Ramsey Library Exhibits

A Fabric of Friends

Quilts by Newcomers to Madison County, North Carolina
On Display April 1999

This exhibit tells the story of how an old and traditional mountain activity became a major factor in giving a sense of community to newcomers to the North Carolina mountains.

Since 1975, members of our group of quilters have moved into rural Madison County from large cities and towns all over the country. The peace and privacy that our new homes gave us was something we had searched for, but with that desired remoteness came isolation.

When the first wedding was announced among the newcomers, a few women decided to make a quilt because "that's what you did in rural areas." 

It didn't take long for word to spread and interest in quilt making to grow. Three women pieced most of the first wedding quilt in 1979, and several others helped quilt. One year later, fifteen women pieced the second quilt, a baby's wall hanging.

Some of us had backgrounds in the arts, and a few had previous experience with quilting, but most did not. During 1981-1985, twenty-one quilts and wall hangings were completed. 

noahquilt.jpg (23727 bytes)

Noah's Ark - 1982
Baby Quilt for
Amelia Uffelman

Although we are geographically miles apart, working together closely on these projects helped create what we now think of as a community. Our quilts can take hundreds of hours to make, many of these hours spent in the company of friends.

Quilts were made for marriages, births, anniversaries, friendship and fund raisers. We always had a party to celebrate and present each quilt.

All the quilts were meant to surprise their recipients, and the act of keeping a secret added to the bond. Subjects that we covered in conversation while quilting allowed us to get to know each other better. Our quilts are our common bond. leaf.jpg (1758 bytes)

Karol Kavaya
Exhibit Organizer


"Our quilts were not made for competition or sale. They are manifestations of our love and friendship. Beginning needleworkers were always invited to participate."


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