Knitters love a swap.
Most of the time, people are randomly assigned another swapper. They sometimes post a wishlist, a series of general preference guidelines (colors, fibers, disliked), or sometimes, you just stalk the person online and try to determine things they want. I've done a swap before. Just one. It was a little one, with things that could only fit in envelopes. I sent stickers and confetti, a poorly-printed pattern (before I knew how to gift patterns- ugh, that was embarrassing). If you're out there, person who got my swap stuff, I'm sorry I sucked at it. So sorry.
Swaps seem to be a drama sieve- people will collect from their secret swap Santa, but then send nothing out to their swappee. This is obviously rude and awful, and you shouldn't do it. There's also quite a bit of drama about quality. Like any gift giving occasion, there may be a cash limit, but some people break the rules and make others uncomfortable. It stinks to get a cheapo swap from someone, where they've obviously given you some of their castoffs or spent way below the cash expectation, but to me it's even worse when I get a gift of something that was so far above and beyond the initial swap that I'm now feeling like I did a bad job at my own gifting.
During that swap- the one with the things that could only fit in an envelope- a few people sent each other GIFT BASKETS FULL OF YARN. Sweaters' worths of yarn. I'd like to know exactly what envelope was capable of holding all of that stuff, because I'd like to invest in some for my own shipping needs. Magic Mary Poppins-purse envelopes.
I got out of the swap with a nice collection of little things, but feeling sheepish about my poor first-swap-performance. I'd have done better to post-stalk the swap group, or found similar swaps in the past to pattern mine after. Or, I could've waited until some of the initial swaps started coming in, so I could see what kind of things people sent. Either way, it turned me off of swaps, and I haven't done one since.
But how about you? I love a good swap horror story. Tell me them, please. Let's all relive our nightmares together!