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Thread: advice needed on making a quilt for auction

  1. #1
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    advice needed on making a quilt for auction

    My children's school is going to be holding an auction next year (Feb. '13) and I offered to provide a quilt. Seemed like a simple plan until my brain began churning with questions:

    what size is best?

    simple design or more intricate?

    can I use a copyrighted pattern?

    all pieced or some applique?

    what colorway?

    is gender neutral best?

    If you've made, sold, or bought a quilt at auction, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

  2. #2
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I can't answer your questions, but consider a raffle instead of an auction. Raffles generally bring in more money than auctions and you'll hit a much wider audience.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  3. #3
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    I would do something spring like and simple. I agree with the raffle idea, people will buy a dollar ticket,but very few will have a lot of money to bid very high.

  4. #4
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    As one who has BTDT, I would recommend a good size lap quilt. I also agree with doing a raffle vs. auction if that is an option. When I did this I went for a patriotic theme. Used a published pattern that I had purchased. Did star blocks in white, blue/white background and red binding with red/white/blue backing. Was very well received and raised a reasonable amount of $$ for the small audience we had to work with. My personal opinion, in doing something patriotic, you won't have as many folks looking at the quilt and while thinking it is lovely, saying to themselves...'but those colors don't work in my house'. Just about everyone is willing to having something patriotic in their homes.

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltingfan's Avatar
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    I have made 2 quilts for raffles, ( and I agree raffles will bring in more money). One of them was a queen size quilt and it was a green and brown tube quilt, easy to put together. The other one was a twin, simple red and blue and white star quilt. I was worried that they would not buy as many tickets if it was just a twin, but it brought over $375.00. The queen brought in around 350.00. I realized through this is that people don't buy or bid on a quilt due to the size. If they like the colors and pattern then they buy the tickets. I would not make a big one, just because it is expensive to make and you can make just as much with a smaller quilt. You also need to be careful with color selection and a more neutral color palette would probably be received better.
    Best of luck, you have plenty of time to make one. Keep it simple is my advice, Beth

  6. #6
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    For an auction and a small group consider a bed runner or a lap size. For a raffle, consider a queen. I will only do raffles any more. Have been stung by silent auctions.

  7. #7
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    I agree that a raffle would be better than an auction to raise funds. However, if it must be an auction then I would keep it simple. You don't want to put 80 hours into something that will only sell for $100.
    The last one I made for an auction was a twin size. I used one precut turnover (triangles) and used some yardage that coordinated with it. Just made a bunch of HST's and layed them out randomly with the odd solid colour block.
    The bidders loved it, and it only cost me about 6 hours of time.
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  8. #8
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your input. I don't believe a raffle is going to be an option. The auction will have both silent and "live" items available and the lady who's volunteered to be the auctioneer will do an excellent job. Of that I'm fully confident. She's not only a parent at the school but is a local t.v. personality and will get the job done to encourage items to go for a good price.

    I appreciate the advice on pattern type and colorway. Since we're in Oregon, I'm thinking maybe blues, greens, and a little bit of brown thrown in. If it's alright to use a copyrighted pattern for this type of thing, I may search for a Northwest inspired pattern. Do you think that would be a good idea?
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

  9. #9
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    I agree that raffles are better unless you can get a lot of quilts to auction. We did a school theme quilt (queen sized) and so far have sold more than 3,000 $1.00 tickets. By school theme, I mean the high school is purple and white and the mascot Indians. We used a block of multiple types of 6 inch blocks and substituted in focal point block also in the school theme. Will try to get a picture to post. Of course, this district is wild about football so we have a good market. It took about 3 or 4 months to construct but we included embroidery and machine quilting.

  10. #10
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    Raffle is best, but if you have to auction, then advertise the quilt in order to bring in more quilt buyers.

  11. #11
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    I don't know about raffles v. auctions, but I'm almost finished with a quilt that I'm giving away at my family reunion this summer. I tried to make it gender neutral. It's the quilt top in my avatar. The backing is navy blue and I pieced it with a row of the blocks from the front. The binding will be the same navy blue.

