by Debby Kratovil
Actively participating in a Quilt Guild is an exciting adventure, especially if you are addicted to quilting. Some guilds are small and some are large with memberships near to 300 ! Do your monthly meetings follow a routine that is so predictable that if it changed you would be prone to think you showed up at the wrong place? Do you feel sometimes that you would like to add a little extra something to the life of your
guild? Or are you looking for new ideas to maintain the life and spunk of your already vibrant guild? The following are a few ideas that you might consider-- some old and some new.
- Have an Exchange Box (or two or three) present at each monthly meeting.
- One box could be designated as a fat quarter exchange. Put in one fat quarter, take one out. A few rules should be set up: 100% cotton only; measure accurately; prewash (or don't have to prewash). Each month could be assigned a color-of-the-month and announced ahead of time. For example, October could be gold or rust or orange.
December could be red or Holiday fabric. You could designate the next month to be just plaids, or light fabrics (or darks), metallics, or UGLIES. Remember, variety is the spice of life. This exchange does not have to be a formal part of the program--the box sits in the back of the room and guild members "visit" the box before or after the meeting or during a break.
- Another box could be designated for a charm square exchange. Have the size of the squares (ie, 5" or 6") and the packet number (ie, groups of 10 or 20) predetermined. Drop in 20, take out 20.
- Have a Mystery Box. One month it could be a fabric panel exchange. Another month it could be a border print exchange (determine the amount of yardage ahead of time). Another time you could have a UFO (unfinished object ) exchange. Another time could be a watercolor packet exchange (packets of 25 or 50 2" squares). Some women love to exchange
2" or 3" strips of 44" fabric (used in all sorts of projects such as scrappy log cabin blocks). Or a magazine exchange. Or a pattern exchange. Or an anything exchange!!!
- The concept of a Guild Library is not new, but many wonder how the logistics can be worked out. Either designate or elect a librarian. Make her job simple by first giving her an inventory to keep track of! Solicit donations from members of items that are in good shape. Consider approaching local shops, book stores, etc., for discounts and purchase books that have appeal to a wide range of interests. Books, magazines,
videos, even catalogs and articles concerning quilting can be considered. Rather than lugging all the books, magazines or videos to each meeting an updated list of your library's contents can be distributed to each member once a year with new additions added periodically. If a member wants to check out an item, she/he simply phones the librarian, reserves it, and the librarian brings it to the next guild meeting. The item is due at the following month's meeting. Further details can be worked out according
to each guild's size and library.
- A newsletter is vital to keeping abreast of lots of newsworthy items concerning the life of your guild. Most larger guilds produce one on a regular basis (monthly, bimonthly, quarterly). Our guild lists upcoming quilt shows within a 2-hour driving distance. Twice a year we print a list of members with their addresses and phone numbers. A new feature added this past year is an interview with an active member where we
learn a bit about her quilting history, her challenges, her particular interests, and her future goals in quilting. Every other month we have a challenge block. The pattern is printed in the newsletter. For the summer we did a Monkey Wrench in patriotic red, white and blue. For September we will do a 9" Maple Leaf in autumn colors. These blocks are brought to our bees where there is a drawing. Put in one block, you get one chance in the drawing. Some newsletters list birthdays, some have hints, some advertise upcoming quilt shop sales. The sky's the limit.
- Our guild has a friendship block exchange. Small groups of 12 form and each has a designated month. Before your month arrives you are responsible to supply the pattern, color choice, and maybe even a piece of fabric to work with. Members are usually given a month to finish. Blocks are signed with a pigma pen. They are brought to the meeting where all are spread out to gather "oohs" and "ahhs" before becoming the
permanent property of the lucky lady-of-the-month.
Well, as you can see, this is just the beginning of many boredom-busters. Your guild is a place of inspiration, friendship, creativity and, hopefully, pleasant surprises. Take a minute or two to ask your guild members for new ideas that will keep the quilting juices flowing freely. That new book in your library, that new fat quarter from the Exchange Box, that new block challenge in the newsletter may start you on the
road to your next (or first) blue ribbon quilt.
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