Secret Swap - Part One!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I follow numerous quilters and sewers (or it is seamstresses?) on Instagram and one thing I've been seeing is that between them they do a lot of swapping of gifts.  I am always so envious (yes, envious) of this and have thought how fun it would be to be a part of something like that - exchanging talent.  Since I am on a little private Facebook group of talented lady quilters I decided to put the idea to everyone about doing a secret swap.  There were 9 of us that wanted to participate, so I spent a little time putting together how I thought maybe it should work.

It went something like this.  I emailed each person a little questionnaire to fill out about themselves and their interests in order to help their secret swap partner get to know them a little bit.  Then I put all the names in a bowl and drew for each person.

I then notified everyone of their secret partner with the reminder to keep it a secret!  My instructions were to make a small hand-sewn item, even just using scraps in their stash.  Small being the key word here.  The deadline for completing our gifts was six weeks and I kept in close contact with each person to make sure we were all on track.  Last week we all mailed out our gifts.  This week, everyone received their secret swap gift in the mail and then began the excitement of sharing with each on our group.

So now, I want to share with you what I made for my secret partner.  First of all, this was extremely hard to choose what to make.  I know from the Facebook group that my secret partner makes QUILTS.  Like beautiful quilts.  So I was immediately worried about what I should do.  I very quickly started getting away from the main word in the instructions:  SMALL!  And started thinking about big things.  Luckily I was able to get myself back to the original goal of small!  

After weeks (yes weeks) of thought I finally decided on a Mug Rug.  So I looked at my partner's questionnaire to see what colors and fabrics she loves and has in her house.  I actually sent her an email saying that her secret partner would like to know her living room colors!  Ha Ha!  She quickly responded with the above Pinterest Board of her colors.

I dug through my fabric and finally settled on some that I had purchased recently and forgotten about!  I know the fabric is Moda, but I can't even tell you the name of the collection.  But it had some nice greens and reds in it, so I decided it would work.

Instead of trying to find a pattern for a Mug Rug, I decided to just come up with it as I went along.  I chose to just piece together different size pieces of fabric to form some random rows of different widths, but yet with a little bit of a consistent pattern to it.

My swap partner had stated in her questionnaire that she likes to drink Cocoa so I decided to embroider a little tag, Cocoa Time, to customize the Mug Rug a bit!  For that I just used a scrap piece of linen fabric that I had.

Putting a tag on projects like this hardly takes any time at all and it is amazing what a fun touch it adds.  It's all in the details they say!  Smile!

I quilted it on my machine in very simple straight lines on both sides of the seams in each strip.  It was very quick and easy to do.  

And then of course a pocket!  Every Mug Rug must have a little pocket!  I have some old vintage buttons, so I added  little tag and button to the pocket just to give it some dimension.

And because Milk Chocolate is my swap partners favorite candy, I had to tuck a bar in the pocket!

Of course you can't possibly send a Mug Rug without a mug can you??  A trip to Anthropologie was a must.  I loved the mug I found - it went with the fabric but yet added a little brightness.

And there you have it.  My gift for my swap partner!

Because I thought I should round it out a bit for her living room furniture (ha ha!) I quickly made a set of four coasters out of the same fabric.

And then?  I had everything packaged up and ready to mail, just waiting for the assigned day to mail it and in the night (all my crazy ideas come to me at night) I thought I really should send her a Needle Book.  Because every quilter needs a Needle Book.  (I promise to do a Needle Book tutorial soon!) I completely changed the color combination the Needle Book because this was just a little added bonus and I love these bright happy colors.  (Of course you already knew that about me!)

There will be a Part Two to this post in a couple days because I know  you are just dying to know what my secret swap partner sent me.  Get ready.... it is AMAZING!!!


  1. Dori, your mug rug turned out so cute! I love the idea of a little pocket too. Perfect for holding a kleenex or pencil if you are working on a crossword puzzle etc. The colors that you used and the addition of the cocoa time embroidery added very fun details. I have no doubt that your swap buddy will be thrilled to open her package too! Do post us a photo of what you receive. I bet it will be equally fantastic!

  2. Wow, I really love that fabric Dori! And your gift looks amazingly cute!! How very fun!

  3. Amazing as always! If you ever decide to teach some classed, please sign me up first! Love the colors and ALWAYS love you ideas for gifts!

  4. Bright and cheerful, love all your sewing projects. The secret admirer will be pleased with your gifts. Adding the little touches shows how much you care. Did she make you a quilt runner?
    Kathleen in Az

  5. Looks like a lot of fun. I love the sewing projects you have done. They are such beautiful pieces!

  6. I am sure your partner was over the moon when she got your sweet package. Everything looks so pretty and bright! I have done swaps and been given so many gifts from blog friends over the years, everywhere I look I see things that remind me of special friends I have never even met, but who are dear to me none the less. I am sure every time she uses these things she will think of you fondly :)

  7. Everything looks so darling. I know your recipient loved her happy mail. Mug rugs make wonderful small gifts.

  8. Such a talent Lady you are Dori ~ and very caring

  9. Dori, I love your happy fabric! Your ideas are wonderful. I know your swap group are having fun receiving their gifts. I love the idea of a small secret swap group who communicates secretly with each other.

    Take care.

  10. Oh my goodness what awesome swap gifts you sent. These are so darling, your swap partner is going to love them.

  11. Great swap! My quilting friends and I did a swap a long time ago with just a square block to make our own "friendship" quilt.
    I just realized you're on Instagram so I went through all your pictures, a lovely life, thanks for sharing.

  12. Great swap! My quilting friends and I did a swap a long time ago with just a square block to make our own "friendship" quilt.
    I just realized you're on Instagram so I went through all your pictures, a lovely life, thanks for sharing.