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Stitching together memories

Cora Hall • Jun 17, 2019 at 12:00 PM

The Lighthouse Quilt Guild has not only provided a place to share knowledge, but has become a meaningful community for many women in the area.

The club first met Dec. 13, 1993, and meetings have been held on the second Monday of each month ever since.

Kay Wilton has been a member of guild since that first meeting. She says it is simply part of who she is.

“I can’t imagine my life without my guild,” she said. “Because those are my friends, those are my quilters, some are past students … but they’re my friends and a lot of them have been my friends since day 1. It’s just part of me and I’m part of it.”

Betty Boyink Roberts, who started quilting in the mid-1960s and helped start the local quilting guild, said it has impacted her life in more ways than one.

“A guild offers so many opportunities for study, checking patterns, sharing frustrations and the joy of a project along the way to completion,” she said. “It opens the door to newcomers after a move where they feel welcomed because of the bond of sharing a creative activity. Whether meeting in classes, sharing a challenge or working side by side at the local quilt show, the bond of stitching together memories is priceless.”

Besides the community of the guild, Roberts said quilting has created many opportunities in her life that she never imagined would happen. One of those opportunities includes presenting a bicentennial quilt she made to President Gerald R. Ford in 1975.

“Quilting opened the door to the Oval Office when I presented a quilt to President Ford, to crisscrossing the country working shows and traveling to several European countries,” Roberts said. “Quilting opened many doors for me and continues to add enjoyment to life.”

Locally, the Lighthouse Quilt Guild is involved in many community outreach activities — such as making and donating quilts to babies in the hospital, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and Quilts of Valor for veterans.

“I particularly like the fact that we give quilts for newly diagnosed breast cancer people,” Wilton said. “I think that’s kind of a nice gesture and gives them something not only to use during their chemo but also to have as a ‘someone loves me’ kind of thing.”

Wilton has felt the support of guilds across the state in her personal life. When three of her grandchildren ended up in the NICU at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, each received a baby quilt from the West Michigan Quilt Guild.

The Lighthouse Quilt Guild averages 75-120 members at their meetings, depending on the weather and the speaker of the night, according to Roberts. Each meeting also features a show-and-tell time for members to show off their latest quilting projects.

“Show and tell is the awesome part,” Wilton said. “At the end of the meeting, we all get up — well, those of us who have something done get up — and show what we’ve done and, to me, that’s what makes the meeting.”

The Lighthouse Quilt Guild's next meeting is July 8 at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, 717 Sheldon Road in Grand Haven. Fellowship time begins at 6:30 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.

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