Quilt raffle in Moreland features donated piece

by W. Winston Skinner


Emily Wilbert shows the beautiful quilt that will be auctioned – for the second time – at Moreland United Methodist Church today. 

For more than two decades, a group of artists with a needle gathered each July 4 in Moreland.

They set up a folding table in front of Moreland United Methodist Church and sold raffle tickets for a quilt they had made. At one point, the number of quilters at Moreland Methodist numbered in the teens, but the group gradually dwindled in size.

For several years, there were just three – Clyde Cook, Helen Sizemore and Emily Rosser. Last year, they planned and stitched, put out their table on July 4, displayed their quilt and sold raffle tickets for the last time. At least, that’s what the three women thought.

When the winning ticket was pulled from the box, it was one purchased by a member at Moreland Methodist, Jennie Sanders. Sanders donated the quilt back to the church, and the raffle tickets will be on sale again today.

In fact, church member Emily Wilbert has already been pre-selling tickets at $1 a pop. Wilbert has also been active in helping set up the indoor yard sale in the church fellowship hall.

Moreland Methodist member Deborah Smith is coordinating the Puckett Station Arts and Crafts Festival for the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, and other Methodists are part of a three-church group getting ready for the massive community barbecue that will be held this morning.

So the quilt raffle represents a church-wide community involvement on the nation’s birthday.

Rosser said she is not sure exactly how many years the quilters have been selling tickets on July 4. “Twenty-something, at least,” she said.

“We met because of the quilts. That was our purpose. At one time, we would have two quilts going at one time,” she remembered.

Over the years, money raised from the raffle has been donated to the church “for whatever it’s needed for,” Rosser said.

Cook, Rosser and Sizemore kept quilting after other stitchers dropped out or died. “It’s been like that for a few years,” Rosser said.

Tickets will be sold today by the quilters, with the winning ticket pulled from a well-shaken box in the early afternoon. The winner of the quilt will get a piece of history in more ways than one.

The skills with a needle go back to an earlier time, and the quilt – with its colorful squares and fine stitches – tells the story of a church and of some members who have steadfastly believed in it. The quilt also illustrates a way of life celebrated in Moreland each year on July 4 – a time when families lived on farms and mothers taught daughters homemaking skills.

Rosser’s mother, Arkola Norris Rowe, knew how to quilt, and she passed that skill – no doubt learned from own mother – along. “My mother taught me (to quilt) when I was about 12 years old,” Rosser said.

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