Saturday, July 30, 2011

And it was Friday ---

And Miss Lisa needed some company while she had her hurty leg checked at the doctors…so off I went in Shamu to go pick her up and sit with her!

Of course, both of us had our "busy bags" in tow--Any idle time is handwork time, and we came prepared!

When we arrived, the waiting room was quite full, and we both sat down with our Hexies to wile away the time, visit, sew, and make good use of otherwise wasted boring SITTING.

I hate sitting in Doc’s offices ---but somehow knowing that *I* wasn’t the one being seen, and I was there just in case Lisa was incapacitated enough to not be able to drive herself home made it somewhat better! I wasn’t nervous over what any medical person could be doing to me..I wasn’t being poked, prodded and lanced!

Waiting rooms are interesting places, especially if you are sitting there sewing. I was using the time to attach one of the border sections to my hexagon medallion --- and there were a couple of older gentlemen also in the waiting room who started talking about how they remembered how local community women “USED” to come round for quiltings in the winter months, all of them gathering together.

These were “Stokes County” boys, brothers as it turns out -- and one thing I’ve learned about Stokes County, NC, is that if you are FROM there, you stay there! The roots run deep in Stokes County.

Lisa and I just stitched and listened while these two brothers, one the eldest of the family and one the youngest ((There were two sisters in between, one who has since passed on)) described what it was like growing up in the Good Ole Days in Stokes County, and how they remembered quilt frames being raised to the ceiling on pulleys, and even straight back chairs were used to hold the quilting frame when all the ladies would come and sit around it.

We heard about how the only heat source growing up was a fire place --- and the oldest brother remembers sleeping up under the rafters under a PILE of quilts, waking up to see how the snow had sifted through the cracks in the roof boards, leaving a fine dusting of snow in straight lines across the top quilt of the pile.

And Lisa and I stitched some more and listened some more to the old stories of what it was like to graduate high school in Stokes County, NC and go straight to work after. Choices weren’t many, and college wasn’t an option for many either. You could choose from Coca Cola, Pepsi, Hanes, or RJ Reynolds ((Tobacco )) or you farmed. And you prayed for enough work to make ends meet.

The younger of the two brothers described how he remembered the ladies quilting in a “fan” pattern, and he traced the air with his fingers to demonstrate, asking if we were familiar with that pattern. “Yes” we both replied, smiling. Baptist fans are a favorite of mine, and this old guy was hitting every heart string right on!

Before we knew it, an hour had flown by, and we really enjoyed our conversation time. Quilting can be such a wall breaker. How many times have we sat in a room with strangers, thumbed through old magazines, played with our phones, read our kindles or a book and never spoke a word to the stranger next to us? We would have sorely missed a wonderful opportunity to meet these two brothers, and would not have been so enriched after hearing their stories. EVERYONE has a story! We just have to open up enough to get the conversation started --- and then LISTEN to what is being said.

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And in the midst of the talking and the visiting….one side panel has been added to the hexagon medallion…squaring off ONE side…

And the journey continues!


  1. Thanks for sharing this great story! It is amazing to me how much life has changed in the last 80 years or so. The medallion is really coming together, beautifully! You forgot to tell us if Lisa was OK, though!

  2. Anonymous9:01 AM EDT

    Miss Bonnie,
    You are might good at stories yourself. Interesting the way those boys told thier growing up stories so much the way we read of them in our quilt history books.... and you are making history yourself....that is going to be some special special special quilt... the first square side story goes to the Stokes County Boys in the doc's office....have you been thinkin' on how you are going to quilt this baby? And now it is Saturday...sewing saturday.

  3. What a wonderful story! Quilting is indeed a conversation-starter. The charity quilting group that I work with has a couple older ladies (even older than I am - gasp!) who have similar stories that are fun to hear. Your hexie quilt is coming along so nicely and is SO beautiful.

  4. What a wonderful story. Just the other day my daughter asked me for her family geaneology, and I said I will have to get copies of our side from grandma, I don't have copies. They are like phonebooks. Honestly, I can't wait to get a peek myself. I have heard the stories, but I want to make sure I have copies for all of my children. I will also make sure all of my children have a quilt from me to hand down as well. Okay I only have one finish so far, but I will get there soon enough :)

  5. The hexy quilt is just beautiful, Bonnie. Love it, love it, love it.

  6. Anonymous9:15 AM EDT

    I love your hexagon medallion. It is really coming along..... I got to see it when you was at the guild meeting in Jackson TN. I love all of your work!!!!
    Sharon Riley

  7. Bonnie you and Lisa made the "boys" day as well. Allowing them to reminisce about their younger days. They were probably having anxious moments in the doctors office as well.
    Your hexie quilt is lovely, and it will have its share of stories to tell, it has been around!

  8. Listening is sometimes the very best gift we can give to others -- and to ourselves!! You are right about sewing (or knitting/crocheting/needlework) being the key that opens many doors.

  9. There's no doubt that folks from Stokes County (and NC, in general) are the salt of the earth. DH grew up in Lee County and tells similar stories of a house without central heat and waking up more tired than when you went to sleep from sleeping under a pile of quilts.

  10. I'll bet the 'boys' went home and talked about y'all too! What a great way to spend your 'waiting' time! I agree - everyone has a story amd all to often in this age of technology that is supposed to foster communication, it cuts us off from each other. Although I do appreciate the fact that without it, we would not have the opportunity to peek into our bloggy friends' lives either! I adore older folks and their stories and I adore your hexagon quilt...so much so that I started my own in browns and blues!

