Archive for the ‘Quilt Trail’ Category

The Latest News From the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

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The good folks behind the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has been very busy adding new quilt squares to buildings in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Here’s the info.

#65 The Cotton Boll Quilt

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The history of the textile industry in Walhalla, SC, is the subject of the latest addition to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Mrs. Mary Lou Cushman of Walhalla has sponsored a quilt block called The Cotton Boll Quilt to honor her parents, Rachel Turner McGuffin and John Q. McGuffin, both of whom worked in the Walhalla textile mills. It is mounted on her home at 301 Jaynes Street in the Mill Village. The pattern was originally quilted by Dixie Haywood, noted teacher, quilter and writer of books about quilting. “This is a traditional Carolina block made in the late 19th century. It’s usually made on a white background with Flying Geese sashing, but I changed that part of the design with a yellow background to evoke a hot summer field. That’s why I call my version, ‘Hot Cotton!’”

During the late 1800s and throughout the 20th century, the textile industry played a significant role in shaping the lives of Walhalla residents and the culture of Upstate South Carolina. Walhalla had two main textile mills in operation. Both mills were located along Walhalla’s Blue Ridge Railroad line, one on the edge of town near West Union along Earle Street and the other in the heart of town on South John Street. These mills went by numerous names as company ownership changed frequently. The mill on the edge of town, which has since been torn down, was known primarily as the Kenneth Mill. The mill in the heart of town is known best as Chicopee Mill or Avondale Mill. It is no longer in operation and is currently for sale. Mill companies were very paternalistic and built company towns for employees to live in around the manufacturing facility. These “mill hills” had dozens of houses all built in the typical “salt box” style, company stores, post offices, and even schools. The mill hills were very closely knit communities and many formed baseball teams that played against each other recreationally. Work in the factories was reliable and many farming families from the surrounding mountain communities moved to Walhalla for work in the mills. Toward the end of the 20th century textile manufacturing slowed in Walhalla and the Upstate as work began being outsourced until all textile production stopped by the late 1990s.

One of Mrs. Cushman’s strongest memories is of living in the Mill Village, where her mother’s friends would gather in their home to work on a quilt. Her mother’s quilt frame, which normally hung suspended from the ceiling, was lowered to lap level. While the women gathered around the frame, little Mary Lou would hide out under the frame in her own secret, dark hide-away listening to all the Village gossip. Always in the background were the sounds of the textile mill. When her father came home, the cotton mill smell would be clinging to him.

The house where Mary Lou lives and where the quilt block is displayed is 100 years old and original to the Mill Village. She chose the cotton boll pattern to honor her parents, the other textile workers and the history of the textile industry in Oconee County. Walhalla was a thriving, bustling town, due to the textile mill and the men and women who worked tirelessly to produce quality American goods. In turn, the textile industry allowed many to care for their families and to improve the quality of life for all. It is her hope that when people see the cotton boll quilt block, they will be reminded of what was an important and vital part of the history of South Carolina.

Dixie Haywood has been quilting professionally since the early 1970′s, but made a quilt for her first child in 1955 – a “totally impractical small satin whole cloth with pink on one side and blue on the other.  It became a ‘cozy’ for all three children and accompanied my daughter to college. It’s now in her family archives.”

Haywood says she is self-taught, having worked with fabric most of her life. Her mother had many talents – painting, needlework, lace making, while Dixie stuck with sewing and knitting. She loves quilting for the excitement of design, the satisfaction of mundane construction and the meditative quality of hand quilting. She’s written eight books, six with Jane Hall of Raleigh, NC, all of which explore and expand the technique of foundation piecing. “I’m in no-man’s (woman’s??) land between the traditional quilter and the art quilter, but I do innovative versions of tradition. I get a lot of comments about my use of color, and that’s the hardest part of it. Right now I’m rethinking a color group that just isn’t working – an old story….”

Haywood claims the ‘Blunder Technique’ powered her quilting career – “I just did what I was interested in and let the chips fall where they may.”

