Quilting Bee – women’s spring banquet idea

We will be starting our planning in January for our Spring women’s banquet (formerly the mother/daughter event). So far we’ve done a Victorian theme, complete with hats for old-fashioned sepia colored photos, a home cooking theme with an actual cooking demo and an herbal theme with a guest who makes her own soaps and herb blends. It’s getting harder to top each one, but I think I’ve come up with a winner – a quilting bee theme!

Here’s some of the ideas I;ve come up with so far:

Invitations will be printed on “quilted cards.” I love making handmade greeting cards with various quilt block patterns on the front. they can be pieced with various design paper shapes or traced and colored in. Or perhaps take a photo of a favorite quilts/quilts and make computer generated photo cards for invitations.

Decorations can include a quilt frame with a quilt top in it, quilted wall hangings and actual quilts on display with note cards telling about each one’s history. Even framed quilt blocks or quilt photos can be used. Perhaps even old sewing machines or anything to do with quilting. Maybe even a tree decorated with quilted ornaments.

 I plan to cover the tables with white paper table cloths and make simple runners consisting of a single strip of 6-8 inch blocks sewn together which I happen to have already cut in my fabric stash.Fabric flowers would make a fun accent in vases in the center of each table as well. I will be looking for patterns to post  as I find them. They could also be used for door prizes  or favors.

Speaking of favors, there are lots of fun ideas – little sewing kits, small counted cross-stitch kits,  quilted potholders, quilted ornaments. My sister in law would probably find a pattern for plastic canvas that looked like a little quilted box to hold nuts and mints. LOL! A few years ago, I found some wooden trivets at Michaels which looked like quilt blocks and were relatively inexpensive. There are probably all sorts of inexpensive things to purchase or make for favors.

Quilts speak of warmth, love and friendship.During the early part of our country’s westward expansion, women made friendship quilts and signed each block so the recipient would have something of her friends to carry with her to her new home. They didn’t know if they would ever meet again. In Amish communities, women make quilts as gifts for their sisters who are getting married or about to have a baby. They work together, stitching love and best wishes into each one. This would make a great theme for a speaker.

We love games where  the attendees can mingle and get to know each other before the meal. How about “Name the quilt pattern”? You can place a few patterns on each table and the ladies have to go from table to table to  complete their list.

Or how about an activity where each one receives a muslin square when they come in. Fabric paint markers might be placed on the various tables (all the yellow markers on one table, all the red on another, etc.) so the ladies have to go from table to table to find the color they need. I realize if you have a large group, this might not be practical, but it works well for smaller gatherings.  All the squares should be signed, then gathered up and made into a friendship quilt after the dinner. The quilt may later be used to raise funds for  a missions project or as a gift for the pastor’s wife, etc.  

If you were really ambitious, you could send out or distribute the squares a few weeks before the dinner and assemble them for a grand prize drawing!

For the younger set (and the young at heart LOL!), you could pre-cut pieces of clear contact paper the size of placements and let them stick various shapes of design paper scraps to it to make a “crazy quilt” place mat.

The possibilities are endless for this theme. I can’t wait to see what my ladies come up with – but our banquet will probably be near the end of April in 2011. Wanna come?

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