Every time I mention something about Swaps on Ravelry- I get several interested comments. For those who have never participated in a swap before- let me give you some general information.

Not all the swaps have these rules, and some have more than this; but it will give you an idea of what to expect:

1) There is usually some sort of questionaire to fill out. This will give the person who gets your name an idea of your personality and what to make/buy for you.

2) You pay for postage yourself. For those living in the U.S.- this is usually a small or medium-sized flat-rate priority box.

3) You usually sign up, and then once the sign-up period is complete- you are assigned a swap partner. This partner may not be sending to you, so if you need to post a question in the group forum, don’t address it to them specifically. Make it a general question to everyone.

4) There are usually check-ins along the way. This is to make sure you haven’t forgotten about the swap, and are working towards getting the package together. You may get kicked out of the swap if you do not check-in.

5) You are usually required to knit/crochet/spin/etc something for your recipient. Depending on the swap you’ve joined- it could be as small as an ornament or finger puppet, or as large as a shawl or blanket. You should check your recipient’s preferences before starting on it. They could have fiber allergies, or hate particular colors. Plan accordingly.

6) There is usually a price range for the yarn and goodies of a swap. This does not include postage, OR the yarn you’re using on the knitted item. Most swaps range betwen $20-$30 USD.

7) You are expected to include a skein or two of yarn. This should also be according to your partner’s preferences. So if they hate pink- don’t include a skein of bright pink yarn. That’s just rude.

8) Goodies to include can be chocolate bars, crossword puzzles, tea, coffee, candles, homemade soap, homemade stitch markers, etc etc etc. If you are frugal in this area- you can really splurge on the yarn.

9) There is always a shipping deadline.  Stick to it!

I have participated in fingerless glove swaps, sock swaps, and knitted monster swaps. This is a picture of everything I received in my most recent knitted monster swap:

That is one knitted monster (with a Star Trek Command Uniform on), a nice card, some banana chips, some cashews, some dried mango pieces, some dried papaya/pineapple pieces, some Sour Patch kids, a TARDIS bookmark, and a crossword puzzle book.

This swap did not come with yarn, and that’s okay, because it was not one of the requirements. And since I love dried fruits and crosswords, and Star Trek- this is an absolutely awesome package, in my opinion.

Word of advice: You will have swaps where you didn’t like the package you receive. If you think it broke some of the rules- tell a moderator. If it fits all the rules, but you just didn’t like it- I can’t help you. Most people try to give you something you’ll like. But even then- sometimes it just misses the mark. Don’t let that discourage you, though. I have tons of fun swapping, and I love it when people love my packages.

Also- Life happens, and sometimes you can’t get your swap out in time. Make sure you talk to the moderators! If you just drop off the face of the earth, and no one can reach you- you’ll go on the naughty list. Each group has different rules on how to get off the naughty list. And some groups will not take you, if you are on ANYONE’S naughty list. Moderators talk to each other. It’s easy to find out who’s been naughty, and who’s been creating multiple accounts just to get free stuff.

Here are a list of groups with swaps I have participated in (or intend to participate in):

1) DangerCrafts
2) Ravelry Worldwide Shawl Exchange
3) Fingerless Glove Fanatics
4) Geek Swap
5) Nerdy Swaps
6) Books And More
7) Geek & Nerd Swap

And there are many others who aren’t specifically a swap group, but who host 2-3 swaps a year.  Just find a group you like, and see if they swap.  And if they don’t- you may be able to start one!