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How to Start a Quilt Guild

Claudia has been quilting for almost 30 years and writing about it for more than six. She has won a number of awards for her work.

Learn the basics of starting a quilt guild.

Learn the basics of starting a quilt guild.

What Is a Quilters' Guild?

A quilt guild is a group of quilters who gather, at a designated time and place, to discuss quilting. It differs from a group or bee in that a guild has official bylaws and membership is usually required.

Guilds come in all different shapes and sizes. Today there are even online quilt guilds, with members from around the country and world.

Quilt Guild Benefits

  • Make new friends
  • Meet quilters in your area
  • Get new and inspiring ideas for quilt projects
  • Show off your own work

Depending on the size, running a guild takes quite a bit of preparation. If you have ever thought about starting your own quilt guild, here is a simple guide to help you out.

Quilt guilds often donate quilts to wounded soldiers.

Quilt guilds often donate quilts to wounded soldiers.

Why Set-Up a Quilt Guild

There are a number of reasons people set up quilt guilds.

  • Perhaps the established group of your quilting friends has gotten too large and you want to make it available to more people.
  • There are no guilds in your immediate area.

Attending guild meetings is an enjoyable experience. Members get to see interesting speakers and learn new techniques. New friends can be made and everyone gets a chance to show off their work. Starting a new quilt guild is a lot of hard work, but the enjoyment you receive from the fun you have at meetings makes it all worthwhile.

They Can Provide:

  • Monthly speakers
  • Educational workshops
  • Quilt shows
  • Friendship

How to Get People Interested

Almost every quilter knows other quilters. You may already be a part of a quilting group. Speak to your friends and see if there is an interest in starting up a guild.

If you are already in a guild, ask fellow members if they would be interested in another guild. They may like an alternative that is closer to their home or just the option of attending another guild meeting.

Go to local quilt shops and let the owners know that you are starting a new guild. The owner may know people who are looking for a guild and they may even want to join as well. Guilds are a great way for shop owners to build up their businesses.

Quilt shows are just one of the things that quilt guilds do.

Quilt shows are just one of the things that quilt guilds do.

Set-Up an Initial Startup Meeting

Once you have a group of interested people, get together at someone's house or at a local coffee shop. You may be tempted to discuss quilts at this first meeting, but it's best to stick to business. You'll need to decide on a number of things which are outlined in the sections below.

1. Decide on a Meeting Day and Time

Pick a date, for example, the second Thursday of every month, and stick with it. You may not want to meet on a monthly basis. Some guilds meet every other month.

Choose a time that works well for most people. Usually, evenings are a good time to meet. Be careful not to choose a date that is the same as another nearby guild.

2. Decide on a Meeting Place

Many places offer meeting rooms at a low charge, or even at no charge. Here are just a few ideas for possible meeting spaces:

  • Churches
  • Local libraries
  • Municipal buildings
  • Quilt shops

3. Establish Guild Bylaws

Before the first official meeting, get copies of a few different sets of quilt guild bylaws. Most guilds will be happy to provide you with a copy of their paperwork. The bylaws do not need to be too complicated, and will probably change as the guild grows. Some of the more important points that should be covered by the bylaws include, but are not limited to:

  • Length of service of officers
  • Voting procedures
  • Duties of the officers
  • Permitted expenditures
  • Legal requirements

It would be advisable to consult an attorney when establishing bylaws. Check with members and friends. There may be someone who is willing to help with this at no charge. For example, I joined a guild many years ago and the woman who started it was married to an attorney. He was able to help the guild set up its bylaws.

4. Appoint Guild Officers

Your guild will need to have officers to help with the workload and ensure a system of checks and balances.

You'll need a:

  • President: responsible for the overall management
  • Vice President: responsible for assisting the president with the overall management
  • Treasurer: responsible for the finances
  • Secretary: responsible for recording the minutes and preparing meeting agendas. Also keeps track of guild paperwork.

These may be temporary positions until the guild is up and running. When the guild is ready, it can hold official elections.

5. Think of a Great Guild Name

You may want to get together a list of potential names that can be voted on during the first official meeting, or you may want to decide on a name at the start-up meeting.

It's usually better to get the name in place before the official meetings begin. This ensures that the guild starts getting name recognition. It also adds legitimacy to the guild.

6. Decide on Annual Dues

As an official quilt guild, you should charge annual dues. These dues cover things like:

  • Meeting space rental
  • Snack reimbursements
  • Supplies
  • Speaker fees

Dues should be reasonable, but not too low that they are not sufficient to cover costs. The guild will have to set up a bank account for which the treasurer is responsible. A local bank can assist you in setting up the correct type of account.

7. Membership Form Information

You'll want to get some basic information for membership records:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Checklist of committees that the member may be interested in
Quilt guilds often make projects to donate to charitable causes.

Quilt guilds often make projects to donate to charitable causes.

Things You'll Need at the First Official Guild Meeting

Once you've had your initial startup meeting you'll need to get ready for your first official guild meeting. For that first meeting you should have the following things:

  • A brief written description of the guild. Have multiple copies available.
  • Agenda (see sample at right)
  • Name tags
  • Membership forms (see insert below right)
  • Snacks: You'll want to have a sign-up sheet for volunteers to bring snacks to subsequent meetings.
  • Committee sign-up sheets: Not necessary, but helpful for organizational purposes.

