a hot dog from the stadium, so she sent me a packet of relish.)    (^_^)

 $10 Jul

In the August swap we built the package around a single colour.  Ger in Ireland sent me greens!  Some Lang Shetland wool yarn, and Patons Washed Haze, a scarf pattern, a book of Rowan patterns, an award-winning novel, and lots of green goodies.  A hand knitted project bag filled with oatmeal-based Aveeno care products and some aloe-vera lip balm, a frog pencil and eraser, a green notions bag filled with even more knitting goodies.  And then: some Green&Black’s Organic dark chocolate, a pumpkin 9Bar, a granola bar, and teas!! Pu-Erh, Apple&Ginger, Yogi Choco Aztec spice…  

 $10 Aug

I’m now working on the September package for Sue in Ontario, Canada.  We’ve each been given a letter of the alphabet, and we must make the package with things beginning with that letter.  My letter is “F”, so hopefully this will be a Fantastic, Funky, Fabulous swap!   I already made a long list of F ideas, and my Stitch-n-Bitch group got in on the Fun last week and came up with lots more.  (Sue has “H” for me, can’t wait to see what she does with that.)

My name is ……yeah, well, you know……

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