Group Quilting Ideas
Compliled by Clare L
Thanks to all who responded to my recent plea for ideas for a
guild to make a quilt to raffle.
I belong to a group that makes baby quilts for the ABC Quilt Project.
We also put together large tops to sell at the bi-annual raffle at the
church. Although our quilts are mostly tied (it's lots faster), we do
work with several people at a time at a floor frame. When we first put
the quilt in the frame we can fit 2-3 people at each side. As we tie
and work toward the center the people sitting on the sides that are
getting rolled up can still work, but the ones on the shortened sides
have to drop off. By the time we are done we are down to about 4
As for making the top itself: you might arrive as some consensus
about a color scheme, buy enough fabric to make blocks and then give
each person enough for one block. That way you could have a sampler
quilt where the blocks would be at the difficulty level of the
individual quilter. When the blocks were done one or two people could
sash them together.
The first thing that comes to mind re: your group quilt
for the church is blocks with Bible-related names. At least one
quiltnetter has a whole string of 'em -- names of blocks, that is.
You might ask that more specific question of the whole group.
I remember some like:
Crown of Thorns
Cross Within a Cross
Garden of Eden
Eye of God
Children of Israel
I know that Garden of Eden and Eye of God are pretty easy to piece.
If you have people who prefer to applique, there are lots of wonderful
rose patterns around called Rose of Sharon.
Several years ago a friend and I coordinated a group raffle quilt for
our guild. We chose to do a sampler quilt and used Georgia Bonesteel's
lap quilting method. Those who wanted to do a block were given a pattern
(we had them in a range of "degrees of difficulty") and a packet of
fabrics for piecing, a square of batting and the backing (muslin). Each
person pieced and then quilted the block and returned it to us and we
assembled them with lattice strips. The finished product was beautiful, but
I'm not sure I would recommend the entire process! Assembling the blocks
was quite a chore due to the variations in size of the finished (quilted)
So, based on this experience I would suggest doing the following:
Choose block patterns and fabrics for a sampler quilt;
Have the participants piece a 12 1/2 in. block and return it to you (or
whoever is in charge of assembling the top.
Then, I would suggest you add muslin borders around each block, then
"square up the blocks" to a 14 1/2 in square. Then you can easily assemble
the quilt top with lattice strips or with blocks on point and add your borders.
This will assure a much easier and much more accurate (square) top.
As for quilting the top, you could ask each person to quilt the block
they pieced and a section of the border. I have worked with two people on
a Q-Snap floor frame and that was fine. You could also probably set up two
Q-Snap floor frames at the same time and have room for at least four or even
six people to work on it!
You could do a quilt as you go quilt. Have a central block (suggestion)
since it is to be queen sized, then each member would piece or applique
a block and quilt it leaving the edges unfinished (with no stitched
closer than 1/2 in from edge).
After all of the blocks are finished, or as they are finished depending
on how you choose, the top seams are sewn together then the back seams
are slip stitched together.
We recently did two quilts for the retiring principal and one of the
teachers at the school my kids attend. They turned out beautifully!
One tip I can contribute: have 1 person make the templates and cut
the fabric. No matter how careful you caution members to be, if you
let everyone cut their own block(s), you will find big variations in
finished block size. I learned this the hard way! Good luck!
Our club of 30-40 members has put on 3 shows over the last 5 years
and all of our proceeds go to charity in return for which the village
lets us use a room in the Civic Center.
Our last quilt was the easiest of all that we tried, especially in
terms of completion. Each member was given white background fabric
and medium grey backing fabric. Our only instructions were to make
a 12.5" basket block of our choice, then quilt it. The blocks were
varied and wonderful. No matter what the skill level, the combination
of the ornate with the simple was wonderful.
We actually made 2 blocks. One we quilted for the raffle quilt and
one we left unquilted for a drawing for all of those who made a block.
The blocks were joined with the medium grey as sashing and binding and
white triangle blocks on the outer edge. There were a lot fewer hassles
with completing it than we've had in the past.
Wow, you're on a close deadline, but I think you can do it, based on
the experience of my guild. Some thing the Charlottesville Area
Quilt Guild has done:
1. Pick 2-3 people to be the raffle quilt committee. (You should be
one.) The committee decides arbitrarily on the theme (stars,
flowers, or one particular block, like "Bear's Paw), and the colors
to be used.
