America's Quilting History

Truth & Fiction About the Quilting Bee

MYTH #4 ~ In the old days women did all their quilting at gatherings called a quilting bee.

If you read Myth #1 you know that quilting bees would have been unlikely in colonial days as very little quilting was done. We know that women who had the money and leisure to do quilting at times did sit with friends or family to do their needlework. But they did not have quilting bees like we envision a quilting bee today.

Such quilting parties did occur but were less common then we would be led to believe. In truth many women quilted alone at home. Women also quilted with family members or as a part of a church or other organized group.

Although many varied gatherings did occur over the years in the early days they were not called a 'quilting bee' but more often were referred to as a 'quilting'. The reason I have included the quilting bee myth here is that the frequency of quilting bees has been exaggerated and quilting was not always done at a quilting bee

Some old paintings are examples of an idealized quilting bee. They depict a delightful representation of a gathering of women quilting around the frame while others prepare a dinner. Children and the men folk will enjoy the meal with the women. Such events did occur but often just a few women gathered to quilt.

Quilting Bee - Gathering Around the Frame
learn what quilting bees were really like.