Moving to a new country was extremely exciting, but with the highs of adventure come the lows of isolation. Because our situation was seemingly temporary (6 weeks had slowly drawn on to months), I didn’t want to invest too much into my new community. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to put energy into meeting people just to leave shortly thereafter. By October 2013 I was going pretty crazy being alone and started looking for jobs, as I had discovered I was eligible for a work permit.
January 2014 I went to my first Calgary Modern Quilt Guild meeting!
My aunt is a quilter (my whole family is first generation quilters) and she kept telling me to go to a guild meeting. I dragged my feet longer than I should have, but that first meeting was really fun! I’m fortunate that I’m extroverted enough to show up to something all by myself without knowing anyone, but it was still pretty nerve wracking!
While the guild only meets once per month, I was totally inspired by what everyone was doing. I realized I had a lot to learn about sewing and the modern quilting world. I felt pretty overwhelmed but wasn’t afraid to ask questions. Still was the matter of confidence. It took me a while to feel like my skills were up to par. I was afraid to cut into anything in case I cut it wonky; I was even more afraid of the elusive “scant” quarter-inch seam (I made a table runner for my sister’s wedding on a crappy second-hand machine… the whole thing was perfectly shrunken). I kept going, though, I did a lot of small projects and played with colors. I made it my goal to bring things to show and tell.
But I was still only seeing these people once per month, and it wasn’t until October 2014, when we began our first Quiltcon Charity Quilt, that I felt I had truly made friends in the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild. It was our first time participating in this challenge as a guild, and a challenge it was! Many nights were spent laying out pieces on Kathy, our hostess’s, table. My main role was to entertain her
goldendoodle, Wallace and poodle, Betty.
And now a year later, I’m the president! I love programming and like talking in front of groups, and tend to be a pretty positive person. Our guild is still growing, and the amount of ideas and talent we have is off the charts! I can honestly say now that a lot of these women are some of my best friends.
It’s kind of funny, I think I’m the youngest in my guild, but I don’t really feel that young. The women I’m friends with are the same age as my sisters, my aunts, my mom, and maybe even my grams. And those women fill all of those roles for me. It’s not always easy being so far from my family in Texas, but each time it gets a little easier knowing I can celebrate my accomplishments with some great mentors and friends!
So, I encourage you to explore your quilting community. It’s pretty easy to search for Modern Quilt Guild locations on their guild locator page. You don’t have to be an expert quilter, you just have to enjoy it!
Kelly Kay has been quilting for about 2 years, right about the time she moved to Calgary from Texas! The transition from grad school to the professional world, summer to winter, and journal articles to patterns has been eased by a spouse and two adorable kittens. You can see her cats, Larry Bird and Babou, her quilting, and the occasional yummy dinner on her Instagram: @kkspur