Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quilters seeking new members

The Cabin Country Quilt Guild is looking to grow, with prospective members encouraged to drop by an open house this evening in the Shaw Room at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre to see what the group is all about.
“We understand it can be a little intimidating to walk into a room alone, so that’s why we thought the open house idea would be good,” explained guild vice-president Kim Roy.

“People are welcome to come on in, ask some questions, see what we do,” she added, stressing that by attending the open house, people are not making a commitment to join.
Roy said given one of the features of their meetings is a show-and-tell portion, there will be plenty of quilts and projects for people to look at.
The group, which has about 25-30 members, meets on the first Wednesday of the month from September to May, normally at the Zion Lutheran Church here.
While the business meeting begins at 7 p.m., the members get together at 6 p.m. to have an hour to work on projects.
And it costs just $15 to join for the year.
“It’s not a big commitment,” said Roy. “It’s just good to get together because it sparks that creativity.”
Not only do guild members work on their own projects, but they also have done the “Luncheon of Hope” quilt biannually, a New Year’s baby quilt each year, and quilts for residents of Rainycrest.
Roy said the guild is not-for-profit and it doesn’t qualify for lottery licensing. However, they have helped raise a lot of money for other charities in the community by donating quilts to other groups, who then have raffled them off.
She indicated the group has been in existence for a long time, but has had a couple different reincarnations and a few different names.
“We’re always looking for new members and just a new spark,” she enthused.
Roy noted people don’t have to know everything about quilting. In fact, she said you can join the group knowing very little about quilting—as long as you are interested in learning.
“We try to bring in teachers when we do have the opportunity,” she remarked, adding members who are particularly talented in a certain area also sometimes give a demonstration.
“There’s always a learning component to what we’re doing,” Roy reasoned.
“And it’s the simplest of sewing—it truly is,” she added. “It’s just piecing.
“It’s a whole different thing than making clothing. It just straight seams.
“There are techniques to learn, but it’s still just a function of straight seams and one-quarter inch seams,” Roy reiterated, though conceding there is a lot of planning that happens.
“You don’t need to have really advanced sewing skills, just a desire to see the finished project.
“That’s the thing that keeps me coming back—the finished project,” Roy enthused. “I love owning it, I love giving it away.
“There’s something about giving something that is going to bring someone some comfort.”
“I like to know what’s out there and you get to see so many different varieties of quilting,” Jodi Holden, the guild’s current president, said about why she joined.
“There are so many talented people in the district,” she added. “You just don’t know until you get out there and see what people are doing.”
Holden said the guild also links together other crafting groups.
“It is a quilt guild, but there are so many people in the group who are so talented, you can learn so much more than just quilting,” she enthused.
And she stressed the group is open to all ages—young and old.
“There are a lot of young quilters out there. We just haven’t found that all yet,” Holden chuckled.
“There’s always that connotation that it must be a bunch of old people, which isn’t true,” echoed Roy.
“There are a lot of young women who are interested in that creative aspect of life.
“And all quilts don’t look like they belong in an old person’s home,” she added. “There are an awful lot of modern fabrics and patterns out there.”
Holden, the youngest member of the guild right now at 33, began quilting eight years ago when she had her daughter.
“My sister-in-law is a quilter, so she got me started and I made my daughter’s crib set,” she explained.
“It started there and it becomes almost an addiction because you like seeing all the things you can make.”
When Roy took her first quilting class, meanwhile, she didn’t even own a sewing machine.
“I hated sewing,” she recalled, noting she borrowed a machine and made seven quilts before she bought her own.
“Then I thought, ‘Okay, I guess I am a quilter.’”
Still, near the end of her first guild meeting, Roy intended to go home, stick her fabric in the corner, and re-evaluate what she had been thinking.
“Then someone said we are making an heirloom,” she remembered. “And that’s when I thought maybe I would come back. . . .
“I do like thinking that a quilt might be around for someone to remember,” she reasoned, noting she got addicted to quilting pretty quickly.
Roy said she hopes people come out to the open house to see what their group is all about.
“It’s a lot about quilting, but it’s just also about the community of women,” she remarked.
“It would be so nice if we could continue to grow; continue to have people come who bring something different because there are so many different kids of quilting and so much to learn.
“It’s unbelievable what’s out there,” Roy enthused. “We would love to see more people and more ideas.”
The open house begins at 6 p.m., and there will be coffee and dainties, as well as plenty of quilting projects to view.

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