NAEC members share their passion for quilting
One of Brenda Carter’s fondest memories of her mother, who passed away in 2011, revolves around sitting in the family’s living room on a cold winter’s night with her mom and sisters, working on quilting projects.
“I can remember in wintertime the quilt frames stayed hung from the living room ceiling and we would all help her quilt,” Carter says. “We loved helping Mama, but we never got to keep the quilts. We had to use them to cover the beds.”
Quilting is a passion that has been passed down for many generations. Donna Hightower, the owner of Bridges Spring Quilting, was also taught how to quilt by her mother. Carter and Hightower share their memories of quilting and how it helps preserve memories of people and their families.
Labor of Love
Carter’s mother, Emma Latham Dean, quilted since childhood. Like many women of her era, it was a way of life.
“She was one of 12 children,” Carter says. “Everyone needed warmth. They would take old clothing, or anything they had, and make quilts. She could identify old outfits just from seeing quilts.”
Dean died in January 2011, but her handiwork lives on today through the quilts she made and passed down to her family.
While quilting was Dean’s favorite passion, she had many other skills. She grew up on a farm in Larkinsville before marrying her husband, Arnold, moving to the Skyline area, and raising a family.
Dean was a homemaker, but when her children were older, she went to work in a hosiery mill in Skyline and then as a teacher’s aide for a kindergarten class. She did not have her high school diploma but received her GED later in life. She also loved music and taught herself to play the organ.
“She didn’t want to be bored when she got older,” Carter says. “She loved teaching and helping with children. She was crazy about all the children and always encouraged education. We just marvel at all she was able to get done.”