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

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (101)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Has time been moving slowly for you or racing by? We are aiming to make the weekend feel different from the week days we’ve been spending together in our household of three. I’m especially glad to have the routine of publishing SQBS to remind me it really is Saturday. This is an opportunity to bring along your project(s), share in the varied and inspiring information being circulated around the Worldwide Quilting Community and just BE for a little while 🙂

I’m in need of a fanfare… I actually have a FINISHED project to bring along and share. I completed hand quilting the applique cushion front and made an envelope back (with buttons!). I am so happy with this little step into the world of needle turned applique. The fabric colours actually reflect the current season more closely than the Spring Color Quest Bear Paw block I shared in my previous blog post!

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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

 

 

Touring Quilter – West Country Quilt and Textile Show

A little account of my first visit to the annual West Country Quilt & Textile Show – I definitely give it a big thumbs up. The Show runs for three days every August and is held at the University of the West of England Conference Centre in Bristol. The Conference Centre has a large free car park and is easily reached from the motorway network. There is also a free shuttle bus service from nearby Bristol Parkway railway station.

The Show included: exhibitions of quilts and needlework in competition categories; galleries of quilts and textile art by local groups, national organisations and individuals; a program of workshops; as well as a good selection of traders. There were also two cafe areas serving hot drinks and light snacks along with plenty of seating space for those who had brought refreshments from home. All this on one level of the venue which has excellent overhead lighting showing all the displayed quilts and textiles to their very best.

The dates for the next show are Thursday 20th, Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd August 2020 🙂

Back to the 2019 Show: here are a very few of the inspiring and awe-inspiring quilts that were on display…

Quilts by Helen Howes, photo by Allison Reid
Quilts and patterns by Helen Howes
HST Quilt at West Country Show by Allison Reid
Apologies to the maker – I don’t know who made this lovely HST quilt.

Pears at West Country Show photo by Allison Reid

I was particularly struck by the quilting on this lovely design called Garden Pears by Christine Install.

Sampler Quilt photo by Allison Reid

 

There were several Bargello quilts displayed through the exhibition, the rainbow quilt by Karen Llewellyn-Parsons caught the judges’ eyes.

Bargello Quilt photo by Allison Reid

Stir Fry Quilt photo by Allison Reid

The West Country Quilt and Textile Show provides a great day out – especially, if like me, you have the company of a like-minded friend and a patient daughter! I particularly enjoyed walking around the spacious three-sided gallery spaces used by so many different quilt and textile groups. A great opportunity to chat with the makers and meet up with one or two Instagram buddies too 🙂

Allison