Here’s a spotlight on a big, busy guild that does so much for others! Introducing: The Des Moines Area Quilters Guild!
Mina Lea (Mike) Wigg, owner of Des Moines’s first quilt shop, Mrs. Wigg’s Cabbage Patch, suggested that quilters in the area should get together to share and learn from each other. So, in February 1983, the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild (DMAQG) was born.
Over 60 quilters attended the first meeting and they had their first quilt show the following September. Today, DMAQG has almost 500 members, from beginners to nationally recognized quilters!
Since 2008, the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild has provided volunteers for AQS QuiltWeek® — Des Moines, Iowa, and the annual DMAQG show has been a special exhibit inside this national show.
DMAQG member Mary Shotwell provided some examples of the projects that DMAQG is involved in:
• Crib and lap quilts for Project Linus and ChildServe Woodland Center
• Twin and large quilts for YMCA of Greater Des Moines
• Pillowcases for local shelters and ConKerr Cancer
• Placemats for local meals-on-wheels programs
• Toiletries for local shelters
• Lap and bed quilts for the community living center at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System
• Fundraiser quilt for the Alzheimer’s Association
• Charity auction and Mall in the Hall for women’s health charities
• $14,000 for the American Heart Association and Susan G. Komen Foundation
They also do educational outreach!
Each summer, about 50 children ages 10 and up attend day-long beginners quilting classes. Mary writes, “Each student works with a DMAQG volunteer to select fabrics; sew a simple lap quilt top; press, layer and pin for quilting; quilt; attach and stitch down binding; and label their quilt.” The courses are sponsored by Leo9 Textiles of Smithville, Texas.
The guild offers a sew-in each afternoon during the Iowa State Fair in conjunction with the Fabrics and Threads Department. < http://www.iowastatefair.org/fair-attractions/art/> Fair attendees made 350 quilts that were donated to children’s charities across the state.
Mary tells of another educational connection. “DMAQG members also work throughout the year to teach a weekly quilting class for clients of a local inner city social services agency. This project has been going on for over 25 years and provides not only quilting instruction and skill building for these clients but also an opportunity for social support and enhanced self-esteem.”
DMAQG holds meetings monthly at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to meet the members’ scheduling needs. At their regular meetings, held in a church, the guild president provides information about current guild happenings and other officers share announcements and information about their particular area. Show-and-tell provides an opportunity for members to share their recent quilt-making efforts. This is always a highlight of the meetings. The guild then has a lecture/program provided by a guest speaker, usually a nationally known figure in the quilting world. Following the meetings, members gather for conversation and coffee/refreshments that are provided by the various small groups within the guild. Their youngest member is 11 and their oldest is 92!
In 2014, the Des Moines Area Modern Quilt Guild voted to join DMAQG. This reflects DMAQG’s recognition of modern quilting in its monthly programming and as a quilt show entry category. It also reflects the recognition by Modern Quilt Guild members of the importance of modern and traditional quiltmaking.
(with thanks to Emily Esau for her compilation)