Monday, May 31, 2010

Calendar Girls!

The first thing I did when I decided I wanted to start quilting was join a quilt guild. I chose the one closest to where I live, of course, the Valley Quilt Guild in Yuba City which, in 1994, had been a thriving guild for 6 years. Within a few months, I’d made friends, joined a weekly group, Thursday Stitchers, who made quilts exclusively for community service, and learned a lot from speakers and classes afforded to members. Within a few years, I’d become the Rabid Quilter I am today and wanted even more!

I’d heard about ‘Round Robins’ and thought it’d be fun to get a few people together and try one. I was allowed to make such a plea on stage at one of our guild meeting and asked people who wanted to form such a group to meet me at the break. I chose a nice large area as I envisioned being inundated by interested quilters. No one, not a single person, showed up! Huh. Not to be deterred, I tried again at the next guild meeting a month later this time with a little more enthusiasm and again, nothing. Was I speaking a foreign language? Did I smell?

The following month was our “Make a Difference Day” sew-in where the majority of our guild got together at the local shopping mall to sew quilts for community service. I hadn’t given up my idea but this time had formulated a better plan: I wrote the names of each month on 12 slips of paper and put them in a bag. I’d carefully chosen 11 other guild members who followed a criteria I thought necessary to have a successful group: 1) they were are women I wanted to spend time with 2) they were decent quilters (at least not TOO much more ‘decent’ than I) 3) they were productive, showing completed quilts on a regular basis so I knew they had time to quilt.

I walked up to each one in turn and asked them simply to pick a slip of paper out of my bag and meet me at a certain table at lunchtime. To my delight, ALL of them showed up, intrigued certainly by the paper with ‘January’ or ‘August’ written on it. I announced that we were now The Calendar Girls! Each was to make 12 blocks that depicted their month in any way they chose. They could make all 12 exactly the same, all different or somewhere in between and we’d exchange blocks at a future date. Only one person declined having just taken a new job but we’d made enough of a stir in the room that others had eavesdropped and one of them stepped right up and volunteered to take her place.

We got out our calendars and decided on a date 6 months hence to meet with our completed blocks. Our first block exchange led to 12 finished quilts six months later and we’ve been meeting twice a year ever since. Next year will be our 10th year together and while a few Calendar Girls have moved away or passed on, we thrive, changing the theme, size and color of the blocks we make each year. We are now 16 quilters and I can honestly say, these are my best friends, more like a family than anything this ‘only-child’ has ever known.

And we’ve made some pretty spectacular quilts too!