2. A good way to pick a color scheme and provide continuity is for
the committee to choose a print they love! Then choose a
coordinating color that goes with the print. Arbitrarily!
3. Make kits in plastic ziploc bags. Include 15 square inches
of each fabric in the bag along with a xeroxed sheet of rules which
the committee chooses. Sample rules: Participants must use both
fabrics in any amount and in any way, along with up to 3 more
fabrics, in a 12.5" flower block, either pieced or appliqued. Blocks
must be returned by (3 month's time? ) on x date, where they will be
displayed while refreshments are served. Informal voting on
everyone's favorite. Winner to receive a token: fat quarter, or
leftover fabric, etc.
3. Sell these kits to would-be participants for $3-$5. each. This
covers the cost of the materials. Get everyone excited by telling
them they may not be the world's best quilter, but surely they can
make one block! ( I forgot - in the rules state whether blocks must
be hand-pieced or if machine piecing is OK.)
4. After display night, the committee immediately sets the blocks
together. You probably should solicit ideas for the setting, and may
have to purchase more fabric. With your timetable, you should aim at
having the whole top pieced by Jan.1. If it needs more oomph,
perhaps someone(s) good at applique cold add a border vine at this
point. Maybe not!
5. Baste it on a guild night: after all, every one can baste!
6. Either the committee or someone appointed by them should now take
charge of the quilt, bringing it to every guild meeting. Yes, 4
people can work around a Q-Snap frame, though it is easier to do
background quilting that way. In between guild meetings, different
people should sign it out of a record book and take it home for 2 or 3
days to work on alone. They should know before they take it home who
to give it to next: the next person who has signed it out, the quilt
keeper, or the guild itself on a meeting night.
7. Get everyone to participate by reminding them that someone is
going to win this quilt for $1.00, and surely their quilting is worth
8. Take lots of pictures of different stages of the construction and
display them at church. People who take raffle books to sell should
also have a photo to show.
9. I forgot! Committee also decides on quilting design for sashing,
alternate blocks, or borders and marks them. These may have to be
refreshed from time to time. Let each quilter quilt unmarked blocks
anyway she chooses. A quilter need not quilt her own block.
10. (If the blocks are slightly offsize, and they probably will be,
frame each finished block with 1" fabric strips, all the same color,
before setting together. Fudge the width of the strips to bring the
blocks to uniform size.)
11. Finally, plan a guild party for right after the auction, because
you will all be feeling a sense of loss when someone carries it off!
Individual blocks lend themselves well to group work, as long as
people are extremely careful to be sure that the blocks all come
out the same size! You choose a theme, such as trees, a season,
or a particular block for all to do, such as bears paw,
grandmothers fan, or whatever. Or, do a sampler quilt with each
member picking a different block. Buy at least the sashing fabric
and one or two of the block fabrics in bulk and pass out to all
members making blocks, so the blocks will be coordinated.
If they DON'T all come out the same size, try edging each one with
a narrow sashing, then trim all the sashings to be the same size,
before actually sashing the blocks and attaching them to one
another. This inner sashing tends to disguise different size
blocks and allows them to go together more smoothly.
We do quilt around a large q-snap floor frame and two to four
people work at a time, at the back of our meetings. WE also have
a basting party at someone's home, and pass the quilt, a week to
each member (approx.) for quilting purposes.
It sounds like a simple block will work best for you. An Ohio star is
nice and easy. A two color theme like blue and white is easy. You can
then buy a fabric to do sashing. We've passes quilts around to be hand
quilted and also brought the quilt to the regular and charity meetings.
Our quilt guild has found that blue sells best.
Also, applique quilts seem to be more popular that pieced. They're easier to
put together, too, since you don't have to match blocks. Just cut the
applique background blocks a little big and then trim them all to match
before putting the top together.
If you're going to be raffling the quilt to non-quilters, then a traditional
design will usually sell best...Ohio Star, Log Cabin have both proven to be
big ticket sellers for our guild.
And a blue &white color scheme also usually sells very well.
Good luck on your project. Sounds like you've got a good group and enough
time to get your quilt done. Here are some suggestions I'd like to offer.
They come from personal experience and the comments of some of the more
than 800 quilters who participated in The Great Minnesota Quilt-In my
committee of eight organized for the state two years ago (it was a project
of Minnesota Quilters, Inc., our state guild).
