Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Thank you for asking questions.  As Jean says it gives us some idea of what you are interested in  and we know what to tell you about.  We run out of things after a while.

Quilting bees are held in someone's house.  I or Jean can hold a quilting bee in our house or someone else holds one and invites us.  At a quilting bee there is usually a reason for the quilt.  It could be someone's son or daughters wedding quilt, a baby quilt, someone lost their house quilt, quilt for a coming auction, a payment quilt, etc.

How many ladies usually get together at once?  As many as we can get.  Usually, we get between five to ten ladies.  On the other hand, sometimes we work with less.  If we get more than ten, we don't turn them down either.  Sometimes if we are working on more than one quilt, like say for the Haiti auction, we have some working on one quilt and some working on another.  We usually let the ladies know a week or so ahead before we hold the quilting bee.  Sometimes all the ladies can come, but sometimes, as life goes, some have other plans or commitments that they have to take care of on that day.  We try to hold quilting bees after harvesting season in the fall and before planting season in the spring.  Like right now, we are making quilts for the Haiti auction.  The auction is in June, but we now have the time to make them.

The pattern is decided before we have a quilting bee.  If it is for say the Haiti Auction, we ladies usually talk after church and decide what we want.  If we are making for us to personally sell or for ourselves we have to make up our minds.  Sometimes it is something we have made before.  Maybe a pattern that has been passed down for years.  Sometimes we look at the material we have and figure out what kind of a pattern would look well.  Maybe is a pattern that we think up.

Some patterns we make to sell, we wouldn't make for ourselves.  Like the wedding ring quilt, for example.  We don't wear rings or jewelry so we wouldn't put it in a quilt for us.  But we make them because they are a great seller to Englishers.  I made a quilt for someone once, they wanted a car in it.  So I worked up a pattern with a car in it.

Do we purchase fabric specifically for a pattern or does everyone bring their extra fabric and we decide on a pattern from what we have?  Today, we usually purchase fabric for a specific pattern.  Back when I was a little girl, we use to go to the store to buy material for a quilt and all you could get was white.  You had to take it home and dye it to the colors you needed.  My Grandmother told me, when she was little girl, they use to make the fabric - then color it.  So I am glad we can go to the store and buy it today.

Notice I said usually, because sometimes we do bring our extra fabric and decide what the pattern will be or maybe make a patchwork quilt.  It is fun to put all the materials together and see what colors go with what - and what don't.  It is sort of a mix and match.  Then we decide if a specific pattern comes to someone.  Sometimes we just cut the material into squares and mix and match.  We don't want good material to go to waste.

Is everything hand done or do you use a sewing machine?  Well, now, in most cases, the pattern is done by sewing machine.  Not all, but most.  At the quilting bee, we sew the batting, the bottom and pattern together.  Some people still do the pattern by hand, but most are done by machine.

Do we put the quilt on a frame to quilt the layers together?  If we do use a big frame where is it stored before visits to work on?  Yes, we usually put the quilt in a frame to quilt the layers together.  Where do I keep my quilt frame?  When Jean and David added on the addition for Albert and I, they put on a sewing room for me which made Albert very happy.  Albert didn't care to see all my sewing materials all over the kitchen table.  So I keep my frame in the sewing room.  Jean has her frame in her and David's bedroom, but David is thinking in his third remodeling of finding a room for Jean's frame and other sewing materials. Jean would like it so she, Susan and maybe Katie, too, could all be working there sewing.   I have been in homes where they are set up in the living room.  .

I hope this has told your more about our Old Order Mennonite quilting.  If you have more questions, just ask.

Be With God,


Anonymous said...

I don't sew, so I don't quilt. I admire the ones that quilts..My daughter in law hand made me a beautiful quilt.
Stay warm.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Jodie,

I don't either, but they are willing to teach me. I bet your daughter in law's quilt was beautiful.

You stay warm too,

Countryside Reflections said...

Thank you so much for answering these questions. How nice to have a group of ladies get together to socialize, form friendships, and made something beautiful and functional.

Every post from Jean, Elmer, Grandmother Olive, their families and other Amish and Mennonites teach us such important life lessons. All of the posts about the kindness, generosity, and close friends and family get-togethers have made me reflect on my own life and what is important. I love hearing about your daily activities, and please know that they have a very positive effect on us.

Thank you for taking the time to share this information.


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Doreen,

I will see they get your messages. All are great people and give us their posts for nothing. They do it because they want to, I appreciate so very much.


Vickie said...

Oh Grandmother Olive you are a treasure. So informative. Thank you so much for sharing.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Vickie,

Will see that Grandmother Olive gets your message.

Hugs to Mabel and Henry,
Marilyn and Pierre

Wilma said...

My husband's grandmother had a quilting frame in her living room that was operated by pulleys. It could be pulled to the ceiling when not being used. She had a family of 15 children, so there were enough people to quilt when they wanted.

Have a great day!

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Wilma,
Oh, my, I never heard of doing that with a quilting frame, but that is a great idea. She sure did have enough people to quilt at her house. I will see that Grandmother Olive gets your message.


Ingrid said...

So nice to read another post by Grandmother Olive.Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions,I enjoyed reading the answers.Makes me wish I could sew well enough to try my hand at quilting,I love some of the quilts and patterns I've seen. The companionship of the women getting together for quilting for personal use or for gifting sounds very nice. Ingrid

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Ingrid,
Glad you enjoyed the post. I will see that Grandmother Olive gets your message.


Willow's Quiet Corner said...

Thank you, Grandmother Olive! It was so nice to hear how the quilts are done! I don't sew either, but would love to learn sometime! I think it would be wonderful to be a part of a quilting bee. It would be great to be able to socialize with others and learn how to quilt!

Tom said...

I have seen quilt frames in the living rooms of Old Order Amish homes that are raised to the ceiling when not in use. Tom The Backroads Traveller

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Willow's Quiet Corner,

I think it would be nice to learn, too. Will see that Grandmother Olive gets your message.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Tom,
I never have. That must be interesting to see. It's a great idea.