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Thread: Starting a new quilting group - advice?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    Starting a new quilting group - advice?

    I've given my bestest friend the quilting bug something fierce over the past year. I convinced her to sign up for a French Braid class at a local quilt shop and now she's hooked. (It's worth noting that her braid is completed and gifted, whereas my braid is still a WIP!)

    Since my Mom quilts casually, and she's gotten her Mom to sign up for a class with her, we've decided to start a little quilting group so that we can all meet up and just work on projects for an extended period without distractions. We started meeting at her house, but there's only so much space available at one small dining room table. Also, it's a bit of a drive for Mom 'n me.

    We've found a library at a nice midway point between us and booked the room for six hours on the 23rd. If all goes well, we plan to book it again every few weekends and keep meeting up! We're calling ourselves "The Wonderbolts" because we're all fans of the new My Little Ponies series and it's a double-reference between fabric and the show.

    Question 1: How can I go about advertising the meeting for any other local quilters who might be interested in joining us during that time? I don't expect many, if any, since we have to stick to weekends (work) and a lot of quilters seem to be busy during the weekends. But still, there might be someone else in the area with the time and interest.

    Question 2: What should I bring? We're going to be meeting from 10AM-4PM, so we're planning on bringing some crock pot lunch foods. I'll bring my cutting mats and ironing board, since she doesn't have a full-sized. And of course we'll bring our individual machines and projects. Would anything else be a good idea?

    Thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    don't forget the extensions cords for the machines. I started a group from our church with about 6 members and it has grown to 13 now. Each month a couple of people volunteer to bring lunch. We do meet in one of the social rooms at church and monthly take up a small collection (monies) then at the end of the year we give the church a donation for use of the rooms.

  3. #3
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I would make up a batch of simple flyers and ask if I could leave a stack at all the local quilt shops in the area. I recommend bringing extension cords, unless you know the layout of the room and that all the cords will reach all the outlets.

    In addition to crockpot type foods, I recommend snacky things. A veggie tray, crackers, chips, cheese slices, grapes, Hershey's kisses, etc. When I get together with my non-guild quilting friends, we end up snacking throughout the day rather than actually sitting down to a meal. We'd much rather be sewing!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mic-pa View Post
    don't forget the extensions cords for the machines. I started a group from our church with about 6 members and it has grown to 13 now. Each month a couple of people volunteer to bring lunch. We do meet in one of the social rooms at church and monthly take up a small collection (monies) then at the end of the year we give the church a donation for use of the rooms.


    Aha, extension cords! That's one for the list for sure. :P I'm sure Dad has a couple out in the garage he'd let us borrow. I would never have thought about that, though. Thank you!

    If all goes well and we decide to use the library on a more permanent basis, I think we'll probably see about making them a wall-hanging in thanks.

  5. #5
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    You can announce through your Guild newsletter, post a note on the library bulletin board, or just word of mouth. Seems like you have planned well. I assume you plan to bring a iron to go with the ironing board and the library furnishes tables and chairs. Bring plenty of extension cords. Be sure to ask the library how much equipment can be plugged in before your overload the circuit. Hope you have as much fun at your meetings as we do at our monthly guild open sews that we have at our local library.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I would make up a batch of simple flyers and ask if I could leave a stack at all the local quilt shops in the area. I recommend bringing extension cords, unless you know the layout of the room and that all the cords will reach all the outlets.

    In addition to crockpot type foods, I recommend snacky things. A veggie tray, crackers, chips, cheese slices, grapes, Hershey's kisses, etc. When I get together with my non-guild quilting friends, we end up snacking throughout the day rather than actually sitting down to a meal. We'd much rather be sewing!
    Flyers? *facepalm* That's so simple. What a great idea! We have two fantastic LQS within a ten mile radius of the library, not to mention a couple Joann's and a Hancock's.

    And yes... good idea. We are hugely snacky people. Also big tea-drinkers. I think one of us will probably end up bringing an electric kettle and my friend can select a blend from her assortment of teas.

  7. #7
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    If you plan on a cutting station, a set of bed risers will elevate a table to a comfortable height.

    mltquilt

  8. #8
    Junior Member shawnan's Avatar
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    Trashcans- or at least something to put little threads that are snipped. I have found that little paper sacks work well. They are inexpensive and easily recycled for the next time.

    I've recently started a group. I live in a small-ish town and word-of-mouth has been the best advertising. Since then I've used email, using addresses I've gathered here and there. The first email encouraged each person to bring a friend, sister, mother, etc. I started with about 15 I emailed, and it has grown now to about 30. Not everyone comes each time but I would say we average about 10-12. The gals do a pot luck lunch, and I (and my BFF) fix supper and charge $5. Since we sew for a LONG time (9am to 10pm) I also tell them they can invite husbands for supper, as long as they RSVP.

    So far it is working quite well. My husband is in charge of the Masonic building, so that's where we go. I hear such nice comments from the people, and I also get lots of emails from people who say they can't make it this month but please keep them on the list.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Nancy

  9. #9
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    If you have a Gym, that is a good place to post flyers and also the beauty shops. Sounds like you are going to have lots of fun.
    Suzanne
    Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.

  10. #10
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    Make sure the library does not have a limit and food is allowed... and if there is any cost for room or a clean up fee...

    I agree, a press station, extension cords and surge protector cords are a must...

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    Pillows to sit on if the chairs aren't padded and power strips. Enjoy!

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    I saw that folks mentions extension cords, but you need to make sure that you have surge protectors with them in order to save yourself and the library problems...
    Kate

  13. #13
    Member Farmerswife96's Avatar
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    Shawan where do you have your meetings? I am from western Nebraska and was wondering if you are close!!

  14. #14
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    I saw that folks mentions extension cords, but you need to make sure that you have surge protectors with them in order to save yourself and the library problems... noticed that someone mentioned them as I was typing.

    One group I heard about gave their meeting site/host a quilt every year to be used as a fund raiser and as thank you and pay for the space...in case you find that they will be charging a fee.
    Kate

  15. #15
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    Sounds like you have some great ideas. Meet the first time and from that point on you will have better ideas -if the buildings electrical system can handle more people. And putting the word out thru local quilt shops and hairdressers, plus the library itself will probably add more people to your gathering. Good luck and it sounds as if you have a great start.

    Kat

  16. #16
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    These are the places I have found quilting groups in my area in the past 5 years:

    1. on the bulletin board at the library itself and mention it to the staff who checks out the books - if they notice quilt books magazines being checked out, perhaps they'd let the customer know about your meeting there.
    2. In the local newspaper's Community News or weekend events section. Sometimes these announcements can be placed online.
    3. See if your local guild allows a "public service" type announcement in their newsletter where you could mention the dates and times. Or will they allow "bookmark-type" flyers to be passed out at their meetings.
    4. Sometimes local Craigslist has announcements for local groups.

    Jan in VA
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    If you can have food, bring cleanup supplies and plan to carry your trash out, too or at less ask for a new trash bag and carry the trash to the dumpster. Leave the space spotless so that no one else has to work hard to clean up after you. Then they'll be more likely to welcome you each time if you make it easy for them to host you. I like the idea of making them a thank you quilt -one of those bookshelf quilts would be perfect.

  18. #18
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    I have been meeting with a group now for 4 years. We meet in the Library also. we have a micro-wave and a coffee maker in the room we use. It does not cost us anything. The lady who started it all brings everything mentioned above, and the paperplates, silverware, cups and coffee. Every once in a while we all chip in to help buy supplies. We book our room for a year at a time, but a few times the Library has had something come up to where we could'nt use the room, so we take a road trip and go out to lunch. We have had several ladies come and go, and some still do, but the original 6 of which I am one are still attending. These ladies have become my closest and dearest friends.

  19. #19
    Junior Member shawnan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerswife96 View Post
    Shawan where do you have your meetings? I am from western Nebraska and was wondering if you are close!!
    I am in Alliance, so probably a little too far for you to travel for the day. We do have people from Sidney and Scottsbluff though. Do you know anyone here where you could stay overnight? I'll be glad to put you on the email list. Just send me a private message.
    Nancy (Go Big Red)
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  20. #20
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I agree, check with the library first about food and then check to see how many quilters you can accommodate in that room.

    Perhaps having a key person to call who can then screen so that you don't have more that what you have room for. Also, this key person, or someone else so designated, could handle the e-mail notices with such things as what to bring. This list would include such items as surge protectors, extention cords, seat cushions, quilting supplies, and a basic understanding of how their machine works.

    I would limit the number of irons in use as they can really drain the electrical system quickly and too many are just plain a fire hazzard. Therefore I would ask for only 2 ironing boards, maybe 3, with irons for those boards only. Small irons can also cause problems.

    If you can have 2 cutting stations, that would be nice. If not, then please let the quilters know the limitations before they come.

    Depending on how the tables are laid out will mean how many quilters. A few quilters may prefer to bring their own tables, esp if you are using 6 ft long tables. Therefore those who are going to bring their own tables should notify the person in charge.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  21. #21
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    Make sure the lighting in the room is good. You may need to bring along sewing lights - nothing worse than a dim light to sew by.

    Good luck and enjoy sewing with your new sewing buddies.

  22. #22
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    Two, well three, thoughts: someone mentioned picking up after yourselves. We quilters are usually covered with threads and they just seem to leave a trail behind us. They can sure wrap around the beater bar of a vacumn. I would ask the quilters to try to keep threads to the trash can and offer to vacumn before leaving.
    The second thought is lighting. There may be enough ambiate lighting....you could check out the room. Usually a task light is needed. And lighting over the cutting and pressing stations may be needed.
    As to electricity: one standard iron can use as much electricity as 60 Clover mini wand irons. There are non-electric ways to "press" seams such as a wall-paper breyer and Clover pressing sticks. These can get the seams going the right direction and then the project only needs pressing occasionally. (When I've been to retreat centers, they ask if there's anything we might need. It's always more electricity.) With all the irons, lights and machines, the circuits can get overloaded. (Let's see....on one hand-use the elctricity for sewing OR for crock pot? DUH.)
    Here's #4: electric cords loosely draped across the floor can be a hazzard. Either plan to tape them down or throw a rubber mat over them.
    I may think of more...........

  23. #23
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    Okay, back up a little. I think it's great that you want to start a group and advertise BUT start as you mean to go on. Do you really want to be supplying food for X amount of people? Is everyone going to take turns or is this going to be just for the initial meeting and everyone can bring a lunch next time? Does the library allow eating in the building? Sorry to rain on your parade.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Jennalyn's Avatar
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    The library does allow food so long as we clean up after ourselves and behave responsibly with it. They also don't charge groups that aren't for-profit, and I verified with their headquarters before I booked the room that we would qualify.

    A lot make note of and think about. You're all so marvelous - I knew that I would get the kind of answers I needed here!

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    Sounds like fun. If I lived in your area I would love to join your group.
    Lorraine

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