Local Quilt Guilds – changed by lockdown?

I wonder if you belonged to a quilt guild/group before Covid struck? I belonged to Roundabout Quilters, Basingstoke. We had fewer than fifty members, meeting twice a month – one evening to share a sewing social, the other to listen to a speaker (usually someone from outside the group). Attendance and membership were in a bit of a decline, enthusiasm for holding the biennial quilt show was getting harder to muster and then meetings suddenly stopped as social restrictions and lockdowns came into force. A year later and, having consulted the membership via email, the Committee came to the difficult conclusion that Roundabout Quilters should be permanently wound down, it’s financial assets being donated to a local charity.

Sandown 2019 Group Quilt (1) by Allison Reid
Roundabout Quilters group quilt hanging at the National Quilt Championships, Sandown exhibition in 2019. Later in the year the quilt was the main raffle prize in the Roundabout Quilters local exhibition.

Another, larger, quilt group in the area is in consultation with it’s members about how to proceed once social distancing restrictions in the UK come to an end.

How has Covid affected your local quilt group? I wonder if your group managed to make the move to meeting on-line for socials and talks during lockdown? Is it emerging stronger? Will it go back to it’s pre-pandemic format or have some of the changes made during lockdowns become the new normal? What do you see happening to quilt guilds in your area over the next 6 to 12 months?

Since non-essential retailers re-opened in April I’ve enjoyed working a few hours a week in my local quilt shop. It’s been good to have that little return to normality; social interaction with other people interested in similar things is healthy isn’t it? From conversations I’ve had with customers (some known to me through local guilds or workshops) I can see the pattern of guild membership and attendance is shifting in our area. Anecdotal evidence of course, but here is what I’ve gleaned:

  • There are still a lot of people wanting to learn patchwork quilting – there’s certainly no shortage of enquiries for a beginners course at the shop.
  • People seem much more keen to be doing workshops (on-line or in person) than to be going out in the evenings to a meeting about patchwork quilting.
  • Many friendship groups formed within guilds have remained strong. In-person small gatherings to chat and sew are thriving and privately organised sewing retreats are happening.
  • Lot’s of learning is going on on-line and there is interest in attending workshops to develop skills – I have seen that many quilt shops already have a busy programme of classes underway.

Do any of these observations resonate with you? Guilds have certainly been a great way to bring like-minded people together, developing friendships that then foster sewing socials and retreats beyond the bounds of the guild. I wonder about the consequences for our quilting community if traditional guilds offering a formal programme of lecture-type evenings are indeed in decline?

  • Where will people who are new to patchwork quilting discover more about the craft, be integrated into friendship groups or create their own circle of sewing friends?
  • What will become of those who regularly give talks at guilds?
  • Will new guilds emerge with a different way of doing things – less focussed on formal meetings with guest speakers, more orientated to sewing socials or workshop style gatherings?
  • If guilds are in decline will local quilt exhibitions become a thing of the past?
  • What effect could this decline have on local quilt shops which gain income by regularly having ‘pitches’ at guild meetings and exhibitions?

As we stumble our way out of lockdowns and social restrictions are you experiencing a shift in what is expected of or required from a local quilt guild? Please do share your thoughts and perspective on ‘What’s Happening to Quilt Guilds in 2021?’ Thank you!

Allison

 

Dashing Stars and a Moravian Star

Hooray! For finishing projects! And Hooray! For sharing a creative hobby with like-minded people – a great way to find inspiration and grow friendships 🙂

I’m fortunate enough to participate in a monthly sewing day in a warm hall in the middle of the beautiful Candover Valley, Hampshire. Yesterday was the last Thursday of the month, the date of our regular gathering. Surrounded by like-minded ladies, good conversation and the gentle whir of sewing machines I made steady progress on not one but three projects 🙂

First up: I machine stitched the binding to my third version of ‘Dashing Stars’, the pattern used in the Beginners Course at Purple Stitches. It feels great to have another finish under my belt 🙂

Dashing Stars 3 finished by Allison Reid

Next: I turned to the log cabin project. This began in response to a request for a Log Cabin workshop. A few weeks ago I worked out a pattern using two methods to make a Log Cabin block. I then set-to with a Moda Jelly Roll – ‘Vive La France’ – and my low volume stash to make thirty-six Log Cabin blocks. I enjoyed myself, writing out the methods and pattern as I went along but had to admit that making two sets of 18 blocks would be too much to do in a time-limited workshop….  Back to EQ7 and my design wall … I decided on a more manageable workshop-friendly design using just sixteen blocks.

