In the spirit of friendship… and just being curious, I thought it would be fun to visit our sister modern quilt guilds and see what they were up to. Bonny and Kat decided to join me on my adventure.
First off… when I originally thought of this I didn’t check the calendar. I had no clue that the 3rd week of each month was so popular for quilters! Philly Guild meets on the 3rd Tuesday, we meet on the 3rd Wednesday, and North Jersey is the 3rd Thursday. So yes… that meant 3 nights in a row we attended a guild meeting. I don’t know about you all… but I’m getting to an age where one outing at night a week does me in! Three in a row was a bit much. However… I enjoyed every minute!
Philly Modern Quilt Guild was first on the hit list. I attended a meeting of theirs about 6 years ago when they were meeting in a youth group recreation hall. Jan (owner of Pennington Quilt Works) and I were considering the idea of forming a Modern Quilt Guild based out of her shop and went to see what all the hoopla was about. That trip was the seed that started the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild.
Anticipating the drive to be about an hour and a half, we left early enough to allow stopping for dinner along the way. Bonny spotted an Italian place along the route which ended up being pretty good.
Wow! The Philly Guild has certainly GROWN in the past 6 years!!! There were over 40 members in attendance and now meet in a spacious classroom on the Salus University Campus in Elkins Park, PA.
There were quilters of all levels and styles. They run 2 Bees… one for beginning quilters, who showed off their positive/negative churn dash blocks, and the other for more advanced sewers sharing their Snail Trail blocks which were either paper pieced or patched depending on the choice of the maker. The most important lessons we took from this were the ‘rules’ to joining the Bee. Only 12 members per Bee were allowed… and each member was committed to participating in all 12 months by making 2 blocks each month. It’s a solid commitment… with a completion check off list to hold everyone accountable.
This guild has a Block of the (every other) Month Lottery. This month’s selection was “Be Good to Your Heart” by Amy Smart (www.diaryofaquilter.com). Our travel group was told of this before hand in case we wanted to participate. You write your name on a slip of paper, one for each block you made. A name is drawn and the winner gets them all! This month’s winner received 13 blocks to make into an adorable Valentine quilt. Both Kat and I donated our blocks… Bonny finished hers into a mini quilt and donated it to Rebecca’s Reel Quilters as an auction item for their upcoming Quilt Show in May. The rest of the year is already planned out… here is the link if you want to see what they are: http://www.phillymodernquiltguild.com/p/bi-monthly-block-raffle.html
Their governing style is the same as most guilds… President, Vice President, etc… However they have added one more little tweak, for the sake of continuity (and smooth transition) only 2 executive board positions are on the ballot each year. Food for thought.
After a 10 minute snack break the meeting resumes with their scheduled program. Usually they divide up into 2 demo groups for instruction on some exciting technique or program, and switch after 20 minutes. Both groups get the full value of each program. The night we attended however was not ‘usual’. Instead, they swapped their Holiday gifts.
It was explained to me that November and December are super crazy months, so they decided to swap their holiday gifts each January instead. Using an online App named Elfster, whoever chooses to participate goes online and fills in the questionnaire. Elfster assigns each participant with a receiver’s name and preferred ‘likes’. You may then ask your receiver specific questions anonymously. The parameters the guild set up were… 1. Do not spend more than $35 and 2. One item must be handmade. Each gift was absolutely AMAZING… and received with such gratitude and appreciation. The entire process was heart warming! Personally I drooled over a Kaffe Fassett scarf that was handmade from Rayon. I have been searching the Internet for a source, but so far have come up empty handed.
Show and Tell ended the night… and OH what a sight! Speak about inspiration!!!! Everything from adorable baby quilts to magnificent masterpieces, held up for all to see. Our little brains were reeling with future quilt ideas!
The drive home was un-eventful… until Kat realized she was locked out of her house!!! Uh-oh! Her trusty police department sent a cute officer to the rescue. All in all in was an adventure.
Next up, The North Jersey Quilt Guild whose meetings are held in Cedar Grove, NJ. Kat was familiar with the area, so volunteered to drive this time. Originally this group met in a local store, Rock, Paper, Scissors… and have since outgrown the space and recently re-located. Welllllll…. Once I heard there was a cute quilt shop to visit, I just HAD to add that to our itinerary. Yes, of course I found some yardage I couldn’t live without… AND at 40% off!!! Kat joined me in the thrill of the hunt, while Bonny showed masterful restraint.