Committees to Consider Appointing

  • Hospitality
  • Publicity
  • Website
  • Finance
  • Programs
  • Newsletter

Don't get discouraged if everything doesn't get set up, or things don't go smoothly, during your first few meetings. It will take a while to iron out the wrinkles and get the guild up and running.

Sample Quilt Guild Agenda

Happy Quilters

January 1, 2021


Meeting Agenda

7:00 Call to Order

7:00–7:15 Old Business

7:15–7:30 New Business

7:30–8:30 Guest Speaker/Program

8:30–8:45 Show and Tell

8:45–9:00 Social Time and Snacks

Show off quilts, both old and new, during show and tell time.

Show off quilts, both old and new, during show and tell time.

What to Avoid When Starting a Quilt Guild

  • Don't do it alone. It is a lot of work.
  • Don't make large plans for the first year.
  • Don't spend more money than you have in the guild account.

Remember, starting a quilt guild is a large undertaking.

Online Quilt Guilds and Clubs

Quilt guilds are no longer just groups of folks who meet in a church basement. Many guilds have a prominent online presence and are active in the area and charitable events. Here are just a few online guilds:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Claudia Porter


Christine on January 08, 2020:

Hi Claudia, Thanks for your post. We do not have a quilter quild in Guam and we are considering setting one up. Your post has all the information I needed to help make our organizational meeting successful. Kind Regards,

Claudia Porter (author) on January 24, 2019:

Thanks for your comments.

The Sampsons from The Ozarks, Missouri on January 12, 2019:

Hello. I noticed the Servicemen in a photo. This made me think you might like to know about Operation Quiet Comfort. I make quilts for that group and have a page on that topic.

Claudia Porter (author) on April 14, 2013:

Michelle - You are right, it is amazing what a group of people can accomplish and it's always fun to make new friends that enjoy the same hobby. Thanks for commenting.

travmaj - I agree that quilting is definitely an art and the talent out there always amazes me. I am glad you enjoyed the hub.

travmaj from australia on April 14, 2013:

I love those quilts - just beautiful. We have a group at our local cultural centre who do some astonishing work. It really is an art. A fascinating, well documented hub - enjoyed reading this.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on April 14, 2013:

Sharing work is always a way to network!! It is amazing what a group of creative people can do! Sharing!

Claudia Porter (author) on March 22, 2013:

I appreciate it MargaritaEden. I hope lots of people want to set up their own guilds someday.

MargaritaEden from Oregon on March 22, 2013:

Very useful, interesting and beautiful hub, that is such a nice idea, you have good details for us, thank you!

Claudia Porter (author) on March 18, 2013:

Hi Jackie - I think almost every church still has groups that quilt. Guilds are nice because people from anywhere can join. Thanks for the support and your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 18, 2013:

I appreciate your support and kind comments Tracy. Thanks. I hope more guilds will be started.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 16, 2013:

I use to have family and their friends, older ladies really; who did this years ago. Not called this I am sure and probably church related. It did look like such fun though and wow did they turn out some beauties.

Donating to soldiers is a great idea or now they cut their college funds maybe help one get through. Up and sharing.

Tracy Lynn Conway from Virginia, USA on March 16, 2013:

What a great idea! You have offered so much useful information about starting a guild. Voted up and useful!

Claudia Porter (author) on March 16, 2013:

Thanks so much Teaches - They are a challenge to set up, but so much fun once they get going. The friendships formed are really special. Quilters are a special group of people.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 16, 2013:

I appreciate it Bill. Quilt guilds do really cool things. That picture was in wikimedia commons and I really loved it. Many many guilds donate to wounded soldiers. I appreciate the support.

Dianna Mendez on March 15, 2013:

I have a friend who is in one and her group has made some beautiful keepsakes. Love the idea of giving them to our military. Great post and like our suggestions on how to form a quilt guild.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 15, 2013:

Hi Glimmer Twin. I love that photo up top of the soldiers with the quilts. Never knew that there were guilds for quilting but certainly makes sense and seems like a great idea. How great that you donate not only the fabric and quilts but your time also, great job. Will tweet and pin this, that photo is one that everyone should see.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 15, 2013:

mvillecat - I love that guilds donate to charities. Most of us have so much extra fabric and love to make things so it's a natural fit. Love Project Linus too. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 15, 2013:

I appreciate it Bill. There are quilt guilds everywhere. Quilt shops too. It's amazing how many options there are for quilters to connect. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

Claudia Porter (author) on March 15, 2013:

Many thanks Carol - Maybe one day you'll give quilting a shot. I hope so! Thanks for the nice comments.

Claudia Porter (author) on March 15, 2013:

Thank you so much moonlake. I love any quilt festivals and shows and really love the quilting group I am in. It's always fun to share ideas an projects. I appreciate your support.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on March 15, 2013:

Great hub! A local quilt guild supplies hundreds of blankets each year to our Project Linus chapter. I am so glad that these traditions are being carried from one generation to another.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 15, 2013:

I had no idea there were guilds for quilting. I love that they gave quilts to the soldiers. What a great idea. I will pass this along to the quilters in our family. Have a wonderful weekend.

carol stanley from Arizona on March 15, 2013:

I don;t quilt, but I will pass this along to my quiltingfriends. You did a great job as you always do. Voting up and pinning..

moonlake from America on March 15, 2013:

I don't belong to a quilt guild but we do have a few ladies that meet on Friday for visiting and quilting. Next month we all head to SHIPSHEWANA QUILT FESTIVAL. It should be fun I have not been to the quilt festival but have been to Shipshewana.

Enjoyed your hub voted up and shared.