#63 Fenced in Dahlia Quilt

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The Fair Play Presbyterian Church joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in October 2011 with the addition of a “Fenced in Dahlia” quilt block made by church member Ola Coombs, sponsored by the Mountain Lakes Region of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. Designs composed of a single flower with multiple petals are some of the most recognizable quilt patterns of the 20th century. Quiltmakers find numerous ways to combine colors and printed fabrics in ways that enhance the patchwork, including adding a patchwork “fence” as a border for this Dahlia pattern.

According to Mrs. Coombs, “My sewing life began over 75 years ago.  I made my first quilt at the age of seven. Fabric, scissors, needles, thimbles and thread have always been a part of my life. My mother would invite friends who quilted like she did – she was known for her tiny stitches and high quality quilts. Flour sacks and sugar sacks were used to make bed linens and covers in our home. Mother would find 3 cents and use it to buy a package of dye to make the sacks a little more colorful. Red and blue dye cost 5 cents, so we had to settle for an ugly brown or green. I still have one of those early quilts and I treasure it.”

“My love for fabric, patterns and quilts has always been a part of me,” adds Coombs. “Natural colors remind me of God’s embroidered beauty, and the Dahlia is probably my favorite flower. The rich, velvety blend of color in the petals of the dahlia reminds me of today’s Batik fabric.  My planning ideas went on a nature trip, and I designed the Fenced in Dahlia block for a queen-sized quilt.

Fair Play Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 108th year. Early in its history, a huge storm blew the church off its foundation. Within a very short time, members were out with horses and mules, lifting the building back on its feet and it’s been serving the community of Fair Play ever since. The Church is small but very involved in the community. There have been, and continue to be, many community outreach programs. Ola Coombs, Music Director, created an annual Christmas program for the Church and community which has drawn hundreds of visitors from every part of Oconee and Anderson counties while providing an evening that is entertaining but also uplifting and spiritual. This little Church continues to have a huge impact on the lives of people in the area. This block will have a temporary home at the entrance of the new nature trail and its permanent location will be on the activity shelter once completed. The church is located at 201 Fair Play Church Road in Fair Play, SC.

#63 Par 3 Quilt

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The Blue Ridge Golf Center in Walhalla recently became a part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail with the addition of a quilt block. Designed and sponsored by Jenny Grobusky, the quilt she calls “Par 3” is in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Grobusky who bought the land on Hwy. 28 in 1922. Mr. Grobusky was a farmer and carpenter by trade and served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba in 1898. The property was first used for farming wheat and cotton. Mrs. Grobusky used her skills as a seamstress to create many quilts to warm her large family. As Jennie tells it, “I don’t think that the Joseph Grobuskys knew anything but hard work on the farm, children and their religion. I only knew Mrs. Grobusky, who was a wonderful mother-in-law. She loved her children and grandchildren.”

Robert Grobusky, a grandson, who now owns the land, grew Christmas trees for many years before transforming the entire farm into a 10-hole par-3 golf course. Except for renovating a couple of rooms to accommodate the present day pro shop, the house remains much the same as it has been for the past 80 years. There are still pieces of furniture in the pro shop that were made by Joseph Grobusky. The original barn was torn down to make way for a driving range. The barn where the quilt block is mounted houses machinery for the golf course. The original quilt comes from a wall hanging created and quilted by Jennie Grobusky and hangs in the Pro Shop.

Blue Ridge Golf Center has been a source of enjoyment to golfers in Oconee County and the surrounding areas. It is also home to Blue Ridge Junior Golf, a learning program for the county’s 5th grade students.

Jenny Grobusky is well known in the Upstate for her needlework skills. She was a teacher of sewing, quilting and helping others learn these skills and was the first recipient of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s Quilter of the Year award in 2009.

