How We Began

Shirley Quilters was born out of an idea of like-minded ladies who, having taken beginner and intermediate evening classes for patchwork and quilting, then found there was no advanced course.  They enjoyed sewing and chatting and decided to hold a meeting to discuss the way forward. 


On forming Shirley Quilters it was decided our aims would be to:  promote, encourage and increase ability, skill and appreciation of patchwork and quilting and to organise teaching events and bi-annual exhibitions. 


Advertisements were put in a local residents association magazine and local libraries in the hope of attracting people to come and find out more about the Group.


The first meeting of Shirley Quilters was held on 18th January 2000, when 45 people turned up, a very large percentage of them having no experience of quilting at all!  In that first year absolute beginners were taught a block a month, which was a heavy burden for those leading the group.  In the first two years numbers fluctuated and at one point dropped to 16 people.  We now have a steady membership of 30, plus a few who come as and when they can.


2001 saw us settling down as a Group and we began to invite well-known quilters to come along and share their ideas and show us different aspects of patchwork and quilting.  At the same time we started to organise workshops:  some led by outside teachers, others by members of our Group.  We have learnt we can be self-reliant and do not always need to look outside our group to have a fun and productive day. 


2002 saw us put our name on the quilt map with our own exhibition.  We were able to demonstrate to quilters and non-quilters alike what a creative and productive bunch of people we are!


Written by Ann S, 2007