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Yakima Valley Quilt Guild's History

The Yakima Valley Quilters' Guild was founded in 1983 with approximately 40 members.  The group has grown to 100 plus members.  We are a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of quilting and needle arts through education and community service. 

The Early Years
In early 1983, thirty three women whose homes were in Naches, Wapato, Toppenish, Yakima and Moxee City met together with the purpose of continuing the traditions, culture and history of quilting and sharing ideas and quilts. Yakima Valley Quilters’ Guild was formed! 

Karen English, the first President, wrote in May 1983 Newsletter #1 “Greetings...I have high hopes for our new guild...each of you have skills and talents that can help our guild be a success. We need your ideas and suggestions...please read the By-Laws; they will be discussed and adopted at the first meeting in June.”

*There was a day group and a night group.
*They started a library and at meetings began giving reports on the newest quilting books.
*They started the newsletter—and just like today there was a deadline for submitting information.

By September1983, “NEW LOGO...after much debate we finally have a new logo. Thanks to Hazel Behar for her suggestion of a fruit basket to represent our Yakima Valley Quilters’ Guild. After debating about it, it was decided to just use the basket as the fruit were a little more difficult than some members could do and the basket is beautiful in and of itself so a plain pieced and appliqued basket it is.”

It was important to the women to stay connected with the world of quilting as some attended out of town quilt shows and conferences and enthusiastically shared at meetings. In every newsletter, there was information about all these events, far and wide. Participation in the Central Washington State Fair began the fall of 1983; and every day throughout the Fair, in the Modern Living Building, the women hand-quilted a member’s quilt.

By December 1983, there were 49 members. By-Laws had been adopted. The Treasurer reported $67.19 in the checking account and $233.90 in the savings account. The first election had been held.

These enterprising women read an article about the Congregational Church Women’s Fellowship in South Glastonbury, Connecticut titled “Creating Your Own Special Quilt Show”. They discussed it. They set a date for June 22-24, 1984. The 1984 quilt show was named “A Collection of Country Quilts—Quilts I; next year will be Quilts II; in 1986 Quilts III, etc.” 1984 show details included: admission $1; exhibitors badge so they can come and go as they wish for without them we would have no show; quilt raffle tickets $1 each; won’t be able to get insurance for the quilts unless they are appraised beforehand; all members will wear muslin self-made aprons with basket logo on the bib; and
posters and publicity post cards were printed.

Since its inception, this Exhibition provides Yakima Valley Quilters' Guild members a local opportunity to share their role within the community.  The Guild continues to this day to present a two-day exhibition which displays Yakima Valley quilts made by area residents.  The Guild takes this opportunity to educate the community concerning the steps in making a quilt, provides an opportunity to offer classes concerning a variety of topics such as piece quilting, hand embroidery, differing methods of sewing, and many, many, more topics. The Quilt Show also provides an opportunity to share with the Yakima community the networking role in which the Guild fills in Yakima.

-- From Newsletters #1-39—the first ten years-thanks to Past-President Diane Poulin

MORE 'Pieces' of Interest
  • “’Quilters’ Quips...News to Quilt by’” was the title of newsletter published in March 1984. Roberta Caffrey, in her president’s message said, “We’ve had growing pains, but we have come a long way.”
  • Yakima Valley Museum and Allied Arts were included in the newsletter activities
  • The guild made and gave quilts to Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle
  • They began money making projects like Mini Raffle Quilts
  • Featured guild artist at the Quilt Show was instituted at the first quilt show
  • They held the first Guild Christmas Party-a potluck at the Cascade Gas Co meeting room
  • Some tuned in weekly to Channel 47 KYVE for ‘Lap Quilting’ with Georgia Bonestead
  • As of April 1993, there were 27 members

The First 10 Presidents

  • 1983-Karen English
  • 1984-Roberta Caffrey
  • 1985-Donna Gamble
  • 1986-Donna Gamble
  • 1987-Betty Neumeyer
  • 1988-Gail Klingele
  • 1989-Gail Klingele
  • 1990-Vicke Jensen/Gail Klingele
  • 1991-Betty Neumeyer
  • 1992-Gail Klingele
  • 1993-Judy West

Many hundreds of quilts have been made by the guild and directly donated to local charities such as the YWCA Women's Shelter, Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital Neonatal Unit, Epic Crisis Center, NorthStar Lodge and Buddy Bags through Voices for Children, and Quilts Of Valor.