#66 Storm at Sea Quilt

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Old St. John’s Meeting House in Walhalla has received a quilt block and is now a part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The church began serving parishioners of the Episcopal Church in 1889, having been constructed in the Rural Gothic architectural style by ‘master builder’ John Kaufmann. The founder and first president of the American Institute of Architects, Richard Upjohn, introduced Gothic Revival to the United States. His book, “Rural Architecture” (1852) provided patterns for countless buildings throughout the country.  Deconsecrated in 1957, Jack Kelley moved the church at his own expense from Short Street to North Pine Street in 1982. The building was moved once again to 301 N. Catherine Street, near the Walhalla City Park, Kaufmann Square, in March 2009.

Sponsored through a grant given to Upstate Heritage Quit Trail, by The Mountain Lakes Region of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, the quilt pattern is called Storm at Sea and was originally quilted by Alberta Ramey Bowers (1926 – 2007), a native of Oconee County, for her oldest son, James. She made many quilts over the years as fundraisers for the Walhalla Civic Auditorium and the Meeting House. She had made quilts for each of her children and grandchildren, and became interested in the fate of the little church after it was vandalized at its previous location. Her husband and two sons placed hard mesh wire over the windows to prevent further damage. Her first quilt for the church was called Ties That Bind since it was made from a collection of men’s neckties. Mrs. Bowers was a trained nurse, the mother of three and a skilled seamstress. Quilting became her passion on her return to Walhalla.

#67 Mariner’s Compass Quilt

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The Iva Quilting Ladies Group has added their second quilt to the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Called a Mariners Compass, it is located on the Peoples Bank located on the corner of Green Street and Highway 81 in Iva, SC. It too is on the SC Heritage Corridor and is a pattern that was used by many of the older ladies in the quilting club of years gone by. They met faithfully each week to quilt in the old Iva High School Cafeteria. Shawn McGee, CFO of the Peoples Bank, told us that one of those ladies was a member of his church as well as his Sunday school teacher. Another was his family’s “nanny” babysitter/housekeeper. “This is an excellent memorial to them, in appreciation for their faithful work.” Students of Sara Jordan, art teacher at Starr-Iva Middle School, assisted in the painting of this quilt block.

The complexity of the Mariners Compass pattern, appealed to skilled quiltmakers of the mid-1800′s. The radiating designs appeared in many variations under such names as Compass Rose, Chips and Whetstones, Sunburst and Sunflower. These patterns require the quilter to measure, cut and sew accurately, so that the points are sharp and all the pieces lie flat without bunching or rippling. Many girls studied geometry in school, learning the use of the drafting compass, an ancient tool for measuring and reproducing arcs. Compass patterns typically contain an even number of points, usually 12, 16 or 32, but some women showed off their skill by carefully crafting blocks with 11 or 13 points.

#68 Yellow Ribbon Quilt

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Patriots’ Hall: Oconee Veterans Museum in Walhalla has joined the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. Sponsored by the Patriots’ Hall Association, the quilt pattern is a ‘Save Our Troops Ribbon” and called Yellow Ribbon. Marilyn Delay of Edwardsville, IL, originally quilted this pattern.

The origin of the yellow ribbon most likely came from our Puritan heritage.  The English Puritan Army wore yellow sashes onto the battlefield.  Yellow is the official color of the Armor Branch of the United States Army, was usually worn by the Cavalry, and was associated with the yellow neckerchief attributed to various artists in Hollywood films.  The symbol was first used as a popular military marching song in 1917 – “Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon”. These lyrics were somewhat altered in 1949 to “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”.

Currently, we see yellow ribbons around trees signifying the residents of a home are waiting for the return of a loved one. This idea originated from the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”. During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used as a symbol of support for the hostages held at the United States Embassy in Tehran. It symbolized the resolve of the American people to win the hostages’ safe release. There was renewed popularity of the yellow ribbon in the United States during the Gulf War in the 1990s, along with the slogan, “Support Our Troops.” It appeared again during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The yellow ribbon most prominently appears in magnetic form displayed on the outside of automobiles or as a small pin worn on the lapel.

Delay doesn’t remember a time she did not have a scrap of material in her hands. Her mother, grandmother and paternal aunts sewed, quilted, knitted, and crocheted. “There were quilt frames, sewing machines and needles of all kinds around the house. I finished my first quilt on my own shortly before my daughter was born 40 years ago. We still have the quilt and all three granddaughters and one grandson have used it.”

