QUilters and friends Wendy Parent (from left), Judy Belyea and Ingrid Dalziel enjoy each other’s company and lunch on the grounds of 100 MIle Junior Secondary on a sunny September day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

QUilters and friends Wendy Parent (from left), Judy Belyea and Ingrid Dalziel enjoy each other’s company and lunch on the grounds of 100 MIle Junior Secondary on a sunny September day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Prime Time: Close-knit group finds ways to stay together

The tight-knit Cariboo Calico Quilters Guild knows the importance of staying connected.

The tight-knit Cariboo Calico Quilters Guild knows the importance of staying connected.

When the town shut down because of COVID, they found a new place to meet: on the grounds of the old 100 Mile Junior, where they set up lawn chairs, had lunch and visited for a couple of hours. Sometimes they would do a little “show and tell” of things they recently bought.

“I just missed my friends. I was really missing them in the beginning of this whole COVID thing so it’s a nice outing,” said guild member Judy Belyea said. “It gets us out – we have our lunch and our visit.”

The summer meetings consisted of seven friends from the guild, though not all gathered at the same time. Belyea said it was important to get out and socialize, especially during the pandemic.

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“I think it’s a good idea (to meet in person). You can only talk on the phone so much, it’s not the same thing as seeing your friends,” she said. “We don’t hug each other and carry on like we’d love to, but I think it’s important for socializing.”

The women recently resumed quilting, although their numbers are down to about 50, and only six women are allowed in their guild room at the Creekside Seniors Centre at one time, Guild president Tracy McMurren said. As a result, the quilters must schedule their quilting days in advance and arrive in small numbers to socialize and pursue their craft.

McMurren, who has been quilting for seven years, said she enjoys having such a “nice group of ladies” to hang out with.

“We get together and we quilt, we talk, and we have fun. We also provide quilts for community services such as ambulances, accidents, fires, kids in transition, the women shelter, that kind of stuff,” McMurren said. “We share tragedies, sorrows and life-changing events. It’s a real sisterhood and we really miss having the whole camaraderie of having women who get along really nicely.”

108 resident Gloria Koens, who has been quilting since 1985 is a founding member of the guild, agreed. Pre-COVID, the quilters would bring in teachers to learn from and take part in organizing a fall fair, though this wasn’t possible this year. McMurren said they plan to return to doing such events once the pandemic clears up.

While their group only has women at the moment, Koens and McMurren say men are welcome.

“They’re every bit as talented as women and even more so but no we don’t have any men as members this year,” McMurren said.

Anyone interested in joining the guild should call McMurren at 250-791-5256 or pick up a pamphlet, available across town. The membership fee is $60 per year and goes towards rent and materials.


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Gloria Koens and president of the Cariboo Calico Quilters Guild Tracy McMurren love quilting together and with their fellow guild members. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Gloria Koens and president of the Cariboo Calico Quilters Guild Tracy McMurren love quilting together and with their fellow guild members. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)