Guild History

The Shenandoah Valley Quilters Guild celebrated its 25th anniversary in January 2012.  Read on to find out how our group got its start . . .

Pages of the Past – 1986-87

  • Dorothy Burks Williams and her husband retired from Illinois to their farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Her first activity was to find a quilt guild.
  • On Saturday, January 25, 1987, between two record-breaking snowstorms, nine enthusiastic women met and our Guild was born.  Besides Dorothy, the charter members were Eleanor Canter, Guadalupe Cline, Sue Hodges, Barbara Johnson, Beryl Lawson, Paula Tehlewitz, Elsie Terry and Terry Wessel.
  • In February, Mary Beery, quilt teacher from the Clothes Line (now Patchwork Plus) fabric store in Dayton, was the speaker and 70 people arrived to overfill the Library room capacity of 50!
  • In March of the same year, we moved to a larger room at Mack Truck Company.  In appreciation for the use of their room, we made a “Trip Around the World” wall hanging with an appliquéd bulldog.
  • There were only 5 officers – President, V. President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Newsletter Editor
  • Lisa McCumsey won the competition for a Guild logo and name tag.
  • Nancy Pearson was the first out-of-town speaker/teacher, who came from Illinois to conduct 2 workshops on appliqué.
  • The Guild started selling SVQG Pins for $3 each.
  • The raffle quilt was donated by Dorothy Williams and won by Ellen Layman.  The next raffle quilt was donated by Terry Wessel.
  • The Guild became a chapter of the National Quilting Association.

Pages of the Past – 1988

  • The Guild celebrated their birthday with an auction, which is now an annual event.
  • The Guild started meeting at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church.
  • The Guild made quilts to be used in the play “The Quilters”.
  • Daphyne Thomas, a lawyer on the JMU faculty, offered to fill out the necessary forms for the Guild to incorporate and to become officially a non-profit organization.  A reception was held for Ms. Thomas and a quilted wall hanging made by the members was presented to her.
  • The Guild voted to construct a group bed-size quilt to be exhibited at the 20th Annual NQA Convention in June 1989.
  • Fran Miller’s quilt won “Best of Show” at Belle Grove Plantation.
  • Membership dues were raised from $10 to $15.
  • The Guild started making plans for the first quilt show, to be called “Quilts in the Valley”.
  • 3 out-of-state teachers were brought in for work shops – Gloria Hartley, Vivian Rothermel, and Jo Nelson.

Pages of the Past – 1989

  • Guild meetings were moved to the Sunnyside Retirement Community
  • The service project was to make small quilts to give to “First Step” and “The Ronald McDonald House”.  In July, a total of 27 crib quilts were delivered.
  • The first quilt show was held at Blue Ridge Community College – total profit $1,859.06.
  • A “Farmers Market” was held in August as a fund raiser, which netted $68.20.
  • The Guild was busy working on a quilt for WVPT’s Collectors Series, which was a collection of artistic works.
  • By September, the total membership was 144.
  • The Christmas luncheon was held at the Spotswood Country Club.