I didn’t know how many would come to my quilting party but I knew, however many or few, we’d have a good time. I invited women I know and love, some of whom are excellent quilters, some just learning, one who decided to work on her own creative crocheting project. There were four of us at the quilting frame, two on each side, with others coming and going, sharing a story, a laugh, and some heartening hugs.
It was a glorious beautiful morning outside and, because of my quilting friend Sally and her husband Wes, we had the quilt on a nice frame and a light that is perfect for quilting. It was a great morning for quilting on my nine-patch quilt I named “Sunny Afternoon.” The name is right for all the bright colors, the hummingbirds, butterflies, flowers and blueberries.
During hard times in our country’s history women quilted. They quilted to keep their families warm. They quilted using whatever resources they had, remnants of torn or outgrown garments, flour sacking and unbleached muslin. They quilted so all their blankets could go to keep their soldiers warm. In more affluent times and with new exciting fabrics they became extravagantly creative. In leaner times they made do with what they had. They quilted alone in their rural separateness. But sometimes they had a quilting party or quilting bee. Getting together to quilt they could actually finish several quilts in one day and everyone enjoyed it.
Women today don’t need to quilt. We can buy handmade quilts from China for far less than it costs to make them ourselves. We don’t need quilts as door hangings as pioneer women did. We don’t even have time to quilt. Working women are scattered every day to highly intense jobs, and when a busy homemaker gets home she and her spouse have hungry children, and then there are ball games, PTO meetings, and the list goes on.
But, yes, women do need to quilt. They need it for their own emotional health, for spiritual wellbeing, for connecting with the past, the future, and themselves. They need it for the sense of accomplishment it gives. They need it for passing on to their daughters a skill of the past and for teaching them to be resourceful, for our future may very well require that.
And, yes, quilting now is a very popular craft for women and for men. There is such a satisfaction and joy in making something beautiful even if, as in my case, the squares are not square and the seams keep dashing away from straight!
The word “quilt” comes from the Latin word “culcita” which means stuffed sack. It is a cloth sandwich with a decorated top layer (whether pieced fabric, appliquéd work, or a whole fabric with intricately stitched design), a soft filler (one hundred years ago the filler was dense, heavy cotton, but now is light and easy to stitch through), and the backing which also showcases the hundreds of stitches made on the topside.
I wondered if new quilters, or some who hadn’t quilted since forever, would grow quickly discouraged at a quilting party and remember something else they needed to do. I made a crock pot of soup, muffins, and brownies before they came so the house would smell so good they’d have to stay for lunch. And they did.
I also planned that we’d take turns being readers, read good wholesome shorts from Guideposts, maybe some poetry of Sidney Lanier, and our favorite Bible passages. There was no need for that plan! The chatter amongst us was all the entertainment we needed. Juanita, who is a veteran quilter, told us about some of her quilting successes and errors (we love to know that someone so good can make a mistake!). Annette helped us remember quilters in our church who now are in heaven and that brought on some interesting discussion on what may be happening in heaven. Sue, who had never quilted before, got so excited when she could see she’d stitched three three-inch blocks, we all had a good laugh. And when I sewed my finger to the quilt all I could hear other than giggles was “Don’t bleed on it!” Juanita kindly helped me cut free.
The moment-by-moment comments of quilters range from “All right! There went the knot popping in” to “Who had the thread last?” to “If I hurry, I can get to the end of this block before the thread runs out.” There are the peaceful murmury sounds of a long thread winging through fabric, of knots popping in, of the quilting frame creaking and giving to the quilters’ movements.
We talked about prayer needs. There were several heavy ones just amongst the few of us. We avoided politics this crazy election year but talked gleefully about our grandchildren, new folks in our community, how many bricks are going to be visible on the sidewalks when Cairo’s renovated town center is complete. We even talked about football. Sue lives near the high school stadium; Annette is an avid fan as am I.
Lunch was fun. My husband came home, helped serve iced tea, and, as usual, kept everyone enthralled with one of his animal stories from a morning’s work. Was that the day they put a 500 pound sow on a surgical table designed for dogs? And Dr. Kidd, a neat little lady veterinarian, stood up on a stool to get the right surgical perspective.
When my friends started to go, I gave them each one of my books, an author’s prerogative, and reminded them to take their thimbles, souvenirs of our quilting party. And we formed a circle around the quilt and prayed for those prayer needs, especially for Sally recovering from a fall and about to have surgery.
Titus 2:3 says this about women and I think it applies to all the wonderful quilters in my background including my mother and to present quilters, discounting, of course, the “a” word: “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”
They all said they’d come back. And that’s really good because my quilt is not nearly finished.
Below is a picture of my dear granddaughter Amanda who helps me “blog” my pictures. I insisted she make stitches too! Charli was very patient and curious.
If you’ve had fun giving a quilting party, or just quilting, why not make a comment below?