The Hands Across the Valley Quilters Guild in Amherst, Massachusetts, was formed in 1983 by a group of quilters who came together to share their joy in and knowledge of quilt making. The guild’s first involvement with a quilt show was a joint effort with the Amherst Women’s Club in the spring of 1983. The club’s house and barn were packed with quilts. That spring, the Guild also worked on a quilt to take to the round-the-clock quiltathon at New England Images I, the New England Quilters Guild show.
In the fall of 1984, the Guild put on a month-long show at the Jones Library in Amherst. The library had received funding for some quilt-related events such as showing a few movies, and the Guild created an appropriate setting. In fact, Guild members loaned so many quilts that the quilts on display were changed during the show.
In October of 1986, the Guild held its first show at Amherst Masonic Hall. Subsequent shows have been held in the much larger and brighter space of Amherst College’s LeFrak Gymnasium; and, in 1999, our show space was doubled when Amherst College allowed us to use the “Cage” for vendors, additional displays, and the food vendor. In 2023, the show was held at Hampshire College. Each show has been a wonderful showcase for the work of Guild members and other quiltmakers from New England and beyond.
As the Guild has grown, its activities have kept pace with changing trends and the interests of its members. Workshops and lectures are offered two to three times a year, using the talents of our own members in addition to local and nationally known quiltmakers. Our efforts also benefit the community at large through a variety of charitable activities. We help the New England Quilt Museum and the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project monetarily and by volunteering time.
The Guild’s current membership consists of more than 100 individuals with a wide variety of interests, skill levels, and talents from all corners of the Pioneer Valley and beyond.