Not so long ago, when women wanted to freshen their quilts they would put them outside in the sunlight to air them instead of washing them, hence the term “airing of the quilts.” In remembrance of this tradition, the Quilter’s Guild organized the Airing of the Quilts exhibit. It was held June 24-25 at the Jackson County Public Library & Historic Courthouse. More than100 quilts were displayed.
Pat Warren commented that this exhibit was just a reminder of a country tradition as well as a showcase the talents of the quilters. And according to Warren, quilting is making a comeback as a hobby, even among young people.
Some of the quilts on display were antiques that had been passed down from generation to generation. One was a six pointed blue star pattern on a white back ground that was made in 1864.
Other quilts had a different kind of historic value. One summer quilt, submitted by Barbara Jakiela, was stitched together out of campaign ribbons from the U.S. Grant/Wilson presidential campaign. It was made after the Civil War but the fabric was from the Civil War era.
Raffle tickets for a quilt were sold and the drawing was held on Sunday. The lucky winner was Melody McQwen of Sylva. Proceeds from the raffle will go to buy supplies for the Tuesday Quilters and the “Quilt Valor” program. This program makes and gives quilts and blankets to veterans and wounded soldiers.
Laura Nelle Goebel said that this was the first Airing of the Quilts to be held in Jackson County and that it was a precursor to the Quilting Symposium to be held June 7-10, 2012 at Western Carolina University.
“It will basically be like a four-day quilters’ convention with classes and exhibits,” Goebel explained. She said she was very excited about the Symposium because it is a statewide organization and this will be the first time it has ever been held west of Asheville.