Mini-embroidery hoop swap: Sign ups open now

Swap sign-ups are now closed – thanks so much for your enthusiasm!


I am so excited to announce that the sign-ups for the third Very Berry mini-hoop swap are now OPEN! Please read the rules carefully before signing up, to make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into ūüėČ

The rules:

55mm miniature embroidery hoop frame DIY kit - 2.2

  • You can use another brand of hoop if you like, but not more than 2.5 inches (64mm) in diameter please. If you are outside the UK, then you can find a list of Dandelyne stockists just here.
  • There‚Äôs no theme for the swap ‚Äď but please take your partner‚Äôs likes and dislikes into consideration.
  • Participants can be from anywhere in the world, so you need to be prepared to post your completed¬†hoop to anywhere in the world, although I will try and take any preference into consideration.
  • You must have an active public Instagram account for this swap, and commit to at least ONE swap-related photo. Please use #veryberryhoopswap on pics relating to the swap. If you don‚Äôt fulfil this obligation you will be unable to join in future Very Berry swaps.
  • This will be a secret swap, rather than a partner to partner swap (i.e. you won‚Äôt be sending to the person who sends a hoop to you).
  • Any textile art is acceptable for the swap ‚Äď please don‚Äôt think you have to limit yourself to handstitching, cross-stitch or embroidery.
  • Please don‚Äôt include anything else in the swap parcel ‚Äď other than a card/note¬†with ‚Äď I don‚Äôt want anyone feeling put off the swap because of the cost of extras.
  • Please sign up by midnight on 3¬†February ‚Ästleave a comment on this post¬†and fill in¬†the swap form¬†‚Äď partners will be assigned over the weekend. If you haven‚Äôt heard from me by the end of 6th February, please get in touch.
  • Posting week is the 27-31 of March (or a little earlier if your partner is overseas).

Don‚Äôt forget, use the code HOOPY10 to get 10% off all supplies, between 3rd and¬†7th February, from Cloud Craft ‚Äď Nicole has everything you could need to make a beautiful little hoop!

Cloud Craft

Winter Artist Trading Card Swap: Sign-ups!

I’m happy to announce that sign-ups for the winter 2016 round of the Very Berry Artist Trading Card swap are now OPEN!

Winter Sparkle 2016 Textile ATC Swap with Very Berry Handmade.jpg

Old-timers might remember that we’ve had the ‘Winter Sparkle’¬†theme before.. I hope you don’t mind the repeat – it produced such great work last time round, and I absolutely loved it. Meanwhile, newbies will be thinking, what the heck is an ATC… happily I have the answer!

ATC guide

Making an ATC is a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way.  All you need to remember for this particular ATC swap is that it is a TEXTILE ATC swap:

  • the card needs to be mostly fabric
  • there must be a little bit of stitching involved.¬†
  • the card must not be too thick ‚Äď no more than 1/8‚Ä≥ (3-4mm) please
  • you must put your name and date on the back of the card (plus title and email address if you like)

If you‚Äôre still a bit unsure of what all that means ‚Äď why not check out the the¬†Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps?

Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines.

Now the good stuff..

  • You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
  • It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don‚Äôt let your partner know who you are!
  • Your card must be the right size and fit the theme,¬†and¬†MUST have your name and date on¬†the reverse.
  • You can sign up for the swap by commenting on this post¬†AND¬†completing this Google form by 7pm on Monday 17th October, and swap partners will be assigned by Wednesday 19 October.
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs won‚Äôt be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions‚Ķ just let me know on the form).
  • Cards must be posted during the week¬† 5-10 December 2016. (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it).
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a note if you like! Don’t forget to include your email address so your partner can thank you.
  • Obviously we are approaching Christmas, but not everyone¬†wants to receive a Christmas themed ATC. There will be questions about this on the signing up form, so do please remember to be respectful of your partner’s feelings on this.
  • Please avoid religious themes.
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks.
  • This swap is open to all, so there’s no social media requirement,¬†but it is MANDATORY to¬†reply to a couple of check-in emails which I will send during the swap. Please keep in touch with me by email and you must also let me know when you have posted and received your ATC, again by email (or a tag on Instagram will probably find me!).
  • Keep in mind that it’s really nice to ¬†share progress and pics and generally be part of the swapping community.¬†If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if at all possible. Please use #veryberryatcswap to tag your posts, where applicable.

I wanted to inspire you all, so I’ve already made an sparkly ATC:

Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed working on this! It’s Liberty appliqu√© using Bondaweb,¬†with¬†machine stitched embroidering using Madeira Metallics Heavy Metal thread in silver.¬†

Scattered throughout the Very Berry blog there are some brilliant posts about making an ATC… they are all tagged so should appear if you click on this link, but here are some super-practical posts that will reassure you if you haven’t made an ATC before:

Being brave and signing up for the swap

A way of making the back of a textile ATC

Printing the back of your ATC

Some more methods of constructing your ATC

Using transfer paper to label your ATC

Finding your ATC inspiration

Looking forward to swapping along with you all!

When creativity goes missing – the spirit of swapping

The ninth Very Berry Artist Trading Card Swap is coming to a close Рjust check out some of the beautiful cards that have been swapped (and there is more at #veryberryatcswap on Instagram and the Very Berry Handmade ATC Swap Group on Flickr):

Collage of textile Artist trading cards from the Very Berry Handmade ATC swap
Some beautiful ATCs from the 9th Very Berry Handmade Textile Artist Trading Card swap. Clockwise from top left the cards are by Julia, Sherry, Sian S, Larisa, Bekki, Paula and Colette.

Running craft swaps has its ups and downs (you know how bad I am at all the admin!), but the really hard thing when you are the Swap Mama, is having to break it to someone that the ATC that they spent so much time and care on has disappeared in the post РI absolutely dread the day when we have to face up to the fact that something has gone missing. It is a really difficult duty, and it always causes me a really big pang (especially as it has happened to me once too).

Someone emailed me this week to say how sad they were that all the hard work they had put into the card was wasted. I so empathised with that point of view,¬†but I really¬†believe that, even if a swap gift does go astray,¬†the work and creativity is not wasted. First up, of course, the maker always learns something from the creative process (and¬†especially with ATCs, which are so small and easy to try new things with), so in that sense, it’s got to be a positive¬†– the act of creating always enriches the life of the person doing the creating, at it’s very best, bringing a sense of fulfilment, and at its worst, helping you¬†to realise that you’re not going to try THAT technique again! Learning to¬†smile (kindly!)¬†at your¬†mishaps is a¬†hard lesson but a good one.

Secondly, the care and thoughtfulness that goes into a swap gift does not just disappear.¬†Remember the phrase ‘It’s the thought that counts?’ – well this is the ultimate illustration of that saying. The¬†generosity of spirit¬†that created¬†our Artist Trading Cards¬†is still out there in the world, doing its thing. I realise that, every time I have to make a call out to ask for Swap Angels – those lovely people who make an extra card to replace one that has gone missing or to help out someone who has been unable to complete the swap. Quite often the volunteers are keen to help because someone has helped then with a missing card in the past. Or they step in because they have the time to help, and want to be generous, in the spirit of the swap. It’s always lovely that I get so many people offering to help.

Thanks all who joined in this time, I love being part of this generous Very Berry swapping community. And if you are interested in doing more – next week sign-ups will open for another mini-mini-hoop swap, using these tiny display hoops, available from my fab sponsors, Cloud Craft.