Bobby's Bama: Quilting in Grove Oak

GROVE OAK, AL (WAFF) - Quilting - considered by some a dying art.  What used to be done by hand is now done with a fast industrial sewing machine.

WAFF 48 News traveled to Grove Oak, Alabama to meet a champion quilter who takes the job a little slower, and puts in extra time in Bobby's Bama.

The pace is slow, steady, and precise.  And Anne Barrett shows why she is an award-winning quilter.  Her quilts are on display in several exhibits.

She says this is very relaxing.

"I like to think you can solve the problems of the world when you're sitting here with your quilt," said Barrett.

She said it doesn't matter how long it takes. It's a recreation she picked up in 1980.

"My sister pieced each of the grandchildren on our side of the family a top for Christmas. She kept asking when was I going to get it quilted?  Back in the 80's there wasn't that many people ...and nobody would do it, so I decided just to get her to shut up that I would do it myself," she said.

Her talents are evident by her wall of fame.  Ribbons saturate the surface.

"I counted the other day and I have 28 Best of Show or Viewer's Choice Ribbons.  And I don't know, over a hundred First Place Ribbons.  And just - I enjoy the competition," she said.

After having made hundreds of quilts, she has never sold a single one.  All were given away.

"I did one for the '96 Olympics in Atlanta that went to a little country, Marusha, and to the flag bearer of that country," said Barrett.

She said it's a tropical, island country near the equator.

"My husband has said he expects one day to be watching National Geographic and see it go across on a donkey and they're using it for a saddle," she laughed.

She has a huge set up to get her started with her quilts and designs her own patterns.

Barrett is also an avid collector of antique sewing machines.  She has a deep rooted respect for things and times gone by.

Barrett has one child and no grandchildren and sometimes that makes her think about the future. "Sometimes I think where are these going?   But it's not up to me - that's somebody else's problem.  I just enjoy the making!" she said

What is so fascinating about these quilts is the detail that goes into it.  All of this work - hand done, taking up to 6 months to complete - never idle hands in this part of Bobby's Bama.

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