My favorite quilter is Angela Walters. She has fabulous designs that I can do and I find that so many of her designs fit into my quilts quite nicely. I have learned so much about quilting and starting a quilting business from her books, her website: www.quiltingismytherapy.com., and the class that I took a few years ago when she was in Lincoln. One of the things that I have kept in mind is her five tips on getting customers -- 1. Join quilting groups, 2. Always carry a business card, 3. Encourage referrals, 4. Be innovative, and 5. Remember that you just need one! I knew that joining a quilting group would not be possible until I retired from teaching, so this fall I made sure that happened.
I was familiar with the Panama Quilt Guild because of the articles written about their meetings in The Voice News. I knew that they had monthly meetings and seemed to be quite active. I had also met one of their members when I was shopping in JoAnn Fabrics a couple of years ago and she encouraged me to join when she found out that I lived near Adams.
It has been a long, long time since I have put myself in the uncomfortable position of walking into a room where I knew no one and most everyone else did. But on September 27th, even though I was scared to death, I did just that by going to the quilt guild meeting in Panama. I told my husband before I left home that if no one talked to me, then I just wouldn’t go back again. Thankfully that was not the case as everyone was very welcoming.
Several items are on the agenda for the meetings each month. They usually begin by talking about quilts and items that are to be donated for charity. At the September meeting, members were encouraged to choose a crayon from a bag and
take a pattern to make a 12” quilt block of a cancer ribbon. I drew a light blue color which is associated with prostate cancer. The blocks will be collected throughout the year and one of the guild members will assemble the blocks, quilt it, and then donate it to the Nebraska Cancer Research Center. For the December meeting, members are encouraged to bring hats, scarves, and mittens to be donated to the City Mission. At the October meeting, a member brought about 10 boxes of fabric that someone had donated to the guild. Some of the fabric was already cut into 4” squares, so it was suggested that those be assembled into quilts and donated to the City Mission.
Each meeting has a program given either by a member or someone outside of the group. At the first meeting, a lady from the quilt guild in Seward did a trunk show of her quilts. It was interesting to see her first quilts compared to those that she had done more recently. At the second meeting, we were encouraged to bring one sewing tool that we loved and one that we wondered why we had purchased in the
first place. I took the Angler-2 -- a template that helps in stitching diagonal lines -- a tool that I use almost daily. I also took the Wing Clipper -- a ruler that is supposed to help in making flying geese blocks. I never have figured out how to use that tool. Or maybe I just need to take the time to figure it out. I’ll put that on my to-do list! The latest meeting featured a lady from the Quilted Moose in Gretna who showed us her method of doing applique. Since I currently have an applique quilt on which I am working, I am really excited to try her ideas. I also have a list of supplies that I need in order to try those ideas. I’m sure glad that Christmas is coming!!
Another fun part of the meetings is Show-and-Tell -- a great way to get to know the members of the group. Everyone has their own special interests which is what makes quilting so much fun -- so many different things that you can do. One member loves to make bags. One member does only hand-quilting. A few members have long-arm quilting machines and some hire someone else to complete their quilts. Some are beginners and some have been quilting for years. I decided to be brave and take a quilt for the first meeting -- and I was so glad I did. I took the quilt
that hangs in our family room as it was one of the first that I completed when I got my long-arm and it is a quilt that I just love. One of the members commented that she didn’t think I was a beginner!! For that last meeting, I took the t-shirt quilt I had recently completed and a couple of quilted ornaments that I was making for a Christmas wreath. After the ornaments were passed around the group, one of the members suggested that I do a program and teach the group how to make them. Wow!! I guess that is one way of becoming very active in the group right away!!
Needless to say, I’m so glad that I got out of my comfort zone and took the chance of going to the Panama Quilt Guild meeting in September. I have really enjoyed getting to know the members and I’m excited to be a part of the charity events that they have planned. And maybe I’ll even gain a customer or two along the way.