books by Kathleen Wallsarchives of American Roads and Global Highways
 and Global Highways
subscribe to American Roads and Global HighwaysAmerican Roads and Global Highways
 and Global Highways
 writers, contributors, photographerscontact American Roads and Global Highways
 
width="89">
QUILTING BEES & TEAS
By Mary Emma Allen 
 

 
Quilting bees and gatherings often become a winter pasttime...occasions to gather socially, work on projects and enjoy tea and cookies.  This has been an activity for generations and continues today among my daughter and her friends.  Some quilters travel distances to  attend workshops, shows and gatherings.  
 
As I read my grandfather's writings, Fifty Years Ago, Rural Life from 1876, I was delighted to realize he'd included information about his mother's quilting at Trails End Farm, in Dutchess County, NY.  I knew, from this, that my quilting heritage definitely traced back to my great grandmother, Mary Barker Coon, and beyond.
 
Papa Coon, as our family referred to Burton Barker Coon, writer and farmer, mentioned the women getting together for afternoon tea and cutting out pieces for quilt blocks.  "They would take their sewing along and have a very pleasant time.  All the girls were brought up to piece quilts, bake bread and do all kinds of housework," he related.
 
Quilting Bees of Grandpa's Childhood
 
Then he mentioned "quilting bees" that were common in his childhood.  "The quilting frames would be brought down from the garret, the middle of the sitting room cleared, the frames put together with clamps, and the corners laid on the backs of four chairs.  Then the quilt, pieced perhaps by a daughter in the family, would be stretched on the frame, the cotton batting inserted, and all would be ready for the bee."
 
He told how four or five neighborhood ladies came to help.  "Needles and tongues would vie with each other in making bed spreads and history," he wrote.
 
Souvenir Quilts
 
Papa Coon called each quilt a "sort of souvenir piece."
 
"I used to like to hear my mother tell:  'Now I had a dress like that, and an apron like that, and you had a little green sun bonnet, and a dress like that, and grandma a dress like that, and Aunt Susie one like that'. " 
 
He described the quilts:  " I could see them all in stately array.  There were no loud patterns.  The figures were small and the colors very bright and lasting."
 
From my mother's tales of sewing get-togethers when she was a child and Mary Barker Coon an elderly lady, I imagined my great grandmother stitching quilts in her younger days.  Her son's description of quilting when he was growing up substantiates that quilting occurred at Trails End Farm in the 1800s.  He also indicated that his mother learned to sew quilts when she was a young girl, before she married and came to live at Trails End. 
 
As you research your ancestry, you may find that you have a fascinating quilting heritage, too.  Also, you may find you have a heritage of family foods shared with neighbors at these quilting bees and teas.
 
Quilting Tea Foods
 
In my aunt's cooking notebook, where she jotted down in her handwriting, favorite family recipes, I found this recipe for molasses cookies.  Did the Trails End Quilters serve them at their teas?
 
GRANDMOTHER'S MOLASSES COOKIES
(This grandmother was Mary Barker Coon.) 

Cream together 1 cup shortening with 1/4 cup sugar.  Stir in 2 cups molasses, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup cold water or coffee and stir into the mixture.
 
Add enough sifted flour to make a dough stiff enough to roll out on floured board.  Cut with cookie cutters in round or other shapes.  Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 degrees F. about 5-7 minutes, or until done.
 
 (c) Mary Emma Allen
 
(Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her home in Plymouth, NH.  She enjoys delving into family history and memories, along with scrapbooking. She also has written a book, The Magic of Patchwork, about quiltmaking.   E-mail: me.allen@juno.com )



 

American Roads and Global Highways has so many great articles you may
want to search it for you favorite places or new exciting destinations.
  American Roads and Global Highways

Promote Your Page Too
  Like us on Facebook Send us an email to
let us know what

you like (or don't like)  about American Roads and Global Highways .
Pin us

Ads fund American Roads and Global Highways so please consider them for your needed purchases.

If you enjoy the articles we offer, donations are always welcome.
--------