Snow Dyeing On one of those wintery evenings, find a guild member to set everyone up with pretreated fabric and some dye. Plan a ‘snow’ date in case there is no snow outside – or some could be store in a freezer until it is needed. Results in a couple days!
Applique A quilter can demonstrate how to appliqué. This person can have a simple pattern ready (heart?) for tracing by members. They can also provide a small background square of cotton for use by members. Members can bring a scrap of fabric for the appliqué along with a basic sewing kit.
Flower Pounding This should be demonstrated in early September when flowers are still available. Flowers may be purchased at the grocery store. A quilter can demonstrate the technique. That quilter can have pretreated fabric for all members to use for pounding. Guild members would supply flower and leaves, hammers, blocks of wood for pounding on (6” square – not larger), paper towel and ear protecters (important). This is a very fun program!
Redwork/Embroidery/Sashiko/A quilter or two could demonstrate this embroidery. Advance preparation could include the demonstratorhaving small cotton squares ready with a design traced on them. Members work on the squares, and hand them in to a communal draw at the next meeting. Names are placed in the draw of those who handed their blocks back in. A name is drawn for a member to win all the blocks, or they could be used for a raffle quilt.
Postcards A quilter can demonstrate how to make fabric postcards to the guild. Members will need to bring irons, rotary cutter, matt and ruler, scissors, and fabric scraps – some with motifs on them. The guild could supply Steam A Seam and Batting. The post card can be started on meeting night, but not finished.
Stencilling A demonstration could be done, then paint could be provided to members who wish to try it out. Members should wear old clothing and bring fabric to stencil.
Accuquilt – Ask someone – vendor/guild member to demonstrate how to use this product.
Bleaching – A chat and demonstration of various bleach products, how they can be used, and some hands on work. Members to bring swatches of fabrics. This should be done in a well ventilated area.
Check out tutorials online – like www.missouriquiltco.com Youtube! There are some great block, quilt, etc. That would make great programs for guilds.
Celtic Bars Have a member demonstrate how to make Celtic bars with the various products at stores using bars and/or iron on products.
Christmas Placemats A quilter could demonstrate a specific pattern for placemats. Ask members to make them up for Meals on Wheels for Christmas.
Crazy Quilting Ask a quilter or your local embroiderers guild to demonstrate stitches and bring their examples of their work. This could be changed to a hands on program.
Electric Quilt (EQ) Ask a professional or someone in your guild to do a relatively easy quilt using the program and print a final page and/or directions.
Longarm Quilter Ask your local Long Arm quilter to come to a guild meeting to discuss their work. This could include sizes of quilts they work on, designs used in quilting, their preference to batt and backing, etc.
Machine Embroidered Quilts Demonstrate basics of how to make a small embroidery for a quilt, and reveal how it is used in a quilt.
Quilt Historian Ask a quilt historian to come to your meeting and discuss quilting of a certain type – crazy quilting, patchwork, stars, etc.
Quilt Labels Demonstrate how quilt labels can be made using your computer and printer. Give out some listings for free label websites, and perhaps how to design your own using your picture, the picture of the quilt, or your logo.
Quilt Regsitry Find out if there is a registry in your area and someone who is working on it. Ask them to come to guild to talk about it and/or register some quilts while they are there.
Quilt Shops Ask your local quilt shop to come to your guild meeting to show new products or demonstrate tips and tricks of the trade. Ask the shop to bring some extras to sell to members after the demonstration.
Raffle Quilt Work on your guild raffle quilt at appointed meetings. Have members sign up to bring sewing machines, irons, cutting boards and rulers, etc. A good part of the quilt top can be made at your meeting.
Rulers Ask a quilter to do a show about Omnigrid rulers, matts and rotary cutters. This can be quite informative for beginners to advanced members.
Seat Sale Ask your members to bring in items they may no longer use/want and wish to sell. The money goes right back to the guild member. A time to sell some fabric you no longer need!
