Community Spotlight: Las Colcheras Quilt Guild
Alexia Severson, Las Cruces Sun-News 1:05 a.m. MST December 27, 2015
Quilting is more than just a hobby. It’s an art form and a skill that has gained a strong following over the years.
“There are artists who make quilts from commission whose quilts sell for tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s not just a grandma at home anymore,” said Linnea Egbert, publicity chairman for Las Colcheras Quilt Guild, a local nonprofit organization that promotes and preserves the art of quilt making through education, activities and friendship.
While quilting was once a dying art, Egbert said the craft experienced a resurgence after the U.S. Bicentennial in the mid-70s and has since then become one of the more popular hobbies.
In Las Cruces, Las Colcheras — formed in 1988 — is made up of about 170 members who share a love for the craft of quilting and meet once a month to discuss quilting projects, listen to presentations and display finished quilts.
Members also meet about once a week as part of a Quilting Bee, or small group, to work on individual or group projects.
“The guild itself puts on programs, classes on different techniques and patterns and workshops for the group,” said Cheryl Price, a member of Las Colcheras. “The Bees do more individualized (techniques) — there’s people that only do hand quilting, people that do machine quilting, people that do appliqué (a needlework technique used to create patterns or designs).”
The guild consists of 13 Quilting Bees, including New Kids on the Block, which focuses on introducing new members to the art of quilting; Scrap Happy, which focuses on making quilts out of scraps; and Will Work for Fabric, which focuses on learning different quilting techniques, according to the Las Colcheras website.
Las Colcheras members also use their quilting talents to give back to the community. The guild maintains a Community Cupboard of quilting supplies and finished quilts, which are donated to organizations in need, such as homeless shelters, disaster victims, hospice patients and battered women shelters.
“We’ve done two different projects making tote bags for foster children so they don’t have to use a grocery sack to move from home to home,” said Price, who serves as the Community Cupboard chairman.
Raffle and auction quilts are donated to local groups to raise funds for community work, she said.
Along with donating finished quilts, the guild also helps others learn the art of quilting, sewing and crocheting through after-school programs and classes.
“For about five years now, we’ve been going to Chaparral and teaching an after-school program down there at Sunrise Elementary and the kids make quilts and little bags and pillows,” Frances Campbell, community outreach coordinator for the guild, said.
After-school classes are also hosted for children at J. Paul Taylor Academy in Las Cruces and adult classes take place at the Dolores Wright Community Center in Chaparral and at Del Cerro Community in the Mesquite/Vado area south of Las Cruces, according to the Las Colcheras website.
“Besides the community outreach, the women and after-school (programs), we also have a program where public or private school teachers can apply for a grant from us to utilize quilting techniques in a classroom project, such as combining math or geometry with sewing,” Price said.
Campbell said anyone is welcome to join the guild and that they don’t need to know how to quilt.
“If they want to learn, they can come and we will send them to an appropriate group,” she said.
Las Colcheras will host its 13th bi-annual Judged Show, Desert Blooms, featuring an estimated 150 quilts, on Saturday, Feb. 27, and Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave. The show will include three special exhibits of small quilts, workshops, a certified appraiser and more than 45 vendors, Egberg said.
Las Colcheras accepts donations of any kind, including sewing fabric, thread, needles, machines, yarn or monetary donations, Price said.
For more information about donations, grants and Community Cupboard, call Price at 575-644-6285 or email email@example.com. For more information about Las Colcheras Quilt Guild call 575-521-0521 or visit lcqg.org.
Alexia Severson is a features reporter and may be reached at 575-541-5462 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @AlexiaMSeverson on Twitter.
If you go
What: Las Colcheras Quilt Guild
General meetings: 1:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month. (Evening meetings begin in May.)
Where: Good Samaritan Auditorium, 3011 Buena Vida Circle
Membership: $25 per year
Info: Call 575-521-0521, email LasColcherasQG@aol.com or visit lcqg.org.
Social media: Visit facebook.com/LasColcherasQuiltGuild
If you go
What: Las Colcheras Quilt Guild’s 13th Judged Show 2016: Desert Blooms
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28.
Where: Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.
Admission: $7 for one day, $12 for two days; children under 12 years of age get in free.
Info: Call 575-521-0521 or email LasColcherasQG@aol.com.