Ice Breakers for your Guild

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Attention all Modern Quilt Guilds!

Do you want to learn how to shake things up during your next meeting? If so, you're going to love this article.

Ice breakers are activities or games that are used to welcome and warm up the conversation amongst guild members. When guild members don't know each other, the ice breaker will help them share material (see what I did there?) about them and their quilting journey to the other members. Even with an established guild, ice breakers help get the party started!

Below you'll find ten quilt related ice breakers that you can use during your next guild meeting.

1. License Plate

Give each member an index card and have them create a license plate that best describes their creative/quilt making process. Remember most license plates are limited to six characters. Give the members a time frame of two minutes. After two minutes, have the members show and read their license plates out loud, explaining what they created for their license plate.

2. Bumper Sticker

Give each member an index card and have them create a bumper sticker that best describes their quilting style. Machine or hand, each member should come up with a catchy phrase and/or graphic that best describes their style. After two minutes, have the members show and read their bumper stickers out loud, explaining what they created for their bumper sticker.

3. Word Association

Select a random quilt related word or phrase and write it on a dry erase board/paper tablet. Have the members shout out words that come to mind when they think of the word or phrase. Write those words on the board/tablet. This ice breaker is great to see how members view the word or phrase. It's fun to see connections—unknown or not. Examples can include but are not limited to modern, grid work, modern traditionalism, improvisational piecing, negative space, etc.

4. Would you Rather

An interesting way to learn more about your members, "Would you Rather" asks members to pick sides. Below are six examples of questions you can use with your guild. Remember, each question needs two parts. Throw them a curve ball with unique and quirky questions.

  • Would you rather machine quilt or hand quilt for 24 hours straight?
  • Would you rather use solids or prints for the rest of your life?
  • Would you rather have scissors or a rotary cutter as hands?
  • Would you rather seam rip walking backward or hand bind running forward?
  • Would you rather run out of thread or run out of fabric?
  • Would you rather have more time to sew or more money to buy fabric?

5. Word Connection

Ask the members to sit in a circle. The first member starts with any quilt related word they wish. The next member repeats the previous word and then adds another word. For example, member 1 says "modern" and then member two repeats "modern" and adds "quilting." To add a bit of a challenge to this ice breaker, give the members a time limit of 5-10 seconds for each word.

6. Two Truths and a Lie

You'll need 20+ minutes for this ice breaker, but it's oh, sew fun! Give each member an index card. Have them write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Remember it should be quilt related. Give them two minutes to complete the ice-breaker. Then gather the index cards and have the group guess who's card you're reading.

7. Win, Lose, or Quilt

Like the favorite game, ours is quilting related! You'll need a dry erase board or two paper tablets. Before the meeting, write 20 quilt related words or phrases onto paper and place them into a jar. Divide the members into groups of two. Flip a coin to see which team goes first. The first player draws a word or phrase from the jar. Without speaking, the member must draw the word or phrase on the paper tablet so the other members of his/her group can guess. Give them 60 seconds to guess the word/phrase. Give each correct answer one point. The team that reaches ten points wins! You can even offer a giveaway prize for the winning team! Examples of quilt related words or phrases are listed below.

  • Modern Quilting
  • Improvisational Quilting
  • Matchstick Quilting
  • Grid Work
  • Presser Foot
  • Ironing to the Dark Side
  • Quarter inch seam allowance
  • Quilt Show
  • Paper Piecing
  • Fresh Quilting TV

8. Thread Trade

Ask members to bring in a spool of thread that best represents them (color, weight, size, etc.). At the beginning of your meeting, ask each member to describe why they chose that thread.

9. A Stitch in Time

Divide the members into two groups. Give each team a 6'' piece of fabric for the front and back, a 6'' piece of batting for the middle, a needle, thread, and ruler. The first person of the team needs to thread the needle and layer the quilt. Each person after must add five hand stitches. The team that completes four rows of four-inch long hand stitches WINS!

10. Never Have I Ever

Start with every member standing up. Read a quilt related statement and those members to whom it applies to sit down. The last member standing—wins! Examples of quilt related samples are below.

  • I've never matchstick quilted before.
  • I've never used a print in a quilt.
  • I've never improvisational pieced before.
  • I've never pieced barefoot.
  • I've never had a snack while sewing.
  • I've never pieced together batting.
  • I've never thrown away scraps.
  • I've never pressed my seams open.
  • I've never gone into my LQS and walked out empty handed.
  • I've never ran out of bobbin.

Easy rules to remember for a successful ice breaker session are:

  • Be excited and enthusiastic!
  • Set a time limit and stick to it.
  • f an icebreaker is not working, stop, and try another one.
  • Choose an ice breaker that's suitable for the members of your guild.
  • Remember not to embarrass your guild members when they share their answers aloud.

Games are a great way to mix up your guild meetings. They're perfect for new members and seasoned members alike. Who knows, maybe you'll learn something you never knew! Do you want to create your own ice breakers? Remember to keep them quilty!