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Member Spotlight: Pine Needlers Quilt Guild

Signature quilt square for the Yosemite Quilt.

Does the thought of quilting conjure up sepia-toned scenes of your grandmother sitting around a large frame making tiny stitches and gossiping with her friends? Far from a long lost art, it’s estimated there are between 7-10 million active quilters in the U.S. alone. At least thirty five of them are right here in Groveland. You may have seen their works of art on display during one of their many quilt shows over the years.

As far as quilting being mysterious and intricate hobby, most of feel it is not. Most of today’s quilters grew up around a family member who sewed, whether it be quilts, sewing clothes, or both. Part of the larger world of crafting, quilting can reduce stress and improve mood. Studies have also shown that crafting can ward off cognitive decline to a similar degree as reading, and can help in coping with chronic pain.

Formed in 2004, the Groveland Pine Needlers are a busy group. The Guild does many projects to support groups such as our local military veterans by making them red, white, and blue pillowcases. Humane societies, both local and further afield, get cat beds that fit in crates and get sent home with kitties when they’re adopted. Little girls in Africa get handmade dresses from our Pine Needlers, and the special needs campers at Camp Tuolumne Trails get their very own wilderness-themed pillowcases to take home.

Proud new owner Robin Abbott (left), herself a quilter, stands alongside her 49er Festival Live Auction purchase with Nick Boffa.

This year, eight members of the Pine Needlers Guild (Anita Millard, Michele Roberts, Donna Wolf, Leslie Timmons, Sandy Smith, Kris Fichou, and Wina Helm) created the exquisite Yosemite Quilt for the 49er Festival’s Live Auction. The Yosemite Quilt raised $425 towards the Downtown Groveland Beautification project, supporting the Chamber’s $200,000 grant to place garbage and recycling receptacles, flower planters, and benches along Main Street by June of 2023.

Groveland's Wooden Signs: Hex Symbols or Quilt Squares?

Ever wonder about the large colorful wood squares hanging on buildings around town? They’re not traditional Pennsylvania Dutch folk art hex symbols meant to ward off evil and misfortune, as one might imagine. Groveland’s large wooden quilt squares were inspired by one of the original Pine Needlers, Judy Basey, who passed away in 2017. She was inspired to bring them to Groveland after visiting the tiny mining town of Quincy in Plumas County. Called “barn quilt squares,” the idea of painting a quilt design on a barn was discovered by a Quincy resident while on vacation in the east. Ohio has a particularly strong history of barn quilts. With Groveland’s quaint Gold Rush history and architecture and an active quilt guild, Judy knew the barn squares would be a hit. So the versatile Pine Needlers turned off their sewing machines and took out their paintbrushes to put their talents to work on the town.

The quilting community and its technology are ever changing and ever adapting, attracting the new generation of sewists. While it’s true that the majority of the quilters are over the age of 65, the Pine Needlers are always encouraging the young sewists of 4-H and other sewing groups.

The Pine Needlers are a group of friendly women who love to sew and help each other in whatever life brings to the table. Sewing newbies (women AND men) who want to learn more will find loads of experience in the art of sewing and needlework. Experienced (or any where in-between) sewists will find “the perfect fit” with this amazing group of women who work on group, individual, and community projects.

Groveland's Pine Needlers Quilt Guild meets the third Tuesday of each month (except December) at 10 am (doors open at 9:30 am) below the Groveland Library (ground floor in the rear of the building.) Learn more about the Pine Needlers here.


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