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.Β 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 (262)

Welcome to a belated edition of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I hope you have had a weekend full of creative opportunities. Hopefully you will have just enough time to click on the links below to pick up some of the creative inspiration and know-how being shared by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community πŸ™‚

I’m still on my bag-making thing! This week I tried a bag pattern which includes a bit of hardware (bling :-D). The Ana Crossbody Purse by Bagstock Designs was quite a challenge for me but thankfully Julie the Juki was up to the job of powering through multiple layers of fabric, interfacing and foam interlining. Between us we managed to produce a bag with – even if I do say so myself – quite a professional finish 😊

To help with stitching through multiple layers I fitted a Janome Purple Tip needle to my machine. The blurb on the packet reads, ‘The purple tip needle effectively prevents skipped stitches when sewing stretch fabrics, quilt layers and also for sewing across the hem.‘ The needle did produce fairly even sized stitches through the thickest seams and worked well with the Aurifil 40wt thread I used throughout this project.

When it came to top-stitching the narrow ΒΎ” bag strap I came up with a wizard wheeze to keep all the layers together and the open seam edges neatly on top of each other: I threaded the adjustable slider onto the strap and just kept moving it down the long strip of fabric as I carefully stitched the 1/8th inch seam. Worked a treat!

My Ana bag is now listed in my Folksy shop.

I must put my bag-making supplies away now and concentrate on a couple of projects that have imminent deadlines: first my contribution to the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 goes live on 8th July; second I’m planning a one-to-one beginners course due to start on 9th July. The latter has been particularly good for me; for one it’s exciting to be getting into the teaching groove after a very long break, also preparing the course has got me back designing quilts, something I just haven’t felt in the mood to do for months.

I hope you have your creative sew-jo in motion, giving you a lift and a break from the everyday πŸ™‚ If you are in need of help to get stitching (even though you know it would do you good) I recommend Jo Westfoot’s ‘find your sew-jo‘ article published a couple of months into the first lockdown.

And so to a few of the blog posts that could help inspire us and/or improve our patchwork quilting skills:

It’s Week 2 of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 and Swan has a great tutorial showing a way to use up left-over fabric triangles. She also shares a link to Tammy’s scrap busting blog tutorial. Tammy has been experimenting with weaving skinny strips of fabrics on a a simple frame loom – she shares loads of handy tips.

Carole has been given a Quilt of Valor to quilt on her longarm machine. The repeated block design on the quilt top is a chunky Churn Dash with a Sawtooth Star in the centre. It really is a very effective combo. Took me a while to recognise the Churn Dash design – wonder if you see it straight away or have to squint at the photo for a while?

Ever considered Creating an Ombre Quilt? Brittany has made several and has a whole host of tips re. design and fabric choices.

Linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Linking with Sandra for the DrEAMi link up as my Ana bag certainly wasn’t a planned project and did cause me to drop everything and make it! Also linking with Cheryl for the Favourite Finish Monthly Link Up – there’s a lovely gallery of quilts and more to look through and admire πŸ™‚

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (261)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) and be part of the sharing going on in our Worldwide Quilting Community πŸ™‚ Join in by clicking on the links below and leaving messages in the comment boxes of the blogs you visit. Thank you!

How’s your quilty week been? I’ve enjoyed carving out a bit of sewing time and learning new things along the way. I finished a second Pelican Tote (pattern from Bagstock Designs) and this time around I added a recessed zipper closure. My first time doing this, so I was pleased to achieve a neat finish – the pattern was easy to follow.

I plan to list this bag in my Folksy shop but haven’t been able to put together a collection of product photos – grey clouds are keeping natural light levels far too low for photography.

Last night I took an hour to make the fourth block of the Santa Fe Trail QAL. This block is called Snowflake. It was interesting making the corner Log Cabins and then cutting them in half across the diagonal before stitching the block together. Another new technique for me to try!

I fitted my recently purchased Janome quarter inch foot to Julie the Juki (a 2200 QVP mini) and was not disappointed. The Janome foot gives a perfect scant ΒΌ” seam – very satisfying πŸ™‚ I’ve found the Juki quarter inch foot gives a true ΒΌ” which is just a bit too wide for patchwork piecing.

Here are the first four Santa Fe blocks up on my design wall – each measures 12Β½” unfinished.

The plan is to create a cohesive quilt using blue scraps from my overflowing blue bin. At the moment the blues I’ve used all seem to be fighting against each other for attention, hopefully my next fabric choices will bring them together. Melva has shared a photo of her finished Santa Fe Trail quilt so we can see how the twelve blocks will fit into a quilt layout. Seeing the finished quilt has made me more determined to stick with this QAL πŸ™‚

A Blog Hop Announcement: This blog, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting, will be seven years old in October. My blog is my social media home. The connections I’ve made with other bloggers and with readers mean a lot to me. Now, after all these years I’m actually contributing to a ‘blog hop’! I’ll be posting a tutorial on 7th July linked to ‘The Summer Scrap Elimination 2021’ blog hop organised by Swan Sheridan over at Swan Amity Studios. Swan has kicked off Week 1 of the blog hop by posting an original patchwork block with a detailed tutorial. She’s enlisted seven guest designers – including yours truly – to contribute a scrap-busting tutorial to be published on Thursdays from 17th June ’til 22nd July. I’ll endeavour to include the links to the weekly blog hop posts both here and on Instagram– I can see from the contributors list there will be an exciting variety of projects and techniques to get us in the mood to eliminate our scraps!

