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Creativity and Community at the Quilters' Guild of Arlington

By S. Mathur

Quilting remains a popular craft because it allows individuals to exercise their creativity within a traditional idiom. Rose Kauhane, Publicity Chairperson of the Quilters' Guild of Arlington, believes that this popularity stems from many things.

"It's a way of being creative. There are so many techniques and styles to learn and choose from. Quilting is a way of showing love and caring for others." It's also a way of making friends and connecting with a community, she adds, "I think the best part of quilting and belonging to a guild and or stitching group is the friendships that develop, and the sharing and helping that takes place."

And in fact the Quilters' Guild of Arlington was established in 1984 with the mission to "preserve and encourage the art of quilting, provide instruction for Guild members, educate the public, and to promote a gathering of people with this common interest." This common interest brings together people throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex area, including young people and seniors, women and men.

The Guild meets on the second Tuesday of every month, for a short business meeting followed by a "show and tell for members and guests to show the quilts they have made or other related items. Following that is a program that may feature a well-known quilter, artist, designer or even one of our own members. Once a year we hold a large quilt show that also includes various vendors selling related quilting items and gifts. Twice a year we have a potluck and we also have some demonstration activities," says Kauhane.

There are a number of quilters' groups that meet more frequently, to work on special projects. Kauhane explains "we have several ongoing projects such as block of the month exchange, stitching groups that meet once or twice a month, opportunities to participate in quilt-making for Linus, Ronald MacDonald House, Veterans, Susan G. Komen, and various hospitals." There are also retreats for quilters, she says, "Twice a year we have a day retreat where we just get together and stitch, eat, and have fun. We also offer away retreats where quilters can go away for a few days and do the same thing."

The stitch groups meet at different locations and include quilters at all levels, from beginners to advanced. New members are always welcome to join the groups. Project Linus makes new handmade blankets and afghans as gifts for children who are seriously ill, traumatized or in other ways in need of love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort. To date, more than 400 blankets have been gifted to children in the area.

The Guild's programs include speakers, workshops and exhibits. Kauhane says that "Programs are offered that teach a technique, offer trunk shows of the speakers work, give historical information, or elaborate on the design process. Several times a year the speaker will also be offering a workshop that expands upon their methods."

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