QUILT TALES

Love in Stitches

Las Cruces quilt guild celebrates community care

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Las Colcheras Quilt Guild of Las Cruces is deeply involved in caring for the local community. The guild with its 200+ members provides quilts to those in need and respond to every request.

“Several hundred quilts have been supplied to abuse shelters, hospice, the community run day care center, and individuals undergoing prolonged medical treatments,” According to their website, www.lcqg.org/community-service/. “In addition, we have sewn pillowcases for area children’s facilities, tote bags for children in foster care and dog beds for many animal shelters.”

Quilts are given to people who are “suffering catastrophic loss (house fire, flood, etc.) or emotional trauma (abuse, serious illness, etc.),” often at the request of first responders. The Guild also gives quilts to local community organizations to raffle or auction off to raise funds. Anyone can request a quilt by filling out the form on the website.

The guild also makes quilts every month for Project Linus, a national organization that provides handmade security blankets, “blankies,” to children 18 and under.

To support all these loving gestures, the guild has a “Community Cupboard.” Fabric, thread and other notions are donated because people are moving or because a family member who was a quilter has passed away. These are kept in the Community Cupboard storehouse, really a member's converted garage, until needed. These resources support the sewers and quilt makers, who over the Pandemic years have donated thousands of masks and hundreds of quilts for charity. Thank you letters, expressions of heartfelt thanks for the beautiful and comforting quilts they have received, are often read at guild meetings.

Guild members volunteer in many other ways, serving as officers and board members; helping with meeting needs; and, serving as chairs on quilt show committees.

The guild recognizes these social, administrative and humanitarian efforts every other year with Turtle Camp.

“It's the Guild’s way of saying ‘thank you' to the members,” said long-time member Libby Pruett.

And so, on Feb. 20 and21 Las Colcheras Quilt Guild Turtle Camp convened at the Las Cruces American Legion Hall, Post 10.

It was a joyful reunion for many, signaling the end of an unpleasant isolation forced by the need to keep safe. More than 40 quilters joined presenters for joyous learning experiences in appliqué; binding techniques; paper piecing; and special quilting techniques.

Turtle Camp 2022 was the first major gathering for the guild in more than two years. Beginning on Saturday afternoon, guild members set up items for purchase and for the taking. This included fabric of all types, sewing machines, magazines and notions. Early in the morning on Sunday, people began arriving with their sewing machines, scissors, tools, and breakfast items to share.

Turtle Camp has been a staple of guild events for as long as anyone can remember. It takes place in even years, alternating with the Guild Quilt Show currently scheduled for February of 2023. The name comes from the guild logo, believed to have been suggested by a member who had a number of turtles in her backyard, back in 1988 when the Guild was first founded.

Turtle Camp activities include Turtle Races, members received the makings of a single block, which they sewed and returned; The Mystery Quilt Challenge which takes place over several months during which participants get a clue a month; and a workshop for member about making beautiful bindings for their quilts using their machines rather than finishing them by hand.

Many quilt blocks were made; many quilts were finished; lots of door prizes were awarded; lots of food was eaten; and, there was much sharing and learning. Finally, late in the afternoon on Monday, tired but happy and fulfilled campers packed up their quilting tools and supplies, along with their new acquisitions and door prizes, and headed home in the still warm but gently fading sunlight.

To join or to donate to the guild, contact President Dianne Herrmann at dakotadi@hotmail.com or call her at 605-881-5893. Currently, the guild is helping Afghan families rehomed in Las Cruces, people who have helped our troops, and preparing for waves of requests for Ukrainian refugees.

Mia Kalish lives in tiny San Miguel, NM. She began sewing couture clothing at 16, got away from it as life took over, and then became fascinated with the hugeness of quilting about 5 years ago. Her favorite projects are lap and pet quilts. She sews on her Bernina 475QE. Follow her on Instagram @Joe’sRoomQuilts.