  12. #12
    Super Member ShowMama's Avatar
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    I have made a number of quilts over the years for fundraisers in which the quilt was either raffled or auctioned. The raffles did actually bring in more money, but that was mainly because tickets were sold over a period of time. But if the raffle is not an option, then you just accept it.

    As far as size, I personally don't offer anything less than queen size. A runner or lap quilt is so limited in size that many people wouldn't bid on it, no matter how beautiful it is. But a queen size quilt would appeal to a large number of people. I find that the general public still mainly associates quilts with bedcovers, something to keep you warm. Many don't think, as we quilters do, that there are so many reasons to have a quilt (bed runner, table topper, wall hanging, etc). So I feel that a large quilt would appeal to the largest number of people.

    For the actual look of the quilt, be sure to use colorful fabrics. Those seem to spark the most interest.
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  13. #13
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    One of the grade schools in our area has an auction and one quilt is auctioned by each grade. The first graders each drew a picture on white fabric backed with freezer paper, colored it, and the quilter color set the art and pieced the blocks into a quilt. The kindergarten class teacher traced each child's handprint and they appliqued them for their quilt. Most of the winners of the auction were parents, grandparents, teachers, or the school board.

  14. #14
    Super Member Yosamitesa's Avatar
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    For being a school auction, I would do a good lapsized to a twin sized quilt. I would go with either a child's theme or with the patriotic. I have seen quilts auctioned at schools that were basic 9-patch to extravagant with embroidery and applique. The deal is, how much time, energy and money do you want to put into this? One thing you could do is use the school colors and maybe put the school mascot on it or in the quilt somewhere.

  15. #15
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quilt.......

    Should be at least queen sized

    Design choice is yours completely, remember it's your time.

    applique seems to be an attention getter.

    What's in fashion now? Seriously, I don't follow fashion so I can't answer. I'd lean toward neutrals myself.

    Try to keep it gender neutral. But your audience will mostly be female probably so don't sweat that.

    And I agree, if you can, try a raffle. Usually more profitable.
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  16. #16
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    As one who has BTDT, I would recommend a good size lap quilt. I also agree with doing a raffle vs. auction if that is an option. When I did this I went for a patriotic theme. Used a published pattern that I had purchased. Did star blocks in white, blue/white background and red binding with red/white/blue backing. Was very well received and raised a reasonable amount of $$ for the small audience we had to work with. My personal opinion, in doing something patriotic, you won't have as many folks looking at the quilt and while thinking it is lovely, saying to themselves...'but those colors don't work in my house'. Just about everyone is willing to having something patriotic in their homes.
    I'd never buy a chance on a lap quilt, but I'd spend a bunch on a queen specially if it was for my kids school.
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  17. #17
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sew cornie View Post
    Thank you all for your input. I don't believe a raffle is going to be an option. The auction will have both silent and "live" items available and the lady who's volunteered to be the auctioneer will do an excellent job. Of that I'm fully confident. She's not only a parent at the school but is a local t.v. personality and will get the job done to encourage items to go for a good price.

    I appreciate the advice on pattern type and colorway. Since we're in Oregon, I'm thinking maybe blues, greens, and a little bit of brown thrown in. If it's alright to use a copyrighted pattern for this type of thing, I may search for a Northwest inspired pattern. Do you think that would be a good idea?

