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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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The Artisan Center home to first 'quilt block' on The Crooked Road
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Photo by Charles Boothe: Members of the Lake Quilters Guild of Smith Mountain Lake stand in front of the quilt block placed on the Artisan Center on Franklin Street Wednesday morning. From left are Rose Ann Smith, Teena Livsey, Ruth Ann Assaid, Eloise Vass, Linda Quinn (guild president), Gunny Watson (a founding member of the guild), Betty Huffman and Sharon Pafford.

Monday, August 22, 2011

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

Rocky Mount is the gateway to The Crooked Road, and now it is home to a "first" on the that long, winding road.

Thanks to the Lake Quilters Guild of Smith Mountain Lake and local business owner Mary Wray, a "quilt block" now hangs on the side of Wray's Artisan Center on Franklin Street.

Guild member Eloise Vass said she hopes other quilt blocks will spring up along The Crooked Road all the way to Abingdon and maybe beyond. The trail ends at The Breaks State Park in Dickenson County.

"The quilt blocks started in Ohio in 2001," Vass said. A woman placed one, which is a large painting of several blocks of a quilt pattern, on the side of her barn to honor her mother, who had been a lifelong quilter.

Blocks for the quilt squares were primarily started to honor quilting and farming, two important aspects of American life since Colonial times, she said. But the blocks caught on and have now spread to 31 states.

"I envision this quilt block trail going to Ferrum, Floyd and all the way to Abingdon," Vass said.

The name of Rocky Mount's quilt block is "The Drunkard's Path," a stylized version of a crooked road. Vass said the pattern was chosen as "a remembrance of the county's history as The Moonshine Capital of the World."

"Most of them go on barns and other outbuildings, but I thought it would be nice to start one on the Artisan Center," she said.

Vass said she got the idea while on a bus trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., where she saw some blocks for the first time. She picked up a brochure about their history and thought it would be a "great thing for our part of the trail."

The block now hanging at the Artisan Center was done by Bruce Goepel of Floyd, she said.

"He did a wonderful job painting this and putting a frame around it," she said.

Wednesday morning, a group of guild quilters and others watched as a bucket truck from Shively Electric was used to install the block. Vass said Shively volunteered to provide the truck and the labor for the project.

Vass said she is hopeful that the idea will catch on and travelers on The Crooked Road will learn the story behind each one.

 
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