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Exhibit shows needlework through the years

If your grandmother or mother ever stitched a quilt, you might see some familiar-looking specimens in the newest exhibit at the Kings Mountain Historical Museum (KMHM). Titled "STITCHED: The Fabrics of a Community," the show opened Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, and will be on display until May 8, 2021, at the KMHM, located at 100 E. Mountain Street in Kings Mountain.

"This is something that has been a part of our community culture for hundreds of years," says January Costa, KMHM director and curator. "Throughout history, it was acommon task for people - usually women - to make their own quilts, coverlets, clothes, and many other everyday objects by hand stitching. Over time, improved sewing techniques led to the invention of the sewing machine and machine stitching."

All of these varieties of "stitching" are included in this show, according to Costa.

"The term 'stitching' is the process of making, mending or joining with stitches," says Costa. "In relation to textiles, people have been sewing in one form or another for thousands of years. Our current exhibit showcases a selection of stitched examples from the museum collections that were produced by members of the Kings Mountain community throughout the area's history."

Examples of the types of textiles on display include a coverlet on loan from Mary "Pucky" Nantz.

"This thin coverlet was made in the 1930s and is designed in the 'Grandmother's Fan' pattern," says Costa. "It consists of 48 blocks and has a blue wide band trim along all four sides." This piece belonged to Nancy Nickels (1925-2020) and was likely made by her aunt Estelle Willeford King (1892-1981) or mother Eloise Willeford Nickels (1895-1983).

Another item on display is a quilt made between 1894-1933 and donated by the Neisler family. "This exhibit is a 'Tulip' pattern quilt," says Costa. "It has designs of purple and pink tulips on the front with green vines on a faded white background. The reverse side of the quilt is pink and bare, with no design." This quilt was owned and made by Myrtle Kathleen Baker Neisler (1894-1933).

"These and many other beautiful, locally made items are all part of this display," says Costa. "We hope the public will come and take a look at these amazing pieces and see the wide variety of textiles and sewn items that make up this exhibit."

The KMHM is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day. Admission is free and open to the public. This event will adhere to social-distancing protocols and guidelines in place at the time of the event. Masks and temperature checks will be required upon entry to the museum.

For more information, visit the KMHM website at www.kingsmountainmuseum.org or find it on Facebook by searching for "Kings Mountain Historical Museum."


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