Ann Hill, coordinator for The Quilters’ Guild in Scotland (known as Region 16) celebrates the resurgence of the craft – and the SWI’s part in helping raise its popularity.
Quilting in Scotland has never been as popular as it is at the moment. We have seen a large increase in the membership of the Quilters’ Guild in Scotland and also in our local communities. Some of this is certainly down to the interest raised within the Scottish Women’s Institute.
As well as being the Coordinator for The Guild in Scotland I am also quilter in residence at Alzheimer Scotland. I have done well over 200 talks to various groups around Scotland in the last three years, many of them to ladies of the SWI. Thanks have to go to the many SWI members who contributed quilts which covered Hampden Park in 2014 which to date has raised over £96,000 for Alzheimer Scotland.
When I first moved to rural Dumfriesshire over 30 years ago I decided that one of the ways to meet other mothers within my community was to join the SWI. I had never been to a meeting and was invited to bring along six pancakes. On that particular night I turned up with my pancakes in a paper bag – first impressions count! I was then whisked off into the kitchen to be asked ‘have you never entered an SWI competition before?’ I could honestly say I had not. I was then shown all the other competition entries – beautiful pancakes all the same size, the same colour and the same thickness. Mine were forty shades of brown in all different sizes and various thicknesses. I remember laughing with them and owning up to the fact that I had made at least 48 to get six that you could actually eat.
I was honoured this year to be invited to judge the quilting entries at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. I have helped and advised many of their members over the years on how to quilt and how to make their entries stand out from the rest. I am certainly looking forward to putting the shoe on the other foot by judging what they make but doing it with the charity and love of the quilting I so enjoy.
Quilting plays a very important part in bringing people together in friendship and companionship. The opportunity of going to meetings and classes offers many a lonely person a new friend just as the Scottish Women’s Institutes did for me 30 odd years ago.