Skip to main content

Niagara Heritage Quilters Guild celebrates 40 years

The group currently has more than 100 members

NiagaraThisWeek.com
Friday, November 11, 2022

Quilting is a hobby that has lived on throughout the years.

Locally, the Niagara Heritage Quilters Guild recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.  At a ceremony in late September, all 120 members gathered to learn about the group’s history.

The guild was formed in 1980 over Mother’s Day weekend, after a group of five women worked together to host Niagara’s first quilt show.That show raised funds for the Pelham Historical Society and Effingham Heritage Association. From the success of the show and interest in quilting, the Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild was formed on Dec. 3, 1980. The first meeting was held at the St. Catharines Centennial Library with 37 quilters now considered charter members.

By May of 1981, the membership grew to 89 and in January 2001, the group had over 280 members.

“What is truly remarkable is witnessing the changes to tools, fabrics, colours and designs,” reads a release from the guild. “Material — from old cotton dresses, shirts and food/flour bags (often crumb pieced) to the endless selection from around the world that we enjoy today.” The release notes technology has changed how quilting has evolved over the years as well.

“Equipment has developed from treadle to high-tech, computerized machines. Patterns have grown from those done by hand on cardboard to computer designs,” the release said. “Cutting on the kitchen table with scissors has evolved to using a drafting table and a rotary cutter. And quilting has progressed from handwork at a bee to elaborate computer designs and even embellishments like beads and lace to give the product depth of design.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the guild and becoming a member can visit niagaraquiltersguild.com .

Tags: Hyper Local, Human Interest, Local News, Community

REPORT AN ERROR

JOURNALISTIC STANDARDS

ABOUT US

Toni Major’s Landscape Quilt Workshop

October 27, 2022 

Written By Carol McRae

I was really looking forward to this workshop on Landscape Quilting and at the same time I wondered what I’ve gotten myself into especially after her presentation at the general meeting.

Her display of quilts she creates is phenomenal. Could I do that??

After Toni explained how she begins a project, we were left to execute her instructions. I really had to think outside the box on this one. I added my main components and then thought I would use thread to add the finer details. Toni recommended I add a few more elements to my landscape, offering me ideas and suggestions, which I proceeded to use. Her ideas certainly made a difference. She walked around giving everyone her attention and ideas. She was very approachable and gave great feedback.

We also had very experienced quilters in the room and as I too walked around I was struck again on how much creativity these women possess. Not only that, but the fabrics that they brought with them was amazing and they all offered to share.  I also realized at this point how much having the right fabric made a difference.  Live and learn.

What did I learn?  This type of quilting was not for me and that is OK because I came here too experience a different quilting form. I’m a believer that unless you try something new you never know.  All in all I had a wonderful time and will never hesitate to register for a workshop.

You wont see me in any pictures because I left early due to a previously planned girls weekend in Prince Edward County and wanted to get a head of the traffic. Here are some pictures I want to share with you. Enjoy.

 

The Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild Anniversary Celebration

By: Carol McRae & Leslie Moulson


After 40 years in the Niagara Region the legacy of five amazing woman continues to flourish within the Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild.

It all started in May 1980, on Mothers Day weekend, five women worked together to host the first quilt show in Niagara to raise funds for the Pelham Historical Society and Effingham Heritage Association. Nina Stahlschmidt, Ingrid Harmes, Marion Holman, Margaret Walpole and Ange Whittaker were the organizers. From the success of the show and interest in quilting, the Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild was formed on December 3, 1980. The first meeting was held at the St. Catharines Centennial Library with 37 quilters now considered charter members. The next order of business was to create a logo.

Numerous entries were received and after a membership vote a design by Kit Willey was adopted and created. The logo encompasses the Niagara region from the rainbow representing the falls, to the water that surrounds us, to the tree that represents our agriculture. This logo remains the cornerstone of the guild today.

By May of 1981, the membership grew to 89 and in January 2001, we boasted over 280 members.

Every two years, a quilt show was hosted. By May 2011, the quilt shows had out-grown two locations (the Jordan Arena and Merritton Community Centre) so Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake was their next stop.  At each quilt show, the guild raffled a quilt ranging in value from $750 in the late 80s to $1600 in 2011

What is truly remarkable is witnessing the changes to tools, fabrics, colours and designs. Material – from old cotton dresses, shirts and food/flour bags (often crumb pieced) to the endless selection from around the world that we enjoy today. Dry cleaning means that material other than cotton can be used, thus adding texture. Equipment has developed from treadle to high-tech, computerized machines. Patterns have grown from those done by hand on cardboard to computer designs. Cutting on the kitchen table with scissors has evolved to using a drafting table and a rotary cutter. And quilting has progressed from handwork at a bee to elaborate computer designs and even embellishments like beads and lace to give the product depth of design.

Workshops have been a foundation activity since the beginning of the guild with internationally renowned speakers and teachers like Judy Mathieson and Harriet Hargrave, as well as our own very talented members.

The Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild is very proud of the work we do in supporting our communities. Over the years, Fire Quilts evolved into Community Outreach to today’s Giving Back initiatives such as:

  • Victims of fire – firefighters used to carry our quilts on their trucks
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Local hospitals and churches
  • Meals on Wheels
  • RAFT, a Niagara Resource Service for Youth
  • The Kristen French Foundation
  • Gillian’s Place, YWCA and other women’s shelters
  • Neonatal Quilts

In 2011, a scholarship fund was created and each year, a $1000 scholarship is awarded to a Niagara student who pursues post-secondary education in fine arts, art history, visual arts or design, with an interest in textile/fibre arts as a career or life skill.

Over the years our membership has declined for various reasons and today at 150 members strong, our mission remains the same, which is to promote the appreciation of the art of quilting.

On September 28, 2022 we finally had an opportunity to celebrate 40+ years and all things that make the Niagara Heritage Quilters’ Guild special. With 120 members and guests present, we had a wonderful evening listening to and watching PowerPoint presentations from some of those founding members. They talked about starting the guild and what it took to keep it going.

 

They encouraged the membership to volunteer their time, that they would not be disappointed and that life-long friendships would be made. We enjoyed pictures from our creative past. Coffee, tea and cake were served.

The celebration would not have been nearly as fun without the amazing support of quilt shops and local quilters in the Niagara Region and from as far away as St. Marys, Stratford, Shakespeare, Brantford, Burlington and Brampton. A huge Thank You to them all.

 

Special Message:

Received on September 25, 2022

The Harare Patchwork and Quilting Guild of Zimbabwe would like to send our congratulations to The Niagara Heritage Quilters Guild as you celebrate your 42nd Anniversary.  We were privileged to be part of a block swap with your guild many years ago and have always enjoyed a special relationship with your guild via Nina. Our guild like yours was badly affected by the Covid pandemic but we wish you all the very best for the future and hope your meeting attendance is continually on the increase.

Happy Stitching

Regards

Harare Patchwork & Quilting Guild