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Southwest Virginia

The Quilting Bee

The following article is from Source:Strickland, 1853, and deals specifically with "quilting bees" in Canada, but applies about as well to those in Southwestern Virginia.

Among the home productions of Canada, the counterpane, or quilt, holds a conspicuous place, not so much in regard to its actual usefulness, as to the species of frolic yclept a Quilting-bee, in which young gentlemen take their places with the Queen-bees, whose labours they aid by threading the needles, while cheering their spirits by talking nonsense.

The quilts are generally made of patchwork, and the quilting, with down or wool, is done in a frame. Some of the gentlemen are not mere drones on these occasions, but make very good assistants under the superintendence of the Queen-bees. The quilting bee usually concludes with a regular evening party. The young people have a dance. The old ones look on. After supper, the youthful visitors sing or guess charades. Mirth, good to which they have humour, and pleasant company, generally abound at these quilting-bees, which are not liable to the serious objections which may be made against other bees in Canada.

If several gentlemen receive an invitation to tea, they may be assured that their services are required at a quiltiug-bee, which often is followed by courtship and matrimony: indeed it is one of the methods taken by the Canadian Cupid to ensnare hearts and provide work for Hymen.