Colors: keep it simple. Blue and white, red and white or deep green and
white make striking quilts with classic appeal.
Think of organizing some of your work assembly style - this might help make
use of everyone's capabilities. Some who may be new to quilting can focus
on rotary cutting, others can piece blocks, others can assemble blocks and
A challenge will be to make sure all the blocks prove *true* (are the same
size) for assembly. Here's where some of your more experienced, and
accurate, quilters can help your new ones learn how to get a real 1/4" seam.
Consider a simple pattern. It will make life easier for everyone. A
double 9-patch can be dynamite in a larger quilt. Then you can focus on
the quilting to make your raffle quilt spectacular.
I've used the standing Q-snap frame with several people around it and it
worked just fine.
If I can be of any other help, let me know.
Good luck. And congrats on that quilt you made yourself and which earned
nearly $3,000 for your church. You must be a terrific quilter!
Happy Quilting, and May the Stash be With You!
From: Mary Ann
Hi, I just organized a group quilt for America Online for a raffle quilt. I
set the rules as follows- it was a nautical theme and there was to be a bit
of teal in the blocks. People could pick as simple or as difficult pattern
as they liked. I also volunteered to send patterns to people that needed
one. You could also do Bible blocks (there are a couple of new books out on
that &I've got 2). A star quilt could be do- able. Hope this helps!
This is the way the MVQC plans a group quilt to be raffled.
The Vice President is in charge, she selects a helper. They plan
the quilt. -- Pattern and Color, figure yardage and buy the fabric
I would suggest pieced and not too many pieces, unless you have a
fine group of appliquers! and color go with the population likes,
not necessarily personal preference. (We have used Katie's Choice
and Turkey Tracks and colors have been pinks, greens, blues, reds)
Then, sub-committees are formed, such as the marking committee, the
raffle committee, and the putting it together committee.
Well, The marking committee, marks and cuts the quilt. Usually
assembly line style, on a day everyone can meet, with loads of room
to work and goodies to eat! (Goodies are the draw) Someone cuts,
someone marks, someone bags. The marker needs to put accurate
lines, because as you know, this is the secret to success. Then
the pieces are bagged, preferably in zip lock bags with thread to
match, cut in lengths and tied with a twist tie and most important
a pattern, with simplistic directions. When packets are complete,
they are distributed at the meeting, and discussion follows so
everyone who takes a bag understands the technique this is
essential. The blocks are due back in one month. We meet once a
month. If someone can't get the block done, they need to pass it
to someone else or contact the Vice President.
The assembling committee then meets and same as the marking
committee, they agree on a date and place and goodies and in
assembly line fashion, put the blocks together. When the top is
together, it is brought to the meeting and put on the club frame
The next meeting the quilt is basted, usually during the meeting
and the regular program is dispensed and the basting continues,
along with socializing and of course goodies. The basting is done
in shifts and goes well. Sign ups for the hand quilting are taken
on a piece of paper which is passed around.
The marking committee meets one more time to mark the quilting
lines and the first person on the list is called to begin the process of
and quilting. After the list is exhausted, other creative ways to quilt the
quilt are arranged! Such as the raffle committee, then makes plans to
have the quilt set up in the middle of the MALL on a Saturday and/or
Sunday and sell tickets, while volunteers sit in shifts and quilt
around the frame. A great way to kill two birds with one stone.
Alot of tickets are sold, the public loves it and it is fun!
Everyone must talk about the fun! It truly is too!
At the end of the day, all that is left is the binding, and either
the Vice President or some volunteer puts the binding on, and
pictures are taken of the quilt, like a whole roll, of 36 and
double prints (72 pictures) Raffle committee assemble envelopes
with tickets and one picture and every member is asked to sell 10
tickets. Some sell more, some less, but the pictures really sell
Mark even if done on sewing machines, because as we know, a quarter
inch in not a quarter inch. We once made a flying geese quilt that
was a disaster because it was not marked and several sewed using
their own quarter inch mark!
We once made an applique quilt and that was godawful because the
inexperienced people shouldn't have appliqued, but done something
else. That was the quilt that also had mysterious a cigarette burn
THIS year, we did a Hawaiian applique quilt, that was part of a
program we had, enough blocks were generated and donated so, we had
our basis and avoided all this marking, cutting etc.
World Wide Quilting Page
* FAQ's Page