Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Patchworkers Quilt Guild

For the last two months, I have joined in with the Patchworker Quilt Guild in my county. They are part of the Homemakers Association out of the county extension office. Among other things, that means that my annual dues of $7.50 pays for my membership to the guild. If you've ever considered joining a quilt guild, you know what a big deal that is. Guilds can be very expensive!

Part of the reason I've attended these meetings is because I wanted to get a feel for the club for an article for the Spencer Magnet. (Read "Circle of Friends" here.) But I wouldn't be writing these articles if I wasn't interested in the subject. My interest in quilt making goes back many years.

My maternal grandma and great-grandma both made quilts that covered my family when I was growing up. These quilts were beautiful, but utilitarian. They consisted of squares cut out of left over fabric or old clothes and are mostly made of polyester fabric with a bed sheet backing.

I decided when I was about 19 that I wanted to learn to quilt too. Grandma gave me a pattern and helped me find some fabric - including some of her scraps and some of my brother's old shorts - and we started cutting out the pieces. Unfortunately, Grandma got very sick and passed away soon after we started the project. I've done bits and pieces over the years, but my quilt still isn't finished.

After I lost Grandma, my quilt interest grew into an obsession. I started buying magazines and books and learning the names of different quilt patterns. I was a history major in college and started researching the history of quilting. I actually wrote my senior thesis on the history of quilting, including a 30 minute presentation with visual aids. (I wish I had a recording of that.)

My Mama and I took a quilting class together in the fall of 1997. I have both of our unfinished quilts now. Hers is a little more finished than mine. I chose my colors to match my bedroom at the time, so it's a little outdated now. I still would like to finish it because it is pretty.

I also purchased enough fabric to make my daughter an Olivia (the pig) quilt for her bed. I've gotten as far as cutting out the blocks, but now I'm a little afraid to sew the flannel together. Apparently, I do really need this quilt guild!

I have been involved in clubs and activities before that have devolved into backbiting and gossiping. (And please don't say that's what you have to expect when you get a group of women together. That is insulting and untrue.) At the first meeting I attended of the quilt guild, a member stated that her husband pointed out that there are Sunday School classes he knows who don't get a long as well and for as long as this quilt guild does.  (I didn't publish that quote in my article for obvious reasons.)

I am thrilled to find a group of women who are interested in quilting and in learning and teaching others to quilt. I am accepted by the group. The women do not mind that I bring my 3 year old daughter, and compliment her behavior. I am by nature fairly shy, and even when I am going somewhere with the intention of meeting new people, it can take me some time to get my nerve up to approach anyone. I was pleasantly surprised by the women who remembered me on my second visit and came over to say hi.

I hope that these articles will encourage local women to check out our Homemakers Association, but I also hope that my experiences will encourage those of you who are not local to look into clubs in your own area. I have heard rumors that some homemaker clubs expect members to be a certain kind of women. I believe this organization is important enough, though, that I encourage you to look into it.

If you don't find what you're looking for, talk to your county extension agent about starting a new club. It doesn't hurt to ask.

1 comment:

Alisha said...

My paternal grandmother sewed and was quite gifted in the fiber arts. I wish I had been able to spend more time with learning the craft. I am an elementary sewer, but would like to improve my skills. I'm glad you found a place that feels so welcoming!