Quilt guild stitches together education, charity work
At this month’s meeting, Nance Larsen shared information about how she learned to make a basket using clothesline and material.
“During our business meetings, the biggest thing is show and tell,” said Karen Nolte, who founded the guild with Larsen and four other women about a year ago. “Whatever we made we bring, and we brag about what each other’s done. It’s really fun to see what others are doing.”
The women, former members of a much larger group, formed the guild “just to be smaller.”
“In a smaller group we can get to know each other and have a closer friendship,” Nolte said.
And instead of breaking off into small quilt groups, known as bees, Nolte said, “We all meet and sew on Saturday Sew Days, which with the other group was impossible.’’
During the six-hour Sew Days there is a potluck lunch and working on projects, including community efforts members sew on the machines they bring.
The guild’s focus is fostering youth education and charity work, Larsen said.
“We don’t have home ec in the schools, and I’ve noticed a lot of young people who don’t know how to sew,” she said. “I think it’s a good skill to have and it can certainly be creative.”
“We’re trying to make the guild attractive to young people and mentor them along,” Larsen said. “Even through the theme of educating young people with a hands-on approach and some demonstrations, we’re educating ourselves and each other. That’s what is exciting.”
Community projects have included sewing aprons and table runners added to holiday baskets at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, where the guild meets and holds Sew Days.
Guild members also bring unwrapped toys, food and projects they’ve made to their annual holiday party, and then donates them to Rock County Human Services Holiday Family Needs Program. They created and donated a quilt for a HospiceCare raffle and made some Little Dresses for Africa.
“We’re just kind of doing little projects,’’ Nolte said.
In the past year, the guild has grown from 12 to 30 members. Those involved come from Janesville and the surrounding communities and they range in age from 9 years old and higher. Skill levels are all over the board.
“We help each other out when we sew, and in our meetings we have mini sessions on how to do things like how to put a binding and borders on a quilt because everybody does it a little different,” Nolte said. “It’s nice we’re able to interact that way.’’
The Friendship Stars Quilt Guild meets for show and tell at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday each month at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 1422 Center Ave., Janesville.
Sew Days are from noon to 6 p.m. on the second Saturday each month at the church. Cost is $5 per person. Bring a sewing machine and food/tableware for the 1 p.m. potluck.
Annual membership dues are $20 for adults and $10 for youth ages 9-17. For more information, visit friendshipstarsquiltguild.blogspot.com.