Delay’s philosophy about quilts? “I really feel quilts should be used daily.  Even Gracie, our dog, has her own quilts. Many times, the granddaughters will choose which quilt to use for their overnight stays. I love pinwheels and stars, and I love to work with the fabrics from the 1930′s.”

Delay earned a first place ribbon at the Madison County, IL, Fair and does piecing and long arm quilting for Quilts Beyond Borders and a local group that provides quilts to children in protective services and foster homes.  She’s an active member of the local Tie, Needles and Threads group, and she and her disabled veteran husband have been active in veterans’ affairs for years.

Made of camouflage and canvas, with flannel for batting, the Patriots’ Hall quilt is called Charlie’s Quilt in honor of Charles Brickett, former President of the Board of directors of the Patriots’ Hall Association and current member. Mrs. Delay worked with his wife, Joyce Brickett, Secretary of the Board, in deciding on the simple design.

Patriots’ Hall: Oconee Veterans Museum is located in the ‘Old Rock Building’ behind the Oconee County Court House on Short Street in Walhalla. The building was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is constructed from rock found at nearby historic Stumphouse Tunnel. Historically significant military displays are arranged in chronological order beginning with the Revolutionary War. The museum stands to honor all veterans and offers an opportunity for visitors to see firsthand what they have contributed and often sacrificed for our country, our freedom and our world.

For more information call 864/723-6603 or visit (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.org). You can see all of the quilts blocks on the Quilt Trail on the website.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Upstate SC Installs 50th Quilt Block

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

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Fifty and counting – that’s the number of quilt blocks that now comprise the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. This latest is titled “Kimono” and was originally designed by Ellen Kochansky, founder of the Rensing Center in Pickens, SC. A well known textile artist, designer and quilter, Kochansky’s craft is grounded in the traditional style. However, her work stretches beyond to include experimental fibers and mixed-media in response to community-based and site-specific commissions.

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The “Kimono” quilt block has been mounted on the non-profit Rensing Center, named for Kochansky’s mother, Evelyn Rensing Kochansky. She and her husband Nicholas moved from Connecticut to Pickens in 1981. From 1981 to 1992, the building served as the studio for their daughter and a remarkable team who made a line of original, limited-edition bed quilts and a series of art quilts. The production line consisted of 12 to 15 seasonal styles, in two or three colors. They were sold primarily through the national competitive craft shows such as those sponsored by the American Craft Council. Over 2,000 quilts were produced here. The Rensing Center is located at 1165 Mile Creek Road in Pickens.

Inspiration for “Kimono” came from two sources. First, the tradition of resourcefulness and frugality typical of the quilts of the Depression years. They were often made of men’s suits, after the dark wool had become shiny from wear, and perhaps, Dad had lost his job. The fabric could be turned to the wrong side and used again to keep the family warm. Joyful jolts of color called ‘Zingers’ were added to keep the family spirits up and to enliven the quilt. This quilt was designed after Kochansky had spent a sick Christmas with friends and they comforted her with a family quilt of this vintage.

The second inspiration came from Kochansky’s training at Syracuse under Charles Dibble, a Japanese scholar. She was struck by the nature of  Japanese weaving tradition using a diagonal structure in which a standard fabric width of about 14 inches is used to create a kimono for any size person. In many weave-based traditions, the labor and resource intensity of the textile itself was revered, allowing many kimonos to be rebuilt time and again for new owners. She came across the Korean example of a wrapping cloth, a kind of square quilt with ribbons sewn to each corner that was used as a back pack. The design was often made from the specific diagonal wedges of fabric that were cut from the sleeve of the kimono.

Kochansky’s designs reflect the philosophy behind the Rensing Center itself – it serves as a connecting model between creative thinking and craftsmanship. As Kochansky explains, “Make use of what you have – This is what will solve the environmental, economic and creative problems of today. Nothing goes to waste! Finding what is scorned and discarded  in our less conscious society, and honoring it with a purpose that is both beautiful and useful…THERE is art!”

