The Cariboo Calico Quilters are inviting prospective members to tea.
The 100 Mile House guild is holding a community tea from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Creekside Senior’s Centre Sept. 11 in an effort to boost membership, which has been flagging lately due to COVID-19.
“We’re getting lots of people from out of town moving here and there could be a woman who is new and doesn’t know anybody yet and the guild is a great place to meet people, make friends and create something wonderful,” Guild president Tracy McMurren said.
The 27-member guild, which meets Monday to Friday every week, welcomes members of all ages and abilities. In addition to their tea, guild members are raffling a quilt, currently on display at Dancing Quilts. Tickets are $2 each and will be on sale until Sept. 30 at Save on Foods and FreshCo. Funds raised will go towards purchasing fabrics to create quilts for the community.
When wildfires devastated the town of Lytton, for instance, members of the guild got sewing, creating 21 comfort quilts for those who lost their homes. In the past, the guild has also donated quilts to cancer patients and works on a variety of other projects – from tea cozies to quilted “potato warmers.”
“(Quilting) keeps your mind busy and your hands busy and I think that’s important right now,” McMurren said.
McMurren, 60, said neither age nor lack of experience should deter anyone from joining. When she first joined 10 years ago she had barely sewn before, but the Cariboo Calico Quilters proved to be encouraging and more than willing to share their tips.
Judy Belyea, who started quilting as a teenager in 1973, said the best part of the guild is the chance to socialize with other like-minded quilters. While she was mentored by her first husband’s grandmother, Cynthia – she named her sewing machine Cindy after her – Belyea said she enjoys teaching others how to make quilts and passing on different techniques she’s picked up over the years.
“She was an amazing quilter. Some of the things she did were seriously incredible and still blows my mind,” said Belyea. “I never got to learn as much as I would have liked from her because she passed, but I named my sewing machine after her so she still quilts with me all the time.”
Ann Wier, 76, said when she moved to 108 Mile and joined the guild four years ago, she hadn’t used her sewing machine for over 30 years.
“The guild, it’s a social thing but also a place for learning. They’re very generous with their skills and showing you how to do things,” Wier said, adding she tends to be inspired by the Amish style, the classic kind of pattern that includes various stars and pinwheels. “Quilting is addictive, in all honesty, and it’s something that I do because it’s another creative outlet (other than photography) for me.”
Belyea said quilting can also be reflective.
“It’s nice to go there because if you want to partake in the visiting you can but if you just want to sit by yourself, sew and be more thoughtful, there’s always that too.”