Log Cabin Workshop quilt top by Allison Reid

Yesterday I stitched my sixteen blocks together to make the workshop example. I’ve ordered some plain Moda fabric for the border and I have several strips left over from the Jelly Roll – enough to make a coordinated scrappy binding.

IMG_4276And my third sewing day project: A Moravian Star. I started this on Tuesday evening at a meeting of Roundabout Quilters. One of the members of the group kindly prepared templates and demonstrated how to paper piece this rather spectacular decoration. I’m using five fabrics from my Christmas stash and some scraps of wadding. It’s a long, long time since I’ve embarked on a English Paper Piecing type project and I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying it.

(The image to the left is from a free Moravian Star tutorial on the AQS website. Unlike the pattern Roundabout Quilters are using, the AQS pattern does not use wadding to pad out the diamond shapes).


Moravian Star segments by Allison Reid

Twelve of these five-piece segments are needed to construct the Star. I’ve decided to give this decoration to a friend as a Christmas gift – a decision that should spur me onto a finish rather than the creation of yet another UFO!

All-in-all a very enjoyable and productive sewing day. Linking with Alycia for Finished Or Not Finished Friday – she’s been working on a modern version of the Log Cabin block.

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (78)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. So lovely to have join this virtual sewing day. Bring along your project(s) and share in some of the conversations and inspiration being discussed in the Worldwide Quilting Community. Please do leave your thoughts and links in the comments box at the end of this page. Thank you!

This weekend I shall be out of my sewing room for much of the time as we have a Church family event to celebrate and this is the weekend of my local quilt group’s show. We set up the quilts yesterday and are hoping for many visitors to come gaze at the quilts, sample the homemade refreshments and enjoy a bit of retail therapy at the trader stalls. More details here.

Square in a Square ready for quilting by Allison Reid

When I do get a few minutes at my sewing machine I will be starting to quilt the second Square-in-a-Square quilt. I made the binding some time ago, the label is part of the pieced back so everything is in place for a smooth finish 😉 I’ll be posting progress pics on Instagram @allisonreid.neweverymorning

And so to the links into the Worldwide Quilting Community… You can find more links to useful patchwork quilting tips and tutorials by clicking onto my regularly updated Pinterest board, Pins of the Week.

Do you have ‘orphan blocks’ hanging around in your sewing space or buried in your scrap baskets? Orphan blocks = those blocks left over when projects finish, test blocks and the like. Cynthia takes us through her method for rescuing her orphans, bringing them together and lovingly adding a few new fabrics to make a little quilt. 🙂

Amy’s use of co-ordinated fabric scraps in this version of her Dart quilt pattern really appeals to me. The use of black & white fabrics in each of the 6″ blocks makes for an eye catching patchwork.

Stephanie is giving us the heads up re. a Quilt-A-Long to accompany the release of Lori Holt’s latest book ‘Farm Girl Vintage 2’. The picture blocks in the book look great, all around the theme of countryside and farming. See a video featuring the blocks and quilts here: https://youtu.be/STndcqJzrwE

Carole Lyles Shaw’s improvised curves technique looks like a lot of fun and she shares her students work to illustrate that curved piecing can be a stress-free experience. I want to have a go…

Suzy initiated a thought provoking discussion on Instagram under the title ‘I can’t Even Tell It’s Handmade!” – A Makers Dilemma’. The comments she received in response to publishing this reaction to a piece of her work form an interesting discussion. In her blog post Suzy generously concludes ‘As makers, we must forgive our awkward fellow humans with questionable craft education and forge on, bringing more and more beauty into the world! But when in doubt, even if it’s hard, take it as a compliment!’

Shannon Brinkley is sharing her thoughts on creativity in a series of articles, ‘Awaken Your Creativity’, published in her email newsletter. The first in the series is entitled ‘Inspiration for Creative Work’. These words got me thinking:

“When you’re putting yourself in the way of beauty– when you’re seeking out inspiration, try to do this regularly outside of the quilt industry. 

The quickest way for your quilts to look like everyone else’s quilts is to only draw inspiration from other quilts.” 

To read the whole of Shannon’s email subscribe here.