This 50th quilt on the driving trail is a turning point for the UHQT. It is only a year and a half since the first quilt block was hung in Oconee County. The trail has recently expanded into Pickens and Anderson counties with plans to continue expansion down the South Carolina Heritage Corridor to Charleston.

For more information visit (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.org).

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina Reaches 44 Stops

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

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For the last year and a half, I’ve been bringing you news about South Carolina’s only component of the National Quilt Trail – the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, which started out as the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail, but had grown to cover a much larger area of the Upsptate – now with 44 individual stops.

I’ve had a couple of articles waiting in the wings for photos of the quilt blocks or squares, but I recently checked the group’s website and found that everything I was waiting to tell you can be found there.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail’s new website, found at (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.com) was made possible in part by a grant from the Mountain Lakes R810guiltfest1egion of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.

 

On the site you can read about the groups history in South Carolina and about the origins of the National Quilt Trail. There is also images of all 44 quilts and descriptions of the quilt patterns and their history. There is also an interactive Google map showing all the locations. You can even print out maps of locations from the website, so you can hit the road and do a scavenger hunt for the quilt blocks.

The locations are now spread throughout Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties – from the SC Welcome Center on I-85 in Fair Play, where travelers enter into SC from Georgia – to new locations in Central, Pendleton, Salem, Long Creek, Liberty, and Tamassee. Everyone is jumping on the quilt trail bandwagon – in at least one corner of the Upstate.

One thing I can’t figure out is what’s up with the rest of SC? There are a lot of quilt organizations and groups all over South Carolina, but I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone else about starting a quilt trail in their area of the state.

Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in South Carolina is Growing

Friday, February 4th, 2011

It was about a year ago when we first brought you the story of South Carolina’s first entry into the National Quilt Trail program. It started out as the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail when the first quilt square was mounted on the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla, SC, in Oconee County. Since that time the Quilt Trail has expanded to Anderson and Pickens counties and has been renamed the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

If you’ve never heard anything about the National Quilt Trail you might want to read that first blog entry I made at this link (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2010/02/15/launch-of-national-quilt-trail-in-south-carolina-feb-16-2010-in-walhalla-sc/). It’s much bigger in North Carolina.

You can see a youTube video of that first installation and other activities at this link (http://wn.com/Quilt_Trail), just click on the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail to the right.

These days I see quilt square’s or blocks everywhere – on the road and in photographs of other things. It’s amazing how one day you don’t know what something is and don’t care and then all of a sudden – you can spot them everywhere you go. Well, not so much in SC.

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail has a new website which is very informative at (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.com). Check it out. It’s still in progress – they will be adding more photos and locations in time.

Here’s the group’s new press release:

The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail continues to expand with the recent mounting of three new quilt blocks. Currently, there are now about 40 historic quilt patterns painted on boards and mounted on schools, barns, museums, libraries and homes in Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties. The three latest are as follows:

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Residence: Mrs. Rebecca DeFoor, 9221 Long Creek Hwy., in Westminster, SC – This quilt block has been lovingly prepared for Sarah Brown DeFoor to honor the memory of her late husband, Waymon Watson DeFoor, who died in 2010. The original quilt was made by Mr. DeFoor’s mother, Lucy Looney DeFoor, in the late 1930’s as a gift to the young couple. It has been in the family for more than 70 years. Sarah says it was too pretty to use, she’s been saving it! It’s finally out of storage and on her bed. Her daughter-in-law, Rebecca Harper DeFoor, worked on the quilt block along with members of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The maker of this quilt combined traditional Nine Patch blocks with the diagonal progression of the Double Irish Chain pattern. The result forms a “framed center” overall design reminiscent of the fine patchwork quilts of the early 19th century.

