Sunday, October 23, 2022


As long as women have lived in reasonable proximity to each other, they have found reasons to gather together. It's in their DNA. Whether it was collecting water at the well, going to market, congregating at the river to wash laundry, or charity projects, women have come together.

While researching one topic or another, I ran across a book in the library about antique quilts and the gatherings (often called quiltings) that took place to create them. Throughout the book, the author quoted various newspaper articles about these socializing events. I found some of them fascinating and others humorous, so I thought I’d share a few.

I wonder if some eager young ladies purposefully sewed slowly.
Some sage advice
Mitchell Daily Republican, Mitchell, South Dakota, July 1, 1886, page 4
"It is entirely unfair for a man to sneer at a woman’s inability to understand a baseball game until he has proven his own ability to grapple with the mysteries of a crazy quilt social.—Fall River Advance”
Shhhhh! The deafening sound of silence.
Ingenious men in California and Illinois succeeded where, for centuries, others have failed. They devised a way to get women to stop talking!
In 1883 in California, a senator “offered the Lady’s Aid Society, $5 if they would make a quilt without speaking a word. Twenty-three ladies met…, made the quilt and earned the money in two hours.”
In Illinois in 1899, three men offered the fifteen members of the Ladies’ Aid society $1 a piece for their society to sew without talking. In the August heat, they worked for three weary hours without speaking a word. They used signs and nods to make their needs known. The impressed men doubled their contribution. This silent quilting event was touted as a world record.

This one really piqued my interest.
“Bachelors at a Quilting” — In 1883 in New Jersey, bachelors of a church congregation were convinced to produce a quilt. The date was set and a ten cent admission fee was charge for spectators. The men labored for several hours before the ladies came to their rescue and completed the quilt. “Among the bachelor quilters were a railroad man, a printer, two brick manufacturers, and no tailor.”
I knew I needed to use that idea in a story at some point and let it percolate in the back of my mind until . . . it spawned one of the threads in The Lady’s Mission (The Quilting Circle 5). It was so much fun to explore this idea.

Another bachelor-type quilt was a sort of trade.
In 1888 in Connecticut, the young people of a church decided to help replenish the church’s treasury. The men pieced together a bed quilt in front of a large crowd that had paid ten cents for the privilege of watching the men perspire over the quilt.
A few days later, an equally large crowd gathered to watch the ladies saw wood. Ten pretty maidens sawed a half-cord of wood into stove-sized pieces. The young men sang to the ladies as they sawed and sawed then succeeded! I need to use this one in a story as well.

It seems various ladies’ organizations came together to create quilts to raise money for one cause or another, whether it was something needed for their church building, a quilt to welcome their new pastor, a family in need, or to support one war or another and provide for soldiers. They worked hard to raise money and help others.

DNA is a powerful thing. Women have always sought out like-minded others with which to socialize, and their busy hands accomplished great things.


Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?


Available for order on Amazon.


MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE D√ČBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Quilting Circle 3) is a Selah Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; The Widow’s Plight, The Daughter's Predicament,Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection , Prodigal Daughters Amish series, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-eight years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:

Quiltings, Frolicks & Bees: 100 Years of Signature Quilts by Sue Reich


  1. Thank you for your post today. I love the idea of quilting and remember my maternal grandmother meeting with neighborhood women on a regular basis to quilt. We also were part of a church where there was an active quilting circle which ministered to many needs from new babies, marriages, gifts for visiting missionaries, lap quilts for nursing home residents and much more.

  2. Oh my goodness! I'm so interested in reading the Quilting Circle #5. I love quilting novels anyway, but that premise is laugh-out-loud funny.