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A Legacy of Quilting

Members of the Johnson County Senior Center quilters and Edith Cornett’s family gather for a photo to promote the completion of a recent project. The Center’s Quilting Bee members are looking forward to the end of the pandemic and returning to their weekly sessions. Submitted photo

By Tamas Mondovics

It was a special day for Edith Cornett’s family members, who gathered at the Johnson County Senior Center, 128 College St, Mountain City, TN on a recent sunny afternoon.Members of the Quilting Bees joined the family to collect the last quilt made for the newest family member, Knox Radley Cornett, by his great-grandmother Edith Cornett. According to Johnson County Senior Center staff, Mrs. Cornett had made quilts for each of her three children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren before passing away in October of 2020.

“Last summer, the pieces were sewn by Mrs. Cornett and quilted this winter by members of the Johnson County Senior Center Quilting Bees,” said Johnson County Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger.

The Quilting Bees, represented by Ollie Phipps, Jean Henson, Carol Shores, and Beverly McKinney, presented the last of Mrs. Cornett’s quilt to Aaron Cornett, son of Mrs. Cornett and grandfather, to be given to the youngest great-grandchild, Knox Radley Cornett, who was born in 2017. Motsinger emphasized that the Johnson County Senior Center Quilting Bees are members of the senior center who have traditionally gathered weekly to quilt tops brought in by community members.

“Hand quilting used to be common in most homes as a way to make warm bed coverings, but as with many of the traditional arts, is becoming a forgotten art,” she said. “These ladies take quilt tops and layer them with batting and a backing and then hand stitch the layers together, which results in a quilt.”

Records indicate that one quilt required 76 hours of hand quilting to complete. People throughout the community have been bringing in quilt tops to the volunteer quilters for more than twenty years. Donations are made to the Johnson County Senior Center for the quilting. Since the beginning of 2017, $4,796 has been donated for the countless hours of quilting that has been done to preserve their family quilts.

Before the pandemic, the Quilting Bees met on Tuesday morning to quilt, and they are looking forward to the end of the pandemic that will allow them to return to their weekly quilting time and “therapy sessions,” as several of the quilters refer to their time together. Current Quilting Bee members include Grace Davis, Naomi Hammons, Barbara Henson, Jean Henson, Beverly McKinney, Janie Nelson, Ollie Phipps, Carol Shores, and Cora Mae Stout.

For more information about the Johnson County Senior Center Quilting Bees, please visit the Center’s Facebook page or call (423) 727-8883.