Today was a quilt guild meeting day. (I was gonna take pictures to illustrate how I spent my morning, but dead batteries are to blame for the lack of photos.) I am a member of the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, a pretty active group of quilters which meets twice monthly on thursday mornings. I was reluctant to join a guild, for several years. I couldn't figure what the advantages would be, and I imagined a staid group of little old ladies who would insist that points be sharp, seams match, and everything be hand-quilted.
I couldn't have been more wrong. The SRQG is a lively group of women (and two men, think, who probably unbeknownst to them become the subject of our immature jokes about male members, long arm machines, and the like.) It's an amazing and productive group of really talented quilters. Several members (like Judy Mathieson ) are nationally known quilters, teachers, artists, and judges. Many of them have won awards for their quilting skills. And they're friendly and funny and very welcoming. I was most impressed when I visited the group a few times before joining.
I've discovered many advantages. First, and foremost, are the great friends I've made. It's surprising, at my advanced age of 40-ahem, to find friends who feel like true, bosom-buddy, I can say anything to sort of friends. So the fact that I've stumbled into a nice bunch of them through the guild is a great gift. If not for the guild, I wouldn't know them.
And, finding them through the guild means that they not only understand my obsession with quilting, they share it. They are partners in crime, essentially. When one of us wants to shop for fabric, ALL of us shop for fabric. And they'll talk quilting endlessly. And offer critiques, or kind pats when something goes awry.
The other best part of the guild, for me, is that it connected me to my art quilt group, "the Pointless Sisters." (So named because perfect points simply don't matter to us.) We meet one tuesday morning each month, and share ideas, projects, problems, and other art and quilt related stuff. It's a very fun group. We're about to wrap up a year-long group project which has been a fun stretch for all of us...more on that later, and with pictures. I promise.
Our guild also has an amazing library, with a librarian who seems to know each book by heart. It's been a great way to get to peruse those big art quilt coffee table books I can't afford, magazines from Australia and Japan, and the newest quilt books that I would like to see once but probably wouldn't use much if I bought them.
There are other marvelous advantages, too. Great programs from talented quilters, workshops at bargain prices, a room full of women to learn from or ask questions of if I need help...Plus, the opportunity to contribute to "quilting for good" (versus "quilting for evil" which sounds like the subject of a future blog...). Guild members make literally hundreds of quilts each year to be donated to homeless, children's centers, nursing homes, and other deserving places.
I'm grateful to have the guild in my life, and if you haven't become a member of one, I'd highly recommend finding one and giving it a try. (And if you don't like one, try another... I "shopped" quilds and attended several meetings of a group I didn't find comfortable at all. You just never know.)