About

About Thistle Quilters


We are an open, friendly group of quilters and textile artists based in Edinburgh, Scotland and we welcome new and experienced quilters alike.


We meet monthly from September to June at Fairmilehead Parish Church, 1a Frogston Road West, EH10 7AA.


Meetings are on Saturday mornings from 9.30am - 12.30pm. Please see our Programme page for dates and details.              


Our meetings feature lectures on a variety of textile related topics from local and national speakers, as well as workshops, sharing practical tips, challenges, making group quilts and social events.

Preparation for exhibitions and supporting charitable projects also feature in our programme.


Our members' patchwork and quilting interests encompass the full spectrum of Traditional, Contemporary,

Art and Modern Quilting (and every variation in between) in sizes from miniature to large bed quilts!


We are affiliated to the Quilters Guild of the British Isles and several of our members have served on the guild's national committee and spoken at regional events.

There is a small annual membership fee which includes all standard meetings, Thistle Quilters rate for workshops and opportunities to participate in challenges and exhibitions.


A guest visit (non-member) is £5.00 per meeting.


***We currently have a waiting list for membership but please CONTACT US and let us know if you are interested in joining***


In November 1980, the first meeting of The Quilters Guild and their friends in Scotland took place in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh. This had been organised by Kathleen Hogg, one of the Scottish regional representatives of the Quilters Guild. She managed to gather together 18 people to a “quilt in” day at her home. There was an enthusiasm to establish a Scottish group so a second meeting was arranged after which it was agreed to continue to have monthly meetings. The Quilters' Guild committee was keen that individual Scottish groups should have a definite identity, and in May 1981 it was decided to call the existing group “Thistle Quilters”.


The formation of the group had been influenced by the earlier establishment of The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles (QGBI) and an international resurgence in this old craft. 

 

Although most members were from the Edinburgh area, many other enthusiasts who did not have local groups travelled from distances, including Glasgow and Fife, to attend the monthly meetings. 


In the early days, the scarcity of qualified quilt teachers made it necessary for the Thistle Quilters to take on the task of learning new techniques by teaching each other, usually from books.  As skills and confidence grew and fabrics, tools and books became more readily available, quilt making developed in proficiency and design.  While many learned and practiced the craft by using traditional patterns, others sought to make their mark with original designs.  This is still true today of the membership: Thistle members make bed quilts and wall hangings using familiar block patterns, while others opt for textiles that nowadays lean more towards the 'art' quilt genre.


From the start Thistle Quilters brought in occasional speakers and tutors, and also called on the knowledge and expertise of its own members for workshops, demonstrations and talks.  A number of 'Challenges' have been tackled by individuals, and numerous group quilts have been produced, usually for the benefit of a medical or children's charity. 


Thistle Quilters' first major exhibition was held in 1984, in collaboration with the City Art Centre. “Patchwork and Quilting in Scotland 1760-1984” drew on several Scottish museum collections for the event, as well as new work by Thistle members.  This was the first major quilt exhibition in Scotland and such was the enthusiasm for the exhibition that catalogue supplies ran out and members of the public asked to know where 'they could join a patchwork group'.  The six-week exhibition drew an audience of 10,000 people and as a result, representatives of The Quilters Guild were able to help establish a number of new Scottish groups.


Such was the enthusiasm within Thistle Quilters that another exhibition, 'Four Years On', was held in 1988, again including historic exhibits, and group quilts from around Scotland. Since then the group has continued to mount exhibitions of the member’s work.

 

Exhibitions

1984 Patchwork and Quilting in Scotland 1760-1984 City Art Gallery (now known as City Art Centre) Edinburgh

1988 “Four Years On” City Art Centre, Edinburgh

1992 “Just Us” English Speaking Union, Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh

1998 “Blooming Quilts” English Speaking Union, Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh

2001 “Follow Your Star” 20th Anniversary Exhibition, English Speaking Union. Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh

2012 “Travelling on” English Speaking Union, Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh

2016 Auld Reekie and Journal Quilts, SECC Quilt Show, Glasgow

2018 “Transitions” Edinburgh Palate

2020 “2020 Vision” Challenge Quilts, SEC Quilt Show Glasgow


Apart from the group exhibitions, Thistle members’ exhibit regularly in national and international quilt shows and many have won prizes in both contemporary and traditional categories.  


We continue to meet monthly and enjoy a varied programme of speakers and stitching activities. House groups have evolved where sub groups of the membership meet one another to stitch together in their own homes

 

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