Monday, November 6, 2017

Solo Quilter Seeking Guild

Although I've never been big on groups, I really wanted to join a local quilt guild. It is awesome blogging on the internet, but there's nothing like seeing quilts (and merchandise) and feeling the enthusiasm of quilters in person.

In my New Year's Resolutions, one of my goals was to attend a quilt guild meeting. I have a few local guilds, but none of them worked for me. One of them always met on Sunday mornings, so that interferes with church. Two of them met on Thursdays, which interferes with family commitments. One of them required driving to Chicago, and I have a phobia about that. All in all, things seemed bleak.

Then one of my local quilting friends mentioned her guild to me. I was hesitant because it was still a bit of a drive (albeit a super easy one) and it was very large. But then one day something happened that propelled me out of inertia. The guild had scheduled Karen McTavish as a teacher next year ... and I needed to be at a meeting to sign up!

I have admired Karen McTavish's work since I first saw her McTavishing technique. Seriously, how many people have their name attached to a quilting technique like that? The chance to take a few classes with her in person was not to be missed, so I apologized to my husband, left my 2-year-old son with him to look after, and took off on a dreary, rainy Chicagoland Tuesday morning to attend the guild meeting. (Was that dramatic enough?)

I did get into 2 classes with Karen next May, and I'm super excited about that. Furthermore, the guild had a guest speaker that day ... Melissa Corry! I didn't know her by name, but I definitely recognized the book she had there: Irish Chain Quilts: Contemporary Twists on a Classic Design. I made a Irish chain inspired quilt last year, and to this day it remains one of my favorite quilts, and I've wanted to make another one.

Melissa talked at a mile a minute, and I loved that. She was funny, charming, and I could feel the passion and enthusiasm vibing off her. Her Irish Chain quilts were so beautiful and lively, and I knew I was ready for my next scrappy Irish Chain. So afterwards, I went to my scrap bins (which are hid in opaque bins ... purposefully) and discovered:

Yowza! I have a lot of scraps! (What you're seeing is just a part of it. I couldn't capture the whole pile on camera in one shot.) I'll have enough to make several of those Irish Chain quilts and then outfit my children in patchwork. But ... I'm just going to make one. Time to start cutting! This will be so much fun.

Oh, and I bought the Irish Chain book from Melissa and she signed it. I love autographed copies!

It's going to take some courage to participate in the Show 'n Tell, that's for sure, because I'm not sure how the guild will respond to my more modern aesthetic. But for now, I've found my guild!


  1. Hi Liz, good for you for taking that step towards a guild. Even if they don't make modern quilts, I'm sure that some will also be making them. It's the same way with me - I love the ladies in my guild, but very few do art quilts, but it's still worth going to connect and learn new things. Good luck with the Irish Chain - it is one of my favourite books (although I haven't made one yet!)

  2. Wow, how fortunate to have these experiences with Melissa C and Karen McT. Lucky you!!! Your scrappy Irish Chain is destined for greatness. :-)

  3. Good for you finding a guild to belong to and start building up your courage because pretty soon for Show 'n Tell because you're going to be doing presentations soon.

  4. Yay, Liz! Still working on those new years resolutions that most of us have long forgotten. If the guild's guest speaker was Melissa Corry, they must be open to modern quilts. And Karen McTavish is something to look forward to.

  5. That is wonderful that you found a local guild to connect to. I love the online community but I also treasure my local modern and traditional guilds I am a part of.

  6. Enjoy your guild! The benefits of classes and meeting other quilters is great. I feel like the best of guilds have room for all kinds of quilters.

  7. I'm so happy you've found your people! I love my guild. It took me about 6 months before I was comfortable joining in the show and tell, but they are so supportive and it gets easier every month. How lucky you got to hear Melissa speak, and I'm glad you got to sign up for some of Karen's classes. I hope you enjoy your guild!

  8. Liz, I wanted a guild too but my local one was kinda dull. Nice ladies, but I did not find what I was looking for. I took a class at Asilomar's Empty Spools series and was the last to class. I was sitting there in the worst spot in the class when the last attendee arrived...turned out that worst spot was the best thing that ever happened to me! We became fast friends, Ann and I, and through her I met 4 other wonderful quilters from her area. We are now our own quilting guild/sisterhood and when we can't get together (which we do about twice a year, sometimes at Asilomar), we do group projects and challenges through the mail. If you are looking for a great deconstructed teacher, try Rayna Gillman (she has a blog) in Florida. She is incredible!!


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