Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Quilting Circle

The Quilting Circle

On my grandparents' farm in 1939 the ladies would come by for the afternoon to socialize and contribute their needlework skills to the construction of a quilt.  The individual squares would be sewn together, then the layers of the quilt would be attached to a large frame that had been set up in the front parlour.  The dining table was removed to make room for the frame, then a half dozen or more ladies would gather around the quilt, chatting and stitching and enjoying each other's company.

While this was happening I liked to sit nearby on the floor beside the sewing machine and play with the buttons in my grandmothers button box.  The box was in the bottom drawer of the old Singer treadle sewing machine and was a wonderful treasure for a youngster to explore.   Buttons were always saved from clothing and this was a collection of buttons of every size, shape and colour.

Each week the ladies would gather at one home or another as a social activity but much of their work later became their wartime contribution through the Junior Red Cross.  They saved every scrap of material and all the bits and pieces of fabric eventually made their way into a quilt.

As the war progressed, my grandmother spent many hours knitting baby layettes which consisted of bonnets, sweaters and booties using patterns and wool supplied by the Red Cross.  Before shipping the layettes to the Red Cross, she would show us the box full of pastel coloured sets that she had made and like tens of thousands of people across Canada, she felt she was doing her part.

The day I received my Sunbonnet Sue quilt
In 1942 I learned that the Junior Red Cross had completed a Sun Bonnet Sue quilt to raise money for the war effort, and my grandmother had purchased a ticket on the quilt in my name.  I was the winner and received the quilt after we had moved to Victoria.  It became a much used and  cherished possession but as years went by, it became worn and was slowly disintegrating.  Finally, I took the remaining squares and along with some old  pictures which I printed on fabric, made a wall hanging to preserve what remained.

These are the pictures of that wall hanging.
The remaining Sunbonnet Sue squares of the quilt along with photos.

From the original Sunbonnet Sue quilt  (note the  hand embroidery) 

An example of an old fashioned quilting circle
I could easily imagine this being a picture from my
grandmother's house except for the electric light