Meet the Leaders of Special Interest Group: Quilting West

Welcome to Quilting West!

Leenie R. and Iris W. offer a lot of encouragement, fun, and educational content while leading this group together. Leenie has been a member of the Columbia River Sewing Guild since 2003 and started the Quilting West SIG in 2015. The inception of the group was prompted by chatter she heard amongst CRS members of the need for a group devoted to quilting. Leenie has made 76 quilts and still enjoys quilting so much that her sewing time is devoted to quilting. Because Leenie is committed to sharing new ideas and techniques, the Quilting West group has had an impressive list of programs over the years. More information about the variety of experiences that the members share will follow Iris’ introduction, below. These photos show Leenie at a recent meeting and Iris, at a mosaic class in 2019. (Photo credits belong to Leenie and Iris for all the photos used in this article.)


Iris joined Quilting West four years ago when she came back to sewing after a 30-year break. Now that she is retired, she has discovered that there are all new things to use. For example, rotary cutters and rulers! Iris says she enjoys the group because it is, “A great way to feed my sewing.” She says the group is welcoming, kind, generous, and encouraging. And not at all intimidating. There are members who have many years of experience, and everyone shares their knowledge freely. “We learn from each other,” Iris offers as she explains that they are always learning new things. And she also shared one of her favorite acronyms that she feels fits Quilting West, (and life, too,) TMFSTD. Which stands for Too Much Fun Stuff To Do! The camaraderie in participating in this small group has provided a great place to learn by doing in a fun environment.

When the pandemic hit, the group transitioned to Zoom but are now back to meeting in person. They meet every first Thursday of the Month at 10:30 a.m. The current meeting location is in Lake Oswego at Montavilla Sewing Center.

Past Programs

The group’s very first quilting project was a paper piecing project in 2015. This is exhibited in the photo of Tulips, shown below. (Click on the images for a larger view.)

The group has worked on several applique projects. Here is a quilt made of Applique Hearts from 2017.  

Pieced blocks are the mainstay in quilting. Here is a project from 2018 using pieced strawberry blocks.

In 2019, the group did a fun fabric weaving technique as shown in this woven block quilt top.

That same year, they undertook a project using 3/8” square pieces of fabric which Leenie cut for everyone to make a fabric mosaic. Here is Sandy V. working on her project at the monthly meeting.

Just recently, the group chose to tackle a non-quilting project by making Cinnamon Ribbon Trees at the monthly meeting, which was held in person with everyone wearing masks. Here are pictures of Barb, Maxine, and Patty during the meeting.


And at the same meeting, Sandy brought her own project to work upon while visiting with friends in Quilting West.Over the years, the group has worked on Freezer Paper Shamrocks, Personally Yours (self-portrait quilts/mini-me projects,) folded fabric stars, and many more items including group charity blocks for quilt tops. Leenie and Iris find inspiration for programs for presenting to the group from newsletters, magazines, OPB, YouTube, personal curiosity, and ideas from other members. Leenie used to do all of the presentations and programs on her own. Iris has helped the group take on more responsibility in presenting topics on a rotating basis. This has increased individual participation. There are always good discussions about tools, notions, book reviews, and sharing of ideas, no matter who is presenting.

Passage Quilts

One aspect of Quilting West that encourages member participation is contributing to charitable sewing projects. The group completed over 60 quilt tops in 2020 and around 40 in 2021 for Passage Quilts. This year, the group has agreed to work on butterfly blocks that will be assembled into a top. Pictured below are quilt tops that were created from similar group projects in 2020 and 2021. The first set are from Tilda’s World and the bear quilts are from Shiny Happy World. Check out the Online Resources page for more information.

2020 Tilda blocks


2021Shiny Happy World Bears


This last quilt is one made by Leenie in 2020, also for Passage Quilts. It is called Skylark.

As you can see, this group is led by two women with caring and generous hearts who love to quilt. Please consider visiting the group to continue your sewing journey with new quilting friends.