It was May of 1985. A bunch of gals who shopped at Heirloom Quilts & Fabric Shop in Poulsbo, Washington, decided to start getting together. A newsletter from the Heirloom shop mentioned the meeting, and more quilters began to attend. When the group grew to about 25 members, they decided to form a guild. The group kept getting bigger, including several mother-daughter combinations. After moving from place to place to accommodate everyone, the Kitsap Quilters now meet in one of the buildings of the First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo.
Two years after the guild started, they started having retreats at an Indianola church camp. In the early years, they ate and sewed at the same tables, having to clean them off for each meal and put back all of their sewing supplies when it was time to sew. They slept in bunk beds and had a great time.
More members meant more women needing quilting supplies. When the Heirloom shop was put up for sale, five members of the guild, Donna Endresen, Margaret Mathisson, Evelyn Bright, Carol Swanson, and Norma Tipton, purchased it together. The guild is continuing to grow and currently has over 160 members–with more joining at almost every meeting.
Some of the committees and charity work accomplished by the guild include hospice quilts; Kitsap Cuddles, which supplies baby quilts to the birthing center at Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale; and Kitsap Snuggles, which supplies small dolls and stuffed animals wrapped in small size quilts to qualified agencies for distribution to children in crisis situations.
Small groups of women work on charity quilts for Quilts of Valor, quilts for graduating students, quilts for donations to food banks, and more. An enormous number of quilts are donated by the women in this group that encompasses something for every interest.
The Kitsap Quilters hold a quilt show every February, usually the second Friday and Saturday of the month. But there’s so much more! They have monthly programs, guest speakers, classes (some are free, some charge a small fee that is given to the speakers), retreats (now held in much nicer quarters), a lending library, a gadget library where you can try out that special template or ruler before you buy one, in-house quilts, a fabric exchange, challenge quilts, a newsletter, and many other opportunities to express quilting interests. Take a look at the winners of their 2015 quilt show HERE!
The Peggy Kent Scholarship, given out yearly, was named for a woman who was a past president of the group. “She was just a really sweet person and a very active force in the guild,” say members. “Someone you just couldn’t say ‘no’ to.” They felt she had a special place in people’s hearts and they wanted to recognize her being an integral part of the guild by naming the scholarship after her.
Peggy, along with Judy Cox, solicited donations to buy a long arm quilter for the women’s prison in Purdy, Washington. They purchased the machine from another guild member about ten years ago, and it has been used since then by the inmates at the prison. The prison group was started about 14 years ago as a part of the recreational opportunity afforded the prisoners after their daily work is finished. The privilege is also related to their behavior. The inmates must make a charity quilt for the program before they are allowed to make quilts for family. The inmates make over 300 quilts a year for charity. It not only allows them to learn how to quilt as a new skill, but also gives some the opportunity to teach others. Norma Tipton and Ann Trujillo go to the prison on a regular basis. The Kitsap Guild members donate supplies for the program.
If you are interested in learning more about the Peggy Kent scholarship, please click HERE. It is available only to residents of Washington State. The money for the scholarship comes from the quilt show and the guild’s raffle quilt.
Thanks to Carol Johnson and Val Martinson of the Kitsap Quilters for photos and information about the guild! You can find out more about the guild at their website, www.kitsapquilters.com.
We’d love to hear from your guild, too. Do you have history, photos, or projects that you think others would like to hear about? Please contact JillAntoniou@AQSQuilt.com and start the conversation!