What’s New Jersey without a diner??? Kat remembered eating at Park West Diner for lunch many times, so for old memory’s sake we agreed to go there for dinner. Yum!!! There’s nothing like diner food!!! It was difficult to select from the vast menu… but Bonny and I made quick decisions and put the menu aside. Kat however wanted something specific, which apparently is only on the lunch menu. A quick call to a friend of hers… who happened by coincidence to be eating at the same diner that exact moment, got her what she wanted.
Needless to say… we were a little late getting to the meeting.
I was warned by their President, Daniela to expect a bit of confusion as they were meeting for the very first time in their new location. Following the phone GPS directions we drove ‘in’ the ‘out’ driveway of the parking lot, then we walked through the back door instead of the front door to the church. Eventually we made it to our seats and were warmly welcomed. So in the end, we seemed to be the ones who were confused.
The meeting began with Old Business, New Business, Membership, and announcements. The mention of the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club a few members had joined interested me, so I did some research when I got home. For $5 a month you get an in-depth quilting technique taught by top instructors. There’s an option of paying $50 for the entire year in addition to picking and choosing your months. It’s kind of awesome and I think I might try it. Check it out… http://luckyspool.com/products/mighty-lucky-quilting-club
I was impressed with the Charity Committee. A local man had contacted the guild explaining his wife, Myra had passed away and he would like to donate her fabric (4 carloads full!) to be used for Charity work. The Committee created bundles of co-ordinating fabrics as best they could for guild members to take and make into quilt tops. If you didn’t want to quilt it, or bind it, you were encouraged to return it for someone else to do the next step. As long as a finished quilt resulted, they didn’t care how many people worked on it. During Show and Tell a few members talked about how they ‘channeled’ Myra while using her fabric. Very cool!
During break you could take a look at the FREE table. The rules here were… place on the table anything you no longer wanted/needed. Any member was invited to give it a new home. At the end of the night, if it was still there, you needed to take it back. Kat picked up some yardage of heavyweight burgundy felt (which the previous owner was so thrilled she was taking that she went out to her car in the freezing cold parking lot to retrieve more to give her)… and I scored a quilt book with TWO quilts that inspired me.
The program for the evening was a trunk show… of a guild member! It’s something new this guild is trying. There are so many wonderfully talented quilters they thought it would be nice if each did a truck show of their own things. Andrea was the very first presentation. She was originally from Austria and began quilting here in the US in 2005. Her stuff was AWESOME!!! She began her truck show with the very first project she ever made… a paper pieced pillow… with instructions to the group NOT to tug on the top aggressively, as she didn’t know anything about ¼” seams… and believed hers were 1/8” if she was lucky. Her creativity and talent were awe inspiring, but it was her humor that stole the show.
A tough act to follow… was Show and Tell. Four guild members stood together and shared their own Holiday Swap. Each were instructed to use the same reversible tote bag pattern, and fill it with 3 to 4 gifts. Ahem… one member we learned never follows the rules, and put in 6 items. Again, just as the Philly Guild proved, these gifts were just as special and amazing. One recipient even received 2 pair of hand knit socks. Show and Tell continued with not only the display of many beautiful quilts… but the heart-warming stories behind them. Ohs and ahs could be heard throughout the room.
During our own meeting, sandwiched between these two, we discussed the issue of whether our Facebook page should be public or private. This guild solved the problem by having two pages… one of each! What a simple solution to a new generation problem.
I personally enjoyed these trips immensely. Not only for meeting and sharing with like minded quilters and experiencing sister guilds, but also to get to know two of our very own guild members a little bit better. The time shared in the car gabbing about our lives and views, and taking the time to eat together is so rewarding. I have learned that Kat could use some help setting up her Grace Frame and putting together an IKEA unit to get her sewing space in order (I’ll make an all points bulletin for these tasks in the near future) and that Bonny loves to count down the distance before you have to make a turn (600 feet, 500 feet, 50, 10, 5, NOW!). I wouldn’t know these things any other way.
The next road trip is planned for Saturday, February 6th to the Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA. Please join us if you can.
I’m hoping to plan more ‘road trips’ in the future. Perhaps a ‘Shop with Me’ to Pennington Quilt Works, or a longer trip to the Amish Country in Lancaster to spend the day fabric shopping will be announced. Is there some place YOU want to go?? Let me know, and we will get a group together! We take turns driving so not any one person bares the expense… however, if too many want to come along I am not opposed to hiring a bus.
Woo! Hoo! Quilters on the go!!!