I recently hosted a Quilt Olympics at my guild and it was a big hit! I had searched around the web for a bit for ideas and stumbled upon a page by my friend Dana over at Water Penny Quilts
This was a great event for members to get to know each other because we just numbered people off into groups instead of grouping them by who they were already sitting near. Our Guild is getting to big for a monthly "ice breaker game" we want to keep the feeling of community and fun in our meetings.
Our Quilt Olympics consisted of a few stages:
- Identify the Quilt Block: Where we showed photos of well known quilt blocks and people had to identity what they were called.
- Identify the Fabric Designer: We posted pictures of fabric and people had to guess which designer designed it. I tried to keep it all fabric that was fairly recognizable to our group like Tula Pink, Amy Butler, Alison Glass, etc
- Who is this? We posted pictures of the actual designer and they had to guess who they were on picture. This one was fun because you many times can immediately recognize their fabric, but if they were shopping next to you at Target would you know?
- Then we went on to Speed! This round consisted of the teams cutting out 16 4 1/2 inch squares, sewing into 16 half square triangles, ironing and trimming them, and then making a 4x4 block with those 1/2 square triangles.
- We let the teams start this round in order that they were ranked after the first 3 rounds with 1st place getting a 10 second advantage over 2nd place and so on.
I found it interesting that the team with the 30 or so second advantage wasn't the one to finish first!
Some ideas that hit the wayside along the way were:
- Seam ripping a set length of fabric
- Find the scrap in a pile of scraps.
- Hand quilt a length of fabric
- Really the possibilities are endless, you can find more ideas at Water Penny Quilts or StitchersNeedle
We wanted to have a finished item when the teams were done and we will incorporate those blocks into the backing of a Guild Quilt we are currently working on.
I hope you can host a Quilt Olympics at your Guild!
Member Spotlights/Member Trunk Shows:
These are also great for getting to know people and seeing their sewing journey. We have done Member Spotlights in a few different ways.
- A full Spotlight is the 60 minutes we allot to our programming for the month. You can bring in as many quilts and photos as you want and talk about your creative journey to where you are now.
- 4 Member Spotlights I think this is the easiest to get people to do. We pick 4 people from our guild to each get 15 minutes to talk about their creative journey.
- Mini MemberSpotlights. I personally like these a lot. We ask about 5 people to bring in 1 item that is important to them and they talk about how it impacts their quilting. People have brought in the first quilt they ever made, a quilt a family member made that inspired them to quilt, a quilt that has their favorite colors, or just their most recent finish that they love. Each person gets about 2 minutes to show and talk about their item. I think this gets the most bang for your buck at meetings.
Member Spotlights are great if you are a guild that is just starting out because they don't cost you anything! Your members are great resources and use them as much as you can for free programming! It helps people get to know one another and opens a dialogue.
We host Demo Days in a few different ways. One 60 minute demo. Three 15 Minute Demos.
Our 60 minute Demos are a short class that gives our members a new skill.These are taught to the entire group and are typically then an introduction to a challenge we are handing out. 60 minute demos we have had are:
- Intro to Paper Piecing
- Tote Bags
Our shorter demos are a technique that is useful to all members. We set up 3 stations and our members rotate between the three stations. Some mini demos we have had are:
- Techniques for attaching binding
- Hand Quilting
- English Paper Piecing
- Bias Binding
- Reverse Applique
- Squaring a quilt
- Hand Binding
Round Robin Quilts
Round Robin Quilts are a good way for people to expand their abilities. When starting Round Robins you drop in a block or center of a quilt. You can provide fabric or ask participants to add their own fabric within a color range. That center gets sent to another quilter who adds another "round". A "round" is any addition to the quilt. We give the general guideline that at least one side should be added. We give 2 months between picking a quilt and when you have to bring it back. We also suggest that if you don't think that you will be able to complete additions on someone else's quilt during that 2 month period then you just pull your own quilt back out until you can contribute to someone else's quilt again.