Guild History
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Guild History

Birth of A New Guild

The Helena Quilters' Guild celebrated its twenty-sixth anniversary in May, 2007. The first years of the Guild are briefly reviewed. "Stitches in Time" was the name of the infant quilt club in Helena which was organized by Cherry Cowan, Kathleen Brown, Sandy Clark, Nanette Warfield, Thelma Gilbert, Jan Vulk, and Rose Bausch in May, 1981.

We still have one charter member of that first meeting, Doris Hitt. One other continuous member that joined in 1982 is past-president, Juanita Padden. The club had a beginning newsletter that was also named "Stitches in Time" which was issued six times a year. Through July, 1982, the newsletter postage was paid by the Cooperative Extension Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The quilt club eventually became known as the Helena Quilters' Guild.

First Quilt Show

The first quilt show was held in the Grand Street Theater for one day. Quilts were draped over the seats in the theater. Admission charge was $1 per person. Even though the first show revenues did not completely cover the show expenses, the Guild members were not dismayed and began work on the future second quilt show.

Continuing Quilt Shows

The second and third quilt shows were held in the mezzanine of the Helena Civic Center. Admission was not charged, but a quilt was especially made for the event and was raffled. Those proceeds covered the costs of the show.

As soon as each show is over, the Guild members begin planning their next show. It takes many months of planning, a great commitment of money, and dedication to formulate and follow through to a quilt show.

Quilt Show Directors
The past Guild Quilt Show Directors were: Guild Meetings

The Guild has monthly meetings September through May. Unofficial meetings are held in the summertime and members do sometimes also gather for special summer events such as a featured nationally-known quilt teacher or road trips to a quilt shows.

Past Presidents

Past Presidents of the Guild have been:

Community Service

The Guild members have been very active in community service projects by making and donating quilts for non-profit organizations. There have been quilts donated to: Since 1997 the Helena Quilters' Guild has given a total of over 1,000 quilts under the Guild's "Quilts for Comfort" charity program.

First Lewis and Clark County Fair Show

In 2002 the Guild was requested by the Lewis and Clark County Fair to conduct the fair quilt show. The Fair Board gave the Guild the entire Building 3 for the fair quilts. Using the Guild's quilt hangers and other equipment plus the members quilt show expertise, the "fair quilt show" was a huge success. Many many fair attendees said it was "the best thing at the fair." Lorena James, past Guild president, again and again was the the Lewis and Clark County Fair Quilt Exhibit Superintendent and for a series of years Lorena organized many successful fair quilt shows with the Guild's equipment, knowledge and "woman power." In 2009 the Lewis and Clark Fair had a wonderful new fair building and this was the last year that Lorena was the County Fair Quilt Exhibit Superintendent.

Special Guild Events

Members have many times chartered buses or vans and taken trips to the various quilt shows in Carter, Montana, Spokane Washington and Bozeman, Montana. The Guild sponsors many mini-retreats and invites internationally-known quilt teachers to come and instruct the members in new and innovative quilting methods. Guild members are constantly looking for new ways to hold our retreats in great locations with wonderful "quilting," boarding, and rooming accommodations, but also at an economical cost. Each year since 2002 the Guild rewards its members by conducting a three-day Quilt Retreat at Camp Mak-A-Dream, Gold Creek, Montana.

In May, 2008 a decision was made to change our retreat location to the Ursuline Center, Great Falls, Montana. It was a wonderful new choice and a great time was had by all Guild members who went to the Retreat. We will have our second Ursuline Center Quilting Retreat on April 23-26, 2009. This Retreat will take place during the Great Falls Quilt Show. Anticipation for the Guild Retreat is building and members will reward themselves for all the hard work done for our own soon to be recently past quilt show 2009. In the Spring of 2010, 2011, 2012 the Guild had another wonderful Retreat at the Great Falls Ursuline Center and have already booked the dates for the 2013 Retreat which this year will be in conjunction with the Great Falls Quilt Show.

The Retreat price is very economical for the three days of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is about $125. The Ursuline Center provides us with a choice of single or double rooms, a wonderfully large conference room for our quilting studio, and wonderful brunches and dinners plus this year we will not only go to the Great Falls Quilt Show, but we will also enjoy all the benefits that Great Falls' quilt shops, (some Guild members go to restaurants), and all the other wonderful amenities. The dates of the Retreat are April 10, 2013 (this is a Wednesday, but the weekend is reserved until 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 14.

Meeting Place

Guild meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at the Evangelical Covenant Church (New Life), 800 N. Hoback at 7:00 p.m. in the first level Sunday school rooms. The Guild has a very dedicated membership of 75 members, but the Guild monthly welcomes new members.

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