Quilting, creating, even running a quilt related business can be very isolating. We set aside "me time" to work on our creations,, but that time is often spent alone in our sewing rooms, with only our sewing machines for company. With this tendency to hibernate in our sewing rooms, many of us crave a quilting community where we can join with other quilters who like to do the things we like to do! We want to hang out with people who enjoy fabrics, sewing, and learning about our quilt hobby. Where do you find your quilting community? Let me know by leaving a comment. Do you find your quilting community in person or online?
Over my next few blog posts, I will be talking about finding your quilting community, and today I will start by talking about Quilt Guilds.
I joined my quilting guild over 25 years ago. We have a meeting tonight and I am so looking forward to it! I'll tell you why in a minute, but first, let me tell you a little about my guild.
I found my guild when I was working at Cranston Print Works Co in Webster, MA. I worked as a color chemist, but knowing that I was a quilter, it quickly became part of my job description to visit quilt guilds and give presentations on the fabric manufacturing and printing process. A local guild contacted Cranston and asked for a presentation, so I was "volunteered" to go with one of our VPs. When I got to the the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild, I felt like I had found my "People"! After the presentation that night, I joined the guild.
My guild has been a source of friendships, competition, comfort and encouragement over the years.
Friendships: When I first joined the guild, I was a 20 something with no kids. Three kids and 25 years later, these women are some of my best friends. People have come and gone from the guild and I now have friends all over the country that I met through Thimble Pleasures. I look forward to traveling to shows near and far where I can reconnect with guild members who have moved away. Tonight I may meet a new Quilting Friend! We have a secret Santa Gift Reveal, and who knows who my Secret Santa will be? Can you keep a secret? The quilt on the top of this post the gift that I am giving tonight at our Christmas in July celebration. Maybe the person who receives it will also become a new friend!
Competition: While our guild is noncompetitive in general, there are times when some friendly competition is a very good thing for growth. Friendly competition comes in the form of game nights, guild challenges and even quilt shows. Let me give you an example. Years ago I entered the guild's Garden Challenge. For that challenge I created Eve's Garden, my first ever fusible applique quilt. Eve's Garden has hundreds of leaves on it! This quilt inspired me to figure out a way to cut leaves in a faster, easier way. Shortly after making this quilt, I invented my Leaves Galore templates. Without that friendly competition, I never would have created that quilt and I never would have invented Leaves Galore!
Comfort: Most Quilt Guilds are all about comfort. In our guild, a comfort committee shares a little bit of sunshine with anyone who needs comfort for any reason. When my son was diagnosed with Leukemia, not only did he receive a quilt from the quilt to take to the hospital, but was gifted a beautiful heart quilt that made me feel like I was wrapped up in the guild's love. Hmmmm...was this an inspiration for my next invention, the Hearts and More templates?
Encouragement: The guild is my sounding board for ideas. When I have a new quilt I am experimenting with, it goes on the design wall during a guild retreat. As a creative design unfolds, the encouraging words of the guild inspire me to create, to refine and to complete my designs. Suggestions abound, and together we come up with amazing work. When I invented my tools I was so excited about what they could do! The guild was the first place I turned to see if they were of interest to others and they encouraged me to pursue making tools to sell to other quilters.
I know for a fact that my quilt guild has had a huge impact on the quality of my quilts, but in fact it has effected my whole life. Though their friendship, competition,comfort and encouragement I have become a better quilter, and have even chosen quilting to be my business, my source of income and a huge part of my life.
I hope you will consider reaching out to other quilters in an actual, in person quilt guild, and see how your world can be made a little more colorful with quilters in it!
Next time, I will be talking about other forms of quilting community by looking into Online Quilting Communities!