Friday, 14 February 2014

Getting there!

I have now received all the preferences lists from the swappers, and have spent a not-too-taxing couple of hours sorting out the swap this evening (probably). Some of the issues have been checked  - not assigning the same quilt to two people, not assigning two quilts to one person, not giving anyone their own quilt (unless they specifically asked for it - in this swap, a handful of people said they'd be happy to have their own piece back, but no one listed it absolutely first, so it's most likely that no one will get their own back - but I'm not saying for sure, as that would spoil the surprise!).  It's looking good, but there is still one check to make, and it's one I won't do until tomorrow, when I'm sure I'm a little less tired:  double checking quilt numbers against people's original emails (just in case I enterred their preferences wrong in my master spread sheet). And then I'll start sending out mailing info, assuming everything is ok.

Several people have expressed interest in how I swap out - I won't go into huge detail, but here's the essence of it...

I start with a spreadsheet of quilt numbers. When A Quilter sends me her preference list, I enter the data in my spreadsheet, using the extremely sophisticated method of  putting a "1" in her first choice column, "2" in the second choice column, and so on. For those who send me tiered lists, all 1st tier choices get a 1, second tiers get a 2 and so on.  For those who say "quilt no 50 is my favourite but I'm happy with any of them", column 50 gets a "1" and the rest get asterisks.  For those who just say "I like these 10 in no specific order" their choices all get asterisks (or sometimes, all "1's" - it depends).

Once I have all the data, I look at it totally as data - I don't even leave the names on when I'm working on it (and I usually do it on paper as it's easier to see all of it at once that way). I start with those quilts which were on the fewest lists (I use a tally at the bottom so I know how many lists each quilt is on); they get assigned first. As I assign a quilt to a new owner, I shade the other choices of that owner, and periodically re-total, either visually or actually by adding up to keep an eye on which quilts need to be assigned next.

At some point, I also start looking at which quilts were the most popular - the makers of these quilts usually get a quilt fairly high up on their preference list if at all possible - but I try to be very flexible and make it so that the greatest number of players get a quilt which is near the top of their list.  So for instance, if I have a situation where player 1 would get her 2nd choice quilt and player 2 her 10th choice quilt, but by swapping those two around, both players 1 and 2 would get their 3rd choice quilts, I'd take the latter situation.

Amazingly, because we are all individuals and all have different taste in quilts, this is usually not that hard to do (last round was pretty tricky, I think because it was too big - with 50 quilts in the swap, I really needed to have preference lists of 15 to 20 from most players, but only got 10-12).  In this swap, I actually barely ever hit a stumbling block and had to regroup, even with the few players who sent me very short preference lists.  Which is nice for me.

Assuming that I haven't made any fundamental errors in inputting the preferences originally, I think everyone should be pretty happy with this swap - everyone should get a quilt on their list and I don't think anyone will receive one below about 7th or 8th choice (and in many cases, you sent 12 or 15 choices!).

I don't think it's particularly useful (or kind) to provide a public ranking of the quilts in order of popularity, so I'm not going to do it (and I'm not just saying that because my own pieces never make it to the top!), but I will say that there were 5 quilts which appeared on at least 20 lists (out of 35). These were no 4 (untitled, bright and modern),  no 9 (untitled, long piece with flowers), no 10 (Tree Bones), no 21 (Cherry Chirps - the most popular, on 30 lists!) and no 31 (Mason's Whirl).

I'll post again when I've sent mailing info out - I should have it done by the end of the weekend.

5 comments:

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like you really have your work cut out for you. You're doing a great job, Kate. Thanks so much.

JILL KENNEDY said...

Ooh I like this swap idea. I'm obviously too late for this swap but if there is a No. 9 swap can I please be included? Thanks!

barcord said...

My head is in a whirl. You have risen even further in my estimation. Well done Kate. Looking forward to my new little quilt. Thank you.

Misha said...

Thanks for a little glimpse behind the curtain! I always wondered how you sorted them all out :)

Marie Joerger said...

How exciting Kate! Can't wait to see what the mail brings me :) Thank you for all the hard work you do to make the swap possible!!