Book Premise #3: Friendship / How to use the book

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In my experience, one very sweet hallmark of the quilting community is the strong bonds of friendship among quilters!  Honestly, my quilting journey has taken me to exciting places because of the great friends I have made at the various stages of the journey.

This snippet is from about quilting bee:
The quilting bee was an important means of socializing for colonial and pioneer women (and men). Through the winter months, the women would piece their quilt tops. Since there was no central heating in these homes, there was usually only one main heated room that was too crowded during the winter months for a quilt frame to be assembled. When the weather became warmer, an invitation was sent to the surrounding neighbors for the quilting bee.

On the day of the quilting bee, the quilters would arrive early and begin marking the quilt top which had been put into the quilt frame by the hostess. Very often, plates, thimbles and tea cups were used to mark the quilting patterns. (Did you read that?!  TEACUPS!!!  You who collect fabrics and china — you are SO justified in your obsessions collections!  I simply have to insert a china picture here.) 


The quilters would then being to quilt the top while exchanging conversation. The quilt had to finished before the husbands and beaus showed up in the late afternoon when dinner was served to all, the hostess being given a chance to show off her cooking skills. After dinner, there was very often a square dance or country dance with fiddles accompanying the dancers. The quilting bee was an important part of the social life of these people surpassed only by religious gatherings.

My summary on things: FRIENDSHIPS

So, it is with “scrappy” friendships and block exchanges in mind that I design a couple of my book projects: namely Oh! Happy Stars and Feathery Formation.  These two projects are conducive for an activity within a guild or quilting group.  Members can get together to learn to make the blocks using fabrics with theme selected by the group (for example, ugliest fabric, fabrics of certain color shades, Christmas fabrics, Spring fabrics etc – you get the idea!).   Members make multiple blocks for exchange — and the result is a scrappy quilt that holds memories of your quilting friends.

star & bird COB copy

An additional “friendship” note on Feathery Formation.  Of course you can quilt to your heart’s content (like I did) on the white patches. :)  But I also thought it might be nice for a friendship quilt to have the white patches be printed recipes from participating quilters on fabric squares and pieced into the quilt, or even words of encouragement for a going-away quilt.


My Floral Fancy (you can see more pictures here) and Ivory Baltimore projects are projects that have possibilities of expanding friendships.  By that I mean, the blocks can easily be adapted as the center blocks for round robin projects within a quilting group of friends.  Or the same block can be made multiple times in by friends in different colorways to make more scrappy quilts.  I am re-making my Ivory Baltimore in a fun way – stay tuned for details.


I hope this post will give you further ideas on how to use Recreating Antique Quilts, and not merely have the book tucked away on a shelf.  And more importantly, I hope this book will play a small part in your friendships – whether you make a project from the book as a gift, or being a part of a quilting activity.

And speaking of friends, do stop by tomorrow for details on a blog hop participated by some of my special friends!

blog hop button


You may read ALL about Recreating Antique Quilts here.


8 thoughts on “Book Premise #3: Friendship / How to use the book

  1. I remember quilting bees very much like the one you describe. Mom would have the quilt top marked and stretched, many needles threaded and ready. We lived in a very small town and the call would go out. Eight to ten quilters would show up. Mom was an extraordinary cook so she never had trouble getting quilters. There would be snacks all the time and a large lunch. It usually only took a few days to finish the top. I remember sitting under the frame and listening to the ladies talk and watching the needles flash in and out. It was quite wonderful. The quilts in your book are so pretty, I love them and my mom would have too! I so admire your china collection.

  2. Thanks for the fun ideas and creative ways to use your wonderful book. I think that our “Quilting Bees” are a bit different theses days. We have “Sit n Sews” where we gather but each participant usually brings their own project to work on. Many times, if space is ample, sewing machines are toted along. We, also, each bring some kind of food to share or yummies may be provided by the hostess. Just as in the “olden days,” these are very special gatherings.

    Oooh, LOVE your china, beautiful collection!!!!

    Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us tomorrow!!

  3. I KNEW there was a reason that I collect both fabric and china!!! Thank you for letting me know that I am “normal”.

    Growing up I always admired the Amish quilting bees and would have loved to sit in on one. I am sure there was a lot of friendship, love and news caught up on with each stitch that was taken.

  4. These days, our ‘quilting bees’/gatherings happen maybe once a month OR daily on the blogs. Although it’s very easy to dismiss these “virtual” friendships, connections made on the ‘net, as not existing below a superficial level…..I would totally disagree! In many instances the depth of the friendship is deeper than those in the “real” world (of course there is the inherent danger of putting forth a fake persona, but I have not personally experienced that!!!). Such “bee” time of yesteryear vs today’s equivalent is a very interesting subject. Thanks for bringing it into your post!!!! Hugs……….. (Anticipation……only about 12&1/2 hours til……….)

  5. Well…I don’t use china cups…but I have a collection of kid bowls for use when the grandkids come, and I use those to mark my quilts! :o)

  6. I LOVE Royal Albert Lady Carlyle China! So beautiful! Love your quilts! You’ve got it going on. I need to get your book. I’m probably the only one who doesn’t have it yet.

  7. The quilting bees i remember were held at the nearby Methodist church. Usually they involved tying a comforter instead of quilting, since there was no place to store an unfinished quilt project at the meeting room.
    The ones I’ve read about in a family journal were a little different from the ones described here by Wendy. They were called “rag and stick” days. The women brought “rag bags” which were really parcels of the oddly shaped scraps of cloth left from dressmaking, and the first order of the day was trading pieces of cloth. The journal recorded what nice bits of fabric she gained or that nothing looked better than what she already had. (For the most part, all these women were shopping at the same couple of general stores.) Then the women divided up into the quilters and the cooks.
    The husbands came along for the day, and they were outdoors splitting stumps and chopping stovewood. That’s why it was a “rag and stick” day. The hosts made their house open to all and gained a lot of help with their firewood as well as the quilting.

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