Grandmothers Flower GardenBlock Number: H 12
McDowell Quilt Trail
“GRANDMOTHER’S FLOWER GARDEN” JOINS MCDOWELL RURAL HERITAGE TRAIL
On Monday afternoon July 7, 2014 Everett and Rheubena Hardin hosted the twelfth block on the Rural Heritage Trail. The eye-catching 4-foot by 4-foot block was installed by volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker on an old tobacco barn that is easily viewed at 5605 Highway 226 South. This pattern was a challenging block and artist Mike Lucas spent more than sixty hours in its construction and painting.
Everett and Rheubena will celebrate 53 years of marriage this September and are originally from Yancey County, but purchased the 19+ acres that the tobacco shed is located on in 1998. Although the original homestead is gone, the barn, although no longer in use, is still in good shape and sits quietly in the pasture, distinctively visible as one passes by.
“Grandmother’s Flower Garden” was the last quilt pattern Rheubena’s mother Pauline King Foster quilted before passing away at 100 plus years in September last year. It serves in her memory and to honor her love of quilting not only over 50 quilts, but many potholders and placemats. Mrs. Foster was the oldest member of the Rocky Pass Freewill Baptist Church and the quilt covered her casket during the funeral service.
Mrs. Foster is known to have given her handiworks to everyone she knew and her work is considered “museum quality”. Her motto was “if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all” and she took great pains to construct first-rate compositions consisting of all finger-work stitches except for the lining which was done on a sewing machine. Just a few of the other well-recognized quilt patterns she made were “Bears Paw”, “Wedding Ring”, “Odd Fellow” and “Star of Bethlehem”.
The tract the tobacco barn is located on originally consisted of around 2,000 acres, and was part of the Mills Higgins, Jr. property, much of which is now the Higgins Township. Through the years various families rented the home until Fred and Nancy Jackson purchased it in the 1940’s. Walter F. Jackson inherited the old home from his parents and he and his wife Elizabeth raised nine children there. In the late 1950’s he built the tobacco barn to use as he farmed the land and worked for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“Grandmother’s Flower Garden” pattern was made as early as the end of the 1700’s, often with the early names of “honeycomb” and “mosaic”. This classic pattern, made almost exclusively from hexagons, became most popular after 1925 and was a wonderful way to use up scraps of material. The most common way the quilts were made was with a central hexagon and rows of hexagons surrounding it with an interconnecting row. The hexagon pattern must be perfect for the pieces to fit together accurately and quilters used creative variations of colors and backgrounds to create the flower garden look.
Chairwoman Jill Lucas presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Everett and Rheubena accompanied by their dog Buffy. The Hardins displayed the original quilt Rheubena’s mother had made and its colors complimented those of the block. Also attending the installation and photo session was their treasured friend Amy Smith with her twin daughters Anne and Hannah. Pastor Alan Sailors of Rocky Pass Freewill Baptist Church (who officiated Mrs. Foster’s funeral) and his wife Michelle were also present for the occasion.