A Gathering of Quilts

by Anna Contini
The Royal City Quilters Guild began as one woman’s simple vision. Almost a decade ago EvelynYLane was in search of fellow quilters and decided to put an ad in the local papers and fabric shops.Approximately ten people showed up at the first meeting in 1991 but the Guild soon grew exponentially. Today the group boastsa membership of 135, drawing from Guelph, Fergus, Elora, Rockwood, Cambridge, Waterloo, Conestogo, Hillsburgh and Campbellville. Two years ago the Royal City Quilters Guild began planning their first major show, A Gathering of Quilts, to take place May 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, at the Royal Canadian Legion, York Road in Guelph.

“The show represents a real milestone for our Guild,” says member Jackie James. It will showcase a wide variety of works such as contemporary and traditional bed quilts, wall hangings, miniatures and clothing. Some of the more unusual pieces include quilted bowls and a type of fabric decoration created with sewing machines. The show will also feature over forty entries of the Challenge exhibition where participants were invited to submit a piece no bigger that 160 inches round on the theme of “transitions.” Other highlights will be quilting demonstrations, a merchants’ mall, a silent auction and various raffles. There will also be a raffle for a spectacular Millennium Quilt, tickets selling for only $1 and half the proceeds going to Guelph Museums.

The Royal City Quilters Guild meets on the second Tuesday of every month from September to June at Westwood United Church on Willow Road. The meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and generally run to about 10 p.m. Members have an opportunity to “show and tell,” and there is usually a guest speaker. For example, Leslie Wilson from Ottawa recently spoke about The Meaning of Quilting in Women’s Lives. “We have some extraordinarily-talented quilters but also many beginners,” says Diana Magrath who is one of a handful of founding members of the Guild. Workshops with a quilt-related theme are also run on a regular basis at the Turfgrass Institute on Victoria Road, and there are several smaller off-shoot groups such as quilting bees of six or so who get together at each other’s homes.

One of the special projects of the Guild is producing Memory Quilts for babies who are either stillborn or who die shortly after birth. The grieving parents can bring home a small quilt in memory of their child, explains Magrath, pointing out that the program was started locally by a woman in Cambridge whose baby had died. The Royal City Quilters Guild also regularly produces raffle quilts for various groups in the community.

To see and learn more about the multi-faceted art of quilting, come out to A Gathering of Quilts or consider becoming a member of the Royal City Quilters Guild.

Tickets for A Gathering of Quilts are $4. For more information about the show, contact Jackie James (519) 824-1342. For general information about the Royal City Quilters Guild, contact Diana Magrath (519) 836-3933.