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Residence: Nan and Christine Drais – 476 Fire Tower Rd.,  in Seneca, SC – Eagle Ridge Star was born from the love of the barn owners’ love for the Tennessee Walking Horse. This block demonstrates the way quilt makers transform existing patterns to feature individualized imagery. Fiery colors of red and orange in this traditional eight pointed star represent the maker’s passion for the breed, while turquoise and blue represent the peace of the relationship humans experience with horses. Nan and her daughter Christine Drais have been lifelong equine enthusiasts and built Eagle Ridge Farm in 2005. Christine started quilting while in graduate school at Clemson University where she wrote her Master’s thesis on quilt travel.

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Residence: Karen Books, 307 Valley Rd., in Seneca, SC – Quilt makers of the 21st century often choose to “paint” naturalistic images using fabric, as with this pair of loons. Instead of the square format of traditional block patterns, contemporary quilts often take the shape of a rectangle. The artist for this quilt is McKenna Ryan from her collection “Calling Me Home.” It is an adaptation from “All-a-Loon in the Mist” quilt. The original quilter is Pat Huggins of Seneca, SC, and it was sponsored by family and friends of Karen Brooks.

For more information on the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, check out the website (www.upstateheritagequilttrail.com) or call Martha File at 864/885-1018 or Cynthia Leggett at 864/985-1271.

The Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild’s Biennial Festival of Quilts Takes Place in Seneca, SC – Sept. 17 & 18, 2010

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Our first mention of quilts on this blog was made in Feb. 2010, when we brought you news about the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail being developed in Oconee County, SC. Since that time the Quilt Trail has expanded to Anderson and Pickens counties and has been renamed the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. We also talked about how developed these quilt trails are in Western North Carolina. You can read that entry at this link.

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Now, I’m bringing you news about a Festival of Quilts and the official kickoff of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

The biennial Festival of Quilts will be held on Sept. 17 & 18, 2010, at the Shaver Center, located at 698 West South 4th Street in Seneca, SC. The show will be open on Friday from 10am until 6pm and on Saturday from 10am until 4pm. More than 200 quilts, all made by Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild (LMQG) members, will be on display throughout Seneca. Admission is $5, but children 12 and under get in free.

The Festival of Quilts features quilts produced by members in a variety of categories from traditional bed quilts to art quilt wall hangings, wearables and other quilted home decor. Demonstrations, special exhibits reflecting guild projects and challenges, and displays honoring special guild members are an integral part of the show. A donation quilt made by members, a Fat Quarters basket prize (a quilter’s dream) and a charity auction are part of the excitement. Even a Car Quilt is featured – in the past it has been the hit of the show.

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The Presentation Quilt – Eat Your Greens

The Festival of Quilts will also highlight two other special quilt related events, the recognition of the Oconee Quilter of the Year, Mrs. Jenny Grobusky, and the official kickoff of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.

Jenny Grobusky began quilting in 1993, creating a king-sized bedspread in the Dresden Plate pattern for her husband, George, in honor of their 50th anniversary. It was the first quilt she’d ever made and it launched a whole new career for her of quilting and teaching others to quilt. She had been a seamstress all her life, teaching all aspects of sewing at the Fred P. Hamilton Career Center and elsewhere in the area. As part of the reward process in being named Oconee Quilter of the Year, her quilt pattern was painted and mounted on the barn at her family farm, becoming part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. She was also honored in May 2010 at a reception at the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Seneca.

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The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail will celebrate their grand kick-off in conjunction with the Quilt Show. A sample of painted quilt blocks will be on display during the show and maps of the Quilt Trail will also be available. Several of the sites displaying show quilts also have Quilt Trail blocks mounted on their building. Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT) was formally established in February 2010 with the mounting of four quilt blocks on buildings. Since then, local interest in the Quilt Trail has increased rapidly, and new painted panels (almost 30) are popping up throughout Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. The establishment of the Upstate Quilt Trail adds South Carolina to the National Quilt Trail, established in 2001.

