When I began quilting, I didn’t know any other quilters. I didn’t know how to go about meeting them either. Because I’m an early adopter of technology, I was already online, so I took advantage of the internet to help me. I found a group and it turned out that one quilter who posted regularly, Sharon, lived not too far from me – about a 25-minute drive. She invited me to come to her house for a casual gathering of quilting friends.
My shy nature made it very hard for me to go, but I did, and it turned out to be a great thing for my quilting journey. Meeting other quilters showed me that there was way more to my new craft than I imagined. Eventually, Sharon formed a guild that I joined a few years later. That was what I needed to move forward with my quilting, allowing me to see what other quilters were doing and learning new techniques. It also gave me the opportunity to develop new friendships with people who understood my love of quilting.
Meeting others by joining a guild
If you’re new to this wonderful art and craft, or you’ve reached a roadblock in your progress, I think that joining a guild is the best thing you can do. Some guilds meet once a month, others more often, some meetings are during the day, others in the evening. Not all quilt guilds are good fits though, so if you don’t feel comfortable with one group, consider looking for another. Like all social groups, the members differ, along with the goals. It may take a bit of trial-and-error to find the group for you.
Guilds also give educational opportunities to its members, such as workshops or sessions with special guests. It was through these workshops that I learned techniques like cutting and sewing curves, used in this Taxi! piece, and the One Block Wonder technique.
For sure, I could have learned these online, but having a class in person helped me make mistakes and have the instructor explain to me why these mistakes happened and how to fix them.
Joining online groups
Although I thoroughly enjoyed belonging to a quilt guild and benefitting from all the experience around me, I’m very introverted and going out on a regular basis to spend time with people can be hard for me. I get stressed when I’m around a lot of people, even if I want to be there. So that’s when my online quilting friends fit the bill. I joined an online group many years ago. It has since shut down but many former members became part of a new one, Our Quilting Beehive – The Buzz. It’s an email based group, but we also recently started a Facebook page for members who prefer to communicate that way. There are members across the U.S. and a few of us in Canada. I had the opportunity to meet some members several years ago when they had a “swarm” in Burlington, VT, which is only a 2-hour drive from Montreal. The swarms move every year and I’ve not had a chance to attend another one, but I do hope to.
Facebook to the rescue
Facebook has many pages devoted to different aspect of quilting and meeting others. I joined the One Block Wonder FB page after I took the workshop, but if you’d rather follow a group dedicated to a designer’s fabrics, there are those too. Kaffe Fassett Collective, for example, focuses on his fabrics. I also joined a few longarm groups – one dedicated to the type of machine I bought (the Grace Q’Nique) and one about longarm quilting in general.
If you join the any groups, be sure to read and understand the rules before you start posting. Posting about forbidden topics is the fastest way to get removed from a group. For example, some sewing or quilting groups forbid any posts about selling things. It’s usually best to spend some days reading other posts to see what the culture of the group is like.
Websites and blogs
If you’re reading this blog post, then you’re already searching for online information. I also have a Facebook page highlighting the posts here and discussing other topics. Ask your friends where they like to visit to read or learn about quilting. And if possible, join in the discussions. Being part of a community s much better if you participate. Even beginners have something to offer.