Yazoo City Residents Honor Quilting Traditions with Annual Show and Contest
Since 2017, the end of September has brought a wave of color to the grounds of the Triangle Cultural Center (332 N. Main St., Suite A) in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in the form of a multitude of quilts of all shapes, sizes and patterns adorn the lawn in front of the century-old old school building. The show, known as Hills Meet the Delta Quilt Show, is the brainchild of Phyllis Haynes, Triangle Cultural Center board member, former antique dealer and quilt-making enthusiast who has also hosted events such as Antique Days for the benefit of the center.
Haynes’ goal for this year’s Hills Meet the Delta Quilt Show, set to take place Saturday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is to honor the memory of ET Jordan, one of the original settlers of Carter, Miss, just five miles north of Yazoo City. Jordan lived in Carter in the early 1900s, when the settlement consisted of little more than small houses, a town doctor, grocery store, and other essential buildings.
Olivia Anderson, a Yazoo native, artist and friend of Haynes, found an article about Carter’s early life that mentioned Jordan. She sent it to Haynes, who lived in Carter before moving to Yazoo City, feeling it would interest her, Haynes said.
The article led Haynes to search the B.S. Ricks Memorial Library on Yazoo City’s Main Street, located near the Triangle Cultural Center, for more information about Jordan and the life of Carter’s early settlers. There she discovered a microfilm of a diary Jordan had kept.
Amid descriptions of how settlers felled trees and built a train station for the developing village, an account of how Jordan’s family made their own quilts caught Haynes’ attention. The Jordan family used fabric from the local county store and cotton from a local gin to make the quilts to help families stay warm during the winter months.
“Reading about how they made quilts back then touched me because my mom and grandma used to make quilts, and I ended up loving it too,” Haynes says. “Quilting has long been a popular practice that produces so many beautiful patterns.
“Holding My Mom’s Duvet Tops”
As the highlight of the event, Haynes will have guests re-stuff a quilt like Jordan and others did in the early 1900s, using raw, loose cotton that Haynes obtained from Planters Gin Co., a closes to Carter, rather than quilt. – batting, a process that more modern quilters often use. Haynes plans to auction the finished quilt at the end of the event.
“A long time ago, people had to hand-pick seed from cotton for quilts if they didn’t have a gin,” says Haynes. “They had to stuff it by hand and roll it up, then beat the cotton to get it to lay flat. Many families even had their own quilt frames that they took out in the winter to work on. To this day, I still keep some of my mother’s quilt tops and frames that she made and plan to use them for the quilt show.
Haynes previously owned Main Street Antiques in Yazoo City, which opened in 1981 and has since closed. Before that, she lived in Carter for 20 years. Today, Haynes has a space at the Triangle Cultural Center that she uses to design and paint barn quilts, which are large pieces of plywood painted to look like a quilt block and hung outside a barn. or another building. She also works to promote businesses and artisans around Yazoo that sell quilts and quilting supplies.
The Hills Meet the Delta Quilt Show will feature quilt and other craft contests with separate categories for hand quilting, machine quilting, miniature quilts, vintage quilts and other handmade items like potholders. First place winners in each category will receive a $100 prize, while second place winners will receive $50. The two also receive ribbons that Haynes made herself.
In addition to quilts and other handmade items for sale from artisans across the state, the show will feature products from Yazoo Honey and Bee Farm, handmade chairs from Canton, Miss., Greg Harkins , hailing from Yazoo City, Olivia Anderson and the Dennis Heckler Fine Art Gallery, live banjo music, food vendors and more. Walking around the outdoor area is free, although admission to the center costs $5 per person.
“The Phyllis Haynes show has always been highly regarded and well attended by locals and outsiders alike, and people in our community have missed it dearly during the two years it had to be closed due to the pandemic,” Lois Russell, director of the Triangle Cultural Center, says. “Learning that it was returning this year with new additions created a lot of excitement for everyone at the center and for our visitors. The quilts that artisans bring from all over the state are pure works of art that people are always eager to take home.
Haynes and her husband, Terry Haynes, have been married for 50 years and have a son named Scott Haynes, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.