For many members of the Minot Prairie Quilt Guild, quilting isn't just a pastime but an art form. The guild has about 120 members, with 50 active members and several long-term members. The club will turn 30 in July, and two members who have been with the guild almost since its beginning spoke about their involvement.
"I joined in probably 1989 or 1988. To me, quilting just seemed interesting. I liked the colors and I liked to create," said Sally Mosser, the guild's treasurer.
"It's almost like art, like painting on a canvas. There's always new ideas to try," Mosser added.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN • Three members of the Minot Prairie Quilt Guild are pictured with their creations. Left to right are Sally Mosser, Donna Vangsness and Gladys Lowell.
Donna Vangsness, who also joined at that time, was encouraged to do so by her quilting instructor.
"I went to a few meetings and I liked it. It's something that I've always wanted to do some day. It's fun, and the guild is just a nice group of ladies," Vangsness said.
Vangsness and Mosser both described becoming interested in sewing early and creating different pieces throughout their lives. Quilting became another creative option, and the guild offered camaraderie and help with projects.
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At monthly guild meetings, a program provides quilters help with projects and suggestions for getting through their quilting dilemmas.
"The meetings help you get ideas. Through the guild, we have classes, books and magazines available. We have a big library set out at each meeting. We've also gone to quilting retreats and quilting shows," Mosser said.
The quilters have thousands of different pattern options, fabric designs and fabric colors to choose from when working with their creations.
"There are a lot of beginning designs you can work with when you first start out, such as the log cabin and Jacob's ladder. I always tell beginning quilters to go slowly at first, don't start by picking out a difficult pattern you saw in a magazine," Mosser said.
"There are a lot of different fabrics available, too. There are different designers coming out with new designs," Vangsness said.
The quilt creation process has changed over the years. Vangsness and Mosser have worked through some of the changes.
"One thing that has really changed is how we cut out patterns. At one time, we cut with scissors, now we have rotary cutters," Vangsness said.
"We also have different rulers, and even machines that can cut out shapes for you. When we used to start cutting we'd use cardboard or plastic templates," Mosser said.
The guild doesn't create quilts solely for themselves or as gifts, but also as donations. The Minot Prairie Quilt Guild donates up to 80 quilts a year to local charities.
The number of quilts produced each year by guild members vary greatly, as do the types of projects they're working on. Quilters can choose to make bed-size quilts, miniature quilts, or wall hangings.
One thing is always certain within the guild, though, and that's that new members are always welcome. Gladys Lowell, who joined the group in 1991, recalls being invited by a friend to join.
"I'd been sewing since I was 9, and when a friend invited me to join the guild, I did. I've been making quilts ever since," Lowell said.
"There are many skill levels of quilters in our group, some come just for the camaraderie of it," she added.