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Rivers and Spires’ Quilts of the Cumberland Exhibit ready for opening night


Does Your Quilt Have a Sleeve?

Rivers and Spires FestivalClarksville, TN – The hanging of the quilts for the Quilts of the Cumberland Quilt Show was held on Wednesday night April 15th at the Madison Street United Methodist Church in preparation for this year’s Rivers and Spires Festival.

There are a lot of terms used by quilters that you may be strange to you, but if you are attending the quilt show, you will probably hear many of them used in reference to the quilts you will view.

Quilts being hung for the Rivers and Spires Quilts of the Cumberland Quilt Show.

Quilts being hung for the Rivers and Spires Quilts of the Cumberland Quilt Show.

A hanging sleeve is a strip of fabric placed on the back of the quilt at the top to help support the quilt while it is hanging, and gives the hanging hardware space to support the quilt without damaging it.

A binding is that narrow strip around the outside of the quilt which hides the outside and inside raw edges, protects the quilt from coming apart , and forms a “picture frame” around the quilt.

The border is the wide strip of fabric that acts like a mat for a picture. It may contain one or more strips of fabric, usually in straight lines that go all the way around the main design of the center of the quilt.

The center of the quilt may contain several blocks of the same design or different blocks that form a sampler.  If the quilt contains one major design in the center, it is called a medallion quilt.

A quilt usually has three layers: a front, a back, and the batting or “stuffing”  layer which gives it warmth and fullness.  This center layer is often referred to as “wadding” in other countries.

The stitching designs which attach the three layers together can be either hand  or machine quilted.  There can be overall quilting designs, or detailed quilting for special areas. Quilts may also be tied by hand instead of quilted. Tied quilts are very warm and faster to assemble.

Modern quilts may also have embellishments such as buttons, sequins or rhinestones.  Modern  quilts usually have a dominate solid color or a lot of white in the design. They often use bold geometric shapes in their blocks.

Crazy quilts are often covered with hand  embroidery designs and made of specialty fabrics such as velvets or satins, although the crazy quilt idea is becoming popular using cottons fabrics and the newer embroidery machines.

Quilters use math skills by using measuring, angles, geometric shapes and many fractions. They also use the color wheel to enhance the overall mood of the quilt.  You will hear quilters refer to bears paws, churn dash, Jacob’s Ladder, the tree of Life , the drunkard’s path , flying geese, and many other terms to describe the quilt designs.

This is just a short lesson of quilting terms, but I hope you will enjoy the quilt show this week and be sure to ask questions of the quilters-especially those who are wearing white gloves and the guild members in the booths.

Quilts of the Cumberland is open to the public from 5:30pm–8:00pm on April 16th-17th and 10:00am–6:00pm on April 18th. The Madison Street United Methodist Church is located at 319 Madison Street. Entrance to the show is behind the church on Commerce Street.

Photo Gallery

About the Rivers and Spires Festival

The 13th Annual Rivers and Spires Festival, April 16th-18th in downtown Clarksville, is free and open to the public. The Festival features five stages of music and entertainment, arts and crafts, marketplace, food vendors and activities for all ages. Please no pets or firearms at the Festival.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit

About Jerry Church

    Jerry Church

    Jerry Church is a native Clarksvillian. She graduated from Clarksville High School, and attended Austin Peay State University where she received Bachelor degrees in Arts and Crafts, and Speech Communication and Theatre; and a Masters degree in Psychology. Jerry retired from the State of Tennessee serving the people of Tennessee as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. She is married to Clyde Church and they reside in Clarksville, TN. Her hobbies include quilting, embroidery, basketry, gardening, and reading. Together Jerry and Clyde also enjoy fishing and photography.





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