Cotton Boll Quilt Guild president Debra Crane learned to sew out of necessity. As a mother of three growing children on a tight budget, she made household items like draperies and table clothes.
Now that her kids are grown and out of the house, she still sews but her focus is on quilting and she does it for pleasure.
"It's like instant gratification. The minute you make a block, you can see it and there's a desire to make it all come together in a finished product," said Crane, an Oxford resident.
The public can benefit from the talent of guild members at this year's Cotton Boll Quilt Guild charity auction, scheduled for Nov. 3 at Salem United Methodist Church, 3962 Salem Road. The auction features handmade quilts and other items produced by members of the guild over the last year.
Auction attendees will have an opportunity to put their bids in for bed-size quilts, wall hangings, table runners, table toppers, tote bags, aprons, children's quilts and stuffed animals. In addition to the live auction, a gift shop area will feature smaller items such as checkbook covers, children's books made of fabric, pot holders and craft supplies.
"There will items of all different sizes, so hopefully it will fit a variety of people's budgets," said Carole Golder, guild member and auction organizer.
Doors open at 11 a.m. for the event and the auction begins at 1 p.m. A $5 admission price includes an all-you-can-eat light lunch buffet.
The purposed of the event is to raise money for various local charities. This year, the beneficiaries include Phoenix Pass, a service for homeless families provided by Rockdale Emergency Relief, and the weekend Meals On Wheels program.
Last year's auction brought in over $11,000 and, to date, the Cotton Boll Quilt Guild has raised over $80,000 for charities.
"Every year we seem to increase what we raised last year, so hopefully we're getting more people there and attracting more attention," said Golder, who added that attendance last year reached 140.
Golder, a Newton County resident, said she learned to sew garments from her mother and she made her own clothes as a teenager. She joined the guild two years ago.
"I think I did it just to be kind of creative. I wanted a hobby and I had somewhat of a crafting background. And I have a sewing machine. I thought it would be a good way to also meet people," said Golder. "We not only socialize but also teach people so I can develop my skills and meet people in the area."
The Cotton Boll Quilt Guild, which meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at Salem UMC, has between 60 and 100 members who gather together to showcase quilting projects as well as listen to speakers who discuss various quilting styles and techniques. Members come from Rockdale, Newton, Butts, Walton and Henry counties and anyone interested in quilting is invited to join the group.
"We exist just to promote quilting. We hate to see it go as an art," said Crane.
Members of the guild also meet regularly in sewing bees, or groups, to make quilts.
"We become so focused we don't want to go to department stores. We want to go to fabric stores. Fabric becomes an addiction almost," said Crane. "That's a huge part it, the friendships you develop and the things you learn from each other."
Crane said she quilts every day.
"It definitely becomes a passion," she said.
For more information, visit www.geocities.com/CottonBollQuiltGuild.
Contact Karen Rohr at karen. firstname.lastname@example.org
SideBar: If You Go
What: Cotton Boll Quilt Guild charity auction
When: Nov. 3; doors open at 11 a.m. and auction begins at 1 p.m.
Where: Salem United Methodist Church, 3962 Salem Road in Newton County
Cost: A $5 admission price includes an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet