Quilt Guilds and Quilt Shows Worldwide

Inexpensive Program Ideas

Contributed by members of Quiltersbee

Information on this page was supplied by guild members.  If you find inaccurate information, please update the listing.

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  1. Ask members to introduce themselves, tell how they began quilting, and show an early project and/or a current project, finished or not.
  2. Have the program chair talk about what it's like to be program chair, what famous or infamous quilters she/he has gotten to meet, the ups and downs, the funny anecdotes, etc.
  3. Have a Super Quilt Show--contact board members who call other members to bring quilts for show and tell, OR call up 10 people and ask them to bring one or two special quilts. Offer an "Ugly Quilt Contest" and/or offer a "Valueless Award" (given for lack of contrast)
  4. Have someone give a presentation on the use of the color wheel to help choose fabrics.
  5. Demonstrate how to resize any block.
  6. Show a video or slides of a recent quilt show, local or otherwise.
  7. Talk about how to use the internet to enhance your quilting.
  8. Contact a publisher in your area (C & T, That Patchwork Place, etc.) to see who might be available among their authors to speak.
  9. Ask a local shop owner to a) bring her wares to demo or sell b) talk about going to market c) tell how she determines which fabric and notions to buy, from whom, how much, etc.
  10. Keep a list of members who teach or lecture and ask one of them to present a program. (Be sure you pay or give a handsome gift certificate, just as you would for a "regular" speaker.)
  11. Have an exchange of UFOs or unwanted/unneeded notions.
  12. Have a theme night first quilt, worst quilt, children's quilt, feed sack quilt, antique quilt, 30's fabric quilt, etc.
  13. Have a style show of members' quilted garments.
  14. Have a "Trash or Treasure Night", a yard sale for quilters
  15. Ask one of the quilters in the guild to do a trunk show.
  16. Invite a speaker from a local museum or the Red Cross to speak on a "woman's" topic, not necessarily quilt-related.
  17. Invite a textile art professor to speak.
  18. Bring a variety of quilting supplies and notions (threads, rulers, rotary cutters, etc.) and have an interactive program with members offering suggestions, hints and how-to's for each.
  19. Have members bring their favorite quilting book and tell why.
  20. Have a machine quilter bring her machine and demonstrate how it works, telling how she determines what to charge, what to quilt, etc. (This could drum up a little business for her too!)
  21. Set up several stations with a demonstration at each (flying geese, prairie points, hand quilting, chain piecing, basting, marking, hand and machine applique, embellishing, half and quarter-square triangles, rotary cutting, etc.); members are divided into as many groups as there are demos and rotate to the different stations every 10 minutes.
  22. Have a local art teacher come to explore a design idea.
  23. Invite a lawyer to talk about copyright laws.
  24. Have a charity quilt work night.
  25. Divide the guild into groups of 10, giving each group a paper and pencil and a first (preferably wild and whacky) line to a story. Each group incorporates as many different quilt block names as possible in writing its story. Prizes are given for most improbable, greatest # of block names used, etc.
  26. Have a general discussion about how members got involved in quilting.
  27. Brown Bag Project:  we are to take three of our favorite fabrics and a note with our name and some patterns and size suggestions and place it all in a brown paper bag,, and at our july meeting we will toss them into a circle and draw a bag,, then you  have to make something out of whatever is in the bag, for the person who owns it,,it has to be no smaller than 18x18 and must be hand or machine quilted, no tying,, must be kept secret, must be signed and given to the owner at the sept meeting. Gives you a way to stretch yourself by using someone elses color choices.
  28. You get a clean pizza box lined with acid free tissue, put in a pattern, fabric, whatever...and a book to write in. Write down the directions of the type of block you want people to  make for you. Your box travels from person to person for a year and you can't see it. At the end, you get your box back and it is filled  with
    surprises. I look forward to getting a different person's box each month and then creating a block for them.
  29. This may have been suggested already, but one popular meeting with our guild has been mini quilt workshops. 4 or 5 member offer to demo a short project or technique to the guild for 15 min, after 15 minutes the audience moves on to the next demo (4 or five groups all going at once). 
  30. In our Guild we have the annual garage sale too. Everyone sets up before the meeting and we are allowed to look but not buy, Then after the meeting it is a mad rush to get the goodies. Everything from  bags of scraps to taylors hams. Lots of books and patterns and magazines. We have the Garbage Lunch after the sale. everyone brings a cup of salad additives and a pot luck dish or desert. We make a giant salad and have a picnic type lunch. The club supplies the lettuce and drinks and paper products.
  31. A UFO challenge. The person in charge made a game out of it--she printed up contracts she made us sign about 9 months ago, promising that we would finish at least one UFO. Then yesterday was the appointed day for everyone to bring the UFOs and tell their story. It took up the whole meeting time and was  great fun! We were awarded "certificates of completion" after we presented our story. Very cute! Another friend said her guild did something similar, but they used it as a fund-raiser. You had to assign a $$$ amount to  your UFO, and if you didn't finish it on time, you had to pay up! We are considering doing that next year, as we don't have a quilt show to help raise funds. 
  32. We did a neat one at guild meeting last month with folded flowers.  Now mind you we usually have 40-60 members in the night guild of our group so we had 6 tables set up with 6 instructors and 6 different folded flower techniques we learned in about 45 minutes. They were all wonderful and we had a great time learning something new. All the fabric items we needed were already cut to size and in some cases the machine stitching of circles right sides together was already done so all we had to do was turn them, etc and then learn the process. We used Komiko Sudo's fabled flowers book.  It was a great meeting. Sounds like you are all experienced quilters so a basics course may not be what you'd want to do, but our lead gal did a short program on bias, straight of grain, etc and the many properties of yard goods in general.
Program Ideas for Quilt Guilds and Quilting Groups Graphic