Covering McDowell County

Block Number: 101


By Ginger Todd

On Tuesday morning, September 27, 2011, the McDowell Quilt Trail installed Quilt Block #101 at the radio station of WBRM. "Covering McDowell County" Quilt Block was painted and installed by Mike Lucas. Annette Bryant, owner of the station, received the Certificate of Authenticity from Jill Lucas, Chairperson of the Quilt Trail Committee.

WBRM Radio Station, 1250 AM, is located at 147 North Garden Street in downtown Marion. It first went on the air in 1949 as Lake City Broadcasting. Annette Bryant has been the owner of the station for 23 years, having acquired it in 1988. Previous to this date she had worked there for twelve years, gaining valuable experience in the broadcasting field. WBRM is categorized as a private company under “radio stations and broadcasting companies” and features a country music format. News, announcements and coverage of local events are a major part of the station’s service to the community.

Annette grew up with a quilting family background, fondly remembering the setting up of the quilt frames, the laughter and fellowship of others during weekly quilting get-togethers. These were most often held in the “fire room” (sitting room) of her grandmother, Effie Poteat. Grandma Poteat often quilted the more utilitarian, heavier type quilts for winter. Annette has memories of her brother and herself often getting involved in assisting by getting under the quilt rack and aiding by pushing the needle up through the rougher material of the backing for tacking.

When she was eight years old Annette was given her first child’s Singer Sewing machine by her Mother, then progressed to the human powered treadle machine. She remembers especially the double wedding Ring quilt pattern and sewing quilt blocks together.

It was Annette’s “Aunt Lib” (Elizabeth Poteat) who quilted the more elaborate, fancy designs and appliqués. It was around twenty-five years ago Annette was given the quilt top pieces from a trunk for the Dresden Plate pattern that had never been finished by her aunt. Although Annette grew up with a quilting family she had never made a quilt herself, so she had the top pieces quilted to form a cover. To honor her Aunt for her 101st birthday this year, she decided to host a block on the Trail of the Dresden Plate pattern she inherited. By hosting the 101st Quilt Block, this is also to honor the McDowell Quilt Trail for continuing a new beginning of its second one hundred being added to the Trail.

The 4 X 4 foot Quilt Block “Covering McDowell County” faces East on the front entrance of the WBRM Radio Station. The Dresden Plate pattern was first made in 1785 and became most popular during the 1920’s and 30’s. The popular and easily recognizable flower-like petals of color on a usually neutral background, was named after the ornately decorated tableware of Dresden, Germany, then the center of 19th Century romanticism movement in art.

Often used as a wall hanging as well as a quilt, it brightened many a household during the Great Depression and the pattern is still popular today. The unique round shape uses even the smallest of scraps of all types of fabric combined together to produce this pleasing cheerful and eye-catching pattern. Due to its circular pattern it requires a lot of appliqué, producing a quite colorful and beautiful pattern, reflecting the romance of the Victorian Era and its love of elaborate decoration. Through the years, the Dresden Plate has also been known by several other names, but all with the same central flower-like pattern and colors.

The four corners of "Covering McDowell County" are squared in maroon with triangles of steel grey edging on a lighter grey border. Radiating from a central circle of maroon are petals featuring over 20 vibrant shades of color on a white background, a perfect example of the Dresden Plate pattern. This beautiful Block reminds us of both the comforting cover of warmth a quilt can provide us, as well as our local radio station covering the airways of McDowell County with good music and news.

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