Twenty seven women organized Capital Quilters in 1981. You will discover that we are passionate about quilting and pride ourselves on being diverse - not only in the types of quilting (hand quilting, machine quilting, long arm quilting) we each enjoy, but also in techniques, skills and ability levels.
We invite you to join us at our monthly meeting - the first Saturday of the month. Visit our Meetings & Activities page for details. You will not only leave having learned new skills and techniques, but probably also with a new friend or two!
History of Capital Quilters
Nearly one hundred curious and enthusiastic women gathered in the banquet room of the Centurion Restaurant (now the Royal Fork Buffet) in April 1981 to hear members of the Quilters Guild of North Dakota from Fargo talk about organizing such a guild in Bismarck. Several meetings were held during the next five months, and in September 1981 Capital Quilters was formally organized with Bertha Myers elected as our first President. This was the first of the many happy gatherings we have had in the past years, and the beginning of the wonderful friendships developed among the members.
Reviewing the minutes of all those years makes one almost dizzy remembering the variety of activities we have engaged in since 1981. We've shared our quilting techniques, patterns, knowledge and mistakes with each other; we've produced quilts and other items for various groups and agencies that needed help; we've contributed money to local agencies concerned with the care of people in our locality; we've enjoyed classes taught by our local members as well as those from other guilds in and out of our state; we've participated in Quilt Discovery Days, an effort to produce a record of memorable quilts, preserved from years ago - some used, some carefully saved in new condition; we've participated in many different types of quilt shows, work days, craft fairs, etc; we've assisted for several years in classes in quilting at Century High School; we've participated in the National Quilting Day activities by providing classes and exhibits at the Heritage Center; and most of all, we've kept busy quilting.
A few of our activities deserve special mention. One occurred in May of 1987, when members made a trip to Webster, South Dakota to tour the plant of Dakotah Industries. There we witnessed hand guided machine quilting (28 - 30 minutes per quilt!), computer directed quilting, and other techniques of mass production, and spent a happy afternoon buying fabric to bring home to create our own masterpieces.
We assisted in the creation of the largest quilt ever made, up to that time, the North Dakota Centennial Quilt, showing all the counties of North Dakota, their important cities, crops, activities, etc., under the general direction of Leona Tennyson of Antler, North Dakota.
Various members have shown quilts at local, state, and out-of-state shows and have won may ribbons for their creations. We've followed national trends in going from making only bed size quilts to making quilted wall hangings, miniatures, clothing, using foundation piecing, trapunto, and various other techniques in the process.
Our quilts and quilted items have been used as gifts to family members and others, have been sold locally and in other states, have been enjoyed by residents of nursing homes, the Ronald McDonald House, the United Blood Services Center, and the Heart Association to name a few.
In about 1992, we were asked to participate in the Governor's Residence Quilt Project by submitting ideas for the blocks to make into a State Quilt. Mrs. George Sinner and a committee selected the pattern from all those submitted. The clubs in Grand Forks and Fargo completed the blocks, and the top was sent to us for the quilting. The State Quilt was stretched on a frame in the Governor's Residence, and members spent several afternoons doing the quilting. After it was finished, Mrs. Sinner hosted all the participants to a luncheon in the Governor's Mansion. What fun!
Another project of note, was the creation of the Millennium Quilt in 2000, with blocks solicited and received from the 36 quilt guilds existing then in North Dakota. This quilt has been displayed in various areas of the state, and will be a permanent record of the quilting skills, the patterns and textiles available at the beginning of the third millennium. We trust that many people will be inspired to continue the quilting craft that we leave to generations of the future. This quilt was presented to the Heritage Center in 2009 and will be on display occasionally.
Agnes Will September 2001