The story often is told through the generations, with many never suspecting the meaning behind clever designs or beautiful applique.
Now, you can see larger-than-life quilt squares painted on wood and hoisted on barns, houses and storefronts - just about any flat surface in Upstate South Carolina - and learn the stories behind them.
Behind each quilt square is a story that tells the history of its origin and why it is meaningful to the quilter or the owner. Sometimes the finished work represents a team effort, such as in the case of A Bridge to a New Beginning, which was created by Walhalla students to represent their new high school.
Led by Aiken native, Martha Files, the organizing group for the quilt trail first met in 2009 and hoped to have 10 quilt blocks produced and in place by the semi-annual Festival of Quilts in 2010. More than 250 blocks later, the trail represents the rich artistic heritage of quilters across the region.
For visitors, the quilt trail is a glimpse at an age-old art form, one that was an important part of social life for women before they were in the workforce in large numbers. In African-American tradition, quilts told Bible stories or recounted seminal events in history.
The Upstate Heritage Quilt committee created itineraries for self-guided tours in several Upstate cities, including Walhalla and Westminster. These tours will take you to more than 270 quilt block sites. Tour maps and descriptions of what you'll see along the way can be found on the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app. Download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play and search for "City of" Anderson, Pickens, Walhalla or Westminster.