Monday, May 23, 2022

What’s Sewing on With the Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild?

Members’ quilts hung on display at the Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild’s outdoor expo last year. (Courtesy of the Colonial Pieacemakers Quilt Guild)

WILLIAMSBURG — Quilting is a tradition as old as time, and one local group takes the time and dedication to keep the tradition and culture well alive to this day. 

The Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild has been around since the late 1970s into the early 1980s, according to Dr. Kathleen Decker, president of the guild. 

With about 226 members, the guild has dozens of quilting groups, or Bees, within itself. Each bee works towards a specific project or cause in mind. Dr. Decker leads the Peninsula Patriots, a quilting bee dedicated to honoring nominated combat veterans with a quilt. 

The guild works in tandem with local nonprofits, such as the Avalon Center and other organizations, to provide quilts and other sewn materials to those in need. On average, the guild makes up to 200 quilts a year. 

Despite COVID-19 restrictions and having older members, the guild has continued to blossom. By holding meetings, programs, and workshops through virtual means, the guild took up the task of making face masks to donate. 

“Back then, quilting was seen as a social gathering,” Dr. Decker said. “So it was very strange to be quilting without the consistent face-to-face meetings.”

Last year, the guild held their first outdoor expo at the Rockahock Rockadome in Toano, putting members’ quilts on display for the public to admire. 

“I think the reason why quilting has stuck around for so long and why so many people gravitate towards quilting is that it’s a combination of artistic skills and mathematical,” Dr. Decker said.

Over the 2020-21 school year, the Guild also collaborated with Newport News Public Schools by making quilts of students’ artwork in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Students submitted their artwork in December, and, by February, six middle schools had personalized quilts hanging in their hallways. 

Guild member Rita Lopes (right) with Passage Middle School principal Jametha Ruffin and staff. (Courtesy of the Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild)

The guild will be hosting another quilt expo at the Rockahock Rockadome on July 24, open to the public.

Meetings have also resumed to be in-person, usually taking place wherever meetings can be held face to face .

For those who wish to become new members or are thinking about joining can visit the Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild website and look under the “New Members” tab for information. On Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, the guild will be having a sewing day at Legacy Hall in New Town where non-members can walk-in, meet guild members, and sew with others. To stay up-to-date on quilt guild happenings, visit their website or Facebook page.  

To nominate a combat veteran to receive a quilt from Peninsula Patriots, email peninsulapatriots@yahoo.com.

“No matter your experience level, we welcome you,” Dr. Decker said. 

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