Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 4

SHORT STORY - "MRS. CARTER HAS A QUILTING BEE"

by Kathleen Winterbottom,
The Story of Cleveland, 1957

Mrs. Carter had taught Laura to sew. She had taught her to sew patchwork. Patchwork was sewing tiny pieces of cloth together. Laura thought it was fun. The pieces all fitted into a pattern just like a puzzle. Each pattern was really a small square when finished. Laura had learned to make the Jacob's Ladder, Churn Dash, Log Cabin, Bear's Paw, and Double Wedding Ring patterns.

One afternoon, Mrs. Carter said, "Laura, will you sew some more quilt blocks for me? I need only two more squares to finish the top of this quilt. This will make four quilt tops you have helped to make. Now we can have a quilting bee next week. Won't that be fun?"

"Oh, yes, Mother, I love bees. Are quilting bees as much fun as husking bees?" asked Laura.

"I think so, Laura. We will invite all our old neighbors from the Ridge. They will be happy to have a chance to meet the Spafford and Clark families," said Mother.

Don't you suppose the Carter children knew it was quilting bee day as soon as they awoke? Their noses told them. M-m-m- such good smells came from the fireplace. It made them hungry. It smelled just like a party.

Mrs. Spafford and Mrs. Clark were already there. They had come to help. The whole kitchen table was covered with pies and cakes. But the women were busy making still more.

Long before noon, the neighbors began to arrive. Then what a noise there was. Everyone laughed and talked.

The children had never seen so much food. Everyone who came brought more food because the pioneers always took their families with them whenever they went visiting. They also knew it took a lot of food to feed these large families after a long ride through the woods. Everyone from the Ridge brought a gift of some kind of food to the two new families. This would help feed them until they could raise enough to feed themselves.

When Mr. Carter and the men had finished setting up the quilting frames, they took their axes and left. Mr. Carter said, "It's time for us to leave, before we begin talking about quilts, new patterns, and stitches."

After the men left, the women began to quilt. There was much talk and laughter as their fingers flew. When they spread out the second quilt, someone said, "Oh how lovely! The Double Wedding Ring pattern always makes a beautiful quilt. Look, there is a piece of my wedding dress. This makes me feel like a bride again," said Mrs. Stiles.

"Why, this looks like a piece of my first party dress," exclaimed Mrs. Kingsbury. "I remember the first time I wore it. My, how proud I felt dancing 'Hie Bettie Martin' in that dress."

"And this patch looks like a piece of my great-grandmother's dress, laughed Mrs. Doan. "If this patch could only talk! It could tell many stories about the Indians."

What fun they had picking out the pieces they had given Mrs. Carter! Each piece brought back many happy memories. As they worked, Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Spafford told the latest news from the East. But, oh, the excitement, when Mrs. Clark opened her piece bag. She had two new quilt patterns and yards of bright new calico materials she had brought with her. All the women wanted to copy the new quilt patterns. It made Mrs. Clark very happy to share the bright calico with her new friends.

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