Quilters invited to document their work at festival

Courtesy photo
A colorful 1940 quilt with a design of hexagon flowers surrounding a central basket was made by Anna Armstrong of Centenary. All of the stitching was done by hand. Armstrong’s husband, William, worked at Englehart Woolen Mill, near Albright, in Preston County, and probably brought home the bright wool scraps for the quilt.

Every quilt tells a story. Some tell the story of births or deaths. Others about celebrations or memories.

Whether hand-stitched or made with a machine, quilts are more than just bed coverings.

At the upcoming West Virginia Quilt Festival, state residents with quilts made before 1970 may have information about their quilts documented so the stories told in threads and cloth aren’t someday lost to future generations. The festival takes place Thursday through Saturday and offers documentation days at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center.

Documentation will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Volunteers from across the state examine the quilts and record facts about the quilts and the quilt makers. The information will be stored in the West Virginia Culture Center Archives and will be up loaded to The Quilt Index, a national database of quilts from across the country,” said Fran Kordek, organizer of the West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project in a news release. “It is a wonderful opportunity to make sure grandma’s quilt or a quilt made by some other member of the family is photographed and documented for future generations, historians and researchers.”

Kordek said they will document popular patterns, styles and fabrics in addition to recording the memory of the makers.

“What they did is so often overlooked,” she said.

Quilts made by unknown quilt makers also are welcome, and each quilt should be brought “as is.”

Information such as the quilt maker’s date of birth, date of death, and maiden and married names is helpful if available.

“We want to photograph these quilts, examine them and record any information the owners can provide to us about who made them and what they know about them,” Kordek said. “Family photos, especially showing the quilt and the quilt maker, are helpful.”

The process is free, but quilt owners need an appointment for documentation. Appointments can be made with Kordek by calling 304-636-7973 or emailing kordekfran@gmail.com.

The West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project is sponsored by West Virginia Quilters Inc. in collaboration with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

The project has resulted in the documentation of photos and information about the makers of more than 50 quilts since the beginning of 2017.

For more information about the quilt documentation project, visit the West Virginia Quilters Inc. website at wvquilters.org.

Reach Anna Taylor at


304-348-4881 or follow

@byannataylor on Twitter.

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