Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate. SC, Expands by Two

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The 186th quilt panel was recently added to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail at the home of Billy and Thelma Burton, 899 Rocky Fork Road Westminster, SC. The Cathedral Window quilt was the final quilt Thelma’s mother, Henry Louie Green Powell, worked on before her death and remains unfinished. Thelma recalls from her childhood Sarah Hunt and her mother putting a quilt on the backs of old straight chairs, laying the frames across them. She says, “They would work for days. The old shell design was the one she liked to use. Using chalk, she would make the shell pattern.” This was where Thelma learned to quilt, making two quilts herself before she was married to Billy L. Burton fifty years ago.

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Thelma Burton with her mother’s quilt beside the painted quilt panel.

A Cathedral Window quilt is not strictly a traditional quilt. It doesn’t have the usual sandwich of three layers of fabric and batting, but is composed of folded squares of fabric, whip-stitched together into the “frames.” The “panes” are traditionally made from muslin or cheesecloth squares to create a translucent effect as they are appliqued over the joins, inside those graceful curves that must be what Thelma saw as shells when she was a child.

Blogger at (annquiltsblog.com) describes the process as “being similar to the folded paper fortune tellers my friends and I made ad infinitum when we 8 or 9 years old. Does anyone remember recess on sunny afternoons, choosing numbers and colors, then getting a funny fortune?”

Great cathedral windows have been an inspiration to countless people for centuries. It’s always a gift to have some of the emotions, memories and ideas of great art, such as a glowing church window in our daily lives.

The 187th addition to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Westminster, SC, was installed on the barn door of the property owned by Joe & Sharon Byers on 418 Cornelia Avenue. Joe and Sharon come from quilting-rich backgrounds, respectively relocating from Pennsylvania and Michigan to the upstate of SC. The square was painted by their two daughters, Heather and Hadassa, along with young neighborhood friends of long standing, Savannah, Whitney and Jordan Wingert. The young people took time off from their summer activities to come to the studio in Walhalla and complete the block under the guidance of the production team. Joe, a carpenter and independent contractor, designed and built a beautiful wooden frame for the block, to give it a bit more presence on his barn.

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The original design was created by the Arts Council of York County, (www.yorkcountyarts.org) and serves as their logo. They also have a painted panel which is displayed on their Arts Center as part of the York County Quilt Trail in Rock Hill, SC. The style and design of this quilt is a variation of the Cathedral Window quilt block.

The fabric quilt was commissioned by Cindy Blair to meet the requirement of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail that there be an actual, hand-made quilt block. It was sewn by Mary Dee Rudy of Seneca, a prolific quilter and member of the Walhalla Production Team. It was donated by Cindy Blair to the UHQT and will be showcased at the production team’s studio.

For further information visit their website at (www.uhqt.org).

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