stitch by stitch

Proud of their hard the Quilting Bees gather for a photo at the Johnson County Senior Center last week.

Extremely popular in the mid-nineteenth century, social gatherings among women to quilt, known as quilting bees, provided an outlet for women to gather, work together toward a single purpose (i.e. making quilts for special occasions like weddings), share knowledge and techniques as well as a bit of hometown gossip.

For many years, quilting bees, often called quilting guilds or quilting parties today, built a sense of community among women, a social space all their own.

Although times and terminology have changed, these social gatherings around quilting tables and frames remain just as significant to communities today as they were nearly two hundred years ago.

Sadly it seems old-fashioned quilting by hand is a disappearing art, vanishing little by little with the passing of each generation.

In hopes of reigniting interest in the art of hand quilting, the Johnson County Senior Center and its wonderful group of old-fashioned hand quilters known as the “Quilting Bees” will be hosting a quilting demonstration/teaching session on Tuesday, January 31, at 10a.m.

Gathering at the Senior Center for over a decade, the Quilting Bees gather to quilt every Tuesday morning at 9am, working on various sized donated and commissioned quilt tops. Volunteering both their time and efforts, the Quilting Bees have brought an estimated $10,000 into the Senior Center through the sale of their quilts. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the quilters goes to fighting local food insecurity and providing homebound seniors with necessities. Even though the quilters do not expect an incentive, from time to time they are treated to ice cream or some special goodies because of all their hard work.

“We are so grateful for our Quilting Bees and we would love to see more people come in to learn the art of old-fashioned hand quilting,” Kathy Motsinger, the director of the Johnson County Senior Center, said. “We want people to know how special these ladies are and all they do for our center.”

In addition to the quilting demonstration in January, the Center plans to host a Quilt Storytelling Event in the spring. More details will follow.

If interested in learning more about the Quilting, how to donate quilt tops, and about their Quilting Guidelines for commissioned pieces, contact the Senior Center at 727-8883. If an individual is interested in learning how to hand quilt, join the Quilting Bees at the Center Tuesday mornings at 9am. We would love to see you.

For more information about the Johnson County Senior Center, visit its Facebook page or website at johnsoncountyseniorcenter.com, stop by the Center M-F 9am-4pm, or call 727-8883.

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