Why are they called pine cone? The look and the texture is obvious but... The quilt has the circular design of a pine cone but it is also called a pine burr, a target quilt, bulls eyes and cuckleburr quilt.
The Pine Burr design is also known as the Pine cone, Target or Bullseye block and Cuckleburr in the south. It is the state of Alabama's state quilt block. The “Pine cone Patchwork” derives its name from the long leaf pine cone, when looking at the bottom of a pine cone you can find this design. The elders of the past and present weave these beautiful designs in quilts while hosting quilting bee’s in their communities.
Today the Lumbee Princesses wear the Pine cone Patchwork insignia on their traditional regalia's during Pow-wows across the Nation. The Lumbee Tribe is located in North Carolina
I started making Pine Cone Quilts in 2004 under the apprenticeship of a 92 year old African American woman in Sebring, Florida at her home, after I saw her beautiful hand sewn quilts. My apprenticeship with Arlene Dennis, known as Miss Sue, went on for 6 years and I completed 2 quilts with her supervision, she however, completed 4 while I was with her. After she passed in 2010, I wanted to teach others how to make Pine Cone Quilts. The quilts were very unique and I had to do some research to find out more about the quilts. I then became obsessed and starting making them for show and for sale.
Keeping Tradition Alive
I first started teaching individuals Pine Cone Quilting at my antique store - Miss Ruby’s Den in Sebring, Florida. Upon retiring from the Highlands County School Board and selling my shop, I began teaching Pine Cone Quilting at South Florida State College in the Community Education Program and to individuals and groups around Florida. 2016- 2018.
The Pine Cone Quilt has been a well kept secret to many. It is often called a Pine Burr, Target quilt or Cuckleburr Quilt. I found mention of it with Gees Bend Quilters in Alabama, with the Lumbee Native American Tribe in North Carolina and I found a picture and mention of the Pine Cone Quilt in Florida Quilts by Charlotte Allen Williams. Addie Bullock from Marianna, Florida made a Pine Cone Quilt in 1966.(Plate 94).
This quilt is not exclusively African American but is often shown in books discussing African American quilting. In the book – The Freedom Quilting Bee by Nancy Callahan on page 116, there is a picture of China Groove from Wilcox County, Alabama with one of her last Pine Cone quilts before her death in 1970. I have also purchased only 3 vintage Pine Cone Quilts on line in the past 13 years because they are very hard to find and extremely expensive because of the rare availability and the hand stitching, Plus, they take a lot of time to complete, anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on the size. Only 2 pictures of Pine Cone Quilts can be found in the book – A Piece of my Soul- Quilts by Black Arkansans by Cuesta Benberry on page 17 a circa 1950 Pine Cone Quilt and page 90 a Pine Cone Quilt dated 1986. I would like to see the Pine Cone Quilt expand in the State of Florida. I know women have made them here but they are hard to find. In order to keep this tradition alive, I feel it is my duty to teach others, as long as I can, about this wonderful inventive quilt and give some further recognition to Sebring, Florida, at the same time.