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How to Start a Quilt Guild

Updated on January 12, 2017
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer has been quilting for 25 years and writing about quilting for almost 5 years. She has won a number of awards for her work.

Quilt guilds often donate quilts to wounded soldiers.
Quilt guilds often donate quilts to wounded soldiers. | Source

What is a quilt 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 guilds are great ways to:

  • 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.

*Note that these are general guidelines. They are not intended as legal advice.

Things to avoid when setting up a quilt guild

Starting a quilt guild is a large undertaking.

  • 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.

Getting a group of 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.

Online Quilt Guilds and Clubs

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

Setting 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 a number of things which are outlined in the sections below.

Quilt guilds often make projects to donate to charitable causes.
Quilt guilds often make projects to donate to charitable causes. | Source

Quilt guild business to be discussed during the initial meeting

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.

Decide on a meeting location

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

  • Churches
  • Local libraries
  • Municipal buildings
  • Quilt shops

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 their bylaws.

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

Appoint guild officers

Your guild will need to have officers to help with the work load 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.

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.

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

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 which the treasurer is responsible for. A local bank can assist you in setting up the correct type of account.

Sample Quilt Guild Agenda

Happy Quilters
January 1, 2013
7pm - 9pm
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

Membership form information

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

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Checklist of committees that member may be interested in

Things you'll need at the first official guild meeting

Once you've had your initial start up 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 that you may want to consider setting up include:

  • 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.

Quilt guilds can provide

  • Monthly speakers
  • Educational workshops
  • Quilt shows
  • Friendship

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.

Happy Quilting!

© 2013 Glimmer Twin Fan

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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      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.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

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

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

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

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

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

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      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 profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA

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

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

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

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      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.

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      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 profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      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.