Cowichan Valley Heritage Quilters began as a small group in 1984, meeting in the basement of a quilting instructor’s home. Now, the group is inviting everyone to join them for their 25th anniversary open house and tea, to be held Monday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At St. Peter’s Church Hall in Duncan.
Those first women who gathered in a basement were responsible for making the Cowichan Valley Heritage Quilt which eventually became the name of the group. This quilt was recently displayed at the Cowichan Exhibition and resides at the Cowichan Museum.
As interest in quilting grew, Gaye Benson and others decided to see if there were enough women in the area who would like to meet regularly and form a quilt group. Notices were posted in the newspaper and at Robin’s Fabric Garden (the local quilt shop of the time). As a result, a group of about 15 women met for the first time in the Guide Hall on Cairnsmore Street in September 1990.
Monday morning membership increased and the meetings were moved to the Moose Hall in 1996 and subsequently to St. Peter’s Church Hall on Aug. 1, 1999 where the group has found a home.
Today, the Quilters boast about 120 members and CVHQ is organized and run by an elected executive and volunteer committees.
“Fellowship, advancement of our quilting skills, promoting quilting in our community and giving back to the same community have remained strong purposes,” said Karen Killins-Robinson in a release about the anniversary.
Regular donations of quilts are made to Somenos House and others.
“Along the way we have had plenty of fun, laughter, and many delicious pot lucks. We contribute to our community and are a wonderful source of friendship and support to each other. We must thank Gaye Benson and her group for their vision when they decided it was time to bring quilting up out of the basement and into the light of the Guide Hall,” she said.
Member Carol Henderson recalls the first quilt show hosted by CVHQ, held in the Guide Hall on Oct. 25, 1991. It was a resounding success.
Each show requires a committee of dedicated hard working volunteers and takes two to three years to organize. Subsequent shows were held at the Moose Hall in 1994, the Christian Reformed Church in 1999, 2001, and 2003, the Kerry Park Arena in 2005 and St. Peter’s in 2007.
But since 2007, they have not held a show — until now. The Cowichan Valley Heritage Quilters are once again shaking out the quilts for a show at the Island Savings Centre in May of 2017.
“I know that the public will be impressed,” promisd Killins-Robinson.