Archive for the ‘Quilts’ Category

Latest Additions to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Pickens County, SC

September 18, 2019

#253 Noon Day Lilies
Sponsors: Kent & Dean Dockins Dykes
Quilter: unknown
Location: Easley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

This beautiful quilt was created between 1840 and 1850. The quilt was passed down through the Clayton M. Dockins family. It belonged to Annie Dean Boatwright Dockins, who was a native of Pickens County, SC. Its maker was most likely a relative of Mrs. Dockins. Annie was the daughter of Benjamin Holder, a well-known circuit rider minister who established many rural churches in the area. She married Clayton M. Dockins, Sr., a native of Rabun County, GA who was a career US Army master Sargent Major. He was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and was also a decorated veteran of WWI. After retiring from the army, Clayton returned to Easley and became the paymaster for the mills in Pelzer, Easley and Pickens.

The Easley Chamber of Commerce was established in 1935 and is the voice of business that promotes an ideal business environment, which encourages growth and community development with a concern for the people by continuously improving the quality of life in the greater Easley area.

As the Visitors Center, they provide tourism and newcomer information about Easley, as well as the surrounding areas of Pickens County and Upstate South Carolina. Whether you are a visitor, resident or Chamber business member, you are encouraged to utilize their website to explore what the Easley area and our Chamber have to offer.

#255 Journey
Sponsor: Josh Burgess
Quilter: Lynn Brill, creator of quilt; Autumn Compass
Location: 117 McWhorter Road Easley, SC

Josh Burgess and his daughter Madison, moved to Easley in June of 2014 from Newton, NC. They bought an abandoned farm, complete with house and barn, that sits on 12 acres, and proceeded to remodel. The farmhouse was completed first, and then they took on the remodel of the old barn. Knowing that the remodel would revolve around a barn quilt, they began their journey to find the perfect barn quilt design.

Lynn Brill of Anderson had just recently commissioned a square based on her quilt, “Autumn Compass,” and kindly agreed for Josh to borrow the pattern. Lynn has been quilting since the 1970s, when she found a pattern for a sampler quilt in “McCall’s” magazine and just couldn’t resist trying her hand at quilting!

#256 Ashley’s Journey
Sponsors: Alan and Ellie Elzerman
Quilter: Ellie Elzerman
Location: Elzerman home at 128 Morgan Drive, Central, SC

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Ashley who loved purple, so much so, she even named her cat Purple. Conceptually, I envisioned this contemporary quilt to represent Ashley’s educational journey, a journey illustrating perseverance leading to success. Ashley’s educational path was rarely a straight line. She pieced together many experiences to move through our education system. At each stage of the journey, including college, graduate school, veterinary school, and finally residency, she searched varied paths with her goal in mind. This quilt is made to honor her journey.”

For further information visit (

Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville, NC, will Host the Pearson Sisters to Share the Secrets of Quilt Block Painting – Aug. 12 & 13, 2019

August 9, 2019

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) is proud to help build on and continue the tradition of hand painted quilt blocks that you see on many self-driving tours of western North Carolina.

Haywood County is dotted with quilt blocks. You can spot them decorating the sides of barns, welcoming at restaurants, and even advertising dentists’ offices. They are a visual emblem of Appalachia and a true art form of the people of the mountains.

Before the days of cable news, the quilting bee was how the community shared news. The quilters not only created magnificent textile art but were the source of vital information. Marriages were negotiated around the quilting frame. Quilting bees were also a form of peace talks. Families could settle disagreements by “going to the quilt” before heading to the courthouse. Feuds could be ended when the women would clear the air. No sensible man would dare defy a woman armed with a needle. It has even been suggested that the quilters were early suffragists, for the cooperative effort of making the complicated patterns allowed women to bond in highly personal and effective ways.

One of the most dramatic uses of the quilt was as a map for slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad. The quilts they carried were festooned with symbols which led the way to freedom. The Drunkard’s Path pattern warned of slave catchers and dogs in the area, so you had to backtrack. Flying Geese, headed north was a sign to “follow the birds.” A shoofly pattern told you there were helpers in the area. The Crossroads pattern signaled you were in Cleveland, Ohio, and free. The Crossroads on a quilt was also a challenge to make a life decision as to where to go next.

Many of the current quilt blocks on display in Haywood, Yancey and Mitchell Counties were hand crafted in Burnsville, NC, by Carole and June Pearson and their volunteers. As of July 1, 2019, the Haywood County Arts Council is the new headquarters for the Quilt Trails of Western NC and the associated art studio now located at the Folkmoot building in Waynesville.

Carole & June Pearson will be traveling from Burnsville, NC, to Waynesville to train interested volunteers in the techniques of Quilt Block painting over the next few months. The Pearson sisters will be sharing the secrets of quilt block painting on Aug. 12 & 13, 2019.

To discover more of this fascinating aspect of our culture, please join the team of quilt block volunteer painters, and e-mail the Haywood County Arts Council at ( or call 828/452-0593.

If you are interested in ordering a handcrafted Quilt Block for your home, barn, or business, please visit our website at ( or come by the HCAC Gallery at 86 N. Main Street in Waynesville.

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail Adds New Quilts Blocks to SC’s Growing Quilt Trail

April 30, 2019

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, adds more quilt blocks to South Carolina’s growing quilt trail.

