To really appreciate a quilt, look at both sides


An angel of an oak was quilted. There it was, like a painting.

Up close you could see hand stitching giving the ancient branches their heavy gracefulness and shadowy colors.

It caught everyone’s eye amid the Omar Shrine Temple huge display by the Cobblestone Quilters Guild.

Yes, each viewer had their own favorites. My selection which I voted for had no ribbon, but it remained my favorite even upon returning a second day. I missed so much Friday, so I returned Saturday with husband in tow to take photos. He went on and on, taking more photos than I expected.

Regal Christmas was not your typical green and red holiday quilt. It was golden and brown and tan.

I found a volunteer with white gloves to lift the corner and peak at the backing. Quilts are like two blankets. The back revealed the regal quilting stitchery in all its glory. I wish I could see it all.

Sometimes what you do not see is the loveliest of all.

A visitor from Canada selected as her favorite a very bright, colorful quilt near the entrance with a wide, deep brown border.

My Goose Creek friend who invited me chose an enormous yellow quilt at the back of the hall with full outside light falling on it. It was so large that part of it was rolled under on the floor.

When my husband and I returned the second day to see what I had missed, we met a family of three exiting.

The little boy seemed happy to be with his parents, skipping along. We asked him which quilt he liked. He replied the animal quilts. Some were Lowcountry animals and others were animals from afar.

Meeting our neighbor who helped organize this display was our treat Saturday. Susan Alberto introduced us to Linda Wells who made the Sunbonnet Sue kitchen pad I had already purchased.

My mother’s Sunbonnet Sue quilt is one I have in our bedroom. The white quilting meticulously sewn by grandma’s friends is white on white and ever so lovely surrounding the multiple Sunbonnet Sues. The viewer may not see it upon first view because Sue steals the show.

Quilts are lovely looking at over and over, front and back, because at first you can not possibly see all the stitch design, often hidden and only revealed on the reverse side.

Just like going Friday and not seeing it all, so I went back Saturday to find my friends’ first choices. Photos of front and back were not captured, but the front design tantalizes for further wonder ... quilts are warm and full of memories and mystery.

Martha F. Barkley retired to Charleston in 1997 after 30 years teaching in Maryland public schools.