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Quilters offer creative outlets during COVID

Tehachapi Mountain Quilters is looking for new members.

During this year of various stages of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been looking for a new creative way to use their time at home and the art of quilting is a perfect outlet for young adults, retirees and parents who are homeschooling their children. Tehachapi Mountain Quilters is a teaching guild founded in 1997 under state guidelines and they always begin their meetings with that motto. Their members are always willing to teach this creative art form including new techniques and patterns to beginners and as well as the seasoned quilter.

Quilting has changed over the years. Although it is a technique that has existed for centuries, we think of it as a craft that was done by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers for the purpose of making blankets out of scraps left over from clothing to keep the family warm on cold winter nights. Today it has evolved into much more. Yes, blankets are still being made but rarely is it out of clothing scraps. Today thousands of theme fabrics are available at your local fabric shop, not to mention online. Today quilting is used to make decorative wall hangings, table covers and runners, throws for the couch and garments. Many are considered works of art.

New quilters are usually started with small projects while they are learning the many techniques; items they can work on at home on their own time. The Guild lessons begin with the basics of quilt-making like fabric cutting, the importance of a ¼-inch seam, piecing a quilt together and basic quilting. For the more advanced quilter, there are applique techniques, hand quilting tips and tricks, and perhaps the introduction of the latest new quilting tool.

Under normal circumstances the Guild meets on the first Monday of every month at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 24300 Bear Valley Rd. at 9 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and 9:30 a.m for the meeting. If a holiday falls on the first Monday, the meeting is held on the second Monday. For this winter the group is meeting on Zoom. In warmer weather they have been meeting at Philip Marx Central Park, masked and socially distanced where they can work on projects or pick up fabric kits. Meetings usually include sharing current projects, a block-of-the-month challenge and planning the quilt show held every other year during Mountain Festival. About three times in a normal year a well-known quilt artist is invited to speak to the Guild and teach a special technique. This year members have been teaching one another techniques and patterns.

Comfort Quilts is an affiliate group of ladies from the Guild that gets together (or will again soon) on the third Monday of the month in Stallion Springs. They bring a potluck lunch and their sewing machines and make charity quilts for groups like Hoffman Hospice, LA Childrens' Hospital, Madera Childrens' Hospital, veterans groups, foster children, chemo patients and the Tehachapi SENIOR CENTER Grief Support Group plus other local groups in need. Anyone interested in joining Comfort Quilts should send an email to [email protected] to get the meeting link.

As a fundraiser this year Tehachapi Mountain Quilters is holding a drawing for an opportunity quilt. The Four Seasons Quilt is actually four quilts (photo above), each one representing a season in Tehachapi. Buy 24 tickets for $20. Contact Pauline by email at [email protected] or send a check payable to Tehachapi Mountain Quilters (write Opportunity Tickets on the memo line) and mail to P.O. Box 878, Tehachapi 93581. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

"The things we love about our quilt guild is the friendships, new people we meet, new patterns and new techniques," said Guild member Cathy Criger. "And our biggest love is our Comfort Quilt program and the Opportunity Quilt drawing. Please come and join us as soon as you can."

Annual dues are $30. Tehachapi Mountain Quilters can be reached by email at [email protected] or found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tehachapimountainquiltersguild.com.