  11. Up here in NY nearly every office has a darn TV blaring.....I try to find the seat farthest from the TV ....most folks are locked into it but I sit and sew quietly. Maybe the TV takes their minds off how long they wait and eases their worry.
    I like to chat but most folks up here just watch the TV.
    Takes me back to where I grew up and knew most everybody in town, every outing was a chance to "catch up".

    Geese I sound like an old person huh? :0)!

    Oh the hexies look beautiful....how will you quilt it?

    Happy Sewing

  12. Anonymous9:34 AM EDT

    What a great read to start the day! Appreciate the sharing - especially smiled at the frames being raised to the ceiling on pulleys, that brought back some early childhood memories of my own-that's how my great-aunt had hers set up. And then she could set up another frame on sawhorses beneath, and switch off on which quilt she worked on. And when the weather was nice, the sawhorses & frame would be set up outside. Thanks for the reminder that one of the most important parts of sharing is the willingness to hear what others are saying :) And your hexie medallion just continues to amaze me each step of the way!

  13. I read your blog everyday, you inspire me, encourage me, and today you had me in tears! thank you

  14. Wonderful way to wait for the Rx! How enriching for you two and a blessing to be 'heard' for the brothers! (I am doing my first hexies and I think I'm addicted!!)

  15. Anonymous11:25 AM EDT

    Your story was beautiful - think what joy you gave those two gentlemen by listening to their stories. The memories that quilts inspire are just one of the many compelling reasons to keep the tradition alive!

    My own hexie handwork project (a regular-pieced Gma's Flower Garden) is nearing an end. I started it around - ready for this? - 1987, when I was about 12 years old. Don't know why I thought it needed to be queen size? I've neglected it for long stretches at times, but I'm almost done squaring up the final row, and then I just need to join the rows together. It's been a part of my life for so long that it's almost bittersweet to see it nearly finished.

    Just curious - what will the approx. dimensions be on your hexie quilt, once these side units are added? Just trying to get an idea of scale in my head.

    Leah Shannon

  16. I love this story. I have been in homes that still had the hooks in the ceiling from where the quilting frames were attached to be raised and lowered. I thought that was a great idea, but rather difficult to implement, since I live in a dome!
    My father has shared similar stories about winter nights in the attic under a pile of quilts--the quilts being frozen stiff by morning.
    I used to sew on a hexie project years ago when I would take my sons to their orthodontist appointments--or when I waited for mine (I got braces at an advanced age). One day after I had been seated in the chair to be seen the orthodontist was still very slow in coming. Finally I pulled the hexies back out and started stitching again. When he came in the room and saw me sewing he said (with a grin), "Can't you type A personalities sit still and do nothing for even a few minutes?"
    So I guess the answer to that is a resounding, "NO!"
    Thanks for a great post to start the day!!

  17. You add that story to the making of your hexie quilt and the good ol' days live on... My Mil mailed a letter about washing day long ago and asked us to share it with our children, her grandchildren. My father added a Living Room onto our house and built it just big enough to put up a quilt with room to walk around it. Mom always looked at t house in terms of whether a quilt would fit in the living room. Funny, now I do it. I cut up my first Thrift store shirt. I'd like to send some squares to you for your bowties, there's a lot of 2" and 1-1/4" squares in a shirt...

  18. I was working on my diamonds (also paper pieced) in the doc's office while waiting for my Mama a couple of weeks ago,and a lady asked me if "crocheting" was hard to do. LOL

  19. The waiting room people must have enjoyed the "wait" too. Sewing is such an ice breaker.
    It is important to have a small project to travel with. I find the smallest of waits
    (we have 2 train tracks dividing our small town)
    can be a productive time!
    I have started on my Bow Ties. So sweet and fun.
    XOXOXO Subee

  20. Your hexies are so amazing. I just love love love that quilt. It is so interesting to hear about life in days gone by. I am sure the talking made the time pass more quickly and you had a little fun in the bargain.

  21. Wonderful post, Bonnie.

  22. This story really touched my heart as I imagined what the snow looked like on top of those quilts. Just imagine the joy you brought to those brothers too!

  23. Kind of you to sit waiting with your friend, and that you both enjoyed some sewing :-)
    Your quilt is looking stunning already! Guess you can finish this before next year :o)
    Happy sewing, Bonnie!

  24. Your post really hit home for me today. Years past our guild did quilting for our county fair. Two years ago the fair board changed the buildings for the exhibits. Now they say there is no room to set up a quilting frame in the new building so we don't quilt at the fair any longer. When I quilted there, we heard many wonderful quilting stories from folks who would stop by to watch us quilt. I really miss that. I guess now I am going to have to take some hand sewing and sit in some doctor's office and talk to people waiting to be seen! Your story was wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

    Also, I like your last post before this one too. I am trying to tame my scraps/strings and your explanation of your method that day made so much sense to me. Thank you.

  25. OMG, how long did Salem Stitcher have to WAIT? ;)

    I had a similar experience with a man (82) who came out here to take my sofa off for reupholstering the other day... we are blessed to meet, and interact with, these wonderful folks who have so much to share. It's up to us to soak it in.

  26. the quilt is looking GREAT!!! Love it.

  27. Miss Bonnie, I would love to know how you finish a hexie quilt. I wonder about batting, backing, quilting and binding. This inquiring mind would like to know.

  28. That's a long time to wait to see a doctor! But hearing all the stories of long ago must have been fascinating! The quilt looks wonderful!

  29. Great post, thanks for sharing. I take my bag with me all the time, I did hexi's during my journey through radiation, then 18 months later I took the pieced top to my follow up appt and they were tickled to see it all together. From a little tupperware box to a table topper!

  30. What a super story. So many stories are lost every day when our more mature members pass away. I wish we could record every story there is.

    I'm going to have to email you and talk about how you are going to finish your hexies. That part has me stumped.



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