At least if you're counting the last swap of this year that I have joined and just finished sewing and packing up.
It's the 4th and current round of the Four Seasons Pillow Swap, which is going underway on Flickr, and also the 4th time that I'm taking part in this swap.
We are sewing pillow cases for every season of the year, if you didn't already catch that from the name of the swap that is ;)
So far I have received 3 amazing pillows (which you can see below) and can't wait for the last one to complete my seasonal collection, although the ones that I have so far, I have used throughout the year.
While the swap group is basically devided between people who like the winter colours such as blues, greys, and low volumes and people who like the more traditional approach of reds and greens, my partner in this round was really specific that she wanted the traditional Christmas colours of red and green and she also seemed to have a soft spot for several patterns, including birds.
That was the point when I decided that I either had to find a cute paper-pieced pattern or an applique pattern and what better way to do that then to ask Google. Luckily I found a cute chickadee applique pattern in the Quilted Treasures online shop.
Since black-capped chickadees are often used in winter-themes, I decided to go for it and thankfully my partner has since approved of my choice.
Picking the fabrics was rather easy. The fiddly bit were all the numerous parts that I needed for the bird. I'm not sure how many parts the actual pattern has, but since I live overseas, am not a US resident and the pattern only comes in in physical form, I picked the 'easier' way of just printing out the picture in the size that I needed and redrawing the actual bird parts onto paper using carbon paper.
So yeah, I had many small parts that were ironed on with double-sided fusible web and appliqued with transparent nylon thread. You can also call it invisible thread and I love using it for applique like this, because you don't have to change the colour of your thread a million times, which sometimes can be really unnerving, especially when you have applique with many different parts in different colours/fabrics.
It all came together rather quickly once I had started to work on it, but then I was super unsure what to do around the actual block as I didn't want to take too much focus off the chickadee. A couple of my Quilty friends had to deal with my indecisiveness via private messages over on Instagram and Facebook as I just couldn't decide what to do (thanks to Betti, Mara and Tammy for letting me yap away lol!). They tried to give advice, but I went down a different road in the end. I knew there had to be a border, but couldn't decide which colour, until I realised I could use both red and green.
The fabrics I used for the borders have the same colours of greens and reds that are in the fabric that I picked to become the back of my pillow, also a must have since there are birds printed on it.
After that everything fell together and I'm happy with the outcome, now hoping that my partner will be, too.
As a little extra and eye-catcher I made a beaded charm for the zipper pull, then packed a few extras together and started to wrap everything up, as you can see in the first picture at the start of this post.
I always love receiving packages that are wrapped in lovely paper, it's so much more personal, because you know someone put a lot of thought into creating your package and putting it together.
Giving away what I made is always the hardest part, though. But it's good, because I feel like you know that you made something good or special, when you struggle to give it away, because you want to keep it for yourself. And it's even more exciting when the recipient is overjoyed in receiving it. ;)
Right now this is the last swap that I have joined this year. I tried to keep it down and haven't joined as many as I have in previous years, but that's down to all the awful things that have happened in the swap world, with so many 'bad apples' only signing up for their own benefit and cheating many nice swappers in the process.
So you get vary at some point and it stops being fun when you see that friends, who are in the same swaps, end up needing angel packages because some idiot didn't pull through. It's just sad and not very rewarding or pleasant anymore.
My friend Karri has repeatedly taken it upon herself to clear things up on her blog. She finds a funny way - although it's actually less funny and more a sarcastic approach - to report about all the dramas in swap-land and has a couple really great posts about swap-etiquette.
Do give her blog a stop by and her posts a read if you're interested, especially if you're a swap-mama or swapper yourself. The good swappers among us need to stick together after all! :)
Until next time, folks!