I believe that sharing your quilts in-person, with like-minded sewists, is a unique and essential experience that can't be replaced. There's only so many times you can ask your (yes, very awesome but still non-sewing) husband/possibly whole family for help/advice/opinions. I might be biased because I'm very involved with my guild, the Central Jersey MQG (webmaster for 2 years, VP last year, President this year) but here's my two cents!
I joined my "local" (I say that because it's an hour away now) Modern Quilt Guild at the ripe old age of 22. All of you who say you were/are the youngest guild attendees - trust me. I was definitely the youngest (and still am, and yes, I'm the President now... it's funny how things work). I was in my senior year of college, 10 minutes away from Pennington Quilt Works, when I found out (from visiting the quilt shop on the weekends with my college friends to ogle at/buy fabric) about an MQG interest session in December 2011. No, I wasn't your typical college student... lol.
A recent meeting in which our own Meg Cox gave a fabulous talk on photographing your quilt!
Improv blocks for our bee
Guess what, though. I had a blast, and everyone was so nice and accepting. I remember we did a "get to know you" activity where everyone chose scraps of fabric and had to meet up with the person whose fabric matched theirs. We then had to tell the guild about the other person. That's how I met my friend and fellow officer (treasurer) Kristina! Jessica was leading the interest session and now she is one of my good quilty friends (and VP - we flip flopped positions this year). I was pretty intimidated by all the talent in the room, honestly. All of it was a blur.
Our own Liza Lucy giving a demo on Y-seams
I signed up for a year with the guild in January 2012, and I haven't looked back since. We have monthly meetings and we have done all sorts of things: a guild bee (still going on), guild quilt-a-long (this year we are using 42quilts.com - Modern Mondays - laid back, finish about 6 blocks a month or set your own goal), lectures/demos/trunk shows/workshops with Denyse Schmidt, Kaffe Fassett, Angela Walters, Jessica Levitt, and Barbara Persing, secret swaps (our holiday swaps are a personal favorite!), 10-minute demonstrations from members, random swaps (this coming month is anything Valentine's Day), monthly challenges, monthly sewcials outside of meetings (latest pictures), and so on. If you are interested, you can see a recap of all of our meetings here, and you can click on individual meeting posts as well. I worked hard on that recap page so give it some love ;) I kid, I kid. A bit.
Barbara Persing shows us her quilting ideas. She gave me ideas for Blizzard!
Angela Walters! What else needs to be said?
Sidenote: I'm also super excited for this event that we are hosting with the Philly and DC MQGs in April!! I can't wait to meet everyone (who's going???)!
Two monthly features in our guild especially encourage us to share our work. One is the ever-popular Show and Tell. Everyone brings whatever they are working on and shares with the group - this is the time of the night where we all feel super inspired and simultaneously in awe of all the talent we have. We also encourage bringing in trouble quilts and pleas for advice. We've really grown into quite a fabulous group!
Kathleen, our secretary
Laura (who also took many of these photos!)
^I just picked a bunch of random, happy photos from recent posts on our guild blog - all the ladies are fabulous!
I finished quilting my wedding quilt at a sewcial this summer - it was so much more fun achieving this milestone in a room full of quilters!
Secret gift exchange with Amy this year :D She's our hospitality chair this year and she is amazing!
How many of you participate in MQGs? What kinds of things do you do at your meetings? Let's collaborate :) Or, if you are interested in our guild, please check out the guild blog, and feel free to email me (centraljerseymqg(at)gmail(dot)com) or at my blog email with any questions! We would LOVE to have you visit (first time is free!) and/or join in 2014. Please come meet us - promise we don't bite :).