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Beginning History of the Creative Quilters Guild of Ellis County

At some point during the year 2002, a friend of mine asked me if we were going to start a quilt guild. I told her no, but also that I thought we needed one. The next thing I knew, Debbie Wolf and I sat in a Chinese restaurant, Bobo China, in Duncanville, and began plans to start a quilt guild. Debbie was making notes on napkins. About halfway through the plans, Debbie looked up at me across the table and said, “Why don’t you do this and I will take notes?” In other words, she wanted me to lead the meeting. As a school teacher, I was not afraid to speak in front of a group so I agreed. We made the plans, had a meeting place and started getting the word out. We were going to meet at Quilts ‘n More’s classroom on the fourth Monday night in January.

On opening night we had about 50 to 60 or more people crammed into the classroom area designed for about 30 people. We were almost in a state of panic and started calling our husband’s to bring us more chairs. It was obvious we were going to need a bigger place. At our first meeting, we voted on the name, Creative Quilters Guild of Ellis County and had people sign up to volunteer to hold an office.

The following Saturday, Feb. 1, was First Saturday at Quilts ‘n More and on our way there, the space shuttle, Columbia, exploded on reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. That Saturday we began the hunt for a bigger place. Quilts ‘n More’s classroom would not be big enough. Those who had signed up to help met at my house a week or so later and we developed a slate of officers. People had volunteered to take an office according to their expertise. Pasty Allison, Pat Bradford, Cindy Garris, Belinda Gideon, Vanya Worley, Debbie Wolf, Carmen Partlow, Pam Rumsey, Victoria Spears, JoAnn Spriggs, Debbie Tribble, Rita Watson, and Marilyn Weber were the first officers. Debbie Wolf had found St. Paul’s church in Waxahachie as a meeting place. They were moving into a new building and would allow us to meet there if we made them a raffle quilt.

Our first meeting in February at the new place had to be cancelled because of an ice storm that was moving in. We met for the first time at St. Paul’s church in March. Jean McKinney and Kathleen Allen did the program. We had a workshop early in June at the Waxahachie Public Library to make the buzz saw quilt for St. Paul’s church. In July we helped with our first quilt show, in Midlothian, at the new Midlothian Conference Center, which included vendors and a mini quilt silent auction for charity. The guild continued to grow and at the end of the second year, I started the tradition of “passing the needle.” As president I had never received a gavel so I didn’t have one to pass on to the new president. Since this was a sewing group, I decided I would “pass the needle” to the incoming president. Thus began the tradition of “passing the needle.” And as they say “The rest is history.”
By Trudy Coker, charter president