Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Exploring Collaboration - tips and tricks for forming a bee or swap group

 Here we are, round 2 of Exploring Collaboration! Last time, Karen and I discussed different kinds of collaborations that we enjoy. Today, let's chat about how to form a collaborative team to make those projects happen!


Some tips and tricks for forming a bee group:

1) Establish your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish through your bee? Do you want to make traditional blocks and hone your piecing skills? Do you want to experiment with improv? Make charity quilts? Write it all down so you can share these goals with potential bee members.

2) Set rules. I know, I know, quilting is supposed to be fun and rules are for the birds. Trust me, once your bee gets rolling you'll be glad to have some rules in place. When will prompts come out? How will they be communicated (email? Instagram DM? Facebook? In person?), when are blocks due? What happens if you can't complete your blocks on time? Having rules in place will help you avoid drama later on.

3) Decide who to invite. Will your bee be made up of friends from your local guild? Instagram friends? Random strangers? Honestly, I recommend inviting people you know at least a little bit. Think about people who fit in with your goals, and who will be reliable.

4) Consider diversity when you ask people to join you. Quilters of different ages, ethnicity, sexuality, etc can all learn from each other and frankly, make more interesting quilts! 

5) Make sure potential members are aware of the group goals and rules before they commit. Give them the opportunity to gracefully say no if joining your bee is not for them.

Urban Emergence, my 2020 bee quilt made by the Solid Seven Bee.
first place group quilt at Quiltcon Together in 2021,
will hang at quilt con in Phoenix in February, 2022

Block Swaps

  Tips and tricks for forming a block swap group:

1) Decide who to invite. Again, will it be a local only swap, where blocks can be swapped at a guild meeting or delivered in person? Or an internet swap where blocks will be mailed? Are members willing to mail blocks internationally or should the swap be restricted to members in one country?

2) Make sure swappers know the rules of the swap. What is the block to be made? Does everyone have access to the free pattern if blocks will all be the same? What fabric should be used? What size should the blocks be?

3) Set a total for blocks to be made. This can be flexible! Many swaps that I have participated in have a maximum number of blocks. Often, however many blocks you send is how many you receive in return. Send 10 blocks/receive 10 back.

4) Set a deadline for the swap leader to receive all of the blocks. If a swapper doesn't send their blocks in time, they are not included in the swap. 

5) Cover your postage! As a swap leader, you should not be responsible for shipping everyone's blocks back to them. Some ways to do this: charge a flat fee to enter the swap paid through PayPal or another online method, have each swapper include a postage paid, self addressed envelope with their blocks, or arrange for in person delivery and pick up.

Bees and swaps are meant to be fun! By carefully planning, setting goals and establishing rules, these groups can be drama free and create lasting friendships among quilters.

my Dresden block swap quilt
made in 2017 with blocks from members of
McKinney Modern Quilt Guild

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Good tips on forming bees and swaps! I've been in both and highly recommend them!