#248 Granny Nell’s Hexagon Stars in Westminster, SC

Nell Barker Stone, or as most of her friends and family called her, Granny Nell, was the maker of this lively quilt whose pattern goes by many names—Hexagon Stars (Nancy Page, 1934), Texas Star (Ladies Art Company, 1922), Friendship Hexagon (Nancy Page), Dolly Madison (Kansas City Star, 1937). Granny Nell’s Hexagon Stars was most likely made sometime in the mid-20th century. However, this popular pattern appears in quilts as early as 1844 (source: Barbara Brackman, Material Culture blog spot, May 21, 2016).

Stone’s creative use of plaids and stripes in her quilt, as well as a calming turquoise and peach palette, result in a quilt that is both energetic and composed. The six-pointed star is constructed of five-sided shapes sewn to a center hexagon. There are several ways to complete this block. Granny Nell’s version of this pattern places a white hexagon between the hexagon stars. Other variations of the design use either a diamond or an elongated triangle to complete the hexagon block and connect the blocks to each other.

In 2017 after Nell Stone passed away, her daughter-in-law Dawn Stone was given this treasured quilt. Dawn said, “Granny Nell was a great influence in my life and I helped her with many quilts in the basement of her home. She would hang the old wooden quilt frame from the ceiling and often times have family and friends to help out.”

The location of this quilt block is on the Barker/Stone family farm in the Earle’s Grove community in southern Oconee County. Dawn’s family is the 4th generation to own and work the 65-acre farm originally purchased by her husband’s great-grandfather, Joshua Barker, in 1927. In the early 1900’s the farm grew cotton. At present, it is a working poultry and beef cattle farm. With good fortune, it will become a Century Farm in 2027.

#249 Resting Place in Pickens, SC

This lovely rendition of a lake and mountain landscape is based on a wall hanging designed and quilted by master quilter Gail Sexton of Sunset in Pickens County. ‘Resting Place’ faces 306 East Main Street, the office location of Dr. William W. Spearman, Optometry Specialist. It is placed on the wall of the historic Keowee Bank building erected in 1898. The bank unfortunately closed during the great depression, but the outline of the bank’s vault is still visible today. In 1929 Leon McCall purchased the building and opened a café. In 1963 Bobby Garren bought the business and opened it as Garren’s Café.

Resting Place is an excellent example of Gail Sexton’s artistic skill as both a painter and a quilter. She is a self-taught artist who began painting mostly landscapes with oils and acrylics in the early 1970’s. She made her first quilt for her daughter in 1971 but did not become a serious quilter until 1984. The transition from painting landscapes to creating them as fabric art was a natural fit for this talented artist. Resting Place is one of her favorite quilts and employs her signature techniques for constructing these smaller art pieces. Sexton begins by conceptualizing a scene in her mind. She imagines sitting on a rock, looking out on a landscape at the sky, water, and hills. After her mental vision for the piece takes shape, she transfers it into a drawing. Once she has a sketch of her concept she then begins to construct a pattern for the quilt. First she creates a paper-piecing pattern for the background, including the dominant elements of the design such as mountains and lakes or open fields. Fabric is then sewn directly onto the paper pattern to piece together the background. After removing the paper from this foundation the fun begins. She builds the composition by appliquéing a focal point such as the old tree in Resting Place onto the foundation. She continues to add elements such as trees, flowers, rocks, and birds to build the complexity and enhance the realism of the piece. Finally, the landscape is enhanced with quilting and thread painting that give it both dimension and texture.

Sexton’s quilting talents are not limited to only landscapes. She loves designing her own original patterns. Her beautiful pieced and appliquéd large quilts have won multiple awards over the years at the quilt shows of local guilds such as UpCountry Quilters Guild in Pickens and Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild of Seneca. She has received national recognition as well, having won awards in the national Hoffman Fabric Challenge three times and having a fourth quilt chosen as well for Hoffman’s traveling trunk shows.

#250 Martin’s Vitality in Pendleton, SC

Every quilt block on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail tells a unique story. But some stories are more poignant than others. The story of Martin’s Vitality is the story of a special, dearly loved young man whose presence graced the world far too briefly. This vibrantly colored quilt block is dedicated to the memory of Martin Acevedo – The Happy Farmer – as he was called by his family. According to his Aunt Anne, “Vitality beamed from him wherever he went.” The young man was known for his contagious smile, his helpfulness, a strong work ethic, his love of family and his passion for the agricultural life. He was a friend to all people. Martin’s Vitality is the perfect name for this special addition to the UHQT.

Martin’s aunt, Carolyn Harris, was chosen as the 2018 “Quilter of the Year” by the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. It is customary for the UHQT to paint a quilt block especially for the “Quilter of the Year,” usually based on a quilt made by the honoree. Sadly, twenty-six year old Martin died in a boating accident shortly before Carolyn was selected by the UHQT for the 2018 honor. So his aunt chose instead to have the UHQT use two treasured childhood quilts made for Martin by his mother Jane (Carolyn’s sister) as the inspiration for Martin’s Vitality. A team of Martin’s family members and friends, with the help of the UHQT paint production team, completed the block that now hangs on the barn at The Elms in Pendleton, his family’s homeplace and the farm of his great-grandfathers.

