To Guild or not to Guild

littlehelen_gwFebruary 14, 2014

Your input please!
I've never belong to a guild, but I hear references from those on this forum and from friends about their guild. Last Sunday, I went as a visitor to a guild meeting...and left unsure if I wanted to join in. I'd like to know from my more experienced quilting buddies what you consider to be the pros and cons of joining a guild?

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I'm not a big "joiner", but have belonged to a Guild for about 5 years. My group is more low key than others in the area, making almost 200 quilts for donation a year. No Quilt Police allowed- lots of fun and friendship. A few folks belong to 2 or 3 Guilds so they fulfill their needs to make art quilts and participate in shows. Aside from everyone being expected to sell 2 books of raffle quilt tickets for the VFW (grand total of $10) there is no mandatory participation in any project. People participate in whatever community projects they wish to.
I have attended meetings at 2 other guilds and they were a bit too demanding for my taste. Think about what you like to do, and how you feel when you Have to do things. I enjoy the social aspect of our Guild- sometimes wild and crazy, supportive if someone is having bad times, and loving to share time and talents. Try a few meetings before you make a decision for a more representative feel of the group.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:18AM
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Sorry- my posts are popping up twice.

This post was edited by procrastinator on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 14:58

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:20AM
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I am a member of both guilds in my town. You can participate as much or as little as you want. Guilds are a great resource for ideas, classes, presentations from well-known or "famous" quilters,road trips to quilting events, friends with like interests, support for your efforts and help for your problems. Our guilds do a joint quilt show every two years and that is a lot of fun Some guilds can be kinda "cliquish" but you won't know until you attend a few meetings. I have made some very dear friends through the guilds and can not imagine not belonging.
Give the guild a few more meetings and if you do join and find it is not meeting your needs, drop out. Most dues are minimal and won't be a big financial loss.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 6:52AM
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I belonged to a guild back in the early 1990's. It was cliquish, as Murphy mentioned some of them are, and I really didn't enjoy it. I considered most of the meetings a waste of my time as I was working at the time and couldn't stay when they didn't stick to the schedule. But, there were some enjoyable retreats and road trips.

Some guilds are more active than others so, like the others have said, attend a few meetings to see how it goes and if they offer what you'll be happy with. Another thing is, if you have a friend go with you, it might be helpful.

Let us know how it works out for you.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:56AM
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I tried but couldn't get myself to go to meetings very often, despite being able to see Donna and Gwen when I do go. I enjoyed the Guild meetings for the information but have to admit it was hard to feel like I was part of the group. I'm not very outgoing with strangers and never had time for the more casual sewing nights or projects.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:12PM
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An extra perk for being in a guild is that Joann will issue you a VIP card good for an extra 10% off. It doesn't work on items purchased with coupons but it does for regular and sale priced items. Your membership card or other proof of being in a guild is required at signup and it is renewable each year. Pretty good deal.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Good question. I've been wondering this myself, since I'm really not a 'joiner-upper'. I think this is something I might enjoy but I've been worried about the personalities. I guess there's only one way to find out....

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I've been pondering an answer to this. I've belonged to the guild for probably 10 years now, and served 2 stints as treasurer. I have to admit, I don't participate in much outside of the meetings. Part of the reason is that I am shy and not a joiner, so I'm not the type to walk up to a group and join in the conversation. That being said, like Kate, I've rarely had someone in the guild invite me to join in their conversation, either.

For the past couple of years the guild just hasn't offered classes or many lectures that really interest me. Now that my term as treasurer is up, I'm not likely to attend much. I did renew my membership for this year, and I will plan to make some miniatures and help with the 2015 quilt show, but I just really need a break from it.

But to answer your question, I agree with the others who have said try it a few more times and see what you think. Our guild will only let you attend twice without joining, but the membership is pretty reasonable ($25 a year), so if yours is the same it would probably be worth it to pay for a year. We pay less for classes as members.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:58AM
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I suggest you look at the mission statement of the Guild and see if it is something you want to be part of. Read the past newsletters or blogs to get a feel for what it is about. Then ask yourself what you have to offer and how you want to contribute to the Guild you are considering joining.

