Tidal Threads Quilt and Needlework Guild
Founded Fall 2007, Grand Manan Island
The idea for a quilt guild was born on the road, as my sister Nancy Estle and I drove back and forth to New Hampshire to visit my mother, who was in her 90’s and not well. For an hour or so during each of many trips, Nancy and I would imagine a guild where we could pursue our love of quilting and at the same time, meet some islanders with similar interests.
We knew there were other quilters out there, and by word of mouth invited as many as we knew to meet with us at the Grand Manan Museum in late September, 2007. We met with Dawn Locke before the museum gathering to formulate a tentative plan. About 10 quilters met that day, and our group got off to a good start, and met again a couple of weeks later. We needed a name and MJ Edwards’ idea won the vote, and we were a guild! By this time, a few more ladies joined us, several of them knitters, rug hookers, and cross-stitchers, so we expanded our name and purview to include anyone who worked with their hands, including basket-weavers, rug hookers, and jewelry makers.
We needed a place to meet as the Museum closed down in late September, and member Wendy Ford suggested the North Head Church Hall, where her husband was pastor. This site proved to be perfect for our group, and eight years later we are still enjoying the good light, the storage space, the use of large tables provided at the hall, and the hospitality of the present pastor and congregation.
We agreed that rather than an annual fee to belong to the guild, each attending member would put a loonie or toonie into a basket each meeting, thus starting a small fund for a monthly donation to the church, as well as for funding a show in the future.
On alternate years the Guild holds a Quilt and Needlework Show at North Head Baptist Church Hall in early July. Each successive show has drawn more and more visitors. One of the special features is a Sunday School room decorated with period pieces, especially hand made items owned or made by members. Shows in 2010, 2012, and 2014 included a fabric vendor from the mainland.
During each intervening year the guild has made a Community Charity Quilt which is given to a worthy island non-profit group as a fund-raiser. We have made five such quilts over the eight years since the guild began, and the local groups have benefitted for a total of approximately $25,000 for their coffers.
In addition, members have given short quilting courses to share their skills with other members. At Christmas time we make donations to the Food Bank and other charities.