Martin’s Vitality is a nine patch variation of vibrantly colored squares made by Jane Martin Acevedo. Every color used in both the original quilts and the UHQT block are symbolic of some aspect of Martin Acevedo’s life and interests. The white center squares form a cross, representing Martin’s deep Christian faith. These white squares are also reminders of Martin’s animals – his dogs, his Holstein cows, his sheep – and his truck.

Yellow and green hold a special significance in this quilt story as well. The yellow block above the center cross signifies the morning sun and God’s mercies which are new every day. The yellow and green blocks throughout are appropriate reminders of Martin’s time spent on his John Deere and his Case tractor. Green is the color of the farms he tilled, 4-H Club and football fields, all things Martin loved.

The maroon square below the center cross symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for us all and Martin’s deep faith. It also reminds his family of his affection for a certain red Farmall tractor.

Blue is the color of a country sky and the bright blue jackets worn by the Future Farmers of America.

Orange and purple are Clemson colors. Martin was a founding member of the Clemson University Bluegrass Ensemble and an accomplished banjo player.

Quilts have long held a place in our culture as the custodians of memories and experience. They serve as reminders of the ones we loved, of the pleasure and comfort conveyed by family. Martin’s Vitality will be an enduring reminder of the Happy Farmer – the young man who lived his life with joy and purpose.

#251 Affairs of the Heart in Pickens, SC

Affairs of the Heart, a multiple quilt block installation inspired by a quilt made by Beth Eastman of Pickens, SC. Three separate blocks from Eastman’s appliqué quilt hang above the three windows on the façade of the tavern. As the name implies, the heart motif appears in each block design. The soft multi-colored palette of the quilt pops against a black background.

The original quilt was a “blocks of the month” quilt designed by Aie Rossman and offered by a Texas company, Stitching Heaven – three new block patterns arriving each month. Eastman fell in love with it and completed it in 2016. Her quilt won a 1st place ribbon at the Upcountry Quilters Guild show in 2017 as well as a Venders’ Choice award.

The blocks are machine appliquéd (stitched) onto the black background with a small blanket stitch. Additional hand embroidered yellow hearts and spirals mirror elements within each block’s design. The sashing fabric framing the blocks is a multi-colored embroidery motif print.

Appliquéd blocks such as these are constructed by cutting out the design elements from fabric, arranging them on a background, then securing them with stitching.

Eastman’s “free motion” quilted Affairs of the Heart was her very first attempt at employing this method of quilting to finish a piece. “Free motion” quilting requires the quilter to move the fabric manually under the needle, rather than the machine feed dogs carrying the fabric forward. The quilter is able to move the quilt top in any direction and can sew an infinite number of designs with this method.

Eastman moved to Pickens in 2008 and began quilting in 2009. Thanks to her sister’s encouragement, she purchased a sewing machine and took her first quilt class at Heirlooms and Comforts in Central, SC. Like so many quilters before her, she was hooked. She is a member of Upcountry Quilters Guild and sews every day for about five hours. She is active in her guild and particularly enjoys making Quilts of Valor. Her first Quilt of Valor was made for her husband. She worked for many years in the nuclear power industry and retired after serving as a technical writer at the Oconee Nuclear Station.

Amy Barrett, owner of Burning Brick Tavern, the site of this installation, is delighted to have Affairs of the Hearts grace her business. Affairs of the Heart is one of the Pickens area quilt blocks sponsored through a grant provided by the Pickens County A-tax Commission. The grant was secured by Kim Smagala of the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce.

When offered a chance to have a Quilt Trail block installed on the tavern, Amy chose Affairs of the Heart because of the way its bright colors “popped” against its black background. “My grandmother quilted and she tried very hard to teach me, but sadly that talent died with her. I regret not giving it the time it deserved. So I am very appreciative of anyone who can create these beautiful pieces of art,” said Amy. “I am very happy to be included in the Quilt Trail.”

#252 Resurgence in Salem, SC

Susan Carson Clark’s innovative art quilt, Resurgence, and the UHQT block that it inspired have found a new home at The Wine Emporium near Keowee Key in Salem. Both the block and the quilt had previously been at the Keowee Key residence of Arland McMullen. Arland purchased this quilt block – donated by UHQT – at a fund raiser for Hospice of the Foothills. When he discovered that the block derived from an existing quilt, he contacted Susan who agreed to sell it to him.

Arland was very active in the Keowee Key community, serving on its Board of Directors and as its president during his second term. Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer in December of 2017. His daughter Miranda then donated the block and the quilt to The Wine Emporium, a most appropriate site choice given the fact that Arland had been a former president of Les Marmitons, a wine and epicurean club.

Susan Clark’s quilt evolved from a piece of hand-dyed Ricky Tims fabric and his general instructions for using it in a quilt. Its bright colors were the inspiration for this piece. Begun in 2010, Clark set it aside after piecing the curves together because the next step was to cut it into several strips and stitch it back together with additional fabric. Clark says, “I couldn’t bear the thought of destroying such beautiful curves of gorgeous fabrics! When my friend Gil Huggins asked me to finish it and let the Quilt Trail use it as the design for a block to be donated to a charity auction, I networked with quilting friends for advice. I chose to leave the piece whole and add a dark, narrow inner border and a wider outer border of the hand-dyed fabric with no binding. I love the idea of improvisation, of free-flowing designs and learning from, instead of following, exact cutting directions for every block.”

