An art as well as a craft, quiltmaking has played a significant role in the lives of many West Virginians, including Fayette County resident Mabel Carmichael Moore. A veteran quiltmaker who spent most of her adult life in the lumber town of Nallen, Moore is featured in the current issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine.
In the article titled “ ‘Quilt of Happy Memories’: Mabel Moore of Nallen,” Moore recalls her life in Nallen in the 1930s as the wife of a railroad stationmaster.
“The community was all just one big family,” she says. “It was just a good community to live in.”
An important part of her life in Nallen was quilting. In the story, Moore reminisces about first learning the skill from a neighbor, joining the Bays Chapel Church Ladies’ Quilting Group and making a down payment on her first sewing machine with her handmade quilt tops.
Now in her 90s, Moore notes that her quilts are “scattered all over the United States, almost.” She has taught others to quilt in the hope of keeping the craft alive.
She adds, “It gives you peace of mind to think that you’re making something that will maybe be passed on to generations on down the road.”
The article’s author, Fawn Valentine, lives in Summers County. A member of the West Virginia Heritage Quilt Search, a volunteer coalition working to document quilt history in the state, Valentine recently authored a book, “West Virginia Quilts and Quiltmakers: Echoes from the Hills,” which is reviewed in this issue of GOLDENSEAL.
This issue of the magazine also includes expanded coverage of the upcoming 25th annual Vandalia Gathering folklife festival along with a story about the now-closed Doll’s Honeymooners Gifts roadside souvenir stand in Mineral County and a profile of the late Earl Franklin “Red” Henline, who long held a reputation as the finest fiddler in Upshur County.
GOLDENSEAL is West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life and is a quarterly publication of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. It is available for $4.95 from Kroger stores and the Hawks Nest State Park gift shop or by calling (304) 558-0220, ext. 153.
Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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