By Magda Dakin
During the annual holiday season most people get into the spirit of giving, decorating their homes and spending time with their friends and family. You can often hear the lament that this spirit should be carried out all year long.
The 85 active members of the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild do just that.
In 2019 alone they quilted and donated 184 quilts through their Senior Lap Quilts outreach program to local organizations such as St. Camillus Health Center and Whitinsville Retirement Home in Whitinsville, the Lydia Taft House in Uxbridge, Cornerstone Assisted Living and Countryside Healthcare in Milford, and Accord ADHC.
Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild was founded nearly 30 years ago, beginning with just eight dedicated quilters. It has grown to 85 members who come from all over the Blackstone Valley and together achieve their goals of sharing their gifts with their community. The guild promotes interest in all aspects of quilt making, to encourage members to develop skills and display their work and to educate the community in the art of quilt making.
In addition to the senior outreach program, the guild has helped hurricane victims, sent pillows and blankets to hospitals, created Brian’s Quilts dedicated to stillborn infants, created Alzheimer's quilts, Kid’s Komforters distributed to fire and police to be used during a crisis, chemo caps, mastectomy pillows, kennel quilts and placemats for senior centers. President Patricia Middelmann says, “We like to say we are ‘quilting power for good’.”
Many members are also involved in the creation of Journey Quilts. Creator Linda Bixby says, “We are honoring that Last Journey by respecting the entrance and exit from that physical space/world for the last time. The quilt is divided into blocks. The block names, Crossroads, speaks for themselves: Road to Heaven, Rising Sun and Homeward Bound all indicate the journey, the new beginning in another space, and Remember Me speaks to the human need to remember and be remembered.”
Guild President Patricia Middelmann is spearheading the planning for the upcoming bi-annual fundraiser. “We only have one large fundraiser every two years to help fund all the work we do. It is scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Blackstone Valley Tech High School in Upton. One of the highlights of the event is the raffle of a beautiful handmade quilt, “Annie’s Vision” designed by Annie Bosma, Pattie Trachimowicz and Allie Nield.”
Deb Hudgins, outreach coordinator, said, “The theme for this year’s Quilt Show is “Vision 2020” and we are joining with Guiding Eyes for the Blind to promote the awesome work these dogs are trained to do.” Amy Stephens, chair of the special projects, notes that there is no cost for the visually impaired to have access to the trained guide dogs, but it costs $50,000 to train, match and support the team for the life of the dog. The guild would like to raise at least $5,000, which would allow the opportunity to name a puppy in training for Guiding Eyes.
This year’s Quilt Show will feature more than 200 members’ quilts, voting for favorites of those quilts, a silent auction, a youth booth showcasing quilts made by young people, round robin quilts, guild challenge quilts, sponsored talks by quilt related vendors, guest speakers, a craft boutique, a vendor mall, raffle baskets, special projects benefitting Guiding Eyes, dog and cat toys and refreshments.
The final drawing for the beautiful raffle quilt called “Annie’s Vision” will be held on March 15, the second day of the event. Tickets for the quilt are available now and until the end of the show. Adult admission for the quilt show is $10 and children are free.
The Guild meets monthly on the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 13 Maple Street in Mendon. New members are always welcome. Meetings are for all levels of quilting ability and often include speakers and workshops. Weekend get-aways are a favorite among the members where they work on their current work in progress or a combined quilt for a specific purpose.
Find more information at www.thimblepleasures.org