“My mother taught me to sew when I was in the fifth grade because I was interested in the 4-H Dress Revue. I made a chartreuse sleeveless shift with a rose appliqué, earning a red ribbon. Mom and Clemson Extension agent Carolyn Harris have been my role models as I added quilting to my apparel sewing interests.” Her quilt’s name, Resurgence, means rebirth or renewal and seems especially appropriate now that both the quilt and the block can be appreciated by anyone who visits The Wine Emporium, thanks to the generosity of the McMullen family.

For more information or to see a map of the Trail visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Adds New Quilt Blocks

January 29, 2019

#242 A-D & #243 Citizens of Westminster Project

The City of Westminster is an attractive historic community with lots of southern charm. Strolling down Main Street notice the many hand painted quilt blocks that line the street. The newest additions are the eight new quilt blocks in the downtown area. Four of the quilt blocks are located in the historic Depot parking lot; these 2ft. x 2ft. blocks are replicas of quilts made by local residents. The other four 1ft x 1ft blocks are located on power boxes on East Main Street.

Quilt #242 A: Claudia’s Star
The South Carolina Star is the creation of Claudia Spearman. The pattern comes from The Quilter’s Cache by Marcia Hohn. Claudia is a longtime resident of Westminster. We’re proud to include her quilt. Claudia plans to make a pillow from her quilt block, and her mother will hand quilt the piece.

Quilt #242 B: Denise’s Design
Denise McCormick is an avid quilter and already has two UHQT quilt blocks in town. This quilt is a Sassafras Lane design. Check out her other blocks—one on the depot and one across from the water tower. Although not a native of Westminster, Denise and her husband have lived here for many years and are very active in the town. They love this area and are proud to call it home.

Quilt #242 C: Paige’s Star
Paige Price, also a lifelong resident of Westminster, likes to quilt when she can work it into her busy schedule with the school system. The design on her quilt block is a pattern called Lindy’s Star by Linda Hayes.

Quilt #242 D: Rebecca’s Star
Also a lifelong resident, Rebecca’s Star is part of a quilt Beckie DeFoor finished several years ago. Bright, vivid colors are the hallmark of this quilt. Now retired from the school system, ‘Beckie’ spends lots of time at her sewing machine. She is also very active in the painting of the quilt blocks with the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

Quilt #243
The four 1ft. x 1ft. quilt blocks on Main Street were the inspiration of Sandy Brockington. She thought the power boxes on Main Street were unattractive and organized a group to commission the UHQT to paint quilt blocks for them. These ‘flowers’ are part of a quilt entitled, “The Garden Club” from Smith Street Designs. The quilter, Beckie DeFoor is proud to have her quilt represented.

Local residents including residents Kathy Barker, Sandy Brockington, Beckie DeFoor, Denise McCormick, Kathy Smith, and Mildred Spearman who helped the artists on the quilt trail paint these beautiful quilt blocks. The citizens of Westminster contributed to the funding to support this project.

There are currently 144 quilts on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Oconee County. Westminster is proud to have 24 of them within the town limits on their walking/driving trail. In addition, another 13 quilt blocks are sprinkled throughout the Westminster area.

For additional information on the City of Westminster, Oconee County Oconee County and latest updates and interactive map visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Adds New Quilts to Its Trail

November 12, 2018

#240 Stash from the Past

The Diamond W Farm in SE Anderson County at 352 George Brock Road is a century old homestead. In the 1920’s, the farm was purchased by Jasper Ashley, whose family maintained the house and outbuildings until the 1970’s. Jasper’s children, Gary and Millie – together with her husband- farmed the land until Jasper’s death in 1948. The land then passed to Millie and then eventually to her son, Pascal Brock. Millie and her husband passed in the early 1970’s.

Pascal chose to rent the farm to Merle and Grace Hershberger in 1978. They have lived there for 40 years where they raised two children and provided a home for 32 foster children. On December 17, 2012, Austin Wood purchased the farm from Pascal Brock. The Hershbergers maintained a residence in the farmhouse. Merle passed in 2018, but Grace still lives there.

The small barn where the quilt block is displayed was used for storage of seed. Storage sheds on either side of the barn have been replaced and the barn itself refurbished. Conservation practices have been implemented on the farm to protect the environment and make the land more productive.

The quilt block was designed and sewn by Grace Hershberger. It features 4 separate blocks designed and sewn by Ms. Hershberger. Each block is framed by red and blue sashing and features the red, white and blue theme. Three of the blocks’ centers feature a small square surrounded by contrasting designs while the fourth block’s center is a diamond – again with contrasting designs on the red and blue fabric.

Grace has quilted much of her life and chose cheerful colors and designs which will contrast with the hundred+ year old barn and be visible for some distance.

# 241 Hummingbird

Serenity at Sunset, an alternative and holistic health service at 321 East Main Street in Pickens is the location of Hummingbird. Proprietress Lyn Hatton selected Hummingbird with its nature theme for inclusion in the Pickens Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. It is a fitting choice for her business that aims to be “a place of serenity for all to enjoy.” Hummingbird is one of the Pickens area quilt blocks sponsored through a grant provided by the Pickens County A-tax Commission. The grant was secured by Kim Smagala of the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce.

