I recently read a very thoughtful post that wondered if swaps were bad for the environment. After all, there’s a lot of packaging and transportation resources going into these things. If swaps are just about getting stuff from other people, then maybe we ought to help out the planet and stop doing them.

For me, though, swaps are about meeting other people–with whom I have something in common–I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I believe that people who do swaps just to get yarn, tea, whatever from someone else should just buy that stuff for themselves if they want it. I haven’t participated in many swaps, but I’ve been fortunate to become friends with several of my partners. We keep up with each others’ blog, send letters, and just generally keep in touch. I like it. And it’s those experiences that make the swap experience so worthwhile for me.

The swaps I’ve done have been ones I found on knitting blogs. If you, too, have an itch to meet some fellow knitters, crafters, vegetarians, dog-owners, stamp collectors, music lovers, whatever, here are a few places you can look.

Swap-bot has been around for over two years, and I think I first heard of it some time last year. A quick perusal of the offerings can be paralyzing: there are so many possibilities. Christmas-themed swaps are on the “most popular” list for now, but you can also find swaps for wind-up toys, lists of secrets, digital photos of pets, postage stamps, and handmade paper.

A new blog, SwapDex, also covers many types of crafts. It does (so far) lean heavily toward knitting swaps.

2 Responses to “Swap-a-rama”

  1. Chrison 29 Nov 2007 at 9:36 am

    I’m with you about swaps. I’ve had great experiences overall (a bit of weirdness on a swap-bot swap or two) and have met some great people!

  2. Andamomon 30 Nov 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Interesting question about whether exchanging things are good/bad for the environment. I wonder about eBay for the same reason…and exchanging locally is probably better (thinking about the costs and energy used on transportation). Yet, the reuse of a good prevents you or I from buy a new good which would have needed to be produced (raw materials being used, energy used to create and transport, etc.)… At the end of the day, my jury is still out…