Quilts and friends

Published 7:45 pm Thursday, August 19, 2010

During the Suffolk Quilter’s Guild monthly meeting, there is a teaching demonstration during which experienced quilters share some of their own tips and techniques.

Whether it is running, cooking or shopping, every woman has her outlet.

While quilting began as a technique used to produce items of warmth or protection in first century AD, it is much more than functional skill.

For many women, it provides camaraderie with other quilters, relaxation, a creative outlet and a way to create lasting memories.

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Since 1987, the Suffolk Quilters’ Guild has met to enjoy and share their common passion for quilting.

“We’re just a guild, where we meet and exchange ideas,” Guild President Beverly Shockley said. “We get together and share our projects and ideas with one another. It’s a time to fellowship with one another.”

The Suffolk Quilter’s Guild meets the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the BASF building on Wilroy Road.

During the organization’s August meeting, 36 women — five guests and 31 members — were in attendance. The guild has a total of 52 members.

At each meeting, members have a show-and-tell and demonstration, and once a month they participate in a Saturday workshop.

“We have a program chair person who demonstrates a technique,” Shockley said. “We also take the time to work on some unfinished products. It’s time to teach and learn new techniques and maybe quilt a pattern.”

Shockely has been a member of the guild for three years but has been quilting at least 40 years, she said.

Because of the extensive abilities that members in the guild have, she said she is always learning new things, despite her many years of quilting.

“For only $20 a year, which is our membership fee, you can’t imagine the wealth of knowledge you receive,” Shockley said. “Each time I come away, I bring home a new skill that will create a memory. You’re always learning new things, no matter how long you’ve been quilting.”

While the group teaches new quilters and experienced quilters new skills and gives an opportunity to share finished projects with one another, the members also put their talents to use for the community.

Each year, the guild participates in two community projects to donate to the organizations and causes.

“It’s a way to give back to the community,” Shockley said. “During Christmas, we’ve made ornaments for children. In the spring we did wheelchair caddies for a nursing home. We’ve done clothes for seniors at the nursing facility, and even baby blankets. Whatever need we can identify that our quilting can help, we do.”

The guild is open to the public, and a variety of skill levels are welcome to attend.

“You need a little creativity and sewing knowledge, but if you have those, quilting may be for you,” Shockley said. “Quilting is like a lost art. You have to keep it nurtured, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Every meeting is a memorable event for me.”

Contact Shockley at 539-7879 to find out more about the guild.