Most hostesses prefer that you use sticky labels on each block. Some however prefer that you baste a paper label onto your block. The label should always go directly on your block and not on a baggie unless your hostess has specifically stated otherwise. Each block should have its own label. This is especially important in centralized swaps. The host/hostess relies on the labeling to ensure that he/she does not send the same fabric to you that you sent to him/her in the first place.
The labels should include your name, city & state as well as your email address. These are easily printed with your home printer.
NEVER use staples or pins...either straight or safety - to secure a label. Your hostess or the postal workers could get injured by one of these.
Every hostess has her own preference for receiving blocks or fabrics. Check your guidelines to see what she has stated for this and follow the instructions. Be sure to read, understand, and follow the guidelines for packaging your swap materials.
When mailing your swap materials, be sure that they are securely packaged. Use either a Tyvek envelope, or enclose in baggies, plastic wrap, or another device. Be sure to put your name and return address on the packaging inside your mailer. This is helpful in the event that the Post Office damages the outer packaging. (And that DOES happen!)
When mailing your swap materials, be sure that they are securely packaged. Use either a Tyvek envelope, or enclose in baggies, plastic wrap, or another device. Be sure to put your name and return address on the packaging inside your mailer. This is helpful in the event that the Post Office damages the outer packaging. (yes, this DOES happen!) They are strong and durable and pretty much water proof. Be sure to check with the post office for the current postage fees.
When you address both mailers, make a note of the number of blocks and name of block on the outside...such as...."15 Montana Scrappy".
Make sure to include appropriate $$ for return postage. Currently (2/2022- flat rate evelope online is now $7.95. Stick $8 or $10 cash to cover to return postage. Most hostesses prefer that you include cash for return postage rather than preprinting postage or using Metered Postage. (Post Office does not like that either). This way, the hostess can use her preferred method of purchasing postage (such as Stamps.com)
NEVER put the word "quilt" on the outside of a mailer. It's my experience that a good number of swap packages that never arrive at their destination have been labeled as containing "quilt blocks".
A service of the post office is Priority tracking. For an extra fee, a special bar-coded label is affixed to the package and you are given a receipt. You can track the package from your home computer with the number on your receipt. It may be worth the extra to give you piece of mind about your package.
It's certainly not a 100% guarantee of safety but it may help deter someone from picking up your package. The Delivery Confirmation fee is included if you ship a package via Priority mail.
If your package weighs less than 15 oz, you can go the First Class Postage rate.
While not a requirement, a hostess gift is a very nice gesture. This is especially true of centralized swaps. Being the Hostess entails a lot of work organizing, planning and carrying out the swap. Extra fabric, other quilty gifts, or even a nice "Thank You" note are all appreciated. The fabric can be in the same likeness as the swap, or something totally different. As a hostess, I have received everything from thank you notes, fabric to chocolate (just don't send chocolate in the summer - LOL).
Make sure that your return mailer is clearly addressed to yourself. Make sure that you put at least the same amount of return postage on the return mailer as you did the one you mailed your blocks to the hostess in. If you have used the Priority mailer, this should not be a problem. The only time I have had problems is when someone used a regular return mailer and put less postage on it.
Update Feb 2022 - Our suggestion is to always use PRIORITY MAIL FLAT RATE ENVELOPES. It is a fixed price, includes a tracking number, and you can get A LOT of fabric or Block in those envelopes. Note - if you purchase postage ONLINE, it is cheaper than buying it at the Post Office. Since the Flat Rate envelope is a specified rate, it is a little bit less online than at the PO Window.
As of Feb 2022, it is $7.75 versus $8.95 if you go to the Post Office window.
Copyright Betty Baker - Shadywood Quilts - 2001, updated 2010, updated Feb 2022
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