Left to right: Jere & Joy DuBois, Martha Parris, Cindy Blair, Sandy Thomas, Lynn Hatton, Kim Smagala.

Hummingbird is UHQT’s interpretation of quilter Joy DuBois’ jewel-toned wall hanging of a hummingbird in flight. Joy says she especially loves the tiny hummingbirds that are native to the Upstate and has multiple feeders on her property in Seneca. She wanted to make a quilt featuring the birds but was unsuccessful in finding a suitable pattern. While fabric shopping with her daughter she found a kit for this small quilt that included the appliqué pattern as well as the bright, jewel-toned batiks that make this such a vibrant, visually appealing quilt. The quilt is machine appliquéd and machine quilted. Joy has been quilting for at least thirty years. She is a member of Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild as well as Upcountry Quilters Guild. She is a talented, prolific quilter and a number of her quilts are represented on the Quilt Trail throughout Pickens and Oconee Counties.

For information about Pickens County visit ( or Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce at (

For further info visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Adds More to Its Quilt Trail

October 7, 2018


“Out of the Box”, located on the old Walhalla Depot at 211 South College Street in Walhalla, SC, is a “Giant Dahlia” quilt modeled after one made by master quilter Jenny Grobusky of Walhalla. The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail sponsored this block and has donated it to the City of Walhalla in honor of Jenny Grobuski’s contributions to the upstate quilting community and to the communities of Oconee County.

Grobuski gave her version of this classic 20th century pattern an “out of the ordinary” twist by centering its dahlia medallion below, rather than on, the quilt’s mid-line—hence its name, Out of the Box. Jenny said she made this quilt for herself and wanted the entire dahlia to be on the middle of the bed instead of over the pillows where its symmetry would be distorted.

The Giant Dahlia quilt pattern was developed in America sometime in the early half of the 20th century. There are competing claims as to its original designer. One reference attributes the pattern to Hubert ver Mehren of Des Moines, Iowa. Beginning in the mid-20’s, his company called Home Arts Studio sold stamped textiles for embroidery and eventually sold patchwork and medallion quilt patterns. ( Quilt historian Ginny Beyer notes that the pattern was originally published in 1933 in the Des Moines Register. Finally, it has been suggested that the dahlia pattern may have been inspired by the designs in Rose windows found at the front of churches and cathedrals. (

The Giant Dahlia is constructed of sixteen gently curving arcs radiating out from a small Dresden plate center. This complex pattern is not at all typical of traditional quilt piecing. There are no squares or triangles incorporated into the pattern. Instead, each arc is composed of distorted four-sided shapes that look a bit like misshapen squares someone tugged out of alignment. Each side of the shape is a slight convex or concave curve. As the dahlia grows out from the center, the pieces of the arc increase in size proportionally. Even the most experienced quilters find this pattern challenging. Extremely precise piecing is a necessity in order to create a truly spherical completed “dahlia.” Jenny machine pieced and machine quilted “Out of the Box”. This beautifully constructed quilt is a testimony to her exceptional skills as a quilter.

Grobuski is a prolific quilter and her work is distinguished by the vibrancy of its color. “Out of the Box” juxtaposes batiks in warm orange and red-orange against cool aqua, violet, and blue. The medallion is surrounded by a royal blue background and seems to glow as if it’s lit from within. “Out of the Box” won 2nd place in its category at the 2006 Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild show.

Born in Walhalla in 1923, Grobuski lives in the Walhalla community where she worked and raised her five children. Before taking up quilting in 1993, Jenny spent much of her life using her talents as a seamstress. She was instrumental in forming a quilting club in Walhalla called Stitchin’ Friends and was on the steering committee of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. She has been generous with her time and talents as demonstrated when she organized quilters in 2005 to make quilts for Hurricane Katrina victims. More than 200 quilts were donated to the relief effort.

Grobuski has been an active member of Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild. It is her unique, custom constructed quilt that covers a PT Cruiser outside each of LMQG’s quilt shows. She is a faithful member of St. Francis Catholic Church in Walhalla.

The City of Walhalla chose the old Walhalla Depot as the location for this block because of its historic significance to the city. The depot was built in 1887 by renowned Walhalla builder Otto Kaufmann, whose father John Kaufmann built St. John’s Lutheran Church. According to the Rev. George Shealy’s book Walhalla: The Garden of the Gods, the first train arrived at the new depot at 5 p.m. on November 14, 1887. It was located near the intersection of South Broad and College streets, where the Mountain Lakes Convention & Visitors Bureau and Walhalla Chamber of Commerce building stands today. The depot was given to the City of Walhalla by Norfolk-Southern Railroad Company in 1987 after they discontinued train service to Walhalla. The city moved it to its present site where it now serves as the focal point of the Walhalla Depot Park, also known as Kaufmann Square. For additional information about the Depot and Kaufmann Park visit (

#235 Fire and Ice

“Fire and Ice” is the first quilt block chosen by the Pickens County selection committee and financed by the Pickens County A-tax Commission grant to the Pickens County Area Chamber of Commerce. This multi-colored modern quilt graces the building of Domino’s Pizza at 102 East Main Street in downtown Pickens. Domino’s owner Scott Carrick fell in love with it and requested it for his location. The original quilt was made by Seneca quilter Libby Carter. She chose the quilt’s colors because they reminded her of beautiful Upstate South Carolina—the blues of our lakes and waters and the vivid oranges that represent the lovely fall foliage of the mountains. The quilt is primarily composed of batik fabrics. It was longarm quilted in the “Splashing” pattern by Libby’s friend, E. Ann Ewald of Dragonfly Designs. A version of this quilt was featured in the June 2008 edition of McCall’s Quilting. Libby’s placement of the orange batiks against the calmer blues creates a pleasing balance between energy and tranquility.