I linked yesterdays post about my finished quilt ‘Coral Sea’ to Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty for her regular Friday link up celebrating finished projects. Her post was about her love of creating pieced backs for quilts. I received several comments about the pieced back I made for Coral Sea so thought those of you who missed the link might like to click over to Michelle’s post today 🙂

To keep with the pieced back theme here’s a sneak peak of a back I’ve made for a cot quilt. I’ll post more about the quilt once it has been gifted.

Snoopy Baby Quilt finished back by Allison Reid

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (68)

Whew! It’s the weekend! Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share: an opportunity to bring along your project(s) and share in the conversations, tips and advice doing the rounds of the Worldwide Quilting Community. Please leave links to your projects and/or the conversations that have caught your quilty interest along with your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page. 🙂

First a big thank you to the ladies who came along to my Patchwork Workshop yesterday. It was a good day and everyone left happy with their completed foundation paper pieced and crazy patchwork blocks. I have posted photos of these lovely blocks on Instagram, @allisonreid.neweverymorning, and Facebook, www.facebook.com/NewEveryMorningPQ . Unfortunately I can’t post any photos here as I took them on my phone and have no idea how to transfer them to my laptop! (The one thing I did forget to take to the workshop was the memory card for my camera!).

Last week it was my intention to get the Square-in-a-square quilt tops sandwiched ready for quilting. That didn’t happen as prep for the Workshop and fiddling about with half square rectangles filled my sewing time. (And this little corner of England is bone dry – no rain for weeks – so watering the garden and allotment are becoming time consuming priorities).

Thankfully an email from Myra reminded me that I needed to complete the next stage of the Jelly Roll Waves QAL. This week is all about cutting up our fabrics. I’ve chosen to make the small lap top quilt using the strip piecing method. I’ve divided my main fabrics into lights and darks in the hope that my blocks will create an ombre effect across the quilt….

Jelly Roll Waves QAL cutting by Allison Reid

On Tuesday evening I attended the AGM of Roundabout Quilters. (It’s been a good year for the group with guest speakers, workshops and sewing days. Looking ahead, our biennial exhibition takes place through the weekend of 21-22nd September. Over the August break there will be lots of work being done to promote the event and ensure it runs  smoothly). At the AGM I spied a lovely work bag on the arm of one of the members. She gave me the pattern name and I am now the owner of a copy of the ‘Crafter’s Carry-All’ pattern by Quilters Trading Post.

Crafters Carry-All pattern cover by Allison Reid

The pattern arrived super quick through the post. Goodness knows when I’m going to make the bag…. But I especially like it as it doesn’t have any zips 😀 I guess inserting zips is something else to add to my long list of skills to learn? 😉

As for sewing this weekend….? Well! I’ve become one of those bloggers with ‘secret sewing’! Get me! I’ll even give you a ‘sneak shot’ 😀 of the gorgeous Oakshott Fabrics I’ll be using:

Oakshott Fabrics by Allison Reid

That’s all the bringing I’m doing this Saturday, now onto the sharing: I hope you find plenty to interest and inspire you through the following links:

Making a memory quilt from well worn fabrics holds challenges especially when those fabrics come from clothes worn by a much missed loved one. Bernie takes us through the making of a memory quilt with useful tips about choosing a design and stabilising and utilising the fabrics given for the project.

I know I’ve mentioned labeling quilts once or twice before… But Izzy has such a quick way to add a label to a quilt that there really is no excuse for missing out this step in the finishing a quilt 😉 Check out her tutorial here.

Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts has some handy quilting tips when using minky as the backing fabric for a quilt.

It’s a while since I’ve done any hand quilting. Wendy is making a beautiful job of stitching out the designs on a Sashiko panel. In her blog post she also shares photos of a quilt she made featuring Sashiko stitching in alternate squares – it really is very striking.

If you are thinking of using the services of a long-arm quilter to do the quilting stage of one of your projects Stephanie has some handy tips re. how to prepare your quilt top and backing as well as the options you will need to discuss with the long-armer (is that even a word?).

Seems to be a bit of theme running through this weeks links: Jen has some useful tips for piecing quilt backings and shows how she bastes a quilt sandwich.

Watching You Tube is definitely one of those occupations where ‘one thing leads to another’… I clicked on to the Creative Grids tutorial to find some tips for using my Perfect Rectangle Ruler… when the tutorial finished it ran onto an Angela Walters video… so I learned how to quilt Paisley Feathers too… 😀

Linking with Myra for the Jelly Roll Waves QAL.

Happy Stitching!

Allison