Sew to Swap: Quilting Projects to Exchange Online & by Mail
By Chrissie Grace
Publisher: Krause Publications
Reviewed by Jessica Nichols, Editor of FaveQuilts.com
Sew to Swap is a fresh quilting book that seems to capture the spirit of the online quilting community while providing a wealth of tips, tutorials, and patterns for any experience level. Colorful drawings and photos make it easy to follow tutorials, and each of its 10 patterns includes suggestions for using the project in a swap. But Sew to Swap does more than just present quilt projects that are suitable for exchanges; it encourages readers to connect with local and virtual quilting communities in order to share their creativity and develop their quilting skills.
A collaborative work, Sew to Swap combines patterns and input from a variety of quilters who are active in the quilting blogosphere. The author, Chrissie Grace, is herself a blogger who writes about quilting and other artistic pursuits. Not surprisingly then, Sew to Swap brings the flavor of this virtual quilting community into a print book. The book opens with an introduction to the modern quilting movement, setting the tone for the rest of the book and the projects that are featured. In this book, you will find brights against neutral backgrounds, selvage projects, wonky piecing, embroidered embellishments, and creative uses of English paper piecing, all of which have become popular among modern, tech-savvy quilters. The author also frequently encourages readers to virtually connect with other quilters by joining online swaps and sharing progress through photos and blog posts. Far from being pushy about using technology in a traditional craft, Sew to Swap invites readers to become a part of the dynamic and creative online quilting community. Grace frequently mentions that swaps are a great way to get to know other quilters through their work. By making something tactile for someone you connect with on the Internet, you forge a tangible connection in a virtual relationship.
Although Sew to Swap nudges quilters toward their computers, it still provides plenty of resources for connecting to local communities. Grace lists information for finding local chapters of the Modern Quilt Guild and suggests that readers check with quilt stores or guilds in their areas to see if swaps are already being organized in their own communities. Each of the ten swap projects can just as easily be organized by a quilt guild or fabric shop as a group of bloggers. One of the most attractive aspects of Sew to Swap is that the projects will appeal to quilters of all experience levels, from beginners to intermediate quilters looking to expand their skills. Next to a simplistic invisible nine patch swap, you will find ideas for a challenging curved piecing bee. This variety of patterns supports Grace's assertion that quilters should participate in swaps in order to develop new techniques and broaden their quilting experience. This goal has never been more within reach than with the guidelines, projects, and encouragement provided by Sew to Swap!