The Kitimat Quilters Guild have been sewing fabric for 30 years now, and boy are their fingers tired.
Or maybe not. Over three decades machines have slowly invaded the group, as they have in many areas of life, and at the start it was a big controversy over using machines over hand.
“Originally you were a really good quilter if you did everything by hand. You were allowed to sew the pieces together by machine but when it came to actual finishing and doing the quilting part of it that was hand done. It was quite a conflict when all these machines took over quilting,” explained Lois Mendel, who joined the guild about two years after its inception at a house on Brant Street, under the leadership of a woman named Mary-Lee.
“As time went on, you could see everybody wanted to machine quilt because it saved so much time,” she adds.
The Kitimat Quilters Guild celebrated 30 years as a group, and five years hosting a quilting retreat at their annual retreat at the Riverlodge. To see the gymnasium at the facility turned into a quilters dream is a sight to behold. Wall to wall sewing machines, quilts, and the ladies from corner to corner.
It’s not just a personal hobby though. The Guild has been providing their products to those in need since the start.
“We make what we call community quilts. That means if someone has been burned out of their home we give them a quilt. Usually, more than not, if there’s children involved,” said Janet Malnis, who headed up organizing this year’s retreat.
They also offer up quilts to medical patients and, as tradition, to the last baby born in the year.
The annual retreat began as a way to actually fundraise for the group in order to pay for the fabric of the quilts they hand out.
Malnis said 66 people attended this year, with people stretching from Haida Gwaii to Houston, BC.
The local group is approximately 30 people.