Grand Prairie Quilters Guild brings seamstresses together

Originally published in DallasNews.com Sunday, July 13, 2008 (some corrections were made):

By DEBORAH FLECK / The Dallas Morning News
dfleck@dallasnews.com

First there were oohs and aahs in admiration of each other’s creations. Next, the members shared a catered dinner. And lastly, they played a game.

The Quilter’s Guild of Grand Prairie just turned 15. Its members celebrated like they do every year – with food, friendship and fun.

“We’re a laid-back group,” said member Janice Overton, a member for about 10 years. “We’re not as formal as other groups.”

Membership has fluctuated over the years, but a few charter members remain. One of those is Wanda Cargile, who attends meetings despite moving about 75 miles away to Hill County.

“We had lots more quilters in the beginning, but some have passed away,” Mrs. Cargile said. “We once had three generations but the great-grandma recently died.”

Grace Norris, 71, is also a charter member. She enjoys the camaraderie offered by the guild.

“I love it,” Ms. Norris said. “The guild brings quilting into focus, and we share and learn so many different things.”

Many became quilters because their mothers quilted.

Shirley Lewis, a charter member, followed her mother into quilting.

“I’ve been a sewer and quilter for about 50 years,” Mrs. Lewis said. Her daughter, Michelle Rodriguez, continues the family tradition. She’s the group’s secretary and she and her husband Francisco publish the guild’s newsletter.

Aside from monthly meetings, the guild regularly offers workshops in which members bring their machines and sew together.

“Workshops are usually from 9 to 3 and we have different instructors,” said Carol Franklin, publicity chair.

These sessions give members the chance to work together, since quilting often involves just a sewer and a machine.

“It’s fun to quilt together,” said Mrs. Lewis. “Plus, with the nifty tools we now have, quilting has become easier.”

Sharing quilting information is also easier. The guild’s newsletter offers quilting tips and lists area quilt shows, which have become popular events. One member commented that the Irving Quilt Guild held a successful show in June and drew huge crowds.

Web sites also offer a wealth of quilting news. The Texas Association of Quilt Guilds, which is based in Lewisville, maintains a site that offers news from more than 30 area guilds.

For statewide shows and guilds, quiltguilds.com/texas.htm provides a wealth of information.

The Grand Prairie guild maintains a newsy Web site at qgogp.wordpress.com. They’d love for it to attract more members. There’s lots of space in their church meeting room.

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