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When I say the word quilt, what comes to your mind? Do you immediately think of a grandma or a lady in your church? Do you remember a summer naptime routine or spooky fall nights under the stars, telling ghost stories? Did you take a class or try to learn a new skill with all kinds of stitches going in different directions?
I immediately want to curl up on the floor of my Grandmother’s sewing room. There was always a cup of coffee on the corner of her sewing table and some kind of cartoon for me on the box TV in the corner of her sewing room. After she passed, my mom’s friend took her scrap box and made us a large quilt that tells the story of many Easter Dresses, Christmas pageant costumes, my papa’s shirts, and a stuffed animal or two. It is a treasure.
I think that’s the point of quilts. For many, they tell a story. Some designs and patterns stem from generations where women and a few men, gathered to build community. They would work on individual projects and set aside time to help each other finish a quilting project for a wedding gift or a new baby.
Photo used with permission from Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
The Arkansas Quilters Guild community has a three-prong mission.
In its most basic form, a quilt guild is a group of people who gather to share their love of quilting. While each group sets goals and individual projects, many establish a regional nonprofit to preserve the craft. Groups will often meet to learn new techniques, share the art form’s history and even offer a show-and-tale opportunity for its members. Sometimes, the groups provide service projects for a local nursing home or hospital. Many guilds even offer online communities to share digital designs and online communication platforms.
One of the most valuable benefits of joining the Arkansas Quilters Guild is access to expert advice and insider tips. Within the Guild, you’ll find a community of experienced quilters eager to share their knowledge and expertise. From traditional quilting techniques to the latest trends and innovations, you’ll have the opportunity to tap into a wealth of wisdom that can help you take your quilting to new heights.
The Guild offers workshops and classes led by skilled instructors passionate about quilting. These sessions provide a hands-on learning experience where you can ask questions, receive personalized guidance, and gain valuable insights that can make a real difference in your quilting journey.
In addition to formal classes, the Guild fosters a mentorship and collaboration culture. You’ll have the opportunity to attend guest lectures from renowned quilting experts, participate in panel discussions with industry leaders, and even gain insider access to local quilt shows and exhibitions.
With a strong foundation of skills and a supportive network, you’ll be ready to extend your quilting endeavors. One of the ways to showcase your talent and connect with the wider quilting community is by participating in local and national quilt shows. These events provide a platform to exhibit your creations, receive valuable feedback, and gain recognition for your work.
Monthly meetings, quilting challenges, and annual conferences and retreats are three specific ways to participate with the statewide Arkansas Quilters Guild based in North Little Rock.
The group meets monthly on the second Monday at the North Little Rock Community Center. But you can come early at 5:30 for the social hour and interaction with other members. Attendees wear a handmade nametag for each of these gatherings.
The Guild also has a monthly project challenge where participants work independently and bring their final creations to an upcoming meeting. The current project is a mystery quilt challenge and a paint chip challenge where participants stop by a store to get a swatch of material, and everyone follows the same pattern instructions with their own set of fabrics.
During the fall, the Guild hosts a retreat and simultaneous Quilt Show. This year’s show will be at Terry Library in Little Rock from Oct. 11 to Dec. 18. Whether you participate or not, check out the artwork by local members. Additionally, the Quilt Arkansas retreat is held in the fall of odd-numbered years with educational opportunities and sit-and-sew sessions.
Learn more about membership benefits and participating with the Arkansas Quilters Guild. Learn more about other quilt guild meetings in towns across Arkansas, including the Ozark Fall Quilters retreat.
Images from the Arkansas Quilters Guild, unless otherwise noted.
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