During 1997 and 1998 a small group of quilters in the Pretoria area met to discuss whether or not to form an independent quilters’ guild in the area. Although there had been various “home groups”, such as Wapad Quilters, Lyttelquilters, P’s and Q’s and Piecemakers in the area for a number of years, the closest guild was in Johannesburg and many quilters were finding it too far and too inconvenient to travel to the meetings. Discussions were held at a number of very informal and small get-togethers and when these grew into more public meetings they culminated in a meeting held in the new St Pius X Church Hall in Waterkloof on 7 November 1998 at which the new guild came into being. There were 55 prospective members present and after approving the proposed constitution, the first committee was elected and a name, Jacaranda Quilters’ Guild, was chosen.
The first committee meeting was held on 9 January, 1999 and Shelly Ballantyne was elected chairperson. She unfortunately had to return to Canada after only a few months and Gwen Heathfield then took the chair. The first general meeting of the guild was held on 27 February 1999 at the American Embassy Community Center where the pattern was set for our meetings, namely vendors and demonstrations during the morning followed by the more “official” part of the meeting which also could include a guest speaker. The meetings were set at three per year, in February, June and October and have remained like this to date.
There was great interest in the guild during its first year. A competition to find a logo was run and won by Pam Simpson who’s Ndebele inspired block has become the guild’s logo and features on our badge as well as in a quilt/banner made of all the blocks entered in the competition. By the end of that year there were over 100 members.
Over the years the guild has continued to grow in strength. We have promoted quilting and quilters throughout our region, which stretches from the south of Pretoria to far north in Polokwane and Bela Bela, and east and west too. We have worked with museums, the Botanical Gardens, shopping centers and many more people to show them what quilting is about and have made friends everywhere.