There are many opportunies for a Crochetville Villager to make new friends or learn more about "old" friends. I'm going to focus on one: swapping.
Essentially, the swaps at Crochetville are designed for villagers to get to know one another better and to have fun doing it. As a bonus, crocheters of all levels get to share their work with others. (And we all know that crocheters LOVE to share their work!) Some villagers form lasting friendships that start during a swap. Others just enjoy crocheting for others and receiving a hand-made gift in return. Whatever the reason, swaps are a great way to have fun and expanding on a love of yarn and crochet.
What exactly is a swap? A swap is when a group of people get together to crochet one or more items for one or more persons in the group. This group may be broken down into smaller groups, or the group may remain as one with swapping partners assigned by a coordinator. The "swapping" concept comes into play especially with the smaller groups, where each person in the group crochets something for everyone else in the group and receives crocheted items in return, thus swapping crocheted goods.
How does one join a swap? This really differs between coordinators. Some coordinators prefer to set up a form where personal information such as name, address, shipping preferences and allergies are disclosed. Other coordinators prefer a personal e-mail with similar information. A potential swapper must also have met a minimum of 40 posts at Crochetville. Some swaps may have other requirements that must be met, and will state these in the rules for that particular swap.
The forms or emails will also generally ask about color and size preferences to better aid the swapping partner or partners. New to the questionnaires are questions regarding specific allergies, including dogs, cats, and cleaning agents; as well as questions regarding smoking habits and preferences about receiving items.
Who coordinates the swaps? Again, this varies. There are some "regular" coordinators–villagers who coordinate a variety of swaps at any given time–"junior" coordinators–villagers who are experienced swappers and work with an experienced coordinator to learn the ropes–and then there are members (also experienced swappers) who request to coordinate a specific swap. Those interested in coordinating swaps should contact Julie at yarngirl[at]withahook[dot]com and express your interest and any ideas for new swaps.
What happens if swap requirements are not met? When someone signs up for a swap, they are committing themselves to completing the requirements set forth in the rules for that swap. If this commitment is not made, the swap coordinator will attempt to contact the peson who is not fulfilling his or her commitment and try to remedy the situation. If the person in question ultimately does not meet the requirements, his or her name will be entered into a public listing of those who have not completed their swap obligations. This public listing is referred to as the Hall of Shame, or HOS. Once a name is listed in the HOS, that villager is banned from participating in further swaps for the duration of the HOS listing PLUS a period of four (4) months after removal from the HOS. Any member listed in the HOS who also has a RAOK Wish List will have their Wish List placed in an inaccessible state until HOS status is lifted.
How does one leave the HOS? There is only one way to leave the HOS. Fulfill the swap obligations originally committed to. This means that if a villager has been placed in the HOS for multiple swaps (it happens, folks!) the obligations for ALL those swaps must be fulfilled before the villager is released from the HOS. Once released, the villager in question is prohibited from swaps participation for a period of four (4) months.
How does one know what swaps are available? There are two methods to find out about the swaps offered at Crochetville. The first is to check the Swap Schedule for the current year in the Swaps Forum at Crochetville. Unfortunately, this method excludes some because it requires membership at Crochetville and a 40 post minimum. The second method is to check the Village Swappers page here at 'Round the 'Ville.
The Village Swappers page includes all the information from the Swap Schedule in the forum as well as some information about the RAOK Forum. The Village Swappers page is also accessible to anyone who can read the newsletter. This is beneficial to those Crochetville members who have not yet reached the 40 post minimum but would like to see the swaps offered when that requirement is met.