Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Get to know the QQQ's: Raven from Purple Raven Quilts

I am Raven Pletcher. My mother Doris, is my business partner at Purple Raven Quilts

Our shop name came from a combination of my personal love of purple, my name and that it is a quilt shop.  Etsy allowed only a certain number of characters so the name was shortened from the original The Purple Raven Quilt Shop, that is my dream of a B&M quilt shop, to Purple Raven Quilts.

I live in Northern California in the mountains.  Doris lives in central Pennsylvania.  We speak on the telephone a few times a week and mail fabric, notions, quilting magazines/books, quilts and other such goodies to one another.

Doris began making quilts before I was born and continues to make them.  I have been actively quilting for 12 years.

I received a FQ bag, filled with FQs of a Jinny Beyer palette, as a birthday gift from Doris.  It was like giving a new box of crayons to a child.  I HAD to sew something with my pretty new fabrics!  I drew a design, hand sewed and hand quilted my creation and joined the threads textile group at the local library.  This was sort of like a sewing B with ladies knitting, embroidering, beading or quilting that met for a hour each week.  I learned a lot from that experience about quilting techniques.  My friendships in this group eventually led me to the local quilt guild. My first quilting creation is still special to me because it led me down the wonderful world of quilting path.

I love to garden, fish, do Genealogy research and make music. A cat and 2 dogs share my home with me.  I attend craft events and charity events in nearby communities as a vendor.  Doris loves to sew, garden and listen to music.

I make Preemie Quilts for St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka, CA.  Preemie quilts are 12-14 inches square. They are made of 100% cotton fabric and cotton batting. These tiny quilts are placed in the autoclave (medical instrument sterilizer) for many hours to be sterilized. They are then placed above the incubators of preemie babies. Hospital lights are bright for the babies so the quilts help with that. Family visitors can only view the babies through the window of the preemie ward and the quilts help identify the babies to the families. The mothers of the preemie babies gets to keep the quilt given to their baby. I like to use colorful children's fabrics for these quilts. The one rule I do have about fabric choice is no black backgrounds no matter how cute the fabric is. I think of the babies as I sew and it brings me joy to add color to the life of such a tiny new person.
Doris has donated many quilts to a wide variety of charities some of which include, Veterans, homeless shelters, battered women shelters and a summer camp for children.

Shop orders take priority in my day.  I check my shop 4-5 times daily for new orders and respond to convos.  Orders are packaged immediately.  Cat toys, that are made to order, are constructed within hours of being ordered.  Errands are always planned around shipping any current orders.  I also keep an eye on tracking daily with orders that are out for shipping until they are delivered.
Doris packages and ships orders of shop items that she has promptly after my notifying her of the order.  I send the email regarding the order with item and customer information to her.  She tends to special special orders that are for her right away.  Doris has the shop fabric stash in mind when she is attending quilt shop sales.

I am inspired by color.  I love color and see the color combinations all around me.

I work from my head when designing a new project.  A fabric will peak my interest and the process begins.  Placing possible fabric combinations with the beginning fabric, I choose colors and fabrics. Next, ideas for the quilt's pattern begin to flow.  I draw the quilt plan on grid paper so I can get measurements correct when cutting and to choose the approximate finished size of the quilt.  A test block is sewn to see the fabrics and colors still create the desired effect.  It is not uncommon for changes to be made after the test block has been sewn.  Sashing, borders, binding and backing choices are made as the quilt is coming together.  Once again I audition possible fabric choices for each as I get to that stage of quilt construction.  Depending on actual fabric choice, sashing and border widths may be altered at this stage so the fabric makes the desired statement or effect for the quilt.  Choosing the pattern for the quilting stitches is where I hesitate because it can change the quilt completely for better or for worse.  Silly at it may sound to one who does not quilt, I do a lot of staring at a pieced quilt top until I can make the final decision.  All of my UFO's are stuck at this stage.  My personal rule related to UFO's is, I must finish a UFO if I start a new project but I am pretty sure they breed in that project tote.

Doris designs her quilts in much the same fashion I do.  She also works from patterns at times.  She is a natural when it comes to choosing the quilting stitches and has also become quite proficient with her long-arm quilting machine.  Many of the quilts Doris makes are hand quilted.


  1. Beautiful shop. I love that you make preemie quilts that go home when the baby goes home! Your quilts are sure to become treasured keepsakes for those families. And so nice that you and your Mom work together.

  2. Raven, so wonderful to get to know you! Your quilts are awesome and it's so nice to see how closely you work with your mom even though she's miles away! I agree with Peggy, the preemie quilts are such a great idea and will be cherished by those families. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Raven - Oh boy, I do agree with you on
    trying to choose quilting stitches for a quilt. LOL
    I stare at the quilt also and see if it speaks to me
    on how I should quilt it. Hand quilt or machine? Yes,
    I have a couple of UFO tops just waiting and waiting.
    You and Doris create beautiful quilts! I'm in Lancaster,