In these days of the internet, it's possible to have a virtual quilting bee that yields a physical quilt.
The idea is pretty simple: Each quilter makes a block designed around a central theme, in a predetermined size. One quilter volunteers to put the top of the quilt together. She/he may also do the quilting and binding, or others may finish it off. The particular quilting board I was involved with would do quilts when there was a death in some one's family, or news of a baby or other big life event.
In 1998 I offered to piece the top and finish off a quilt for Shirley, whose husband had passed away unexpectedly. The blocks started arriving, and I began piecing.
|Shirley's quilt, 1998|
Not me - I added sashing to the blocks, but did what adjusting I needed to do to get the thing square and flat by adjusting the individual seam allowances. Fortunately, no one was seriously out of whack.
People who didn't want to make a block or wouldn't have time send cash to help cover the cost of the backing, batting, binding and postage to mail the completed quilt.
The second challenge came in the actual quilting. I didn't want to obscure the piecing in the blocks, and to be honest, with the batting I used, I didn't need to quilt more densely than every 6 inches or so. I ended up just ditch quilting around the individual blocks, and picking out main components to highlight.
|Close up of the back and quilting|
The binding fabric is visible on this picture as well. It's a very cool, modern stained glass type print in various blues and pinks. I may still have a small piece in my stash - loved that fabric.
A few years later I put together another quilt, which I'll post later this month. That one was a baby quilt, and to this day I think it was some of my best free motion quilting. I don't even get to visit and pet it every so often, as it went all the way to New Zealand to live on a farm.