Monday, July 6, 2009

The business of a Raffle Quilt

I'm getting ready for a visit with Rose. She's the spry eighty something lady who is my point of contact for the St. Dunstan's church quilters. Every year, I sew a quilt top for this group of sweet ladies. They hand quilt it and then sell tickets on it as a fund raiser. These ladies were all piecers and appliquers at one time, but not so much now and get me sew their annual raffle quilt.

So typically this time of year and with them in mind, I go through my quilt patterns and photos of quilts that I like, I flag about a dozen quilts that I'll present to them as a group. They decide which pattern and give me some feedback on colors. Then I have the next 6 months to buy the fabrics and make the quilt top. I'll deliver it to them next January.

Like many other fund raising efforts, it's getting harder and harder every year to get those raffle dollars, and over the years, they have a complied a few things that they keep in mind when selecting their raffle quilts. I'll share their tips with you in case you are ever asked for an opinion.

  • Know your customer... For these ladies, they sell tickets in church, at church suppers, in malls etc. So they know from 20 years of experience, that a traditional quilt is a must. While art quilts are well appreciated, their customers are very traditional and love the utility use of a quilt for a bed covering rather than hanging it on a wall.
  • Take the color excuse out. For the times that they have had a 2 or 3 or 4 color quilt for their raffle quilt, they would have customers not buy tickets cause the quilt wouldn't match "their colors". They heard that time and time again. It's obviously an excuse not to buy tickets, so now, I typically make multi-colored quilts that look like scrappy quilts, but the fabric is purchased to blend together.
  • Queens all around: Everyone always asks about the size of the quilt being raffled. From the experience of these ladies, it's impossible to sell tickets on anything but a queen size quilt, so I always make one that is between 82 and 86 inches wide and about 100 long. The length is not as important.

So with all the above factors considered, here are some of the pattern choices that I have for them. I'll let you know top two favorites at the end of this post, and I'll report to you after my meeting with Rose, if they chose one of them as their favorite too.

Either one of these would be a nice change for them. The first one, "Birds in the Air" might be a little too blue, but we could do shades of blue, maroon and green. The second one, The Dutchman's Puzzle might have too many seams for them. The last time I visited, they mentioned something about too many seams in the Nines and Vines quilt that I delivered to them last January.

These 2 are very traditional but they might be bordering on too color specific. They would be an easy and quick sewing job for me though.

If they wanted to go with a single color palate (which I don't think they will do), I think these are nice choices.

I really like this star quilt. I haven't done stars for them in a while. I like the different size stars in this pattern. The geese quilt on the lower corner of the picture is quite plain but if I add a nice border, I think the white space it would show off their great hand quilting.

These quilts are all good quilts in my opinion. I like the log cabin. I'm not sure if this one with the star on it will be traditional enough for them, but we can ax the stars if they want. The other 3 quilts were quilts that they liked at the Elm City Guild show last year.

So, what am I hoping they pick??

I am hoping that they pick either of the top two quilts, Birds in the Air or the Dutchman's Puzzle Quilt. I haven't sewn either one of these quilts before, and I think it would fun to sew. And you know, I've never made a log cabin quilt, so I wouldn't mind making one of those. The Split Nine Patch in the bottom photo is nice and on my "want to make list". And I've always wanted to make a single color plus white quilt like the red one..... OK, OK... I would be happy to make any one of these quilts!!!!!

I'll let you know in a couple of weeks, what they select.


Linda H said...

I think I saw the Scrap Quilt book on your wish list at Fabricville the other day - have a look at their "bookshelf" next time you're in there...

Vicki W said...

That's some great advice. The two you chose are my favorites too!

Kathie said...

will be fun to see what they choose this year!
you have some beauties picked out to show them

dp said...

ok, I know this whole blog is a farce. Really, you want to see my comment on what my favorite quilt would be so that you can make me another quilt for my birthday. Your not only pretty, but a little smart, but you can't fool me. so here is my favorite... the Star one, the last picture. I love stars. I don't know why but I do... so there ya go! ;) And, I must mention how sweet you are to make quilts for these ladies each year.

Lee said...

Gail, these are all nice quilts but since these ladies are hand quilters I think you might want to add a couple of choices with more white space to show off their quilting. Just a thought.