NQA Chapter Showcase
Sinnissippi Quilters Guild
SINNISSIPPI QUILTERS, INC.
The Sinnissippi Quilters Guild began as an educational organization for women wanting to learn how to quilt and learn new quilting techniques. There were notices in the local newspaper inviting anyone interested in quilting to attend. A smaller group of quilters had met in a home to figure out what we could do to focus our interest and gather those who would benefit.
The newly formed Quilt Club had the first meeting, open to all comers, at our current location, Bethesda Covenant Church, on September 11, 1980. The speaker that evening was Ora Larson, one of the Midwest's most knowledgeable quilt collectors. She displayed and spoke about each quilt from her collection.
The name Sinnissippi Quilters was chosen at the October meeting and one of our charter members, Helen Peterson's, design "Hands All Around" was chosen as our logo. As a grand finale to the first year the members organized a style show and dinner in May 1981.
The first quilt show, "Country Quilt Show and Sale", was held October 3, 1981 at the local Grange Hall. In the press it was quoted, "The membership is composed of approximately 80 women who are absolutely crazy about quilting..." The quilting extravaganza will feature quilts to see and quilts to buy, a country kitchen, several booths with the latest in quilting fabrics and supplies...". The latest fabrics left much to be desired by today's standards!
The guild continued to have a quilt show every year in several locations. At least until it became too much to do every year and proceeded to a biennial show and settled to the local community college for quite a few years. It is now held at the Sports Core exhibition Center. We are very proud of our shows and impressed the manager at the current location who was impressed by the members going right to work setting up the show with such precision!!!! On the off years an opportunity quilt was offered to help fund our educational and philanthropic projects.
We have been fortunate to sponsor several well established quilt authors and teachers for our programs, such as early on Georgia Bonesteele, Pat Cox, Jeannie Spears, with workshops to educate our members and members of other guilds in the area. We continue to focus on education with teachers such as Gayle Bong, Betty Suiter, Maggie Ball, Marikay Valdvogel and Carole Bryer Fallert.
What our members are most proud of are our Special Projects. For many years we have donated quilts to charitable organizations for fund raising . A few of them are the local DAR, Children's Home and Aid Society. There is a community quilt hanging in the public Library, quilt for the Veterans' Memorial Hall (dedicated in 1906 by Teddy Roosevelt), as well as a quilt for the city to commemorate the millennium.
Our oldest and most special project are the quilts we make for the neo-natal intensive care unit. These are made to place over the isolates because lights are on 24/7 and the families take the quilts home with the babies. We have made, I'm sure, over 2000 of these and we hold a sew-in every year to make these quilts.
A few years ago, one of our members, Margaret Steele (who has since passed), brought to our attention the organization "Home of the Brave" who make quilts for families of fallen service men, as well as filled Christmas stockings and pillow cases for servicemen in Afghanistan. In 2011 we sent 2700 Stockings from just our guild. Both of these projects are very satisfying when we receive thank you notes from the recipients.
One other project started when we were approached by the local coroner and asked if we would be willing to make small quilts for the tiny innocent babies that are abandoned after birth, so they would have something to wrap them in. That was a no-brainer! We recently started making covers for the beds at the local rescue mission. Needless to say we keep very busy!
We had an exciting year in 2010. With the help and persuasive power of member Judy Mullen and the airport sponsoring day trips to different destinations, a trip to Paducah was set-up with a lot of doubt from the airport personnel, that we could fill a plane with quilters! Well we showed them, we filled three planes (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and we were the celebrities of the show. Our arrival was met by a TV crew and we were the largest plane to land there since Airforce 1! Pretty cool! We talked about doing the same thing to the NQA show but it didn't work out with fares going up at that time. Maybe sometime in the future.
The membership numbers anywhere from 200 to 250 very talented women. We claim an NQA judge, appraisers, winners of awards from NQA, AQS and IQA. We are trying to attract young members, to interest and educate and help to keep the interest going. We have several offshoot groups that meet during the month to share their special interests. We try to make our programs benefit the traditional and modern quilter as well as those interested in the history of the art.
There is no craft or art, however you want to describe it, which has such caring, giving and friendly people. And this group is no different.
Over the last 10 or 15 years we have shown between 300 and 400 quilts at our shows and this year is quickly approaching. It will be held May 4th and 5th and anyone is welcome to enter their quilt in our shows. We utilize NQA judges and we are very proud of the result. This year we have acquired the "Route 66" quilts commemorating the 100th anniversary for display. For more information go to our website listed below.
Sinnissippi Quilters, Inc. Rockford Illinois