Saturday, 2 February 2019

To Guild or Not to Guild?

Are you part of a quilt guild? Do you meet formally or informally with others? Some people think that guilds aren't for them. Hesitation to join them comes in different forms. They may think "I'm too new ... I don't know enough ..." others don't know what to expect from them or what kind of time and energy commitment is required. Some people may be shy to share their work, others physically unable to get out. Many communities don't have guilds anymore or the guilds that exist speak only to subspecialties such as modern guilds which may not be the right 'fit' for everyone.

What is a quilt guild?

A guild is an organised group of people with similar interests. In this case, fibre arts, or quilting. Most guilds meet regularly for formal meetings. My guild meets once a month for a formal meeting and sewing day and informally at least once a month. There is often a formal meeting with a collection of officers ... president, treasurer, secretary etc.

Meetings generally feature a presentation such as a lesson on a particular block or technique. There may be guest speakers. There is most definitely a show and tell portion to each guild meeting (my favourite part!) Guilds offer inspiration, workshops, fun events and shows. A good number of guild members are experienced quilters but there are also good numbers of newbies. To think guilds are only made up of elderly women is a myth. There is a real emergence of younger people turning traditional fabrics and blocks on their heads (I hope I'm one of them!)

How do you know if you are a right fit?

The best way is to try one out ... meet some members, attend meetings as a guest and ask lots of questions.

There are great benefits to belonging to a guild. I can't think of a better gang to be part of! (Hear that Hell's Angels!) Guild members may enjoy discounts to stores, subscriptions or events. Being part of a guild makes you part of your community and usually, you are extended membership to national organisations. By belonging to a guild, you play a part in preserving quilting heritage. You get to give back to your community and promote quilting for the future. Guild members have access to pattern and ruler libraries, can participate in skills and unique events and can enter quilts into shows.

I think the best reason to join a quilt guild though, is for friendship. I know, I wouldn't be quilting today if it weren't for my guild. Looking back at my personal setbacks and successes ... when I think of the people that were by my side, they were my quilting friends. My friends from guild were the guests at my wedding. It was guild ladies that lined up to be my first patients when I became a nurse practitioner, bringing their husbands along. They were the ones that quietly dried my tears as I struggled to stitch baby quilts for everyone else but me. They were the ones to throw their arms around me with joy when we adopted Darby and were the ones to throw me a baby shower. Our love and respect for one another goes far beyond quarter inch stitches. I was actually at a quilting retreat weekend when we received the call from the adoption agency to tell us that we were finally 'picked' ...

I will forever link the news that I would be a mother to that quilt shop and the ladies that were there ... I will never forget how the hum of sewing machines fell silent as I frantically took the phone to find out what the 'emergency' was to call home ... "My dad is dead ...." its all I could think ....   something dreadful must have happened! It was my quilting friends that kept me together that weekend and have celebrated our family since!

A guild friend is in need of a hug these days. One of the ongoing projects in quilt guild is to create what we call 'Hug Me Quilts'. These are specially made quilts for our members who need a special hug for whatever reason.

One of our founding members is having some health issues and has been undergoing chemotherapy. A guild hug is in order!  As I write this, the temperature outside is -34 C ... with a windchill, its around -44 C  The cold will break soon and with that, our longer northern days emerge.

There is no title for this piece yet, but I have been calling is Sunny Joy. I think some sunny joy is in order for our dear friend.

The ladies gave me the top and told me to have fun. They left the backing and quilting up to me on this one so I thought, if anyone needs some early sunshine, its our friend. Isn't this a cheery, fun quilt?
I backed the quilt with a sunshine yellow in lush cuddle. The panto is called Echo Blossoms, and as usual, I used So Fine thread in Snow.

Thanks for being part of my little quilting world!