Sewing Machine Dealers Ask your local sewing machine dealer to demonstrate their quilting machines.
Ten Minute Star Ask one member each month to to show a few of their quilts. Ask them how they got started quilting, and what motivates them.
Trunk Show Ask a guild member or someone outside your guild membership to come to your meeting and do a show of their quilts. If it is someone far away or well know, use it as a fundraiser for your guild, add dessert and charge admission to all.
Fat Quarter/Strip Exchange Members sign up to be part of an organized exchange. Each participant lists what colour/print they would like to receive. Each participant is assigned a date to receive their own fat quarters. All other participants give that type of fabric (batik, hearts, etc..) to that participant at that time. For some control, each person is given a list of participating members and checks them off if they have received the fabric from everyone.
Postcard Exchange Members exchange fabric postcards in lieu of gifts. One can have a special work of art as a gift. This could be used as a president’s challenge as well.
Round Robin Members sign up to participate, and given a date to bring their initial block in to guild with a meter of fabric to give the project some cohesiveness. Each participant adds a border to the block. Dates are pre-assigned for the exchange of the blocks with borders. Borders of the block can be assigned at different stages too, example; appliqué border, squares, or triangles, etc. The original owner of the block does not see her project until the end date of the project. Sometimes you can arrange so the rest of the guild sees the exchange each time by sending the owner out of the room.
Straight Strip Robin Members sign up to participate, and given a date to bring their initial strip in to guild with a meter of fabric to give the project some cohesiveness. Each participant adds a row to the first strip. Dates are pre-assigned for the exchange of the strips. Strips can be assigned at different stages too, example; appliqué border, squares, or triangles, cows, etc. The original owner of the block does not see her project until the end date of the project. Sometimes you can arrange so the rest of the guild sees the exchange each time by sending the owner out of the room.
Mystery Quilt Members decide to participate at the beginning of a guild year. They are given the amount of fabric they need for the project at this time and colour guidelines if necessary. Each month they are given directions for the next piece to the puzzle, it may be demonstrated at a meeting or given as a handout. At the end of year, ask the participants to bring in their mystery quilt.
Presidents Challenge Ask the president of the guild to set out challenge to be completed for the end of the year. Rules can be stated for them, use a specific piece of fabric or colour, size limitations can be set, or specific usage (placemat? potholder?).
Oven Mitts A number of gift items (1 per 10 members) are wrapped about 15 times using bags, wrapping paper, and boxes. A corresponding number of small trays each with two dice and two oven mitts are necessary. (example: 3 gift items, 3 trays, 6 oven mitts and 6 dice). Guild members pull their chairs into a circle. One tray, and a set of dice are given to one member, give other sets out around the room keeping these items together. The wrapped gift and oven mitts are given to the person on the right (counterclockwise) of the one with the tray. The game moves clockwise. Members with the tray may roll the dice twice. If they roll a 7 they yell “SEVEN”, they pass the tray and dice to the next person, put on the oven mitts and attempt to unwrap the package. They may keep unwrapping until another person rolls a seven, then they must pass the gift to that member. If a member does not roll a 7 in their two rolls, they must pass the tray and dice onwards. The person who completely unwraps the gift wins it. You can decide if someone also wins the oven mitts.
Hidden Picture Each team gets a picture of a quilt – tons of blocks. They must find the named blocks in the least amount of time.
Quilt Pictionary Need a tripod and newspaper pad. Each person draws the name of a block and then must make her team members guess the block by drawing things that make them say the words. Play with two teams of 5 each. Each member takes one turn. Each team that wins its ‘heat’ gets one point. The tam with the best overall time gets a 2 point bonus.
Draw Basket – Members bring in their unwanted mostly new items to place in a basket. Tickets are sold as a fundraiser prior to the Christmas party. Draw at Christmas party.
Field Trip – To a favorite quilt shop, lunch at a restaurant and a winery tour. Or go to a quilt show and merchant mall!
