by Lisa Tome
Although the temperatures were in the single digits, a group of quilting enthusiasts from throughout the county gathered in Charlestown recently for their weekly quilting bee.
Pam Lee, the group's leader, is an International Quilting Instructor, explained that the group formed about a year ago after an Elkton quilting shop where they formerly met closed its doors. Now, the group meets at Charlestown's St. John's United Methodist Church a few times a week.
This is a modern quilting group, members bring their sewing machines to the church. On the third Thursday and third Friday of each month they work making a group quilt. The second and fourth Fridays are set aside for open sew, where group members can work on whatever they choose.
"This is the new form of a quilting bee. We come for the social experience. We are going on a retreat next month," said Lee. The group members range in age from their 40s to their 70s. They also range from beginner to expert when it comes to sewing and quilting. "Quilting is sewing a straight line," said Lee.
Pat Wilks used to live in Elkton. She moved to Smyrna, Delaware but still comes to the group at least once a month. "I am here for the friendship, fun and knowledge. Pam is always helping out. There is not anything she can't answer," said Wilks.
The group meets year round, except for December. They take that month off to focus on family and the holidays.
"We were determined to stay together (after the quilt store closed). It's fun to quilt at home alone but we also need people for inspiration. Quilters are visual. They really need to see (other's work)," said Lee.
One of the highlights of each bee is the show and tell portion. Group members bring items they have worked on for show and tell. They also receive critiques and encouragement.
Rose Wright of North East uses unique quilting materials. She has some feed sacks from the 1950s that belonged to her mother. She created quilts from the patterned feed sacks.
Lee said the group is as much social as they are sewers. They make regular group treks to buy fabric. They also go to dinner together.
Anyone interested in joining the group is welcome. Those who join are required to already know the basics of using a sewing machine and rotary cutter. Anyone interested may call Lee at 443-417-6297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org