I’m still a bit behind in reading blog posts but have been making time to catch up, so slowly but surely my email in-box is emptying and I’m getting closer to being up-to-date (with reading blog posts anyway!). Here are this weeks links, I hope you will be inspired and find new bloggers to follow as you click your way through:

I just love the super bright quilt-as-you-go quilt Elana is sharing over on her blog ‘That Fabric Feeling’. So colourful and there’s a story behind the quilt too. Elana also shares the doll clothes she’s making from novelty fabric. They are bright and cheerful too – all her makes are destined for distribution by charities.

Linda has been making keepsakes for family members using scraps of vintage fabrics found as they were clearing her grandparents Ohio farmhouse. How lovely to have something practical and attractive as a tangible link with past and living family members. And here’s the follow-up post of the bitter sweet reunion of family members for a final visit to the farm and an opportunity to distribute the keepsakes.

‘In The Stars’ is the name of Kirsty’s latest quilt pattern. It is designed to be fat quarter friendly and although it’s full of stars there are no points to match! So a great stash buster and quick to piece – win, win!

Have you been to any sewing workshops via Zoom? Yvonne gives us a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a successful on-line workshop.

Blue fabrics and square shapes have been calling me through the email notifications this week! First there’s a fascinating pattern called ‘Friendship Quilt’ that adds depth to the appearance of the patchwork – pattern available from Myra at Busy Hands Quilts; secondly this Gingham Quilt, a squirrel project, by Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon. Both have me so tempted to dive into a new project…

Katy has made a kaleidoscope quilt using a large African style print cut down into Hourglass blocks. See the finished quilt here and there’s a link to a previous blog post explaining how to cut and piece the blocks.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday as I can celebrate a finished bag and a house full of not finished projects!

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (260)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share πŸ™‚ I hope you will find time over this weekend to relax, bring along a project or two and share in the inspiration filled conversations doing the rounds of our Worldwide Quilting Community.

So a little bit of a catch up. As you may (or may not) have noticed Saturday Quilting Bring & Share took an unscheduled break last week. After the quiet, sheltered, home-centric existence of the past 15 months our little world has unexpectedly gone through some significant changes. Happy things have happened as a result; our short break by the sea and spending lots of time with family (even seeing all three of our children and their partners together – nearly a year since that last happened). The past week has seen the culmination of the changes. We are a tad weary now as our minds continue to process all that’s happened and our emotions settle. We are so thankful we are all well; modern tech is keeping us in touch with family members who have moved away; and, most thankful of all, we know change happens through God’s will and within the hope His eternal plan brings us.

Alongside the personal changes has been the belated and most welcome onset of Summer after one of the coldest, wettest months of May on record. There has been plenty to do outdoors with rapidly maturing seedlings needing re-potting or planting out and many weeds to be composted.

Slowly emptying my greenhouse of plants now the temperatures are rising and the frosts are long gone.

Working outdoors is such good therapy isn’t it? I nearly always feel the reward of spending an hour or two at the allotment – both in seeing the effects of my ‘labours’ and being made aware of muscles benefitting from the workout!

I have been even more scatter-gun than usual in my approach to sewing but remarkably I do have two finishes to share! Neither were planned! First up: I finally added the binding to the Basket of Blooms wall hanging πŸ™‚

I had plenty of the golden yellow gingham in my stash so the binding matches the flange I added with the borders way back when… I hand stitched the binding to the back in time for the piece to be hung for our guests to see. The Basket of Blooms block/cushion cover pattern is a design by Jo Avery available as a pdf from the Quilters’ Guild.

My second finish is a bag.

Lots of new materials and techniques for me to try in this free ‘Pelican Tote’ pattern available from Bagstock Designs. I did mange to keep a record of my progress, along with links to the resources I found helpful, so I will share all the details in a separate blog post – too much to share here πŸ˜‰

Sorry I’m sharing so few links to inspiring posts this week. I will apply myself to my brim-full email in-box in the coming days and have more to share next week πŸ™‚

Lorna has captured the haughty expression of a camel perfectly in her latest animal patchwork design.

Wahoo! Another way to use up scraps of fabric! Linda shares the braided rug she is making – the spiral pattern is intriguing.

Rachel has shared a comprehensive Economy Block tutorial. She has included a tip to ensure directional prints run in the same direction around the central square. Useful, as I know I can spend ages trying to puzzle this out and still get it wrong!

Yvonne Fuchs is well known for her carefully designed transparency quilts. Here she delves into colour blending theory. It is quite deep but give it a try, Yvonne’s explanations are clear and created with patchwork quilters in mind.

Lot’s of wonderful inspiration in the gallery of the ‘Favourite Finish Monthly Linkup‘ run by Cheryl aka Meadow Mist Designs.

Linking my finishes with Michelle for Beauties Pageant and Wendy for the Peacock Party.

Happy Stitching!

Allison