Everyone knows that fly patterns are not sacrosanct. Every fly has an "original recipe" that almost invariably starts getting altered the moment someone other than the originator gets his or her hands on it. (Even the originators can't help themselves from changing it up sometimes!)
There are lots of reasons to "tweak" a fly recipe -- maybe you think a different material would work better for the wing or tail or whatever. Maybe you hate working with one of the materials called for in the original recipe and refuse to use it. Or, if you're like me, as often as not it's about what you happen to have lying around when you go to tie something up. Whatever the case, I think we can agree that fly tiers are, by nature, tinkerers.
With that in mind, I propose the following: Pick a well-known (or at least somewhat established) fly pattern, and tie up both the original recipe and your own version of it. "Your own version" is open to interpretation within reason--the only rule is that your "tweak(s)" must cause the fly to behave differently from the original in some way. Examples would include (but are not limited to) things like using a synthetic over a natural material to improve durability or floatation in a dry fly, adding weight to cause a streamer to jig or to swim with the hook point up, tying a streamer as a bendback, etc. You don't have to re-invent the fly, but whatever you do to it should "improve" the fly in some way--if only in your own mind. Things like changing the color of a material, adding markings with a marker, or other changes that don't affect the fly's behavior would not count as a new version of the pattern.
Since everyone will be tying two versions of their chosen pattern for each swapper, so I'm going to limit the swap to no more than 9 participants plus the SM. That means--assuming we have a full swap--that everyone would tie 18 flies (9 original recipe + 9 variations). Make sense?
Normal swap rules -- toe-tag each fly with your screen name and pattern name (plus either "original" or "variant"), placed in a crush-resistant container (Altoids tin, etc.) and mailed to me along with a return envelope and return postage.
Since we'll all be tying more than the usual number of flies for this swap, I am suggesting a due date of October 15 -- that's a little over 6 weeks from today.
I am going to be ambitious and do two original patterns /two variations for this swap -- see below. Who's with me?
SWAP IS FULL!
1. SM - Double Bunny / Improved Double Bunny ; Humpy / Foam Humpy DONE
2. rockworm - Muskrat Nymph / Muskrat Nymph variant RECEIVED
3. vicrider - Woolly Bugger / Woolly Bugger Variant RECEIVED
4. Trouta_Control - Yellow Sally / Improved Yellow Sally RECEIVED
5. Bruce Derington - Adams / Adams Variant RECEIVED
6. EuroOrBust - Son of Sexy Walt's/ Son of Sexy Walt's Variant
7. Mike West - Stimulator / Warmwater Stimulator RECEIVED
8. Vicente - Sierra Bright Dot / Sierra Bright Dot Variant RECEIVED