Three more fabric postcards this week. They’re not very inspired, and not as fabric-y or sew-y as I’d planned—but they’re done, and were finished in time for the swap deadline on Friday.

Swap deadline. I’m very deadline driven. I think I’ve written about this before, and I’ve certainly talked about it often in chat sessions and emails. If I have a deadline date, my work will be finished by that date. Maybe not as brilliantly as I’d planned, but there will be finished items, ready to go. Done is beautiful. Late is not.

Not everyone feels this way. When I first started swapping, it drove me completely over the edge when people were late with their swaps—and even worse, when swap hosts waited endlessly while those who were late got their items finished and into the mail. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if this happens, I simply stop working with the folks who are late, or the host who is too lax for my taste. Some people are sort of free form about their swapping, and don’t care. Those people should work together, and be happy. I should find people who are like me—driven by deadlines, and ridiculously on time. We will be happy together. The two groups should try not to mix, because they will drive each other crazy. There will be hurt feelings on both sides, and that’s hardly the point of swapping art.

So. I organized a fabric postcard swap last month, after producing an issue of The Monthly Muse about fabric postcards. I’ve been thinking I’d like to do more of this—write an issue on how to make something small and mailable, and then organize a swap of that same sort of thing. Sometimes, I wonder if anyone is actually making the things I write about, or if they’re just reading the lessons, smiling contently, and moving on to the next thing…

Anyway, I set up the swap, and a bunch of people signed up. The deadline came on Friday—and not very much had arrived in the mail. More than half the people who signed up for the swap failed to get their packages to me in time. I generally have a good success rate with swaps, with maybe 10% of the folks who sign up dropping out or not completing. Half was a little disconcerting.

On the plus side, the stuff that did arrive was pretty interesting. Some of it was downright drool worthy. Some of it made me say, “Oh, cool” when I opened the packages. I love that part of hosting swaps.

What went wrong? Well, maybe me setting up the swap so anyone who downloaded the rules sheet was automatically signed up was not ideal. I got the feeling from a couple of emails I received that folks were expecting that document to include freebies, or a free lesson, even though I thought it was pretty clear that all it was was a copy of the posted rules, plus a form I wanted everyone to include with their swap items. Sometimes, people just don’t read.

Maybe posting a swap reminder in my weekly newsletter wasn’t sufficient. I don’t like cluttering up mailboxes with emails, and I really don’t like having to play mother and remind people that they’d better pull their thumbs out, and get those goodies into the mail—but maybe one email reminder directly to those who had signed up would have been smart. Time got away from me.

Or maybe the weather got nice, and after months of being trapped inside, or having to bundle up to go out, Spring Fever finally hit. I definitely have a case of it today. I’m going out to shoot some photos of my garden shortly.

Better luck next time, I guess…