    Remember, you can have the most fantastic auctioneer in the world AND you can have the most beautiful quilt ever, but if there's not someone in the audience who has money to burn, you're not going to make a lot on your quilt.
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  18. #18
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annthreecats View Post
    I don't know about raffles v. auctions, but I'm almost finished with a quilt that I'm giving away at my family reunion this summer. I tried to make it gender neutral. It's the quilt top in my avatar. The backing is navy blue and I pieced it with a row of the blocks from the front. The binding will be the same navy blue.
    Wonderful choice for an unknown owner!
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  19. #19
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    I believe that most patterns have a disclaimer that you can use to sell a few just no "mass" production. If you have any questions or feel uncomfortable you can email the pattern co/designer and tell them what you are doing it for and see if they have any objections. If I were doing a quilt for auction I think I would stick with a good sized lap quilt, they can say something like wouldn't you just love to snuggle under this while watching tv! I recently quilted one for a friend of mine and it was the Disappearing Nine Patch (free pattern out on the web) and it was done scrappy in all beiges and was absolutely beautiful. The raffle quilts I have done have all been Queen but you are hitting a larger audience - we normally make around $3,000 + on the Relay for Life quilt that I do each year.

  20. #20
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    For many years, I made quilts for the PTA auction at my DD's school. The past two years, I did the same for my god-daughter's school. For DD's school, the first two years, they (the PTB) wanted self-portraits. The first year, when teh kids were in 1st grade, I ironed freezer paper to white fabric and the kids used fabric crayons and markers to draw themselves. The next year, I found a pattern that was either a boy or girl. Each child sent me a piece of fabric that they chose, from old clothes or sports uniform, and I used that fabric for the pants/shirt or dress. Then I sent the finished blocks home for the children to decorate. I got them back and sewed into a quilt. The 3rd grade class, I taught them foundation piecing using muslin as the foundation and they pieced schoolhouse blocks. The 6th grade (I took a break) they again did foundation piecing on muslin and did the snail trail pattern (a tesselation which they had studied in school) in their school colors. EAch time, at the auction, the quilts raised at least $750, with one year going as high as $1500. For my goddaughter's classes, the kids simply drew on white fabric. I don't know about the money but was told it was among the highest amount raised by any one class project. I also donated a regular quilt for the "shop" at the auction and that quilt went for a lot less. The size varied, depending on the number of kids/class, but averaged twin-size, I think.

  21. #21
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have hosted a community quilt show for over 8 years. It's all viewer's choice awards. Every winner has been quilts with a theme. Either sports, wildlife, pets, patriotic, or fiction characters. The beautiful quilted, intricate pieced pattern quilts rarely get a lot of public votes. So don't spend a lot of time on an auction quilt. Make it eye catching and themed.
    Got fabric?

  22. #22
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    So much to think about. Thank you all for the suggestions.

    BellaBoo, that's a unique position you've had to see what people are attracted to. Thanks for sharing.
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

  23. #23
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    Quilts I've made for school auctions have been twin size and bright colors with simple pattern. Often grandparents are bidding and the quilts goes to a grandchild
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
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  24. #24
    Senior Member pdcakm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sew cornie View Post
    Thank you all for your input. I don't believe a raffle is going to be an option. The auction will have both silent and "live" items available and the lady who's volunteered to be the auctioneer will do an excellent job. Of that I'm fully confident. She's not only a parent at the school but is a local t.v. personality and will get the job done to encourage items to go for a good price.

    I appreciate the advice on pattern type and colorway. Since we're in Oregon, I'm thinking maybe blues, greens, and a little bit of brown thrown in. If it's alright to use a copyrighted pattern for this type of thing, I may search for a Northwest inspired pattern. Do you think that would be a good idea?
    you should be able to use a purchased pattern for this type of situation but i would recommend you contact the person who made the pattern and ask. it saves any trouble down the road. they usually say ok.

    a northwest inspired pattern would be awesome and i would think will do well up there.
    pdcakm alias pat
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  25. #25
    Super Member beatys9's Avatar
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    I did one for the school auctions years ago - well I put it together anyway... the children made the blocks. I went into the 2 special education classes and provided each of the 12 children with a block of colorful batik fabric (there were 4 different fabrics). They cut out shapes & images from contact paper, stuck them on their blocks, painted black on them, let them dry and then the kids removed the contact paper to reveal their designs. I gently washed the blocks & then put them together with sashes of the batiks and a black outer border. I just did stitch in the ditch as I don't really quilt & this allowed their blocks to be the stars of the quilt.
    Shannon

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