Quilts are an
important piece of our heritage. They
offer insight into the social, cultural, and economic history of an area. A quilt is defined as two layers of fabric,
frequently with some form of batting or stuffing sandwiched between them, held together
by ties or stitched designs. There are
hundreds of different quilt patterns, including variations in patterns. They vary from simple patchwork or crazy
quilts to intricate appliques.
Quilts hold memories of
the materials used to create them. The
fabric may be scraps collected over years or exchanged among friends, pieces of
old clothing, bits of ribbons or lace, homespun or manufactured. From repurposed feed sacks to the finest
quality material quilts tell stories of people and events, express their
maker’s artistic abilities, and add comfort to lives.
|Vera Stinson, Sadie Allison, and Blanche Jones finish a Sunbonnet Sue quilt
at the Cedar Mountain Community Center in 1983.
A popular means of
finishing a quilt was to hold a quilting bee.
These gatherings gave women and girls an opportunity to share the work
and display their skills, as well as to socialize.
In 1985 the North Carolina
Quilt Project took on the task of creating a permanent record of quilt making
in North Carolina through 1975. The goal
was to document and photograph the wide variety of quilts made throughout the
state. A quilt historian recorded
physical characteristics and a detailed history of each quilt and its maker. More than 10,000 quilts were documented over
a two year period, including 178 in Brevard in September 1986.
|In 2011 members of twelve communities within
Transylvania County came together to create a large quilt
depicting the history of the county. This quilt, like many family
quilts, is a legacy to future generations.
One of the Transylvania
County quilts recorded was stitched by Sarah Eliza Lyon in memory of her sister,
Hannah. Seventeen year-old, Hannah Lyon
drowned while crossing the French Broad River near what is now known as Hannah
Ford Road on February 23, 1863. Sarah,
who was only about three-years-old at the time of her sister’s death, later
made the Double Irish Chain quilt using material from the dress Hannah was
wearing when she died as one of the fabrics.
In 1988 UNC Press
published North Carolina Quilts featuring more than 100 quilts crafted
and documented in North Carolina. The
complete documentation of the North Carolina Quilt Project is now housed at the
North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs.
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or