Join Ashleigh McBain and Dominion Sewing for a Community Spotlight interview!
Join Ashleigh McBain, Publicity chair for the Sudbury District Quilting & Stitchery Guild, and Dominion Sewing for a Community Spotlight interview! Learn about the guild benefits, activities, and membership info in this blog.
Tell us a bit about yourself! What does your role entail?
As the Publicity Chair for the SDQSG, I’m at my busiest during the beginning of the guild year. My main duties are getting the word out that we exist so that people know where to find us and know how to get in touch with us.
I create events on the guild’s Facebook page and advertise anything going on with the guild that the public should know about, like our “Quilts on the Rocks” event, a huge trade show we have every three years.
What does your guild do?
To summarize, we are a group of people who have an interest in quilting, stitchery, or some kind of fibre-art, and want to share that interest with other people. There is also of course a social aspect as well where we share jokes, stories, and craft advice.
There’s always a challenge going on, made by individuals or groups in the guild. For example, this year there’s a half-square triangle challenge going on. Sometimes the pieces will be judged, and sometimes it’s a casual challenge others can participate in – it depends on the criteria made by the person who created the challenge.
We have a lot of different connections with different fabric stores in town - like Dominion Sewing! - that will donate prizes for these challenges.
What are your meetups like?
This year we are changing up the format in how we meet. Previously meetings were every Tuesday, but during the pandemic we had to navigate a new meeting environment online.
We’ve been meeting through Zoom for the past two years and are now slowly moving back to an in-person space. Rather than meeting every Tuesday, we are planning on meeting the first Tuesday of every month at the Parkside Center starting in September until May.
The second and third Tuesday of every month there are going to be specialty groups. One group is doing scrap quilting, one doing stitchery, and one that’s doing quilting with rulers. These groups have been organically formed via mutual interest, we call them our cottage groups.
Meetings always end with two show-and-tells. One is a show-and-tell for a community kit quilt, which is one of our programs through the guild where we create quilts and neonatal pillows basically anything we’re requested.
For example, for the Monarch Centre, when a woman is done with her treatment, we can reward her with a quilt. The Monarch centre will let us know in advance when they need a quilt, and then the members will make quilts or donate one they’ve already made. Some people will donate material or batting if they don’t have the time to help the people who are making quilts. We also make things like hats, scarves, and mitts for people in programs who are displaced, or perhaps new immigrants.
Then we have our own show-and-tell and tell the story behind whatever piece the person has made. Getting ideas and inspiration from other people. You get to see what other people are doing and show off your own hard work.
People stick around and socialize after, optionally. Someone might run a tutorial on how to do something after. For example around the holidays we will have holiday ornament tutorials.
What are the benefits of being a guild member?
If I don’t know how to do something, I reach out to one of the guild members, and I can always find some support in any type of fibre-art. With about 125 members, you can bet that somebody knows something about it!
Our members range in age from late teens to people in their 90s. When we all group together, the varied experiences in life and craft makes for some interesting conversations. As mentioned, the presentations held at the end of our meetings mean we get to see samples of each other’s works, which most people might say is their favourite part of our meetups.
We have a library in the Parkside Centre that is just for quilting and stitchery books. To access it you must be a member of the guild. New arrivals to the library are announced in meetings.
We have a team of people who can assist our members with learning how to use Zoom if they’re not familiar with it or not confident with online meetings. Zoom has helped diversify the speakers we have in our guild.
Can you tell me more about Quilts on the Rocks?
Quilts on the Rocks is a huge weekend-long quilting show that happens every three years. Unfortunately our last one was canceled because of COVID regulations. Generally a voluntary committee will form out of people in the guild. We work on it the entire time leading up to it and try to show the best of the best we’ve got from those three years – it’s a major undertaking!
Usually there’s a market going with fibre art stores, purses, bags, ornaments… Local vendors often will book tables as well. Some pieces will have a demonstration, or get juried/voted on. Different categories of skill are shown, and those challenges mentioned earlier can also be on display. Members can decide whether they want their quilt to be up for sale or not.
The next Quilts on the Rocks will be fall 2024.
What is something you’d tell to someone who is interested in joining the guild?
To check us out, come to the Parkside Center, downtown on Durham St. at the YMCA. Our meetings start at 7PM on the first Tuesday of every month. This year it’s the 6th of September. I’d advise coming a little early to find a comfortable spot. Masks are suggested but not mandatory.
Our membership fee is $30 for the year when you sign up within the first two months, otherwise it’s $35 for the whole year (September - May). If you’re interested in the guild, you can come to your first meeting for free to see what it’s all about. There will always be someone to welcome you and ask you about your interests!