Someone asked recently for permission to distribute the following post to their quilt group. It made me think it would be worth reposting today. It’s good food for thought—and if you’re not in a quilt group of some kind, I hope you’ll consider finding one.
I moved recently from Colorado, just one state north and east, to Nebraska.
Now that I’m settling in, the time has come to start checking out the local quilt guilds. I wonder which one might be a good fit for me in this new place. I live in a rural area but am within one hour of several larger towns where guilds exist. So far I’m aware of four different groups I’m going to visit.
Tonight is the first meeting I will attend. It’s been a long time since I was the new kid on the block, and I wonder how it will go. I’ve visited quite a few guilds as a speaker for Quiltmaker, and their personalities vary. Some are laid back and friendly and lovable, some are loud and boisterous and hilarious, a few are somewhat reserved, even rigid.
I will never forget the meeting I visited where the president said it was time for new people to take over the leadership. When nobody volunteered, she stood silently in front of the group. It took quite a long time but eventually someone caved.
It was excruciating. I was mortified.
I’m not expecting anything like that again, but my anticipation of tonight and of visiting all these new groups started me thinking about what makes a great quilt guild. Here it is, IMHO.
- A quilt guild should be friendly, friendly, friendly. This is quilting. It’s not the Marine Corps.
- The leadership should be happy, happy, happy. Their attitude (whatever it is) will spill over into the group.
- All members should be contributing in some way: bringing treats, show-and-tell, putting a quilt in the show, raising dollars, welcoming visitors, something.Everyone should do something so that no one has to do everything.
- The business meeting should be short. The Show & Tell should be long (but not long-winded, see #5).
- Show & Tell should be encouraging, uplifting and appreciative!
Each participant should speak briefly. In a great guild, every quilt is applauded and every member lets others enjoy her finishes by bringing them to Show & Tell. If she has serious stage fright, she asks a friend to speak on her behalf.
- The programs are important but they are not the meat and potatoes! The quilters themselves are the meat and potatoes. The relationships quilters have with each other make a guild cohesive and fun. Going to quilt guild should be about hanging out with old friends and about making new ones.
* * * * *
A little over three years later, I’m happy to report that I’ve settled into two guilds in different towns and started a small, informal quilt group in the rural area where I live. I’ve made real friends and there are still many more quilters to become better acquainted with. I did rule out two guilds: one is very large and it’s hard to break into, and the other turned out to be too far away for what I felt they offered. They’re not bad groups by any means, they just weren’t a fit for me.
Again, I’d really encourage you to investigate whatever quilt groups are in your area. I think you’ll be glad you did.