Carter has been quilting for approximately twenty years but has sewn in one form or another for much of her life. She considers herself a traditional quilter but enjoys all forms of quiltmaking and fabric craft. That is what inspired her to own a quilt shop with her sister for seven and a half years in Georgia before moving to South Carolina. Carter is a member of the Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild.

#236 Rhythm and Hues

“Rhythm and Hues” is located at 112 Main Street, next to the outdoor amphitheater on Rt.183 in downtown Pickens. It was funded by an A-tax grant written by Kim Smagala, director of the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce. According to Kim, “Rhythm and Hues” was chosen because it captured the essence of the Pickens community with its outdoor musical amphitheater and its vibrant Young Appalachian Musicians Program.

“Rhythm and Hues” is the unique creation of art quilter Jean Wachs. This quilt was made in 2016 for the Lake & Mountain Quilters Guild Show whose theme was “Symphony of Quilts.” Wachs said music has always been an important part of her life. Since she played the guitar when she was younger, it seemed like the perfect subject for the show. She used a clip art image which she enlarged, then modified, adding vibrant color and design to portray the music she imagined coming from the guitar.

All of the fabrics used in the quilt were 100% cotton, either batiks or hand dyed. Each piece was fused in place, then appliqued and quilted using free motion on her domestic machine. She sculpted copper wire to form the bridge, rayon gimp thread for the strings and small metal hooks for the tuning pegs. Wachs’ strong color composition of red, blue, yellow and green imbue the quilt with intense energy. The colors practically dance from the quilt.

“Rhythm and Hues” won first place at the quilt show in the pictorial category. It was not listed as being for sale, but during the show a lady called Wachs, inquiring about purchasing it. She eventually sold it to the woman, following a commitment to exhibit it with the art group Thread Heads at the Belton Art Center a few months later.

Wachs began sewing when she was in high school but did not take up quilting until 2006. Although she has done some traditional quilting, art quilting for wall display is her passion. In recent years, her focus has been on portrait and pictorial compositions.

For further information call 864/723-6603 or visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Expands Again

August 30, 2018


Flowers Among Friends – a series of four small floral-themed quilt blocks – grace the front pillars of Westminster’s historic Moon’s Drug Store. Beckie Harper DeFoor, Kathy Collins Smith and Jerry Smith sponsored these lovely blocks to commemorate their lifelong friendship of fifty years. The blocks are reproductions of four quilt squares included in Beckie DeFoor’s original quilt of the same name, a quilt she made to celebrate their special friendship. Inspiration for Beckie’s quilt came from several small embroidery pieces included in Laura’s Fantasy Flowers. Local quilter and instructor Cheryl Keith edited and digitized the designs for computer assisted embroidery. The warm, sunny color scheme of oranges and yellow against a black background add of a touch of folk art to the facade of Moon’s Drug Store founded in 1901. The four blocks were painted by Beckie DeFoor, Kathy Smith, and Kathy and Jerry’s daughter Whitney Jones with the help of Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s Production Team.

Rebecca DeFoor with quilts

Kathy Smith and Rebecca DeFoor painting quilt blocks

Whitney Jones, Beckie DeFoor and Kathy Smith


The Nix family has lived in the Six Mile area for generations. The house and barn on the property now owned by Dean & Jennie Nix dates back to 1911. Dean’s grandfather was a blacksmith, and he and his wife, Clara had three sets of twins. James, their son, and his wife, Pauline bought the farm from his parents in 1950 and cared for Clara until her death.

The quilt dates back to the 1920s to 1930s, and was pieced and machine quilted, most likely by Bette Alexander, Pauline’s mother. The fabric used in the quilt is unusual for a Double Wedding Ring in that it consists of only two colors, red and grey. It appears to be of fabric referred to as Sea Island cotton, a fine cotton hand-spun and woven, the bright, red color most likely was hand-dyed as well. It is hand stitched on the finished quilt with threads taken from old flour sacks, proving not only the thriftiness of this family, but also how the art was handed down from generation to generation. It is believed that Pauline and her sisters were likely involved in learning how to quilt as children by hand stitching the flour sack threads!

Jennie and Dean Nix are now the owners and keepers of the family farm. The quilt is installed on the old barn, that can be seen across the farm’s field from the road. Jennie continues to carry on the rich tradition of quilting in the family and hopes to have one of her beautiful quilts transformed into a quilt block on the property soon.

The barn and painted quilt block are located at 1281 Mile Creek Road Six Mile, SC.