As with joining any new organization, you have to put on your Nice Girl Face and embrace the world of possibilities of sharing, caring, and making new friends. It does take time to feel comfortable when you only meet once a month, but what do you have to lose?

You have a Modern Guild established in your area - lucky you!
Perhaps that is the meeting you attended?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:10AM
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My guild has about 100 members & I've been a member for about 14-15 years. There are still members that I can't put a name to a face or vice versa.
For my guild, at least, I don't think you would gain much bonding/friendship from attending meetings. We almost always have a "program" at the meeting...some really good, others just so-so (they can't appeal to everyone). We have a "social time" 1/2 hr before meeting starts. That just gives you time to have a few words with old friends to briefly catch up. Not really enough time to make a newbie feel like they are warmly welcomed each month. So that could make one feel there are cliques, I suppose.

I think where the friendships bloom & grow are thru participation in splinter groups & projects: bus trips, sit & sew overnights in Amish Country, charity group sews (2 per month), workshops, volunteering to help @ the Auction & the Quilt Show, & other small groups that meet monthly working on their own personal projects, or just get together for shop hops.

Our dues are $20/yr. I would recommend that you just join & give it a try for a year. Participation is the key, imo,to the amount of enjoyment you will get out of. Most quilters are really nice people, in my experience.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:12PM
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I've been a member of my guild for about 8 years and served as president for two. The group is very cliquey and I there is not one person in the guild I can count as my friend. Maybe it's my fault because I don't participate a lot. This is probably my last year.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 8:53AM
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I've never joined a guild for the exact reasons above, but also because I don't like being pressured to do something, and from what I have gathered there are a lot of projects that the members are expected to participate in. I'm not a joiner and do have a problem warming up to strangers but I do wish I had some quilting companions to share quilting time with.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Perhaps it's because we are a large group, but I don't think there is real pressure put on individuals in our group. Encouragement, yes; pressure, no.
But I suppose that is a matter of perception.

For example, for our 25th year celebration, members were asked to put at least 1 quilt in the Show, trying for 100% participation. It was mentioned at several meetings. Did we get 100%? No....but there was never a report that said we only got X% participation "shaming".

We ask all members to donate 6 1\2" "caring heart" blocks to give to distressed members. I think participation is I'm not saying our guild is perfect...yes, some can @ times be royal PITA's. But I think it is worth the price of membership...absolutely.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:08AM
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I live in a rural area (described as sleepy by the Savannah News lol) and you would think we would have plenty of quilters with all the farms surrounding me, but not so that I have found.

About two years ago we tried to start a sort of guild and I went to two meetings. The very first meeting we were to make a Log Cabin and after you purchased your fabrics the cost was over $100 to pay for the teacher, ruler, and use of the church social hall. The next meeting was the same and the instructor was going to explain how to quilt in the ditch.

The meetings were way to expensive for this area and I don't need a ruler to make a LC! Plus, as I run across so much, two or three ladies took over and decided THEY would run things. After two or three meetings it died out.

I would definitely go and see what it's all about, I would love for all of you to live by me so we could get together and sew and quilt. I consider yous guys my guild.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Rosa, I think of this group as my guild too.

Val - if you can connect with your local Modern Quilt Guild you might really enjoy it! Those guilds are typically newer and may be very welcoming to newcomers.

Another option would be to join a regular sewing group at one of your shops.

One of the things I really did enjoy from the year or two I went to guild meetings here was the speakers and demonstrations. They weren't always things I wanted to try, but that much creativity is energizing!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Thank you all for your input. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and will keep your comments in the back of my thoughts as I move forward.

A little background...I've been reading the blogs of two guilds in my area for several months, with one appealing more to my taste than the I finally went to a meeting. One meeting, and I did not sense cliques, but did note there were some very accomplished quilters. Next up...I will stop by their guild table at a show in March, and perhaps go to the March meeting; after two meeting you are ask to join if you want to attend future meetings, it's 40.00 a year.

I'm not necessarily looking for long term friendships, but would love to be comfortable with the members and learn from their expertise. I grasp things better from show-tell-do, than reading directions...although that process, plus a quilt class and your help,has gotten me through to this point!

I'll see how things play out at the next meeting....thanks again for your input, very helpful!!


    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Oops double posts...


This post was edited by littlehelen on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 21:07

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:05PM
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