On March 16, the first quilt block in south Iredell was installed on the farm of Preston and Marsha Cornelius at Judas and Cornelius roads.
The 8-by-8-foot block has added new sparkle to their historic barn.
Three windows at the rear frame the replica of a quilt block, designed as a cross. Blues, greens and yellows radiate from the center.
Marsha said she chose the design because of its spiritual significance. The red corners symbolize God's willingness to provide to all corners of the world.
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From Preston's perspective, the colors evoke a pastoral scene. Red highlights his fondness for the barn's roof and N.C. State Wolfpack. He's delighted with his birthday gift.
"I just wish dad and my uncle could have seen it," Preston said. "We're glad to share it with everyone in south Iredell and hope they enjoy it as much as we do."
"It's beautiful. You did a good job," Preston told Cora Stroud, who built the block.
"Fewer elements and bolder elements show up better," Stroud said. "Eight-by-8-foot is a good visual."
For the Cornelius block, Stroud covered an aluminum frame with an aluminum sheet finished with blue baked enamel. She added colors by cutting and attaching strips of premium vinyl. For easier handling, the block was divided into two 4-by-8-foot sections.
John McMillan, helped by Bobby Coone, hung the bottom section, then attached the top, using rivets to stabilize the block.
Additional quilt blocks will tell the story of the Cornelius farm. The farm has been in the same family more than 100 years and is certified as a Century Farm through the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Preston was born in the house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As a boy, Preston was active in 4-H, and his interest has continued.
Marsha made a raffle quilt for Iredell County during the state's 4-H centennial. She designed and painted a replica of the quilt at Stroud's paint-your-own barn quilt workshop in January. The 4-by-4-foot cloverleaf quilt block is attached below the hayloft.
When the farm had an active dairy, Preston's grandmother, C.H. Cornelius, churned butter, which she molded into blocks and sold. Marsha has found one of the original parchment butter wrappers from Pleasant Meadow Dairy Farm; it advertises butter made from "choice separated cream."
Using the wrapper as a template, Stroud plans to construct another quilt block and mount it on the barn's milking parlor.
Two more blocks are being designed that will be placed on the side of the barn facing Cornelius Road.