Old Fashioned Quilting Bee

Quite a late post today, my pets, as I’ve had a whirlwind of a day. I have been accepted to TWO conferences in September, joy of all joys, which has set off a seemingly never-ending stream of decisions about where to stay and how to get there and good gods how are we going to get any work done that month? It is all rather heady and entirely distracting from actual work and fun things like blogging.

Rather than crafting, I spent my rainy Sunday on the computer (as if I don’t get enough of that during the week) sorting through some old family tree pictures I scanned ages ago. They belong to my great-aunt Isabelle and are mostly of her side of the family. There are very many of my grandfather (Isabelle’s brother) and their other brothers and cousins, and a number of my great-grandmother who was known as Belle. From the photos, I gather that she was as lovely as the nickname indicates.


Not one of Belle’s more “stunning” photos (of which I assure you there are many), but one of my favourites. Belle is over on the far right and she is surrounded by friends (I don’t think they are family) at an “Old-fashioned Quilting” bee. The photo was taken in 1911 and I assume placed in this album not too long after, as all the photos within are from the early 1910s and the handwriting is rather an old style. Also, this is one of the few photos with names actually labeled, mostly the comments are on the location or what is happening in the photos. Since someone looking at the album in 1911 would have recognized the people in the photos, no one felt the need to label names for the most part.

I love the simplicity of the quilt frame, just long planks of wood with screw clamps resting on chairs, and the focus of the quilters. What I wouldn’t give to get a look at the quilt itself! Photos like these make me wish I could go back and talk to these ancestors of mine, see how they lived and ask them so many, many questions about their lives. Perhaps as a next-best-thing, I could try to recreate the photo with some quilting friends of my own! Not to the point of costumes necessarily, but just getting friends around a quilting frame for an afternoon is a secret wish that I have nurtured for awhile now. I have the frame (or at least, my parents have one tucked away for me somewhere), now all I need is a quilt and some friends up for a crafty challenge. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

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3 Responses to Old Fashioned Quilting Bee

  1. sazcreates says:

    That’s a brilliant photo and such a wonderful piece of history! x

  2. pdranch says:

    I love your photo. It brings back memories of quilting on the same type of frame with my grandmother, grandfather, and aunts. They always made the same quilt pattern and gave each of their grandkids one when they married. As I didn’t marry, I got the quilt top, but had to quilt it myself – on the same type of frame. Thanks for bringing back good memories.

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