|My Aunt Tressie Quilting in Her Home, ca. 1955|
One of the most popular quilts on the island was (and still is) the Ocracoke Cracker Quilt. The Ocracoke Cracker Quilt is a variation of a traditional design -- three rectangles forming a square, surrounded by four triangles. By proper use of color the traditional (non-Ocracoke) pattern stands out, as you can see in the photo below:
|Cracker Quilt Pattern|
You can see another image of a traditional Cracker Quilt here:
Some have speculated that the name, Cracker Quilt, was adopted because the pattern resembled the popular British "Christmas Cracker," a cardboard tube wrapped in festive paper and containing a small prize. When pulled in opposite directions by two people, usually at the Christmas dinner table, the tube split open with a snap, or "crack."
Ocracokers, in their typically unconventional manner, adapted the Cracker Quilt in several ways. Instead of three rectangles, they used four, all of different colors. According to island tradition, one rectangle is always red. Also, the four triangles are often the same color. As a result, the design no longer looks like a Christmas Cracker, though the name persists.
The pattern is unique -- the Ocracoke Island Cracker Quilt:
|Ocracoke Cracker Quilt by Amy Howard|
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a seven minute video of Philip Howard relating the story of the April, 1861 wreck of the Black Squall on Ocracoke Island. You can listen to it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032113.htm.