Boston MQG (official) is what they call a “wicked awesome” guild. We couldn’t agree more. Founded as the NEMQG in April 2010 by Monet Bewerton the Boston MQG changed their name to better reflect their geographic focus. With 42 members they continue to grow as a MQG. Over the last several months they have been helping the city of Boston with their volunteer efforts. Thank you Jen Sorenson for taking the time to tell us a little about your guild and what you all have been up to!
On Monday, April 15, 2013 – Patriot’s Day – the Boston that the Boston Modern Quilt Guild knows and loves was changed forever. Boston became a united community, standing together to prove to the world that we will stand taller and prouder than ever before. And on Friday, April 19, 2013, the city of Boston and the surrounding communities held its breath while the two suspects were on the run and cities all around Boston were put in lockdown.
Guild members were stranded at home, left to stalk Facebook to ensure loved ones were all safe. Many of us turned to our sewing machines for comfort during such an uncertain time. With our monthly guild meeting that Saturday, officers took to Facebook and the Boston Modern Quilt Guild blog to alert members that, “based on safety precautions currently in effect… we are considering rescheduling our April meeting.
As the story unfolded, the suspect was apprehended and we were able to hold our monthly guild meeting at our regularly scheduled time. While we had lots of guild business to go over, the events from the week prior hung over the entire room. As a group, we decided we needed to do something.
Overnight (literally), Quilts for Boston was organized, spearheaded by the amazingly talented and energetic Natalie and within days, a core committee of passionate and warm-hearted members had formed. Just one week after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon took place, Quilts for Boston was launched.
As a guild, we weren’t quite sure what the response would be like. Inspired by the call for blocks leading up to QuiltCon, the BMQG asked our fellow quilters to make blocks 12.5” tall x the width of their choice in the colors of the Boston Marathon – blue and yellow, with gray and white added in for good measure.
Members blogged about the effort and asked their quilting friends to spread the word. We invited friends to join the Flickr group, which soared to more than 200 members. More and more people started hearing about the project, sharing our effort with their friends and fellow quilters.
The response was overwhelming. We knew the quilting community was amazing, but the heartfelt response to something that we pulled together in a matter of days brought tears to our eyes (and still does). It wasn’t long before blocks started pouring in. More than 50 guilds came together to send large packages of blocks, including many Modern Quilt Guilds. Many packages contained personal notes from the senders, which we have carefully preserved.
When we quickly realized the scale of this operation, we knew we were going to need help. That’s when we started reaching out to many of our local quilt shops, our favorite online quilt stores and a number of popular vendors for assistance. Given the number of blocks that were rapidly arriving in our PO Box, we knew we were going to have a significant number of quilts to make backings for, quilt, bind and label. Once again, we were overwhelmed with the response. Without these donations, Quilts for Boston would not have been possible.
With blocks and supplies in-hand, the guild got right to work. We hosted sew-ins at several local quilt stores where members assembled quilt tops and made backings and bindings. We owe a HUGE thank you to the folks at Quilter’s Way and Gather Here for being so hospitable.
Three months later, we have quite a lot to show for our efforts. This past Sunday, we hosted a sew-in on the beautiful Boston Common to sew binding and labels onto completed quilts. As it stands, we currently have more than a dozen quilts ready to be distributed to those affected by the events earlier this year, with MANY more quilts very close to being finished. At the end of the day, we expect to complete and distribute 100 quilts! That’s right, 100 quilts!
As we wrap up this effort, we want to extend an enormous THANK YOU to every single person that sent in blocks or donated in one way or another – whether you donated time, fabric or notions. We received an astonishing 2035 blocks from 44 states and more than eight countries.
A special thanks goes out to the Seacoast and Jacksonville Modern Quilt Guilds for helping us complete quite a few quilts. Without the help of the amazing quilting community, this effort would not have reached the scale that it did and certainly would not have been as successful.
Are you interesting in joining a MQG? You can find one near you with our location here.