WESTFIELD - The art of quilt making is alive and thriving in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania.
The Westfield Quilters' Guild started in 1993 and currently has about 100 members. The Guild meets once a month at the United Methodist Church in Westfield on the third Thursday of each month and at the Noble Winery in Westfield during the summer months. The Guild was founded to encourage, support and promote the art of quilting and provides a forum for local quilters to exchange information and ideas and to share their enthusiasm for the craft. Its members, from all over Chautauqua County and neighboring Pennsylvania, represent all ages and levels of quilting experience. Advanced as well as beginning quilters find camaraderie and inspiration at our guild meetings.
Another unique aspect for the guild is a library free to use for all members. At monthly meetings, guild members can check out books for their use for an entire month. A renewal option is also available. What better way to find out about quilting for anyone new to the craft. The library includes books about piecing, appliqu, machine and hand quilting, new techniques and the latest books from national quilters. Check the guild out by attending one of its meetings.
Probably the best part of the group's monthly meeting is entitled "Show and Tell," the last on the program, but the most favorite part of the meeting. Members show finished quilts and works in progress. So every meeting has a mini quilt show where members oh and ah over accomplishments.
The Westfield Guild members put their quilting skills to use to support community efforts to help those in need by making comfort quilts. Over 100 quilts were donated to various agencies at the November meeting. These organizations included Salvation Army Agnes Home, Child Advocacy Program, Brooks Hospital Dialysis Unit, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Chautauqua County Nursing Home, Rural Ministry of Western New York and Hospice of Chautauqua County. Representatives of all these agencies attended a harvest celebration and reported back with heartwarming stories as a result of giving out these comfort quilts. Since many of the comfort quilts are made for young children, these quilts have a utilitarian and inspirational value. Several comfort quilts were given to a local family who lost everything in a recent fire. Also, the guild donates quilts for other organizations to raffle off. The most current beneficiary for these comfort quilts is the VA Hospital in Erie, Pa.
Another public service activity of the guild was entitled "Quilted Postcards for Our Troops." Jo Ann Powel did a monthly program for the guild about making fabric postcards. Members decided to make over 100 postcards to sent to troops in Afghanistan. To make this project even more special, elementary students from Dunkirk School Three took the time to write notes on each of the postcards. Retired Dunkirk teacher Geraldine Begier coordinated this project with her fifth grade teaching colleague, Ange DiCara.
Annual membership dues are $15, and monthly meeting features a wide range of presentations. During the last year, Patchwork Garden and the Quilt Farm presented programs showcasing a new quilting tool, new patterns and even new materials for a quilter's stash. After all, every quilter is a fabricolic. Other programs featured Jean Butzer, Susan Catanzarito who did a program on Civil War quilts, Pauline Fisher and Cindy Carlson. Local Jamestown quilter Cindy Carlson won second prize in the annual national competition with her quilt of the Barcelona Light House.
Guild president Cheryl Burgess comes from Erie, Pa. She has developed numerous purse patterns, so quilting is more than just a quilt. Second Vice Presidents Sally Olow and Sue Ticknor are in charge of monthly programs. First Vice President Carol Bish of Mayville is responsible for bringing in national quilt teachers.