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Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Adds #222 Quilt Block to Trail

August 10, 2018

222 Birchwood Bear’s Paw

The Birchwood Center, off Highway 11 in the far northern part of the Pickens County, SC, was the recipient of a quilt block sponsored through the Pickens County ATAX Grant awarded to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

The Birchwood Center for Art and Folk Life was founded in 2000 by Dot Jackson, Gayle Edwards, Tom Johnson, and Starkey Flythe to promote and enhance the study and awareness of the Arts and Humanities in this region. Their mission is to provide a free place to be used as a comfortable sanctuary or retreat to inspire creativity and enhance learning across the curriculum of Arts and Folk Life.  To this end, they have provided a variety of mostly free programs and activities to the public throughout the years. The Bear’s Paw block was placed on the Masters-Southerland House located on the Birchwood Center’s property in the mountains of northern Pickens County, SC, with Table Rock State Park as a backdrop.

The Bear’s Paw Quilt Block was chosen to represent the spirit and mission of the Birchwood Center. In the stories about the Underground Railroad, the Bear Paw was the symbol for a refuge for the slaves to find shelter, food, and safety. One of the founders, Dot Jackson, wrote a prize winning novel, Refuge. While the novel has nothing to do with the Birchwood Center, the title is a reminder of our mission and for the Bear’s Paw symbol on the Underground Railroad.

The Brown Bear is a native to this region and is a popular part of the local culture. In the Native American Spirit world and other mythology, the bear’s extreme power, size, courage, tenacity, confidence, and intelligence along with a touch of curiosity, mother-cub family connections, its gentle nature topped with a splash of cuteness has earned it the following title: The Great Protector and Defender of the peoples’ safety, and their freedom and resourcefulness to create a better life. The bear allows the people to be free to safely create a better life for themselves and their families. The Native Americans also believed that the bear was a messenger for dreams and visions. The Birchwood Board feels that all people who contribute positively to our history and the Arts share most of the bear’s characteristics.

Dot Jackson was a wonderful storyteller and told some wonderful tales about her bear encounters. Several tales were about a bear who loved snooping around at the Birchwood Center. We believe he just loved being around Dot. During the restoration of the Masters-Southerland House, Dot lived in a trailer on the property. After several sightings, that bear (or one bearing a striking resemblance) decided to snoop around under the trailer (called “Paradise” by Dot). It tore off some underpinning on the backside of Paradise and crawled in during the dead of the night. Dot woke to loud bumping noises and much shaking under her bedroom floor. This continued until he got settled in to rest. The bear must have decided that living close to Dot was a good thing. It bumped around under the floor anytime of the day or night. When was it going to come on in for a visit? Dot was concerned that the floor would collapse bringing down a wall. She never knew if that bear was lurking around outside. Dot was not sleeping well. The bear was happy. Dot was NOT. Somebody had to go! You know it was not going to be our feisty, fearless Dot. After a while, someone (maybe Dennis Chastain) volunteered to lure Dot’s bear out from his den under Paradise. He was taken to a more suitable home somewhere in the mountains. Dot was happy. The bear probably missed Dot.

One foggy morning at the Birchwood Center, Dot woke from a deep sleep in the comfort of Paradise to the sounds of loud grunting and other strange noises. She made her way to a front window to peer out in the direction of the noises but could see nothing unusual through the fog. When it got light enough, Dot came out to check out the area of the earlier noise. Well, she found a bear in her car and most of the contents thrown out onto the wet grass! Now, Dot was a lot like that Bear in that she was courageous, fearless, tenacious, and a protector (of her car) so she proceeded to try to get rid of her unwanted passenger. The intruder shared these traits so he was not moving out of her car. Dot was upset. The bear seemed pleased with himself. Since she was not supremely strong like the bear, Dot just went back into Paradise to call for help. In a few minutes she saw the bear slowly getting out of her car carrying the precious red bag that had gone with her everywhere for years. She was sorry to lose it but the bear looked so funny carrying that red bag slowly through the woods like he knew he had something important to take home. Dot could not help laughing at that memory even as she was looking at the mess he had made inside the car. Those paws could do some major damage!

The memories of Dot’s bear tales, along with the symbolism of the Bear, the popularity of this block in the local history, and with the original idea for the Birchwood Center, made choosing the Bear Paw a perfect choice. The Bear Paw Quilt Block represents the traditional quilt block and the colors chosen represent the new modern colors used today. Much of the material used in the block has light, softened dots in the background to represent our late Dot Jackson who was one of our cherished founders of the Birchwood Center.

The traditional Bear Paw with the modern, brightly colored materials comprised of contrasting muted backgrounds came together to make a beautiful quilt block for the Birchwood Center for the Arts and Folk Life. The square was created by Linda Blakeney, who met with the Birchwood’s Board of Directors to choose both the pattern and colors.

For further info call 864/723-6603 or visit (

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate, SC, Adds New Quilt Blocks to Its Ever Expanding Trail

July 28, 2018

#220 Autumn Compass

For more than 40 years, Lynn Brill of Anderson, SC, has been crafting quilts and perfecting her unique creations. After a stroke in January 2012, Lynn lost the use of her right arm. However, with an extension for her machine and the will to learn a new way to continue her quilting, she still makes beautiful quilts and wins ribbons in quilting shows. She and her husband, Glenn, have decided to honor her love of quilting with an UHQT block on their home.

