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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Interview with Laurie of Quilt-Swaps

Everyone who hasn't already, meet Laurie! We've got a real treasure in Laurie, she's one serious swapper! Quilt swapping, mainly, but other kinds too. She sent in pictures of two of her awesome quilts!Laurie says "This quilt was made using one of the blocks I collected for use in making charity quilts when I ran the Sunshine Quilt Guild's block lotto. The Sunbonnet Sue block was donated. The other pieces around it are bits that I added."
"This quilt is my "thrifty" blocks. The pattern is available at quilterscache.com It's a favorite pattern for using up scraps and charm squares. That block pattern is why I am still collecting charms. I keep making and making those blocks. I have enough for a king size quilt (which will be for me) as well as several smaller ones which will go to Sunshine Quilt Guild for distribution through Wrap a Smile or Wrap Them In Love, both organizations that distribute quilts to children who need them."

She has started up quilt-swaps.com/blog/, a new site for quilt swapping. And check our her other blog, Black Velvet Seductions readers blog, for lots of giveaways and non-quilt swaps.

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Laurie: I'm 46, almost 47. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. In May and August when the races run my home becomes the home away from home for family members who are big race fans and who come for the race. I'm married for 10 years to my soulmate Orville who I met online....though we've been together fifteen years now. We don't have any children but had my teenage niece with us for a couple of years while she finished up high school. She is now back in Iowa where she is attending college. We are cat folk. We have three indoor cats Twinkle and Missy who look so much alike that it is sometimes hard to tell them apart. Both are tortoise shell colored rotund kitties. Addy is the odd kitty out. She is solid black and much more lean than her to cohorts. I also have a whole kitten kabootle of outdoor cats which were essentially strays that were created when their owners moved away and left them. I feed them and am in the process of getting all of them spayed and neutered so that we can stop the exponential growth of the colony. I own a publishing company (Black Velvet Seductions http://www.blackvelvetseductions.com) and publish romance novels of all types including paranormal and erotic romance, both of which are very popular right now. I write erotic romance under my pen name Alyssa Aaron. I am a quilter. I think I have always been a quilter at heart. My mother recently told a story about how when I was a child I had torn up a bunch of Kleenex and arranged them on the maroon carpet in my bedroom. She'd not been pleased at the time because it had made quite a mess. I smiled and said that I'd been quilting even then. My husband laughed and said I was still chopping things into small pieces and arranging them...which is pretty much true. I enjoy working with fabric. Most of my quilts are donated to groups which distribute them to children in third world countries for whom a quilt is often the difference between being warm and being cold.

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

L: I've been swapping forever. I think I first learned of swaps on Yahoo Groups back about fifteen years ago. One of the early swaps I did was a flower pot swap...in which everyone made blocks which looked like flower pots filled with flowers.

SD: What is your range of swapping? Do you stick to swaps hosted by people you know or are you likely to swap with anyone, anytime?

L: After discovering swaps on Yahoo Groups I started hosting my own swaps. I was the owner of the Lauriesquiltswaps group for many years. That group was closed some years ago because I was overwhelmed with the tasks associated with launching a publishing company and at that time couldn't take time out for swapping. Currently I host some of my own swaps at www.quilt-swaps.com/blog/ I also participate in some other swaps...mostly swaps of fabric charms of various sizes. I'm always willing to swap charms. I prefer 6 and 10 inch charms for swapping. I will swap with anyone anytime.

SD: Do you swap with any organized groups like yahoo groups, flickr, groups on swap-bot, other message boards, etc? Why or why not?

L: Yes, I swap with a number of organized groups on Yahoo and my own swap site/blog. I'm very into swapping.

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

L: One of my favorite swaps was an embroidery swap that I hosted on the old lauriesquiltswaps group. For that swap we swapped embroidered 8" squares with flowers and butterflies. The blocks were beautiful. We did several rounds of that swap. I used the blocks I collected to make a very lovely flower/butterfly quilt for my mother in law who was in her late 80's at that time.

SD: What do you do to make your packages special?

L: I think swap packages are special just by their nature. I try to find fabrics that I really love for the fabric swaps that I participate in. I figure that if I love the fabrics the people who are getting them will love them too. For swaps I host I try to come up with themes that encompass a quilt recipe so that each person who participates will have enough blocks that go together to make a quilt.

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

L: I've always been amazed by the generosity of swap participants. Many swap participants sent me lovely gifts in their squishies. One person sent me a crocheted winter scarf which I still wear each winter. Another sent me an embroidered tote bag which I still use to carry quilt and embroidery projects when I travel.

SD: Hostesses: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap? Any advice for someone who is thinking about hosting a swap?

L: The most challenging thing is when a swappers work or fabric isn't up to par and you have to send it back. I've only had to do this a couple of times but it was challenging both times.

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

L: Well, I just launched the www.quilt-swaps.com/blog/ site which is devoted to all things quilting/embroidery and quilt and embroidery swaps. Currently the only swap going on is a 6" charm square swap which will swap each month. I am however planning some row swaps for 2011. The plan with those is to come up with guidelines for each month so that each month each participant would make one or more rows of quilt blocks following a given theme. For example we might want rows that are 72" across. The theme one month might be flying geese. So the row would have to incorporate blocks with flying geese or a strip of flying geese. Another month the theme might be picture blocks...so at least some of the blocks in the row would need to be picture type blocks...blocks that look like flowers or houses or trees or boats. I am still working on guidelines for the row swaps.

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