A: Quilters Unlimited has over 1,000 members. We are comprised of 11 chapters and a parent organization (affectionately called “Big QU”). The chapters are spread all over the Northern Virginia area from Arlington to Haymarket. Our biggest chapter has over 200 members, and our smallest has about 50. Within each chapter, members form “bees” – informal gatherings of small groups of quilters.

A: To be honest…a few of us are actually little old ladies. But some of us aren’t ladies at all!…we have a few men in our organization, and not all of us have time to rock (unless we’re quilting, of course). We have members as young as 10 and as old as 90. Many are professionals. We have doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, shopkeepers, and fabric designers in our group. It’s hard to keep most of us in those rocking chairs. Quilting is probably one of the biggest “hobbies” for women in this country today…so our group runs the gamut of personalities and professions.

A: Well besides providing this website for people to learn about us and help our chapters communicate, Quilters Unlimited hosts a number of events each year. They are:

The Fall Seminar and Workshops – usually held with the opportunity to hear a nationally recognized quilter lecture. Costs are kept low so that all quilters can attend.

The Annual Quilt Show – held late spring. This year’s location will be the Dulles Expo Center. Over 600 quilts, wearables, and group challenges on display. Quilting classes that are open to anyone as well as educational demonstrations and hands-on educational experiences for visitors to participate in. Plus lots of vendors selling quilt and craft-related articles. Something for everyone.

The Annual Meeting – When we install our new officers, and have a chance to hear another top-notch speaker from around the country!

A: Each of the 11 chapters plans and carries out its own programs and activities. You might find a quilt “challenge” project occurring at one meeting. Another chapter might be hosting a fundraising auction (with lots of hand-made goodies!). Most chapters have a short business meeting, refreshments, and a workshop or speaker at each meeting. There’s usually a newcomer’s table or someone to greet and welcome you when you join. (It’s best to call or e-mail ahead to let someone know you’re coming to a meeting so you can be taken in hand on your first visit. We don’t want anyone getting overwhelmed!)

A: Well, we’ve got a surprise for you! (Remember, we’re not all rocking in our chairs.) Many of our members are nationally-known quilt artists. Some have written books and are on the quilt circuit. Lots of us create stunning garments that would rival the fashion industry’s creations. Like most artists, we often copy the “masters” and produce quilts made by our ancestors (using historical blocks like “Nine-Patch,” “Flying Geese,” “Shoe Fly,” etc.) However, like any artist, we like to grow and improve our craft. Everyday there are new tools, workshops, television programs, or books on the market to teach us new tricks of the trade and encourage us to “stretch.” Quilters are not necessarily “patient” people (as non-quilters like to believe we are). We often have five projects going at the same time to keep the creative juices flowing. If anything, we’re often Impatient! We all have piles of UFO’s (un-finished objects!) stacked alongside our huge fabric stashes. (Just as painters need an extensive assortment of oils, palettes, canvas, and brushes, quilters need an abundance of fabrics, threads, and tools to create their “artwork,” too! And because it does usually take time to produce a quilt, we often have projects in many stages going on at the same time!)

A: Although we all love socializing with each other and sharing our love of quiltmaking, each chapter provides a specific service to the community. Over the years we’ve provided countless quilts and funds to organizations like Ronald McDonald House, the Border Babies Project, Hospice, House of Ruth, Lombardi Cancer Research Center, and local hospitals. This list only scratches the surface. Members are never required to work on these projects unless they chose to do so. (For some quilters, a chapter meeting may be the only time all week when s/he can relax and do something for him or herself.) We often donate our time and/or money to organizations like the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, the American Quilt Study Group, the Quilters Hall of Fame, and other worthwhile groups that promote quilting.

A: The year 2012-2013 membership year marks Quilters Unlimited’s 40th year! We’ve been in existence since 1972. (That’s a lot of rocking!)

A: Click on our Membership Page and learn how! The cost is only $20 a year, which can more than pay for itself with the discounts our local merchants offer members. (Usually 10% – 15% off on fabrics, notions, and quilting supplies). In addition to your membership card, you’ll receive a directory listing all 1,000+ members and a list of guild officers; a monthly newsletter from your chapter, and a quarterly newsletter, QU News, from our parent organization. If you wish to join two chapters (and many members do!), the price for the second chapter dues is only half price. Our fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. If you join January 1 or six months after JULY 1, dues are cut in half! We also offer senior discounts to members over 65, and free life membership to members over 75 who have been active in the organization for at least the previous year.

A: Here is the matrix that explains what job your chapter has this year and in the future. ¬†Note that the matrix is being suspended for the 2016-2017 year and a change to an “all volunteer committee with at least 1 person from each chapter represented” will be tried out.

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