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The LMQG and its members preserve the traditions, culture and history of quilting in Oconee, Anderson and Pickens Counties. They promote fellowship among quilters; contribute to the knowledge and appreciation of fine quilts; sponsor and support quilting activities, and contribute to the growth of knowledge of quilting techniques, textiles, patterns and quilt makers through educational meetings and travel. More importantly, they create Comfort Quilts for children and adults at Oconee Medical Center, Hospice of the Foothills and local nursing homes. When a non-local need arises, such as a Ronald McDonald House, or a catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina, LMQG members rise to the challenge to provide the comfort of a soft, warm quilt to make the recipient’s days a little brighter.

For more information on the festival, log onto (www.lmqg.org/quiltshow).

3rd Annual HAM Festival Takes Place in Seneca, SC – July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Correction: The date of the Festival is July 24, 2010 – not the 14 as previously stated.

The 3rd Annual Heritage, Arts & Music Festival (HAM) will take place on July 24, 2010, from noon to 5pm at Duke Energy’s World of Energy, located at 7812 Rochester Highway in Seneca, SC. The theme of this year’s festival is focused on quilts and proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Arts Center and the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail.

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We first reported on South Carolina’s first entry into a national quilt trail project back on Feb. 15, 2010 – here’s the link to that blog entry (http://carolinaarts.com/wordpress/2010/02/15/launch-of-national-quilt-trail-in-south-carolina-feb-16-2010-in-walhalla-sc/).

Since that time a lot of activity on this project has been going on and I recently received a fairly long article about some of those activities and upcoming events, but we’re going to feed them to you in shorter bites.

So first up is the HAM Festival.

The Heritage, Arts & Music Festival (HAM Festival) offers a number of free activities for the whole family including: Quilt Historian Laurel Horton will give a talk from 1 to 3:30pm; Hands-on Art Station for Children; Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail Painting; Artisan’s Sidewalk Sale; Quilt-Themed Art Show, Featuring a Variety of Mediums on view through Aug. 20 inside lobby of World of Energy; Live Music by Conservation Theory and Four Mule Pileup; Oconee County Storyteller Phil Cheney Performs at 1pm; and National Award Award-Winning Youth Storyteller Rixon Lane Performs at 3pm.

For further information call the World of Energy at 800/777-1004 or visit (www.duke-energy.com/worldofenergy/).

So what’s been going on since last we reported? Well you could probably learn a lot by attending the HAM Festival or visiting the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail website at (www.oconeeheritagequilttrail.com), but here’s a little of what was in the recent press release.

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Quilt Square placed on Blue Ridge Elementary School – a Jackson Star

Residents of the area are beginning to see something new in Oconee County (Seneca, Salem, Walhalla, Westminster) – Quilts. Not the cloth and batting kind of quilts, but rather historic quilt patterns painted on specially prepared boards and mounted on buildings in the area. Thanks to members of the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild (LMQG), the Blue Ridge Arts Center (BRAC) and some dedicated volunteers, the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail (OHQT) has been established.

The Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail is in the process of creation of these “painted quilts” and hanging them where they can be enjoyed and admired by local residents and visitors alike, either one at a time or by following the Quilt Trail through the county.  Once finished, the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative installs the quilt blocks on their new homes. The blocks are then listed on the trail map in OHQT brochures and on the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail website.

Besides creating painted quilts, the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild and the Blue Ridge Arts Center are inaugurating the Quilt Trail in a number of ways. Mrs. Jenny Grobusky of Walhalla, SC, has been named Oconee Quilter of the Year, the first recipient of this honor. As part of the reward process, her first quilt pattern, a Dresden Plate pattern, was painted and mounted on the barn at her family farm, becoming part of the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail. She was honored in May 2010 at a reception at theBlue Ridge Arts Center, and will be recognized again at the upcoming Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild Festival held on Sept. 17 & 18, 2010, at the Shaver Center in Seneca. The (LMQG) represents guilters from Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties in SC.

We’ll offer you more about the history of the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail and info about the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild Festival later.

For further info about the Oconee Heritage Quilt Trail you can call Cynthia Leggett at 864/985-1271; Laurel Horton at 864/882-9933; or Martha File at 864/885-1018. You can e-mail to (info@oconeeheritagequilttrail.com) or visit (www.oconeeheritagequilttrail.com).