Walking into Trash to Treasures at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church is what one could call a feast of fabric: Pieces of different types of fabrics and material filled the room on Thursday, as a bustle of eager attendees sorted through the priced selections to make a purchase.
In an event organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild, members this year brought their own finds from their collections to fundraise for the guild. For many, this annual event is tradition. For new members, it is an opportunity to invest in their craft and help contribute to the greater good.
The catch? All new members must wear a tiara so that they’re easily recognized.
The guild is a nonprofit organization, and many of the members’ efforts go toward charity. Members meet on the second Thursday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m., and they also take pride in educating.
Dolores Roux-Jones, a hospitality volunteer, had been a part of the guild since 2002, and came back in 2015 after her kids started high school.
“I love it because it’s all these great people, they’re fun. And it’s something to do. We [sometimes] have speakers from all over the United States who do quilting, then we have a workshop, which is usually the Saturday after the Thursday,” Roux-Jones said.
Roux-Jones discussed the impact that the guild has made, not just for its members, but what its members can do for the community:
“This [event] is a fundraiser for us. Last year we made about $2,000. We’ve made quilts for Habitat for Humanity, [nearly] 25 of them. We made different kinds of quilts, and each family picked a quilt that they wanted for their home. They got a home, plus a quilt. That was before COVID, but that was one of the great things that we did.”
Guild President Marcia Dains spoke about the difference between this year’s event and prior events.
“We changed it and said, ‘Everybody, go through your stash that you have at home,’ because we all have more than what we need. ‘And price it and bring it home tonight.’”
New members made their mark in the guild by saving pieces that were threatened by local vendors who would otherwise have disposed of leftover fabric.
“We can’t have fabric thrown away,” said Dains. “We’re trying to expand, so it’s a lot more than members. People invited members from their church. We advertised, [spread the word]. We have so much. Anybody who is a sewer can benefit from what’s here.”
Fabric is often donated, which means that the fundraisers help fund other materials for community service projects.
“As far as our community service projects, we do pregnancy centers, we’ve started working with the foster youth community, Rise, Penny Lane, Families First. We basically give our craft to pregnancy, babies all the way up to seniors, and everything in between,” Dains said.
Dana Montague, community service volunteer for the guild, was inspired by the initiatives the guild participated in.
“I got so involved in Habitat for Humanity, all the 77 homes that were built for all the veterans,” Montague said. “We also [create] every other year [for] Guide Dogs of America, and they auction quilts. When I go in June and see the abilities that the non-sighted people have to carry on through their life [partly] because they have that dog, I get so excited to work on the next quilt [to potentially help] someone to get a dog.”
A quilt can be created in a month or two; a member may spearhead, or all members could work in unison.
“Sometimes one person will work on a quilt, sometimes we’ll have 20 ladies each do a block. The quilts evolve to whoever they’re going to. If we all work on it together, then probably a month, two months, depending on the size and intricacies in the quilting and the sewing.”
Regardless of the process each time, the concept is always the same: “We have fun creating for others,” Montague said.
While the event was led by Joyce Wilkinson, members gathered to support the guild by participating in an auction.
Most of the quilts were donated to the guild throughout the year, and members eagerly lifted a paper plate with their proud numbers to claim their prize. The intricacies of the quilt reminded onlookers of the beauty of the craft.