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Grand Quilt Guild: bringing community together one stitch at a time

With about 129 members currently, Grand Quilt Guild encourages everyone to join, from beginners right through to very experienced quilters

An avid group of quilters come together to not only pass on their traditions, but also to embrace and encourage the new.

Wellington County’s Grand Quilt Guild preserves, promotes and expands the heritage of quilting in the community through education and intergenerational sharing of ideas and skills.

“Quilting is a lot of work, but the finished product is well worth it. It fills you with a sense of pride whether you have one on a bed, or hang it on a wall. There are so many different things you can create.” said Susan Harrop, co-president of the Grand Quilt Guild.

“It’s a fun group. And we are trying to encourage more young people to join,” Harrop said.

With about 129 members currently, the Grand Quilt Guild is comprised of people who enjoy quilting, from beginners to accomplished artists.

The Guild meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion in Fergus.

“Along with our monthly meetings, we have a sewing day once a month at the Elora Legion where you can work on your own project or work together," Harrop said.

During COVID, the Grand Quilt Guild met via Zoom.

“We still have a few people who prefer to meet on Zoom and join in from home,” Harrop said. "Hence we have hybrid meetings monthly."

“But COVID-19 did offer us the opportunity to have guest speakers from far way, from Western Canada and even Australia. It was and still is wonderful.”

For the first time since 2018, the Grand Quilt Guild will host the Quilts on the Grand 2024 event on June 7 from 10:00 a.m. to  7 p.m. and June 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex.

The event will include displays of quilts, quilt challenges, vendors and contests.

“This is our fourth quilt show. We stared in 2012, and we had one in 2015 and 2018. And then COVID-19 hit, and we just put it off. So, this will be our first since 2018,” Harrop said.

"It's a lot of work but its so much fun. And on June 6th, we will open at no cost for those in long term care, retirement homes and assisted living for a special day. They can come out and view the quilts. It's more relaxed for them with fewer people."

The Grand Quilt Guild received a Centre Wellington Community Impact Grant to help with costs for the event.

"We applied and were given a $3,000 grant from the township. We are very thrilled about that," Harrop said.

The quilt show will include bed quilts, lap quilts, wall hangings, and miniature quilts.

"We hope to have about 250 quilts on display for people to see," Harrop said.

"And of course, we will have tearoom and an area 'in memoriam' for 13 members who passed away since 2018. We will have a picture on display and a little story about them."

The Grand Quilt Guild also hopes to get local youth involved.

“For our quilt show, we have reached out to our high school art classes, the Elora Centre for the Arts, and to the local 4H clubs to get involved,” Harrop said.

The Grand Quilt Guild promotes quilting and needlework and is proud of its community endeavours. Each year, the Guild donates quilts and quilt related items to support worthy charities.

"Part of our outreach also is to make 'comfort and cuddle' quilts. The quilts are hand quilted twice a month at someone's home. These quilts go to a member who has lost a spouse or partner. These lap sized quilts will also be on display at the Quilts on the Grand event," Harrop said.

The quilts are made and machine quilted by the membership with some 280 donated during the 2021-2023 Guild seasons.

“I think a lot of quilters would say there is just so much to choose from today because there are so many people that create patterns," Harrop said. 

For Harrop, quilting is about choosing patterns and colours that speak to you. 

“Sometimes, just by looking at a particular quilt and at the colours, I know who made it," Harrop said.

"It really is magic as you sew the patterns together and see what you can create."

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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community
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