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Islay Quilters 25th Anniversary

On Tuesday 31 January Islay Quilters celebrated their 25th anniversary with drinks and nibbles for past and present members. They gathered in the quilting workshop in Islay House Square while Chairperson and founding member, Rae Woodrow, toasted the success of the group which started after around 15-20 people answered an advert in the Ileach for a patchwork class in Bowmore Hall. From there, the late Sally Taylor advertised in the Ileach for anyone interested in a regular sewing group. Around 30 people turned up to the Harbour Inn in response to the advert and, of them, around eight remained.

The group would meet at each others houses and early on decided that would like to be creating something for charity, which is when the annual charity quilt tradition began. To date, the Quilters have raised over £15,000 for 25 different organisations on Islay & Jura through the production of the quilts and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

With quilts and wall hangings being produced, the group soon outgrew each other’s houses and moved to the Youth Hostel where they were able to lay out their projects to work on them. However, at the end of each session they had to tidy everything away and eventually realised that they would need a premises of their own. Continue reading....

Rona MacKenzie, the only other original member still part of the Quilters, told the Ileach that Sally Taylor had found the Islay Estates premises they currently occupy, but at the time it was a derelict kennel. A huge amount of renovation and hard work went into creating a space fit for them to use and the group then pooled their own money to buy a stock of fabric, which they then bought back individually at a higher price, so the Islay Quilters made a profit. The committee have always worked on the basis that they have no debt, so everything sold in the shop goes back into paying rent and buying stock or equipment.

The group used to have visiting instructors carry out workshops for them, but realising they could do them just as well themselves, they started classes which cater for all levels of sewer. There are sewing machines that the Glasgow Islay Association donated to the Quilters so not having one of your own does not exclude anyone from the classes. Benefits of membership include the use of the workspace adjoining the shop out with class times, and for £25 per year, members also get a 20% discount on fabric. For more info visit their website: www.islayquilters.org.uk

The Islay Quilters group is always welcoming to visitors and their workshop is filled with evidence of their connection with fellow quilters from around the world. Around 20 of the 32 current members were there on Tuesday to celebrate with a toast and a bit of the beautiful cake expertly made by Marion McGregor.

Tag: islay quilters

Published with kind permission of the Ileach Newspaper

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