Why Should I Join a Quilt Guild?

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 7.28.47 AMGuest Post by Emilie Kahn

Many people think that a quilt guild isn’t for them – 20 and 30 something’s especially. Most of the hesitation to join a guild comes from a lack of information and a fear of not being “good enough” to join.

I had some questions myself about joining a guild so I decided to go to the source and pose my questions to some current guild members. Hopefully their answers will dispel any worry or doubt about joining a guild – and perhaps even encourage you to give it a try.

What is a quilt guild?

A guild is an organized group of people with a similar interest, in this case quilting or fiber arts. Think of it as a large quilting club. Most guilds will have regular meetings (either monthly or quarterly) for members to attend. They often have members in leadership positions  (such as president, treasurer, historian, etc.)  to help the guild function effectively

What happens at a quilt guild meeting?

Meetings will generally feature a presentation on a certain topic or a guest speaker as well as a “show & tell” portion of the meeting so everyone can be inspired and have some fun sharing their projects. There is also time to talk about upcoming events hosted or attended by the guild.

Are guilds only for experienced quilters?

While a good number of guild members are experienced in quilting and fiber arts, there’s also a quite a few that are still learning the ropes. Newbie quilters (someone who’s been at it less than five years) can especially benefit from what a guild can offer.

Can anyone join?

The belief that and that guilds are all made up of elderly women is a fiction. The populations of most guilds are quite a bit more diverse than most people would imagine, guilds welcome professionals and homemakers, young and old, women and men.  Most guilds will ask you to fill out an application to join but it’s more for finding someone’s interests or skills and how they can best contribute to the community.

Is there a limit to the number of members in a quilt guild?

Different guilds have different limits. When there is a cap on membership – there is usually a reason: wanting the feeling of community that a smaller group can provide, the size of the meeting space can be limiting and not being able to serve and keep track of everyone if the group is too large. Others have no limit allowing for endless possibility and growth in the membership. Larger guilds can offer many subgroups to cater to more specific interests like hand quilting, hexagons, or appliqué.

What are the benefits of being part of a guild?

A community of knowledgeable members is the biggest benefit. A ready and willing source for information in the other members; chances are there’s someone who knows something if not everything about every quilting technique out there.  A guild is a fabulous place for learning new techniques, seeing examples of others work, guild retreats, workshops, sew days, block challenges and quilt shows.

What’s expected of quilt guild members?

It depends on the guild. In a small guild members may be expected to take turns holding leadership positions. Some guilds have a minimum service requirement, for example two hours helping set up and take down tables at an event, some merely require you to pay dues and come to most of the meetings.

What does it cost to join and be part of a guild (membership dues / etc.)

Dues can vary from group to group. Most will have an annual fee and events, classes, and retreats are extra. Most guilds have a website that you can check out – the dues and any other membership fees are normally included on the guild website.

How do I find a guild to join?

One option is to ask your quilting buddies, they may be a member of a guild or know of one that you can check out together. Another option is to visit your favorite local quilt shop and ask. Sometimes they will have great suggestions or be able to point you to a group that will fit your interests. You can also take to the internet with a search or visit Quilt Guilts.com (http://www.quiltguilds.com/oregon.htm) has a list of guilds organized by city – though it is not exhaustive, it may be a good place to start.

How do I know if the guild I am considering is the right fit for me?

The best way to know is to go to a meeting, meet the other members, and find out what the group is all about. The groups may ask you to stand and introduce yourself or sign a guest book, but there’s no commitment to stay.

Many thanks to Kristi Castanette of NW Patchwork Society, Christy Ripkowski of NW Patchwork Society & Columbia Gorge Quilters and Brittany Scott of Portland Modern Quilt Guild. They were kind enough to answer my many questions and I appreciate their input very much!

Happy Quilting!


If you enjoyed this article please visit Emilie’s blog at www.SeeSawSew.com