What ever happened to the good old days of the quilting bee? You may recall playing under those quilts as a child and watching the needles dancing in and out through the fabric. Quilting bees still take place, but the way they used to. In the late 1800's and throughout the early turn of the century, quilting bees were more than just a time for women to gather together and contribute their skills and art to quickly completing a beautiful quilt, it was a time for fellowship, friendships, good food and music. Husbands and sons even had roles to play during these quilting bees. They were responsible for "chalking" out lines, re-threading needles and of course, constructing and hanging those fabulous old quilting frames. Experienced quilters and beginners were welcomed, with the newest quilters learning first hand from their more experienced friends and family. How wonderful that must have been! It was a time for women to sit and work together, while sharing child-rearing tips, recipes and funny stories. I dare say there MUST have been some good old fashioned gossip going on over those quilts! :) Usually, the women took turns around the quilting frame, quilting for a while and working in the kitchen, cooking up a great big meal for all to enjoy. Often the men would bring fiddles and harmonicas or someone would sit at the piano and before you knew it, music would fill the house and, if the spirit moved them, many would take to the floor to dance. It must have been such a fun time for everyone!
If you're lucky enough to own a quilt from the turn of the century or even into the 1920's or 1930's, take some time to really study the stitching. You may be surprised to find quite a few different quilting styles within one quilt. This is a pretty good sign that the quilt was possibly completed during one of these quilting bees.
How wonderful to slow down a little in life, spend more time with friends and family, and pass on our love of quilting. What better way than organizing a good old fashioned quilting bee?!?
I would LOVE to hear any stories you may have of quilting with your mother, grandmother or friends. If you were lucky enough to have attended any of these quilting bees....EVEN BETTER! Please take the time to click below this story and post a comment about your treasured memories of quilting! I love your comments!