Located 38 km south of Ottawa, the Kemptville Branch of Victoria's Quilts Canada (VQC) was established in 2002 with just eleven individuals. It now has nearly 50 members, about 30 of whom regularly attend the monthly working Bees to cut, piece and sew quilts. Most of the ladies take work home and some make complete quilts from start to finish. A couple of its founding members are still active in the Branch.
The Branch makes around 125 quilts each year of which about 60 are hand-delivered within an area bounded by the Rideau River to the north, St. Lawrence River to the south, Merrickville to the west and Winchester to the east. It also delivers to Brockville on a regular basis. The rest of the quilts are sent to the National Office to supplement what they need. Many of the quilts made by Branch members have matching bags.
Meetings are held the third Saturday of each month (except for July and August) in St. John’s United Church Hall in Kemptville, under the church’s Outreach Program. In appreciation for the use of the hall over the years, the members have made Roman blinds for the church hall, donated folding tables and provided tinned meats for use in the church's community lunches.
During these meetings, or Bees, the main task is to sandwich all the quilt tops that have been brought in that day. Two sets of tables are set up so that two quilts can be worked on at the same time. Tables are also set up around the hall where the members can use their sewing machines. At lunch time, members gather around the tables to eat their brown bag lunches and share fellowship, then show off all the finished quilts brought in that day.
Twice a year, in May and December, the Kemptville Branch holds a pot luck where all the ladies show that they are not only talented quilters but also great cooks! It's also a great opportunity to watch a slide show of quilts completed since the last pot luck.
How we work
The Branch has an experienced group of four "cutters" who cut out kits. Each kit bag includes an ID tag with the kit’s number, the pattern and instructions, and all the cut pieces. When a member picks up a kit they sign it out. For each quilt, the following information is kept: the cutter, the piecer, the quilter (if it’s not the piecer), the pattern name and colours, and the date the quilt is handed in as a completed project.
Quilt patterns used by the Branch have been grouped by level of difficulty – beginner, intermediate and advanced – so everyone has a choice, and a binder has been put together showing quilting ideas for all of these patterns. This has been especially useful for some members.
New members, especially new quilters, are appointed a “buddy” and taken under the wings of an experienced quilter. This has resulted in confident quilters and new friendships.
|Some quilts made by Kemptville Branch volunteers (click on image to view slide show)|
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