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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Interview with Tracey Itching 2B Stitching

Quite possibly one of the most entertaining interviews so far, but I may just think that since she reminds me so much of ME! Tracey, the brains behind the We the People swaps, gives us a glimpse into her world.Visit her blog (or her other blog) and give her a little howdie-hey!

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Tracey: I am 31 and live in Arlington Texas. I have been married to my husband for 8 years now. No children. Just a dog and cat and no plans for children. I like to sew aprons, different crafts from different books and I am currently trying out quilting and clothing. I also crochet and cannot seem to master the art of knitting.

SD: How long have you been swapping?

T: I have just been swapping for one year now. I can't believe it has only been one year when I think back on all the great items I have received.

SD: How did you learn about swapping, and what made you decide to do your first one? Do you remember your first one?

T: I can't remember how I stumbled upon swapping. I looked back on my blog to try and figure it out, but I cannot recall. My first swap was the Sassy Apron Swap. I remember being so intimidated because I was just starting up sewing after only sewing in 7th and 8th grade. I bought several books and used an apron pattern from Simplicity or McCalls - I can't remember. I do remember it taking me about 3 days to make an apron that now takes me about an hour to make!! I didn't have my craft room set up yet either, so I had to drag ALL of my sewing stuff into my dining room because that was the only space I had to sew at the time. I also remember my neighbor peering at me through the window as I cut and assembled my apron. We share a driveway with my neighbor - so it isn't quite a creepy as it sounds. Actually - it is pretty creepy now that I think about it!!! I guess I was that absorbed in the project. I chose aprons because they seemed relatively easy and I have always loved aprons. It is also a memorable time as I was hired at my current company that I work at now, and I wanted the job so badly. I kept telling myself if I could make an apron, I could get a job - and I did both!!

SD: Do you swap with any groups?

T: I am totally loyal to the Flirty Apron Swap. I have done several other swaps through websites and personal blogs. Just recently, I decided to stick with personal blogs (most often found on Swap Dex!!) due to time constraints and due to the personal touch that you receive through individual sites. I have also made incredible friendships with women that I would have NEVER had met. I even found one or two that live here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and sew with them as a group.

SD: What's your favorite type of swap or favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

T: I love the apron swaps. I keep telling myself I have enough, but another one comes along and the next thing I know - I sign up! What I love best about hosting the We The People Swaps is the fact that the crafters get to choose the items we will make. I select some of the major catergories and the people vote. How American is that??? It is really fun to watch people keep voting for the project they want too. Our last round was a combination of two items due to there being a tie!

SD: Do you have a signature style for your swaps?

T: I always send a personal note. I feel like it is a chance to make a new friend. I try to decorate my packages, but I got away from decorating when I was participating in too many swaps. I decided on a personal level to cut back some so that the quality of the work and the package were worthy of amazing seamstresses.

SD: What's you favorite type of package to get in the mail?

T: I like any mail I get. My husband will often call me at work and say "There is
something waiting for you on the kitchen table". How cruel is that? Then I can't focus on my job!!!!

SD: Do you have a good story about hosting or participating in a swap?

T: I was once in a fabric scrap swap and this prompted me to host my first swap ever (before the We The People Swaps). I opened up the package and had
received clothes all cut up. I had sent fabrics from my sewing room that were
the size of a fat quarter or a little smaller. I felt so upset. When I contacted
the swap organizer she told me that was the risk with swaps. I thought about it
for awhile and thought "It doesn't have to be that way if you have a good swap
host". SO I started my own. If you can't get good results on someone else's
swaps - start your own!!

SD: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap?

T: Helping to keep track of who has received and who has mailed. It is also really hard when someone has participated in the swap and they receive something that is not up to the swaps standards. I don't like being a bouncer and roughing people up - but sometimes you have to. The wonderful thing about the crafting community is that I always have triple the volunteers needed to be an angel if someone doesn't receive a package.

SD: Any advice for someone who is thinking about hosting a swap?

T: You will have some swaps that will bring in 40 or more people, and then the next round you may only have 10. I learned that doesn't mean people don't like your blog or your crafts, but that everyone has a limited amount of time to sew, so we all choose wisely which swaps we want to participate in. I came to realize that if only one person joins, then you and someone else in the world like to sew the same items!!! How neat is that? Also, consider opening your swap to international crafters. I have an amazing friend in the UK (I am a ginger monkey!) due to swaps. You can meet some really nice people across the pond from you.

SD: Any plans for the near future? Swaps, projects, new products?

T: This year will be a tough year for crafting and time management. On top of working full time now - I am going to school full time for my Masters in Social Work, and I volunteer at a couple of places here in the Metroplex area. I am fortunate to have a husband who loves to read, so often he will sit in the spare room with me and read while I sew and create. He even used to model my projects until my mom bought me a Dress form. I had a name my dress form contest and selected the name Greta. I love her! I have decided to choose my swaps wisely this year, to cut back to a number I can commit to and to make some items for myself. I spent a lot of time last year making items for others (which is a great thing to be able to do), but my husband has been patiently waiting for some shirts and my dog for his own dog bed ( I swear he snarls every night when we go to bed and the cat hops into his bed!).
I hope to focus a little more on my family with sewing, but I plan to keep sewing for others as well. Nothing is better than getting on someone's blog to see their excitement at what you made!

1 comment:

kvinta said...

Such a nice interview, and what a coincidence!
I have just today received my scrap swap items from Tracey, she is a darling, putting extras in the box and adding a a personal card with it.

This was my first swap ever, and thanks to Tracey it has become a good and inspiring experince. I might even try to host one myself some day :)

Keep up the good work, Tracey
Best regard
kvinta from Denmark