Greetings and Happy New Year! First I would like to thank the members for the vote of confidence in me as your new President. Once upon a time, I was just a gal sewing at my kitchen table. In 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing took place, I made a flag for the “To Boston With Love Project” and posted a photo on Flicker. Next thing I knew, Diane contacted me via Flicker and asked if I would like to join her newly formed guild. I met up with her and Bonnie Bartholomew at a sew-in at Fabric Inspirations, and the rest is history. I hate to sound cliché but this has truly been the best thing that happened to me. I never had friends who sewed or didn’t roll their eyes when I talked about it and I never dreamed I would one day be heading up the guild, but here we are.
I would also like to thank June Mellinger for continuing in her role as Secretary and stepping up to fill the role of Treasurer as well. Thank you to our outgoing President, Deb Hunter, good wishes to her this coming year as she faces some new challenges and to Phyllis Garnant, our outgoing Treasurer, thank you for your service to the guild.
As a guild, in term of numbers, we are small; however, we are mighty in the sense that when we put our minds and hearts (not to mention our machines) together we accomplish great things. Last year we did some great things in the name of community and charity and when I think of quilt guilds those things go hand in hand. In January, I personally delivered 7 quilts to the homeless camp right here in our neighborhood in Howell, Destinys Bridge, while those residents were facing eviction and were in fact evicted shortly after. They were humbled, grateful, and perhaps a tad bit warmer because of your generosity. In February we had a sew-in for charity where I told you all about Oceans Harbor House in Toms River, a safe haven for homeless youth. I asked for 20 something pillowcases and in March I donated 40 something pillowcases to them. Our March sew-in was a “jelly roll race for charity”, I now have almost 12 completed quilts ready to be donated. In August, we donated our 2019 Quilt Con Charity Quilt to 180 Turning Lives Around, an organization that supports victims of domestic violence, to be used at one of their upcoming fundraisers. December was no different, our members made small drawstring bags and at our holiday party in lieu of swapping gifts we purchased new socks and toiletries and stuffed those bags again to give to the youth at Oceans Harbor House. We also presented local veteran, Scott Nokes, with our 2018 QuiltCon Charity Quilt at the dedication of his new “smart home” built for him by the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation. Wow ladies, pat yourselves on the back because you never cease to amaze me.
I’ve said it so many times that our members have an abundance of talent in every aspect of sewing and quilting and this year we had no shortage of member lead demonstrations, tutorials and instructional sew-ins. We made bags, pillows, learned about thread, needles, sewing notions and so much more.
We had another, bigger, successful “In Stitches” event and we are planning to expand that to twice a year with one being on a little bit less of a scale. This is another example of using the talents’ within our own guild to demonstrate modern quilting techniques and to have quick, little make and takes. Our own Brandy Borden and Allison Fitspatrick deserve so much credit for putting this event together; as well as, June and Pam for procuring so many fabulous prizes!
The new year comes not without challenges to our guild, but we’ve faced them in the past and persevered. Trying out a new meeting schedule and combining it with our sew-in is a first step in figuring out what will work for us this year. My wish for the guild is always to see it grow: however, it continues to be challenging for us. I don’t know what the answer is but I personally am willing to try anything that will potentially work. I would certainly also be okay with the “status quo” in that our membership would at the very least stay the same. As in the past I would like us to embrace modern quilting, in addition to our own particular styles. I would also like to continue to see us glean from each other what each of us have to offer, and there is a lot. Let’s make this a year of having fun with each other, (after all we are basically just a group of ladies who enjoy sewing), learning, stepping out of our comfort zone perhaps and volunteering for a project, continuing to serve our community, and camaraderie!!