As a little girl I lived on a farm located in the middle of the boonies with my aunt and uncle. My divorced mother didn’t drive so she stayed with other relatives or friends for her job in the cotton mill. That meant most of my childhood memories were based around my aunt. One of my first memories is the quilting bees she held at the house.
I looked forward to the gathering of women from other farms in the area and possibly another one or two of the aunts. The excitement in getting ready for the event played heavily in my life. My aunt spending hours at the sewing machine pedaling away to create the blocks for her quilt had me at her elbow watching the colors come together. If I was lucky, she’d cut small blocks for me and let me attempt to sew my own, usually with a needle and thread.
When the day arrived, my uncle had the frame set up, the food for lunch ready, and the ladies started to arrive. It had been decided in advance who would bring quilts to work on and they rotated since the gathering took place a couple of times a year.
Instructed to stay out of the way while they readied the frame, I’d watch intently as they pulled the flannel used for backing and tied it in place. Next came the batting, rolls of cotton or fiber for the filler, spread across the flannel. Lastly, the beautiful top was laid, a burst of color that would make me gasp in delight. And the work began.
Seated around the frame their busy fingers pushed and pulled needles in and out, creating a pattern design of choice. Sometimes I played under the frame and on really lucky occasions, someone would have me sit on their lap as they guided my small fingers to help with the actual quilting. All the while, the ladies talked, laughed and shared secrets or worries.
Today quilting has become an artwork craft. But beautiful as they are, I wonder if there are still occasions when a quilt is created by a group of friends sharing their lives?
What is one of your favorite childhood memories?