Creating a Virtual Team to make a Charity Quilt for QuiltCon2017
In summer 2016, I put out a call on Instagram and to my mailing list asking for Modern Quilt Guild members who might be interested in joining a virtual team to make a QuiltCon charity quilt.
My general idea was that members would decide on a design, make blocks and send them to me to make a completed quilt. I was looking for a way for members to connect across geography to be part of a global team.
I hope that our story will inspire other members to connect across the world and make charity quilts for future QuiltCons.
The Virtual Charity Quilt Team #1 [VCQT1 on Instagram] was formed with 20 members–one of our members was from Canada!
We held a Zoom meeting to plan the design and decided on using the plus block, also known as wonky crosses.
One team member volunteered to make some test blocks and sent photos to me to be included in the instructions.
The Plan in Motion!
Here is a document with all of the instructions that were sent to each member that your group could use as a starting point. Virtual Charity Quilt Team Instructions TEMPLATE It also has a link to a tutorial for making the easy X blocks we used.
The 2017 QuiltCon Challenge was ‘playing with scale’. So, I created a block sizes plan with each member making three or four blocks in one or two of the four block sizes. One member also made a set of smaller blocks which added another scale dimension—I loved the great creativity!!
Fabric was purchased in the MQG color palette for this year. I randomly divided it up among the team and sent the fabric to each member of the team with detailed directions on what size block to make.
Creating a Layout and Finishing the Quilt
Once the blocks were received, I created an asymmetrical layout, posting in progress photos occasionally on Instagram for feedback from the team.
Very quickly, I realized that I had more blocks than I had originally planned for. Rather than make a two sided quilt, I made two Sibling Quilts! The two quilts were quilted by my longarm quilter and friend, Karlee Sandell.
I used a faced binding on both quilts.
Two Quilts — Finished and Donated
Lessons Learned! Tips for a Successful Virtual Charity Quilt Team
My Lessons Learned:
- Creating a virtual team is exciting! I’m thinking I will do this again.
- Use technology to have face-to-face meetings for planning. This also gives team members a chance to meet and get to know each other.
- Announce it on social media to get a wide range of participants
- If you want a more cohesive look to the quilt, one way to achieve that is to provide everyone with one fabric for negative space or to use as a background fabric—this will tie the quilt together if members choose their own fabrics for other parts of the blocks they make.
- If possible, have a one or two members who live near each other and who will have time to put the top together and make the backing.
- Ask members to donate a very small amount of money to purchase the fabric, pay for postage, and if necessary, pay to have the quilting done. Gather the funds through a PayPal account.
- Allow at least 3 months for team members to make their blocks–especially if you will have members located in different countries.