Before we left for the event I gathered all the clothing so I could figure out if we had enough underwear and that sort of thing. Some skirts got tucked up and I spent kind of a long time color-coordinating the aprons and the dresses so it wouldn't look too matchy-matchy
The quilting pattern that I decided on was a simple square type design: stitch-in-the-ditch on both the horizontal and vertical seams and then bisect those squares horizontally and vertically.
The whole roll situation on the quilt was my make-do solution to not having a real quilting frame. I stitched the short ends of the quilt (with huuuuge stitches, of course) to the poles and rolled them both inward, so that the poles themselves stuck out on the ends and could be balanced on something. Then we'd roll the quilt out just a little bit and quilt from the middle towards the ends (so if things were going to shift it would be as even as possible). I have this thought that such systems were used "back in the day" and that the poles would be balanced on sawhorses. Of course, really legit quilting bees used a full sized frame that could have the whole quilt out at once, but that was out of the question given space concerns, and the fact that there would be only 3 quilters instead of 10+.
I did some hair research for this reenactment, because obviously my friends have short hair and I didn't want to do it wrong. Turns out, if one has got short hair in the 1860s, it should be center parted and tucked behind the ears. Super simple! And besides the usual "cut my hair to sell" and "cut my hair because I'm an invalid", apparently there was a bit of a fad for young but eligible ladies to wear short hair. I couldn't exactly confirm that fact - it was explained by youthful exuberance, or perhaps it was southern ladies sympathizing with the soldiers, or it was those crazy transcendentalists with their nutty ideas about relative equality of the sexes.
We did attract the attention of a number of quilters in the crowd, and one woman who had specifically come to see us to ask me a somewhat obscure question about signature quilts (which I could not answer). I didn't feel qualified to answer their questions, because I'm not a Quilter, but rather a seamstress dabbling in other arts.
In the whole afternoon, we only quilted about two rows worth of squares accross the quilt. I think it would have been much quicker to have masses more people working on it, but then we would probably have been even harder to approach.
We didn't have as much chance to talk about period-appropriate politics as I had hoped, because we talked more about our lives, and how quilts even work, and about why are we too frightening to talk to. I have some thoughts about how to remedy that in the future, though.