My Great-grandmother (we called her Great for short) and her sisters were beautiful hand-quilters. I grew up with them sitting around a quilt frame in Great’s house and also in their church’s basement participating in quilting bees.
Several people have asked me recently what exactly a quilting bee is and how that relates to what I’m doing at Comma Workshop. Well, traditionally a quilting bee was an opportunity for connecting and socializing in pioneer days. Woman would piece their quilts with patches during the winter months and in the summer, they would all gather around a quilt stretched out on a frame and hand-quilt it. Then they’d move on to the next woman’s quilt. It was a chance for women who lived a farm or two away from each other to get together outside of religious gatherings.
At Comma Workshop, I’m taking a new spin on the traditional bee in a couple of ways:
First of all, I’m working on the next quilt collection with several writer friends of mine. They live in various parts of the country-- but together we’re brainstorming themes, words, and colors and passing around ideas. It’s a great collaborative effort and I’ll be gathering the writing and ideas soon and developing them into the next line. It’s a quilting bee from afar.
Next, as most of you know, I’m designing and sewing all the quilts by myself right now. But, that’s not how I want the company to grow-- it’s much too insular! I’m in the process of working with some amazing quilters in the front range of Colorado. Each of us will quilt a different part of the quilt--so in the end at least 3 woman will work on each quilt. I love how the many hands will bring something different to each quilt... And, there are quilters that are men-- I want to seek them out and include them too!
That’s on the horizon at Comma right now-- I’ll keep you posted as it all unfolds...