A hanging garden of handmade quilts
UPPER CRAIGS CREEK – The cooler weather a week or so ago inspired some homeowners to do fall cleaning and other chores, in preparation for winter. For Claudette Brizendine, of the Upper Craigs Creek area of Craig County, this was perfect weather to air some of her handmade quilts.
She had eight of her quilts airing on her clothesline one recent morning. Each featured a different pattern, and the quilts included many colors. There was a story behind each quilt.
Brizendine explained that the Jacob’s Fan quilt is a combination of two patterns: Jacob’s Ladder and Grandmother’s Fan. This is an intricate pattern, and this quilt is done in various shades of pink. She did the piecing and quilting on this one. She said it placed second in the Craig County Fair about 20 years ago.
Her Strawberry quilt is a much simpler design, with large strawberries she appliquéd on the quilt top and quilted.
The Pine Tree quilt is another that was appliquéd, this one by Frances Oliver of Newport, and quilted by Brizendine.
She quilted the Maple Leaf quilt that was appliquéd by her mother, Letha Abbott. Brizendine both pieced and quilted the Schoolhouse quilt.
Her Lone Star quilt features just the one “lone” star, made up of many small pieces of colorful fabrics.Brizendine’s grandmother, Leslie Brickey, made this quilt.
The Trip Around the World quilt also contains hundreds of small, colorful squares and was pieced by Bessie Hancock, Brizendine’s aunt.
The quilt that really stood out as they hung on the clothesline was the Flower Garden pattern.
“This was pieced by my grandmother, Leslie Brickey, and I quilted it,” Brizendine explained. “The fabrics are from the 1930s.” The red binding and the red pieces separating the flowers is very pleasing to the eye, although Brizendine said “I think the red is too bright. I might change to a color that isn’t so bright”.
Brizendine has quilted more than 100 quilts over the years, although she didn’t make all of them.
She doesn’t enjoy making appliquéd quilts, she said, unless the appliquéd pieces are large like those in the Strawberry quilt.
“I like quilt kits, where all the pieces have already been cut,” she said. “I don’t like cutting all the little pieces.”
It’s evident Brizendine takes much pride in her collection of quilts and enjoys telling the story of each quilt. Although very willing to share her “treasures,” she makes it plain that she doesn’t want others to think she’s “bragging,” she said, but considers the quilts as a part of local history that she hopes others will enjoy learning about.