Niles Piecemakers Quilt Guild to host quilt show, charity silent auction

Published 11:27 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

NILES — What began as a hobby for a small group of local quilters 35 years ago has turned into a philanthropic endeavor helping people and organizations all over the area.

The Niles Piecemakers Quilt Guild will host its bi-annual quilt show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at Hope Community Church, 2390 Lake St., Niles.

The event will feature about 130 quilts or wearables on display, 10 vendors, a silent auction of miniature quilts, which will benefit the food pantry at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, a raffle of a large quilt entitled “Our Hearts Will Go On” and refreshments by Apothica Teas, 222 E Main St., Niles.

The guild, which began meeting in 1986, has grown from a four-person planning meeting to 63 enrolled members this year, according to founding member Nancy Nimtz. While the membership has fluctuated throughout the years, one thing that has not changed is the group’s commitment to giving back to the community.

“For several years we made a quilt for habitat for humanity to raffle. They would make between $500 and $1000 dollars from our quilts so they could support their construction,” Nimtz said. “Then we ended up branching out with baby quilts. We have supplied the fire department with quilts and pillowcases so when there are burn victims and family issues, they have these quilts in their vehicles. Lately, we gave 10 quilts to the apartment complex in Buchanan that had a fire about three months ago. Just recently we started making port pillows for people in cancer treatment.

“It’s been very gratifying that 35 years later the group is still meeting and has increased its charitable activities.”

Jody Crandall, who has been a part of the guild for much of the last decade, said it feels good to know that a hobby can also be a way of helping others.

“It’s just very calming and fulfilling,” she said “I don’t need to be with a large group. I just like sitting there and thinking about the ways it’s going to make people feel better.”

According to organizers, the bi-annual quilt show is the main fundraiser for the club to fund speakers, educational activities, and charity supply needs for two years.

Vendors for the event include Quilted Oak Leaf from Dowagiac, Sew Happy from Niles, Sew Unique by Jackie from Granger and a variety of other shops.

The event will also feature a “best in show” voted on by attendees, as well as a flea market and gift boutique. Admission to the event is $5, and raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.