The block chosen by Lynn is Autumn Compass and is a blaze of the glorious colors of autumn, Lynn’s favorite season. Adapted from several quilt designs, Lynn’s Autumn Compass was created in a class by Lynn Kirsch of Racine, Wisconsin. The circle for the Mariner’s Compass was created by drawing a circle around a pizza pan, then divided into quarters, eighths, and sixteenths to make paper foundations. After the compass was completed, it was hand appliqued onto the quilt. The border, comprised of a quilting technique called flying geese, is in greens, rust and gold. Because the Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin is a stopping place for thousands of Canadian geese each fall, Lynn decided to incorporate the flying geese into the border.

The block was installed above the garage door of their Anderson home in celebration of Lynn’s 70th birthday.

#221 Bursting in Air

Bursting in Air is a variation of the classic Greek Square quilt block. It is located on the Six Mile Farmers Market, once the site of the town’s volunteer fire department. This patriotic-themed block was sponsored through a Pickens County Accommodations Tax grant awarded to the Greater Pickens County Chamber of Commerce. Kim Smagala, Director and the Chamber selected Six Mile to receive this block to enhance the cluster of quilts already in the area.

When the town of Six Mile was contacted with the news that they had been chosen to receive a quilt block, Mayor Roy Stoddard chose this red, white and blue block to honor the four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients who grew up in the Six Mile and Liberty communities. It will serve as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of these men, who gave their all for their country. They are: Furman D. Smith, US Army, medal awarded January 17, 1945; William McWhorter, US Army, medal awarded September 27, 1945; Charles H. Barker, US Army, medal awarded June 13, 1955; James D. Howe, US Marines, medal awarded September 15, 1971. The stories of these men and their heroism can be found on the town of Six Mile’s website at (

This patriotic themed square is modeled after one that quilter Doris Land included in a sampler quilt made for her son Karl Tubbs. Doris acquired the fabric and pattern for this square from Viking Sew ‘n’ Quilt, now in Maulden, SC, when she completed one of the Carolina Shop Hops. That year twelve quilt shops in the region participated, each offering its own pattern and fabric packet to use in a patriotic themed quilt. Doris was relatively new to quilting and assumed that all she had to do with each packet was sew the pre-cut pieces together. To her surprise, there were no little squares, triangles, and rectangles cut and ready to sew in the packet—just large strips of fabric and the directions for cutting. She laughs at her beginner’s mistake.

After joining a quilt guild she learned about their efforts to make Quilts of Valor for veterans. She was inspired to use her Shop Hop squares in a Quilt of Valor for her son Karl who served with the Army National Guard in the Iraq war. Doris’s sampler quilt uses the squares, including Bursting in Air, to frame a center Lone Star medallion. The quilt is machine pieced and machine quilted.

Doris resides in Pickens County and belongs to the Upcountry Quilters Guild and the Swamp Rabbit Guild in Traveler’s Rest.

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Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Adds Another Quilt Block to the Trail in Anderson, SC

June 27, 2018

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC adds quilt block #219 Drunken Sailor to the ever expanding Quilt Trail.

Descendants of Ida Bell Nelson Turner, Quilt Maker, Variation of the “Drunken Sailor” Pattern. Created near Shellhorn, AL, around 1910/20.
Left front to rear: Diann Simms (granddaughter) and Nelson Brooks (great-grandson)
Right front to rear: Simms Brooks (great-granddaughter), Holland Simms (grandson), Eden Brooks (great-great-grandaughter) and Walt Brooks (great-grandson)

Experienced quilters will recognize Ida Bell Nelson Turner’s lovely, complex quilt as an example of the Drunkard’s Path pattern. This is one of the more challenging quilt blocks to construct because of its curved piecing and complicated block layout. Turner’s quilt is distinguished by its intricate arrangement of blocks and its balanced placement of color. Its block layout is more complicated than other common arrangements. Its bright early 20th century fabrics make this Drunkard’s Path an especially cheerful quilt.

Turner likely made this quilt sometime after 1920 while living with her husband, Newman Sebastian Turner, in Pike County, AL. She lived in close proximity to her many relatives and friends who joined with her to complete quilts for each other. Turner’s granddaughter Diann Simms—the owner of this quilt and sponsor of this block—says Ida told her she used to “put the pieces together” and then family and friends would gather and quilt. According to Turner, not everyone in the group got a completed quilt each year. They “took turn about.” While Ida’s quilt is admired for its beauty and craftsmanship today, its original purpose was covering beds and keeping warm. Like many quilts of the early 20th century, this quilt is backed with bright yellow fabric. The quilt top has a border of blue and bright yellow.

The Drunkard’s Path’s zig zag pattern of curved pieces resembles the path a drunk might walk after a night of drinking. Some quilt historians note that the Drunkard’s Path pattern was popular among quilters during the nation’s experiment with Prohibition. These historians believe that women who supported the temperance movement may have used this pattern to express their support of the anti-alcohol cause. There is, however, some disagreement among quilt historians about the theory’s validity. Turner’s granddaughter Diann doubts that her grandmother made this quilt as a political statement but thinks she’d have found its name, Drunkard’s Path, funny since Ida abstained from alcohol all her life.

Turner was born in 1880 and died in 1966. She is buried near Shelhorn, AL. This quilt block is located at 66 Oleander Drive, Anderson, SC.

For further information about the Quilt Trail call 864/723-6603 or visit (