by Jessica Plunkett (@maeberrysquare and @runningquilters)
The quilting community is never one to sit idle, especially during times of distress. The current state of the world has created an interesting set of challenges. Nevertheless, quilters have shown up to create what many crave during a time of social distancing – community, and connection!
With guild meetings and quilt shows canceled for the foreseeable future — quilt-alongs and video chats have ramped up! Today we’re highlighting two of the many quilters (both who happened to be named Steph!) who are making meaningful connections while practicing safe distancing.
The Virtual Quilty Meet-Up
Steph Skardal (@stephskardal) recently hosted a virtual quilty meet-up using Zoom. “I set up the virtual meet-up to create something more casual and conversational than the structure that someone might find in their local guild going virtual, or what the MQG [Modern Quilt Guild] is offering on a webinar level in their #MQGKeepCalmAndSewOn series. Also, technology is ‘my jam’, so I like to bring that into quilting when I can,” Skardal said.
Skardal’s virtual meet-up agenda included introductions, show and tells, a short presentation, and casual conversation. Her advice to those looking to host virtual guild gatherings or use technology to build more connections with other quilters? “Allow a bit of time for users to get acquainted with the technology and understand the limitations. Experiment with group size and structure. Many of us are new to this structure, and we have to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of virtual meetups for quilting.”
Besides Zoom, other online tools that can help facilitate an online meet-up include Google Hangout, FaceTime, and Slack. The number of participants can help you decide which tool is best to use.
Sewing for a Common Cause
To try to bring quilters together, Steph Jacobson (@stephjacobsondesigns) decided to start a charity block challenge. She is requesting heart blocks that will be made into charity quilts and distributed to those in need. Details on the size and color requirements can be found on her blog.
When the pandemic started, Jacobson was inspired to launch a quilt block drive. However, she had to figure out a way that would allow quilters to participate, while also being safe. Her solution was to put a call out for heart blocks. “I usually work with bigger quilt blocks, but I figured small blocks could be made easily with scraps – no trips to the quilt store – and mailed in a regular envelope with a stamp – no trips to the post office,” Jacobson said. The goal is to assemble and donate quilts made from the blocks. But her bigger goal is “to give quilters an opportunity to get involved and feel connected.”
Using tools like her blog and social media has allowed Jacobson to get the word out about her block drive. “I know social media gets a bad rap sometimes, but I am grateful that we have a way to stay connected when we can’t physically be together. Guild meetings, sew days, and retreats may be canceled or postponed. But we can meet virtually to support one another and get through this together,” Jacobson said.
Share With Us
There are so many ways that quilters and other sewists are building community during this difficult time. Tell us, how are you staying connected with quilting friends? What other creative ways have you seen the community working together? Leave a reply below with the connection tips you have for the quilting community!
Jessica Plunkett is a quilter, pattern designer, lecturer, and teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. She shares her work on Instagram (@maeberrysquare) and on her blog (www.maeberrysquare.com). Check it out!