Three new colorful quilt blocks sprang up across the county last week, bringing to 16 the number of quilt blocks on the Stone County Quilt Trail, which is the inaugural trail of ArkansasQuiltTrails.com.
The Quilt Trail features quilt patterns painted onto plywood and mounted onto barns, commercial buildings, or homes. Quilt Trails began in the eastern United States and have become a popular tourist attraction for those who like to drive the countryside, going from quilt block to quilt block.
The newest three blocks were the culmination of a group effort over a one-week period. The Crazy Quilt pattern was chosen by the Stone County Historical Society to hang on the historic 1928 stone building at 206 School Drive in Mountain View that is home to the Stone County Museum, Edwin Luther Auditorium, and the Freda & Loy Massey Research Room.
Local artist Kay Thomas designed the block and selected the colors for the Crazy Quilt. Young Single Adults from the Searcy Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered on a recent rainy Saturday morning to paint the base coats for all three new blocks. Thomas added embellishments to the Crazy Quilt design.
Renee Carr, president of the Stone County Historical Society, noted, “Everyone loved working on the quilt blocks and it was suspenseful waiting to see what Kay’s finished crazy quilt creation would look like. It did not disappoint!”
The six-foot square Crazy Quilt block (#1-14) is visible from Main Street, but a close-up look is recommended.
The Crazy Quilt pattern peaked in popularity from 1890-1910. The technique involves using scraps to piece blocks, then embellishing the blocks to show off embroidery skills. It was a way to turn leftovers into masterpieces. Crazy quilts often made use of woolens and silks and were tacked, without batting, instead of quilted. The Stone County Museum quilt display includes three Crazy Quilts in its collection.
Quilt Block #1-15 is a four-foot square replication of the Country Patriotic Flag pattern. It hangs on the Stone County Veterans Affairs Office on the courthouse grounds in Mountain View. The bright red, white, and blue flag with one star is in honor of the Stone County men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. It is also in appreciation of the volunteer work done by the Stone County Honor Guard to provide services at funerals of veterans and presenting the colors in programs and parades. Their newly launched website is StoneCountyHonorGuard.org.
Quilt Block #1-16 is a two-foot square Schoolhouse pattern placed on the Turkey Creek School at 5005 Highway 9, about 13.5 miles south of Mountain View. The historic one-room school house is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1925, many students were educated there during its 22-year existence as a school. After 1947 the building was used as a community center, church, and polling site. Today it is used only for special programs and an occasional wedding. The building had an exterior renovation last year with the help of donors and volunteers who put on a new roof, removed peeling paint, and added a fresh coat of paint.
Though it wasn’t planned to be Number 16 on the trail, in a case of serendipity, it turned out to be the sixteenth quilt block erected. The number 16 has historical significance from our nation’s early days when the sixteenth section of land was reserved for public schools.
Arkansas Quilt Trails is a project of Rural Community Alliance, a statewide nonprofit organization which manages the quilt trail website and provides promotion of the quilt trails. The organization’s goal for the project is to expand the trails into counties all across the state.
The Searcy County and Newton County trails are developing, and the
Cleburne County trail is in the planning stage. Each county trail gets its own page at ArkansasQuiltTrails.com once 12 quilt blocks are installed. Those interested in adding a block to the Stone County Trail or starting a trail in another county should call or e-mail Renee Carr at 870-615-2195 or firstname.lastname@example.org.