A Quilters’ Bond
I remember very well when I started quilting.
My mom and sisters and I were living in west Tennessee with my grandparents while daddy was in Viet Nam (circa 1967). Grandma stayed busy all day doing housework and gardening (all of us girls were recruited to snap beans, shuck corn, pick berries, etc). But in her “spare” time she would quilt.
I remember sitting next to her watching her stitch squares together by hand.
Sometimes she would let me cut out the squares for her but usually I was there to thread her needle. She let me pick out my own pieces from her scraps (I liked using her old aprons best since they were usually bright colors). Most often I just got as far as sewing the squares together but I did finish a few potholders or two.
I had a hard time staying on task back then so I rarely finished anything big.
I do remember grandma mounting a large “double wedding ring” quilt top on her wooden frame that granddaddy had made special for her from his carpenter’s shop. (I still have it, by the way). She would invite some ladies from the church to come over and they would gather around that frame with thread and thimble to help her quilt it and they would have it done in a weekend. The sound of their voices and the chatter and laughter that rang from the living room always made me want to be a part of a group like that.
I’m now a member of at least two different quilt groups.
I started with a group in eastern Iowa in the late 80s. There were 11 of us, of varying ages and experience. A few were retired, most of the rest of
us working as nurses at the hospital (I think it’s a needle thing). We called ourselves the QTs (that’s where QT Cat got her name) and we got together as often as we could, at least once a month. A few times, when we were at my house, I brought out grandma’s wooden quilting frame and recruited all the QTs to help me hand quilt a vintage postage stamp quilt in true “quilting bee” fashion.
QT stands for “quilting therapy” and that was fitting but more often it was about quilting and talking!
We were a crazy bunch but we shared one important thing…we loved to quilt! We quilted for each other and ourselves. We took classes together and went to workshops and on road trips together. We quilted through life together: marriages, babies, graduations, retirements, cancer, Alzheimer’s and even death.
Those QTs were, and still are, like family.
I moved eleven hours away to South Dakota in 2001 and one of the hardest things to leave was my QTs. They made me a beautiful going away friendship quilt that each one signed. I will forever treasure it! I still stay in touch with them and have gone back on occasion for visits and retreats. We share patterns and fabric and magazines. Some of them have come to South Dakota as well and it is always such a treat. Once a QT, always a QT!
Thankfully, I also found a wonderful group to quilt with in South Dakota, we named ourselves the QBs (quilting buddies).
We enjoy road trips and retreats and friendship blocks, quilt shows and markets. I couldn’t imagine quilting alone now! When I am stuck at home quilting I am always sharing pictures of my projects with my quilting friends old and new for advice, encouragement, critique, and the much-needed pat on the back. If I don’t know how to do something, someone in the group will. Now when I mention the QTs or QBs, you will know to whom I am referring. We all have a delightful history together and I know we will continue to make memories.
Quilting is a hobby that begs for company!
I highly recommend joining a guild or small group that can encourage and inspire you, give you instruction and critique and especially make you smile!