Sallie Wilson (left) and Jackie Thomsen became friends through the quilting group at Queen Anne Lutheran Church in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Amy Vu/Lutheran World Relief. 

10 tips & tricks for growing your quilting group

  • Emily Esworthy
  • Jun 15, 2023

Quilting is a delightfully hands-on ministry, and the more hands we have, the merrier. Below are some ideas you shared for growing your groups. (Bonus: many of these are relevant to kit making, too!)

1. Divide up the tasks.

You don’t have to do it all to be a big help. Karen Trebus from Sevierville, Tennessee, says, “Encourage people to help with tasks such as pinning, watching for sales on materials, tying the quilts, donating funds for shipping and last, but certainly not least, praying.” ​​​​​​

2. Involve youth classes.

Reach out to Sunday School, confirmation class and youth group leaders to get the next generation excited. Students can make kits and complete certain steps of the quilt-making process, such laying out squares and tying quilts. As Marlene Dreyer from Plano, Texas, says, “If you can tie your shoes, you can help us make quilts.” 

3. Plan a “workday” event.

A one-time event is less intimidating than committing to a regular meeting. Plan a weekend or evening event and invite congregation members of all ages to come to learn and help. Make it fun and rewarding, and they’ll be hooked. 

4. Put out an invitation in your church bulletin.

A simple message like, “Are you recently retired and looking for a way to fill some of your new-found free time serving God and others?” may be the gentle nudge someone needed. 

5. Offer different time options.

Try offering regular evening or weekend opportunities to quilt with the group, not just weekday sessions. Ruth Fortis from Midlothian, Virginia, shared, “The quilting day at my church is the third Tuesday. Quilting day at my home is every Friday. Community Quilt Day each year is a Saturday so school youth and people that work during the week can participate.” 

6. Engage parents of quilt recipients.

If your quilting group makes quilts for confirmands or high school graduates from your congregation, invite their parents or caregivers to come and lay out the squares for the top. Then share about opportunities to get more involved. 

7. Empower people to work on quilts at home.

There are many reasons some people work most comfortably at home. Alice Tylutki from Austin, Minnesota, shared, “I suffered a stroke, which leaves me weak and slightly uncoordinated on the left side. I cut and sew a top at home, then take it to my group. I can still contribute — not as many, but a few… It gives me joy.”  

8. Connect with local quilting guilds.

Invite them to join one of your meetings, or set up a table at one of their events, to share about your quilt-making for LWR and how your handiwork is blanketing neighbors all around the world with love. 

9. Reach out to your local library or community center.

Set up a table or speak at a community event about your quilting ministry. Share about the quilt-making process and assure folks that they do not need to be skilled quilters to take part.  

10. Feed the sheep.

Good coffee and snacks are always foolproof incentives, and a supportive atmosphere is just what many of us crave. As Maxine Heuberger from Sheffield, Iowa, shared, “There are many jobs, but most important is the fellowship. We talk, we listen and we laugh a lot. One lady said we were her weekly therapy.” 

Emily Esworthy, Jun 15, 2023 email