Thursday, 10 November 2016

Orillia Quilters' Guild Rocks the Quilts!

We have an awesome guest blogger today!  Leslie has written about her super guild.  Read on to be inspired!

The Orillia Quilters’ Guild, comprised of 100 members and a hard-working, dedicated Executive, meets monthly (except July) at Branch 34 of the Royal Canadian Legion in a room overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Couchiching. It’s a view once gazed upon by explorer Samuel de Champlain whose statue continues to do so from the adjacent Couchiching Park.

Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s “National Treasure”, was born and raised here in Orillia, Ontario and to the delight of fans, still makes appearances now and then. On a crisp fall day in 2015 he was welcomed by a crowd assembled at Barnfield Point on the Gordon Lightfoot Trail for the unveiling of a large bronze “Golden Leaves” tribute monument in his honour.

Orillia is also where satirist Stephen Leacock’s summer home (a National Monument) and boathouse stand on the shores of Brewery Bay. Leacock’s famous book, “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”, featured characters from early Orillia (aka Mariposa) in thin disquise. Even today a drive through Orillia’s main streets reveals business signs with “Mariposa” or “Sunshine” or “Leacock” in their names.

Incorporated in 2005, we are a busy guild whose members have individually and collectively made and donated hundreds of quilts, placemats, and dialysis bags to local agencies and special projects over the years. Last year our members rose to our annual President’s Challenge by donating 37 quilts to the national Quilts of Valour program. There wasn’t a dry eye as Jan Easton (second from left) received our quilts on behalf of the program and read us some letters of thanks from veterans who were previous QOV recipients.

 (L to R: Gillian Isnor-McVeigh, Jan Easton, Frances Westgarth, Leslie Quinn)

Early this year we held a members’ workshop to make a cheerful double and single quilt for a Syrian refugee family who were delighted to find them on their beds when they arrived, along with two other beautiful quilts created by individual members. It touched our hearts when the matriarch of this family bravely and shyly attended one of our meetings to express her thanks through one of the “Mariposans 4 Refugees” (M4R) sponsors who accompanied her.

Made by Brenda Stride

Made by Marilyn Lippert

This year is the 90th anniversay of the Legion, and in answer to their request for a raffle quilt, guild members recently provided not one but seven! They were gratefully received by Jack Hird, Branch 34’s Second Vice President and will be raffled throughout the year to raise funds for Branch projects and the national Homeless Veterans’ fund which supports homeless or nearly homeless vets, many of whom suffer from PTSD.
L to R: Nikki Watt, Jack Hird, Pat Hill 

L to R: Heather Smith, Jack Hird, Loretta Hughes 

L to R: Barb Archer, Jack Hird, Jeanne Wallace

Guest speakers are always a highlight at our meetings, and so far this year alone we’ve had the pleasure of learning about new products (Sue Polera from Thimbles and Things, owner of our wonderful local quilt shop), stained glass quilts (Joni Newman), scrappy stash busting (Kay Hanna and Elaine Theriault), the history of quilting in Canada (Pauline Grondin), landscape quilts (Pat Reynolds), a quilter’s personal journey (Noshi Gulati), threads and needles (Anita Zobens of The Cotton Mill Threadworks). As well, both Joni Newman and Pat Reynolds held inspiring workshops for participating members.

Our “Sunshine Quilt Show” (yes, that’s Leacock’s influence) was held in April and as many of you know it is an undertaking requiring long-range planning and dedicated guild volunteers committed to working hard. However, partnered with the smaller Evening Threads Guild, it was a labour of love and we had no shortage of guild members willing to do their part. One of the features of our show was a display of 14 amazing entries and 3 Viewer’s Choice winners of a Co-Presidents’ Challenge, entitled ‘Picasso-“Good artists copy…” ‘.

L to Rt: 3rd Judy Dagenais, 2nd Sandy McFadden, 1st Shelley Houser

In addition, Viewer’s Choice winners of the Sunshine Quilt Show included Brenda Stride, seen wearing her appliqué jacket and Sandy McFadden, posing beside her elephant wallhanging.

As you can see, our guild has many talented quilters and Nikki Watt, winner of the CQA/ACC ribbon at our show, is certainly no exception. Her hand appliqué won the admiration of many!

This spring a busload of guild members attended Quilt Canada 2016 in Toronto, a fun and inspiring experience for all participants. 
Upcoming events in 2017 include Quilt Canada in Toronto, and participation in CQA/ACC’s Big Quilt Bee. We can’t wait!

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