The Quilting Party

by | Jun 3, 1999 | Friendship, Unity

When I was five and visiting my grandmother she took me to an all day gathering of neighbors and friends. She called It a “Quilting Bee.” But I quickly realized with all the good food the ladies brought, that it was really a party, and what fun I had! A group of 12-15 women sat in a circle around a large quilt frame. I remember sneaking under the quilt and seeing the funny shoes each lady wore. I wish I could remember the quilt design because I’m sure it was quite beautiful.

For many years it has been a custom for women to gather and help each other sew quilt patches of various designs. They would take turns meeting at each others home. Perhaps for a new bride they would each prepare patches for a double wedding ring design, or for someone who was ill or a shut-in, the flower garden design. Maybe for a 50th anniversary they would stitch a memory quilt, which included dates, names of children, Bible verses, and other memories that were so lovingly made by ladies for the family. Often at the “Bees” the ladies would sing, but mostly delightful chatter and laughter filled the room. It certainly did on the day that I attended my first quilting “Bee”!

I was fortunate that my grandmother enjoyed working with her hands, and over the years made many quilts for family members with beautiful patterns. I have quilts that belonged to my great-grandmother, and a special quilt that Grandma made at the age of 91 hangs over our bed as a wall display. It’s fun to look at my quilts, recognizing the old pieces of material scraps that came from dresses, skirts and aprons, I so fondly remember from the past.

Today I see those pieces stitched together as something very beautiful and think of the hours of love that went into each stitch. It also makes me think of God and how He is able to do that with our lives, if we allow Him. He often takes the mistakes and pieces that we throw away, thinking they’re no longer of use, and He keeps them to make something special out of them. Often He takes us through valleys that are deep to teach us to trust in Him, and we wonder when it will end. And then the mountain top comes into view, and we realize without the valleys the mountain might never have been reached.

If we truly give Him our daily struggles and broken pieces of our lives and allow Him to work by making us whole, He is able to design something beautiful. Just like all the different scraps that we can’t imagine will be something pretty, a lovely quilt is made. God is like that, if we leave the worries and scraps of our lives at His feet, without taking them back, He delights us by giving us beauty beyond what we could ever imagine.

Quilts are very popular today and we see them in department stores, antique malls and specialty shops. I have to think that something is missing, however, when I remember the “quilting party” and the busy hands and laughter of women who gathered to share their talents. With our active days and schedules, we maybe exchanging progress for blessings from a tradition that although exists in some areas, will soon be a thing of the past.. A time to stitch and time to laugh … what a time of joy!

(c) 2001 Diane Dean White


The Quilting Party