As a ‘want
to be’ quilter, I learned to leave the old clothes in the closet
and abandon the leftover children’s fabric but I still needed
a place to start. My neighbor and new friend, Faye Page, an experienced
quilter, assured me I needed to join a Quilt Guild.
The mission or purpose of Guilds is to preserve and promote the art
of quilting through the education of quilters and the community. Guilds
may operate under the umbrella of a large organization—others
are independent. They may engage in projects or enjoy sitting and
sewing. The best way to decide which Guild is right for you is to
attend a meeting and find out the agenda of the Guild.
Teeples is so proud to be almost finished her wall hanging. Photo
by Jane Fahey
Choosing a Quilt
Guild was easy for me. As far as I knew there was only one and Faye
Page took me to visit. The Tavern Quilt Guild in Heathsville was established
in 1995 and is a support group of Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s
The first meeting I attended was in the Historical Society Building.
Everyone was welcome—pay your dues, grab a chair, sit and sew.
I met Janet Vaughan and Jessica Servis, who, like myself, were new
to quilting. We spent several meetings transfixed by the workmanship
of the other quilters. Speakers and demonstrations were part of every
meeting. ‘Show and Tell’ was the sharing of the members’
work. We watched, touched and slowly began to try.
Do you know how hard it is to make several corners meet and not pucker?
Should I use my machine or sew it by hand? Fortunately for us, Jeanne
Rose came to the rescue with classes at her shop The Briar Patch.
Salvation! Or rather, a beginning!
The Guild grew and moved across the street to St. Stephen’s
Church Hall. We numbered about one hundred. Monthly meetings on the
first Tuesday include speakers, quilting activities, a business meeting
and food. Quilters need to eat.
Every other year the Guild has a Quilt Gala that involves a quilt
show, auction of quilted articles, vendors, classes, food and fun.
It is usually held for three days in October. Money earned from the
Gala supports RH/HT Foundation projects. The Transportation building
project soon became a reality thanks to the help of the guild.
The Guild moved back across the street into the Transportation Building
in 2006. Home at last! This move is still evolving as the building
is shared and each group is developing its niche and comfort zone.
As with other Tavern Foundation activities we’ll learn to mesh
together. The Guild usually participates in all the activities of
the Foundation such as the Tavern history program for Elementary school
Eilers uses Guild business meeting time to work on her redwork.
Photo by Jane Fahey
One Guild was
not enough. In 1999, Stingray Stitchers, an independent Guild, began
meeting at Phillippi Christian Church in Deltaville the first Monday
of every month from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The dues are $20 per
year. There are ninety members and they are accepting new members.
These quilters participate in the Linus project that provides quilts
to local cancer patients undergoing treatment.
Deltaville is a long way from home and the time is not good for me.
So I wait for the next new Guild. In 2003, three new Guilds began.
Lots of choices for this beginner to make.
The Rivah Quilters, an independent Guild, started in Kilmarnock meeting
on the second Friday of each month at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dues are $20 per year and the membership
is held at fifty with a waiting list. No room!
The Uptown Guild, independent, in Warsaw, meets at the Warsaw Baptist
Church on the third Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The dues are $20 per year and their community project is working with
the 4 H Club of Richmond County to learn quilting and sewing skills.
They are open for new members.
The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum Guild is under the umbrella
of the Museum. They meet at the Museum or Bethany United Methodist
Church on the first Friday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and
members must belong to the Museum. Since this Guild is under the umbrella
of the Museum their projects are fund-raisers for the Museum as well
as personal projects.
Now, 2007, a new independent Guild is forming. This Guild is geared
toward quilters experienced in art and traditional quilts with emphasis
on learning new techniques. They meet the first Friday of each month
from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The next meeting will be in the Heathsville
Library and subsequent meetings will be in the Wicomico Parish Church
in Wicomico Church. There is a $15 fee per year.
Jessica, Janet and I have learned so many skills since those first
days with the Tavern Guild. Each of us has a different idea of what
we want in a quilt. We have different techniques for achieving our
goals. We have chosen different Guilds to meet our quilting needs.
Each Guild has quilters of all skill levels who are willing to share
their knowledge. Guilds are eager to see members succeed and encourage
the trial and sharing of new techniques. Traditional, contemporary
and art quilts are created in each group. Some quilters belong to
So, if you’re a new quilter, or an experienced quilter wanting
to try something different, visit a Guild and check out their aims
and activities. If you like being involved with community activities
perhaps the Tavern Guild or Reedville Museum Guilds are for you.
I spent a day with the Rivah Guild as they applauded each other’s
work whether a UFO (unfinished object) or proudly completed quilt.
Then members went outdoors for fabric dyeing with Cheryl Mathre. They
have a membership waiting list upon which I’d have to put my
name. Hmmm, decision time.
Personally, I will stay with the Tavern Guild and will join the new
Guild since my interest lies in art quilts. Actually, I have difficulty
making all those corners line up with out puckering. Jessica and Janet
are so good at that. If I create a pucker in an art quilt I can say
it is not an accident it is an on purpose. Who is to know? You won’t
tell, will you??
Now, all I need is a friendly BEE, but that is another story for another