UFO exchange – Bring old UFO’s that members do not want anymore, wrap them, and then have a drawing and you got someone else’s UFO. Finish anyway you want in a specified time limit.
1. License Plate
Give each member an index card and have them create a license plate that best describes their creative/quilt making process. Remember most license plates are limited to six characters. Give the members a time frame of two minutes. After two minutes, have the members show and read their license plates out loud, explaining what they created for their license plate.
2. Bumper Sticker
Give each member an index card and have them create a bumper sticker that best describes their quilting style. Machine or hand, each member should come up with a catchy phrase and/or graphic that best describes their style. After two minutes, have the members show and read their bumper stickers out loud, explaining what they created for their bumper sticker.
3. Word Association
Select a random quilt related word or phrase and write it on a dry erase board/paper tablet. Have the members shout out words that come to mind when they think of the word or phrase. Write those words on the board/tablet. This ice breaker is great to see how members view the word or phrase. It’s fun to see connections—unknown or not. Examples can include but are not limited to modern, grid work, modern traditionalism, improvisational piecing, negative space, etc.
4. Would you Rather
An interesting way to learn more about your members, “Would you Rather” asks members to pick sides. Below are six examples of questions you can use with your guild. Remember, each question needs two parts. Throw them a curve ball with unique and quirky questions.
- Would you rather machine quilt or hand quilt for 24 hours straight?
- Would you rather use solids or prints for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather have scissors or a rotary cutter as hands?
- Would you rather seam rip walking backward or hand bind running forward?
- Would you rather run out of thread or run out of fabric?
- Would you rather have more time to sew or more money to buy fabric?
5. Word Connection
Ask the members to sit in a circle. The first member starts with any quilt related word they wish. The next member repeats the previous word and then adds another word. For example, member 1 says “modern” and then member two repeats “modern” and adds “quilting.” To add a bit of a challenge to this ice breaker, give the members a time limit of 5-10 seconds for each word.
6. Two Truths and a Lie
You’ll need 20+ minutes for this ice breaker, but it’s oh, sew fun! Give each member an index card. Have them write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Remember it should be quilt related. Give them two minutes to complete the ice-breaker. Then gather the index cards and have the group guess who’s card you’re reading.
7. Win, Lose, or Quilt
Like the favorite game, ours is quilting related! You’ll need a dry erase board or two paper tablets. Before the meeting, write 20 quilt related words or phrases onto paper and place them into a jar. Divide the members into groups of two. Flip a coin to see which team goes first. The first player draws a word or phrase from the jar. Without speaking, the member must draw the word or phrase on the paper tablet so the other members of his/her group can guess. Give them 60 seconds to guess the word/phrase. Give each correct answer one point. The team that reaches ten points wins! You can even offer a giveaway prize for the winning team!
8. Thread Trade
Ask members to bring in a spool of thread that best represents them (color, weight, size, etc.). At the beginning of your meeting, ask each member to describe why they chose that thread.
9. A Stitch in Time
Divide the members into two groups. Give each team a 6” piece of fabric for the front and back, a 6” piece of batting for the middle, a needle, thread, and ruler. The first person of the team needs to thread the needle and layer the quilt. Each person after must add five hand stitches. The team that completes four rows of four-inch long hand stitches WINS!
10. Never Have I Ever
Start with every member standing up. Read a quilt related statement and those members to whom it applies to sit down. The last member standing—wins! Examples of quilt related samples are below.
- I’ve never matchstick quilted before.
- I’ve never used a print in a quilt.
- I’ve never improvisational pieced before.
- I’ve never pieced barefoot.
- I’ve never had a snack while sewing.
- I’ve never pieced together batting.
- I’ve never thrown away scraps.
- I’ve never pressed my seams open.
- I’ve never gone into my LQS and walked out empty handed.
- I’ve never ran out of bobbin.