Days Gone By - stories from the past

Quilting Parties – They were once an important party of an Alabama woman’s life


(Transcribed and unedited story from a WPA

(Works Projects Administration) author from Pike County, Alabama)

Written by Lois Lynn


Quilting parties are still prevalent in the rural sections of Pike County. Usually, the home at which these parties are to be held have from 6 to 10 quilts to be quilted. Neighbors in the community are invited, (sometimes totaling 10 or 18) for a spend the day party. One quilt at a time is put in frames which are suspended from the ceiling; they are marked off in sections, each quilter having a section.

It is customary to give a prize to the women who finishes her section first and also to the one who completes the most sections.

Hostess prepares a feast

The hostess, with one or two of the quilters, or hired help, spends the morning preparing the dinner. It is usually a feast for there is always much rivalry among the hostesses of such parties who try to excel the other in serving an elaborate meal. As a rule every known tasty southern dish is served at these quiltings.

The entire afternoon is devoted to quilting; there is a certain amount of enjoyment for along with the work the quilters participate in telling jokes and stories of various kind. During the late afternoon, just before the batch of quilts are finished, cold drinks and cookies are served.

The parties disband about sundown for each woman has a certain amount of night chores awaiting them at home.

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Prior to statehood, Alabama was a vast wilderness with a large Native American population. It is only natural that when new immigrants from other states arrived, conflicts over the land would arise. Soon, these small conflicts exploded into war.

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Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Denise Fowler Panter

  2. I used to sit at the quilting frame with my grandmother, her sister, and other ladies as they quilted. I was given a needle and thread with no knot.

    1. So was I! Such a sweet memory!

  3. My great-grandmother, Mattie Lou Aandrews, worked for the WPA in Montgomery during the Great Depression. I loved watching all the older women in our family gather for a quilting party.

  4. Fred Grissom, I believe you’ve been to a few of these.

  5. I can remember my aunts sitting around my gramma’s quilting frame, dipping snuff

  6. I remember sitting under the quilt and watching all the needles

  7. I use to play under the quilt while the ladies of our community quilted. Sweet memories.

  8. My husband’s grandmother taught me how to quilt. Four of grandma Stacks girls husbands worked the evening shift in the coal mines here in Alabama. My husband did too. When I would get off work we would all meet up at Grandma Stacks and cook, eat supper and quilt until our husbands got home about midnight. This is one of my most favorite memories of her and her home.

  9. Remember them well when I was young and was included in the quilting bee as my family called it.

  10. Growing up, I wish I had say down with my grandma, and let her show me how to quilt.

  11. Memories of the ladies in Prospect community of Five Points in Barbour County. Alabama

  12. Remember having to change my route thru the house when my mother had the quilt rack hanging in the dining room. For a kid, sliding under the quilt rack on hardwood floors as a quick entry into the lesson of “Don’t ever do that again”!!!!

  13. Still are. My church does this. It is great.

  14. I remember those when I was young in Merengo county.

  15. I remember Mama Ruby and some ladies doing quilts in the back room. They looked great. They would sit in there for hours.

  16. About three years ago I visited a darling 94-year-old–and her quilting frame was still up and she was working!

    1. I think I would have to be the hostess planning the meals. No one would want me to hand quilt their quilt. Now piecing is a different story.

    2. I’m certain you are great at both!!

  17. My mother did this an I was there

  18. My grandmothers and family friends had entire rooms devoted to quilting. It seemed so natural to walk into a room with a quilt strung across it. Seemed so at home when I saw it.

  19. The second from the end on the left side looks like Mommy Mac.

  20. Elaine Porter thought of you.

  21. My Grand mother Fannie Goodson, had them at her house all the time in the late 30s early 40s.

  22. I can remember my Granny and Mama taking me to quilting bee’s in our little community in Etowah County. As a young child, I got to play under the quilt as it was being quilted and pretended it was my fort. Such fond memories!

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