To Quilt Or Not To Quilt

I belong to the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild. I mention my guild meetings a lot, but rarely give the name of the guild. To make up for that here is a shameless plug of the guild’s new website. The design firm did a great job.
So at the meeting last Saturday, the members showed finished quilts for Safehouse, a battered women’s shelter. The shelter lets every person that stays there keep the quilt from the bed. The shelter gives away close to 400 quilts a year. Fortunately, the guild donates nearly that many.
People in the community outside the guild also donate quilts, sometimes through the guild and sometimes not.
At the very end of the meeting the Safehouse coordinators always have a stack of tops that need quilted. They get up on stage and hold them up one by one in an effort to get someone to take them home and quilt them. Most meetings they have tops left over.
The members have gotten in the habit of making tops and expecting other members with long arm machines to quilt them. Not everyone does this, and I must admit I’ve been guilty of this myself. At the last meeting I wondered if this wasn’t an unfair expectation. This is a large guild with 280 or so members. I’m not sure how many have long arms. There are a few generous individuals outside the guild that also quilt the tops. No matter how you look at it, it’s a lot of tops to quilt.
I’ve given this some thought, and going forward I am quilting my own Safehouse quilts. Quilting is my least favorite part of the process. I don’t have a large area where I can baste a twin size top. Instead I will leave the top in three or four chunks and do some kind of quilt as you go technique.
This is way out of my comfort zone to quilt something so large, but I’d much rather the long arm quilters finished tops for those guild members that can’t. God bless the older members of the guild that use a cane to go up on stage and show their Safehouse quilts. They are an inspiration to me.
The whole situation has me a little curious. Do you belong to a guild that adopted a charity? Are members expected to quilt their own quilts? Do you have work days when your guild ties quilts? I know of one guild in my area that does this. Do you think it’s fair to expect long arm owners to quilt for the guild?
I don’t know the right answers to those questions. I supposed it depends on a lot of things. My guild provides backs and batting to people that volunteer to quilt, but still. I think it’s time to stand on my own two feet on this one.

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3 Responses to To Quilt Or Not To Quilt

  1. Gayle says:

    I don’t think the long arm quilters do it for free. They give discounts but that’s it. My quilter will do only so many a year with the discount though. I like to do mine from start to finish. I generally do some very simple line quilting and it works out fine. For my own quilts I usually pay for the quilting on anything larger than baby quilts. There are so many nice patterns now and mine doesn’t charge that much. I don’t like the aches and pains from it!

  2. anudge says:

    For the most part, our guild does provide backing and batting. We do community service for a NICU at our regional hospital, QOV, and veteran’s quilts – all that need to be quilted – none tied. We do have a few quilters who take on the QOVs, however the rest are done by the donor.

  3. My sewing machine came with a quilting foot, but you can also buy them for less than $20 on Amazon. I’m just learning how to quilt myself and I’m using a tutorial that had been really helpful. The lady who posted the tutorial doesn’t have much space to work with either, but manages to quilt an entire queen size. Here’s the link if you want to check out how she did hers:

    http://m.instructables.com/id/How-to-sew-a-quilt-Quilting-101/?ALLSTEPS

    I understand that not everybody has the ability to finish the quilting process, but I also don’t believe it’s fair to rely on a small amount of people to finish the job for everybody else….

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