A fabric exchange is a fun way to collect different fabrics without spending a lot of extra money. Exchanges are especially useful if your pattern calls for a lot of small pieces as seen in this pattern Color Me by Emilly Herrick . Each of the ten crayons has 20 rectangles – that’s 200 different fabrics you need to purchase! Getting together with a group to share fabrics makes this task more manageable.
There are a number of ways to set up a fabric exchange. They can be conducted among friends or complete strangers. Fabric amounts, colors and styles are usually determined by the participants. Most fabric exchanges are two way swaps (give one, take one) but some folks have set up pyramid type schemes. This is great if you are one of the original organizers but not so good if you come in at the end. (Moral of the story: Beware of pyramid fabric schemes.). Check out the video to see how to get started with a fabric exchange.
Our group, the Threadheads often use fabric exchanges when working on patterns like this string quilt. In order to increase our supply of neutrals, each of us shared two neutrals with each of the members – 10 folks shared for a total of 20 different neutrals.
Threadheads have also used exchanges as part of quilt challenges. For example, everyone brought in a yard of their favorite blue fabric. Each yard was divided equally among the attendees. The challenge was to make a quilt with all the blues adding any other fabric if desired. (My logo came from that challenge!)
Recently I posted directions for the Spool Quilt. Links to this and the directions are below. It’s another great quilt for setting up a fabric exchange. You can also google fabric swaps or trades to get more ideas for building your stash.