I recently visited the Ladies of the Lake quilt guild to find out what they’ve been up to and photograph projects that they have been working on. The turnout at the First Congregational Church was good and things were in full swing when I arrived. Everyone was busy with rotary cutters, sewing machines and a giant bolt of batting.
At one table ladies were working on scherenschnitte or “paper cutting;” I learned that the Germans had taught Hawaiians the craft, who adapted it to their own flora and ultimately to textile design and the quilts we all know today.
While there I met Barbara, who spearheads one of their most important projects, David’s House in VT. When they started making the quilts for David’s House 20 years ago, they created 45 quilts; this year they made 373! They visit David’s house twice a year, and will be heading up there on June 20th.
….we supply quilts to local police departments to distribute to families in emergency situations and to local programs that provide services to families in crisis. The guild provides batting for those quilts to any member who requests it.
The funds also support programs that promote quiltmaking among school age kids. Previously, the focal program was an annual quilt block making contest. That is currently being redesigned to be a non-competitive program more focused on the art and skills of quiltmaking.
The guild does two retreats per year; they just came back from their late April retreat at Purity Springs and will do another one in November. Marilyn told me that in addition to working on their quilt projects, they eat delicious meals, play games and spend time together. Sounds like fun!
Sarah showed me some wonderful catnip mats that she made with some very fun kitty panels that she found. She’s making them for cats who were abandoned when their owners moved away. She also works with girls in the Sew Sleepy Club program that teaches them to sew by making pajamas, pillow cases—and for the last two years—quilts.
I checked out the landscape quilt class upstairs, and saw some amazing work! The group was in the process of selecting fabric for their quilts to match photographs of their homes, or in one case, the Mt. Washington Hotel.
They treated me to a very delicious lunch and an invitation to return, which I will probably take.
The next day they came by to have me photograph a quilt that they are raffling off. Louise gave me some details of this breathtaking quilt:
There were 6 guild members on the committee and over 50 members who worked on elements of the quilt. Before selecting a pattern, the committee established as a goal to produce a quilt that celebrates both the art and craft of quiltmaking and the collective talent and dedication of the members of LLQG.
We actually never selected a pattern per se. Rather we found a raffle quilt online made by the Northeast Suburban Quilt Guild in Arlington Heights, Illinois that emulated what we hoped to make, and that quilt became our inspiration. We opened communication with that guild, and now have an established and ongoing relationship with them. While we were inspired by their quilt, we made some modifications, primarily to include applique elements to ensure that virtually all of the basic quilting techniques were incorporated in the design.
We went through a rather intricate process of selecting a colorway. Committee members rounded up scraps from their stashes to pin down to the extent possible what colors were to be used, with color wheels handy, we played with those scraps until we were in agreement on colors. Fabrics for the quilt were purchased at Keepsake Quilting, primarily in one memorable shopping trip. One committee member who arrived first was standing at the door with a bolt of fabric that included all our colors. It was the perfect focus fabric which appears most predominantly in the log cabin border. With six of us running madly through the store for hours, we were able to select all the fabrics that are now in the quilt—with one exception: the original gold fabric in the outer border had to be replaced with a better color shade.
Marilyn Ray accepted our request that she oversee the applique elements. She designed the center block and, I believe, did all of the applique work in that medallion. She had many ladies assist with the appliqued borders.
The design of this quilt helped to ensure a broad spectrum of participation. Each border, each Mariner’s Compass corner square, each pieced block was crafted by a separate quiltmaker. A favorite tidbit: the very final task, sewing on the binding, was done by two members, one whom proudly admits to being in her 90s and loves to sew bindings on the quilts we make for David’s House, and another veteran member who was thrilled to be able to work on the quilt. They did not know one another previously but have become BFFs over this project. Their work, by the way, is impeccable.
The committee who shepherded this quilt through the production process was amazing. Every aspect of that quilt represents a group decision-making process, even the placement of each color in each of the blocks! Each member had unique skills to bring to the table, but what made this group special was their willingness and capability to work collaboratively as a group. I admit to having no objectivity whatever, but I honestly think that the harmony inherent in the process of making that quilt resonates in the quilt itself. It is a beautiful thing, “Quilters’ Rhapsody,” for sure.
The drawing of the winning ticket will take place in September during our luncheon. In the meantime, we will be selling tickets at various venues in the lakes region ($1 each or 6 for $5). 50% of the raffle quilt proceeds is designated for educational/service projects. (Such as the Davids House, [police] cruiser [quilts for children], and comfort quilts)
Raffle tickets may be ordered by mail, from guild members or at local venues. Instructions for ordering tickets are on the guild’s website; the address is www.llqg.net. Click on the icon lableled “Raffle Quilt 2012.”
On the drive back, I kept thinking about all the things that guilds do for the community, and for each other. It’s very social, productive, rewarding; and it’s only as good as the people who devote their time to it. I saw great passion, pride and enthusiasm in everyone there. I left with a glow that carried me through the rest of the day!
To find out more about the Ladies of the Lake Quilter’s guild, visit their website here: http://www.llqg.net They have some wonderful photos of quilts they’ve made and trips to David’s House.
For information about David’s House: http://www.davids-house.org/
Article in the Union Leader about LLQG and David’s House: http://www.llqg.net/nhnews06132011.html