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Retrospective from Rosemary Makhan Rosemary Makhan Picture

Halton Quilters' Guild

1977 to 2007

 30th Anniversary


Rosemary Makhan was the founder of Halton Quilters' Guild.  As a Home Economics (Family Studies) teacher, Rosemary also taught three night school classes in quilting for the Halton Board of Education.  Many members of the Halton Quilters' Guild obtained their first experience of quilting from Rosemary's classes.  In the fall of 1977, Rosemary circulated a letter to generate an interest in forming a guild.  She also encouraged participants in her night school classes to become members.

The guild first met at Queen Elizabeth School in Oakville and was made up of approximately 25 members from her classes and church people.  Because they were novices they didn't keep records as they didn't know we would want to know how far we had come.

According to Rosemary, the guild started with one magazine, "Quilter's Newsletter", and Rosemary's own book, The Standard Book of Quilt Making by Marguite Ickis. There were no quilt stores in the area and the Etobicoke guild was the only other one in the area.

"Quilters are nice people to know, in quilting they have developed qualities that tend to carry over into other spheres of their lives - precision, patience, gaiety and a sense of orderliness." 

From Rosemary Makhan's initial letter to organize the guild and Mary Conroy's book, 300 Years of Canada's Quilts.

Note: the above note was taken from the Pears of Wisdom booklet presented at the Halton Quilters’ Guild 30th Anniversary Celebration


When Halton Quilters Guild first started, members met at Queen Elizabeth Park School, in Oakville.  Meetings moved to the Red Cross Building, Navy St., Oakville and then, a very brief move to Maple Grove United Church, Ninth Line, Oakville.  In 1985, the guild moved to Central Baptist Church, Morden Rd., Oakville.  The guild remained there until 1993, meeting on the third Thursday of every month.  The Burlington Arts Centre was the next move and the final move was to our present meeting place, Mainway Recreation Centre, Burlington.  Meetings changed to the first Wednesday of the month and then, changed back to the first Thursday of the month, which has continued to date.

Two groups which were formed by members of the Halton Quilters' Guild are the Burlington Quilter's Society, which meets every Monday night in the Burlington Arts Centre and the Oakville Quilters Guild, which meets the third Thursday of the month, in Central Baptist Church, Oakville.  Several smaller "stitch and chat" groups were also formed from the nucleus of the Halton Quilters' Guild.


The first quilt show was held at the Granary in Oakville.  The next year, it moved to Red House in Coronation Park, Oakville, which has since been torn down.  Trafalgar Hall, corner of Highway 5 and Trafalgar Rd., Oakville was the location of the quilt show for the next six years.  Starting with the 9th annual quilt show, Halton Quilters Guild used River Oaks Recreation Centre, Sixth Line, Oakville. 

From April 1979, which was the first quilt show, the guild had an annual show until 1993.  The format was changed to a show every second year and the 1995 and 1997 quilt shows were held in Mainway Recreation Centre, Burlington.  The 1999, 2001 and 2003 quilt shows were held in St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre, Fourth Line and Highway 5, Oakville.  The show moved to Park Bible Church, Kerns Rd. and North Service Road, Burlington in 2005 and in 2007 to Compass Point Church, Eaglesfield and Dundas, Burlington.

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Since the beginning of our guild, we have made quilts each year to donate to various charities in our neighbourhood like Halton Women's Place, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Joseph Brant Hospital, Rose Cherry Home and Carpenter House.  The charities are suggested by our members and are often near and dear to their hearts.  Many of these quilts were raffled by the charities to raise money.


The Cuddle Quilt project was begun in 1988/89.  It grew out of the need for the creation of the Halton Women's Placed.  The women and their children who were (and are today) sheltered at Halton Women's Place have to form anew  their lives and a home.  The twelve quilts given all those years ago, to comfort those struggling to begin again at a stressful time in their lives were the beginning of our Outreach Program that we call "Cuddle Quilts".  Halton Quilters' Guild members have made and given well over 500 quilts in the years since.  Recipients have included Halton Women's Place Burlington and Milton, Salvation Army - Oakville and Burlington, Meals on Wheels, Ian Anderson House - Oakville, Woodview Children's Centre, Burlington /Jo Brant Wellness Centre, Shifra House, Compass Point Church's Street People Outreach programme.  May your generosity of time, skill, and caring applied to the creation of quilts, continue into the future.  We know the need remains.


In 2004 Sandy Stephen asked guild members to help make the preemie quilts after she saw these little blankets in McMaster's Neonatal Unit and decided to make more in appreciation for the care received by her twin grandchildren. Since Sandy started this project we have donated 732  quilts to McMaster. We have also knit 90 burial buntings and 31 hats.


