The Quilt Lovin’ Gals

anna and the anniversary quilt

I have been an avid quilter since the 1970’s, designing my own quilts, creating patterns to sell, attending craft sales and facilitating workshops.

Back in 1992, when Relief Society was celebrating its 150th anniversary, I was serving as the Relief Society president in our Bridgewater Ward. Our Bishop, now Patriarch, Wayne Hunt, suggested we do something special to mark the occasion. Moments before that comment, I had the thought that we host a quilt-tying marathon and invite the other church-ladies in the community. The Bishop was all for it.

Our presidency planned the event, sent invitations to the ladies’ auxiliaries, gathered quilt frames, organized quilt tops, batting and backing fabrics to be brought in, set up a comfort area at one end of the cultural hall with sofas, chairs and lamps, and provided pots of soup and other refreshments to keep us going.

Being a relatively new idea in this area, the turnout was smaller than hoped for. BUT we did accomplish the task of producing 28 finished quilts which were donated to our local women’s shelter.

mahone bay

During this same time, I was president of the Mahone Bay Quilters Guild and was excited to share this idea with the guild members. They were enthusiastic and decided we would hold our first one in the fall. We called it Cuddle Quilt Day and held our 24th annual event last Saturday, March 19th. Over 50 teens to seniors came for an hour or the whole day, where over 100 quilts were finished.

I call it the ‘sweat shop’ – piles of fabric and rolls of batting sandwiched with individual quilt tops, sewing machines running on ‘fast’, trimmers and turners, a room full of tables where the workers tie little square knots through the three layers to keep them all together. One of the organizers then irons on our guild label and drapes the finished quilt over a church pew. At the end of the day, the pews are covered and they hung some larger ones over the choir loft railing.

cuddle quilt day

It has become a very popular event for both the guild members and the recipients of our gifts – women and teen shelters, Blankets of Love for Mental Health, wheelchair quilts for the Seniors Home, preemie quilts for the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax and more. It is a wonderful community service event with a fabulous feeling of friendship and love. As King Benjamin said, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

This year (2017) we had two special and very enthusiastic guests. Yuki from Japan and Maria from Columbia were foreign exchange students living with my sister in Digby Nova Scotia and visiting us for the weekend. I invited them to join us and they had their very first experience in tying a quilt.

Last year, about two weeks prior to Cuddle Quilt Day, six members of our ward family lost their home and almost everything else to fire and was living in a local hotel. During our quilt-tying day, I felt inspired to tell the leaders about this family with four young children. They said, ‘pick out whichever ones you want and take them’, and I did. When I showed up at the hotel where they were being lodged they were so surprised and grateful.

The Mahone Bay Quilters Guild celebrated their 25th anniversary at a dinner last June 2016, and in celebration Guild member Winnie Hoyt wrote the lyrics to the song “The Quilt Lovin’ Gals”, the story of the guild’s beginnings.

The Quilt Lovin’ Gals

  1. Oh, this is the town where the guild members gather
    With notions, creations and patterns galore
    All sizes and figures with needles and scissors
    We congregate here with the Quilt Lovin’ Gals.

  2. This fabulous group started out in the ‘90’s
    Michele first phoned Anna who then called Val.
    The number was sixteen who gathered in April;
    Now we’re official – we’re Quilt Lovin’ Gals.

  3. There’s over a hundred members and counting
    With thoughts and ideas on various things
    Such as workshops, programs, shows and great dinners
    We love all we do with the Quilt Lovin’ Gals.

  4. There’s girls from the country and girls from the city
    There’s some from the valley and other spots too.
    There’s oldies, spot quilters, guests and beginners
    They all are made welcome by the Quilt Lovin’ Gals

  5. Holy smokes what a shuffle, all hands are excited,
    It’s Cuddle Quilt Day right here in the Bay
    There’s a bustle, a stitching, a wonderful hustle
    They’re all stabbin’ quilts with the Quilt Lovin’ Gals.

  6. If you ever feel inclined to go quilting
    Just leave all your troubles and sorrows behind
    ‘Cause you’ll never feel better than when you are sewing
    And quilting a block with the Quilt Lovin’ Gals.

The Mahone Bay Quilters Guild is not particularly LDS oriented. We are one of only three LDS families in our small town. There were three of us who were the founding members of the guild. Our first meeting was in April 1991 with 16 participants. We now number around 127.