Project of interest to guild members were offered over the years. Notable examples  were:


In 1995 June Salter offered a mystery quilt. Diane Bezdikian took over in 1996/97 and ran it for three years until June 1999. The first year, she used a commercial pattern and the next two years, created her own. In a quilt show year, the finished quilts were displayed and voted on at the quilt show. Alternate years, they were displayed and voted on at the June quilt guild meeting.


Many challenges have been offered over the years. They are just for fun and usually require the use certain fabrics Often but not always, "ugly' fabrics are required. In the last few years we have had a Presidents' Challenge using material they like. The last couple of years we have been receiving a small square of seasonal material to make a block. We have also have a pursonality challenge.


Heather Bethel, assisted by Maryann Lennox and Ann Vandermeulen organized the tinners exchange. There was a tin for all participants. Each tin had a theme and a fat quarter.  Participants had to use a piece of the fat quarter in each block. Finished blocks were put back in the tine and returned the following meeting where another tin was picked up with a different these and a fat quarter at the end of the meeting. At the June potluck dinner all the blocks were displayed. The participants then drew for a tin of blocks and returned the following year with a finished quilt. In the last year each participant provided a theme of their own and a fat quarter.


Over the years members of the guild were offered bus trips to visit area quilt shows and quilt shops. Janet Rhind was the first to organize a longer trip than a day outing. The guild was offered a chance to go to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1989 to see the Quilter's Heritage Celebration and shop, of course. Lauryn McLelland took over from Janet and Marion Peters has organized three trips.

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Did you know that Halton Quilters' Guild has 218 members? We have one honourary member, Jane (Jeanie Murdoch) and over the years four people have been designated life members. They are Rosemary Makhan, Trudy Nicholls, Barb Croucher and Jean Welbourne, who passed away April 2, 2001, sadly missed by all who knew her.

Did you know that the first bus trip was a day trip on a school bus to Elmira and St. Jacob's? Besides lunch, members, all wearing dresses, visited Reichard's Quilt Shop, the Sap Bucket and Brox's Town Village.

Did you know that members used to eagerly race up to the "Country Seamers'' sale on Invictia Dr., Oakville, and wait in line for the chance to purchase cotton and polyester/cotton Scraps?

Did you know that when Canada converted to metric it affected a bus trip? the bus driver that was to pick up members at Oakville Place tried to go under the overpass entrance to the mall. He said that by the time he had converted the new metric measurement to feet and realized the bus wouldn't fit under it, it was too late. He had hit it. Participants got their trip, but we had to wait for another bus to be sent.

Did you know that there was a name the newsletter contest? the contest was held in 1998.  Joan Raynor was the winner with the name "Snippets". Runner-up was Bev Greer's Sew Much News".

Did you know that our first quilt was sent to The Canadian National Exhibition in 1979? It won honourable mention and we still have it.

Did you know that the banner was designed in 1980? We still have it and it is displayed on the podium at every meeting.

Did you know that in 1981 we had Ginny Beyer as our first big speaker? It was the beginning of her career. We invited guilds from all around.

Did you know that quilts were the door prizes for a least two quilt show" was won at a later shows? In 1981 Ruth Beame won a "Sunbonnet Sue" quilt and "Chicken Scratch" was won at a later show.

Did you know that pieced aprons were worn at the first quilt shows? Now, of course, we wear vests.

Did you know that the tenth anniversary banquet had a contest for various type of blocks? There were enough blocks to make two tops. The finished quilts were donated to the Joseph Brant Auxiliary.

Did you know that the fifteenth anniversary dinner was in Oakville at the Holiday Inn? There was another block contest with a recycling theme. (Were we ahead of our time?)


1977 - 1979 - Rosemary Makhan

1979 - 1980 - Mary Lane

1980 - 1981 - Priscilla Evans

1981 - 1982 - Lydia Quigley

1982 - 1983 - Barbara Bays

1983 - 1985 - Christine Gillies

1985 - 1986 - Barb Croucher

1986 - 1987 - Ruth Landon

1987 - 1989 - Kim Kernohan

1989 - 1990 - Janet Rhind

1990 - 1991 - Janie Mack

1991 - 1992 - Mary Abercrombie

1992 - 1993 - Louise Girard

1993 - 1994 - Lauryn McLelland

1994 - 1995 - Marion Peters

1995 - 1997 - Cathy Cormier

1997 - 1998 - Marg Pentecost

1998 - 1999 - Elizabeth Hughes

1999 - 2000 - Joan Raynor

2000 - 2002 - Elaine Tew

2002 - 2004 - Heather Bethel

2004 - 2006 - Cherie Rudge

2006 - 2008 - Shelley DeHay-Turner and Leslie Prokop

2009 - 2010 - Tasha Yhard