A small sign along Highway Alternate 27 between Bronson and Chiefland, FL is the only notice you have that a hidden treasure lies down the secondary county road that meanders between fields of watermelons and peanuts. The country road takes you to an intersection and there on the left in a field of mowed green grass sits this beauty, just waiting for you. It is a fitting place for the Log Cabin Quilters to meet as it is a long, low, wooden building with porches on three sides that just begs for one to come in and explore. Or to sit a spell in one of the rocking chairs that dot the porches.
It has a Chiefland address: 11050 NW10th Ave. My good friend from childhood, Myrtice Bailey Scabarozi, lives along this road and volunteers daily at this gem. It is the Levy County Quilt Museum, and is the only one like it in the state of Florida. It was the brainchild of the late Winnette Horne who helped start The Log Cabin Quilters. Her dream was to have a place for quilters to meet and to work on their projects. It took about twenty-five years of hard work, fundraising, and prayer but it opened in 2000, both as Mrs. Horne’s home and as The Levy County Quilt Museum.
Called Miss Winnette by one and all, she thought everyone should know how to quilt, but barring that, at least everyone should have a quilt! She felt that quilts brought warmth, comfort, and happiness. Miss Winnette lived and quilted there until her death on January 30, 2012, aged 87.
The large quilt display area holds quilts in all shapes and sizes, ages and designs, and all manner of assembly. Some are hand-tied. Some are hand-stitched while others are machine-stitched. All are works of art.
The museum is not only an awe-inspiring delight for the eyes; it is also a shop. You can find other quilted items to purchase as well: table-runners, place mats, coasters, aprons – just about anything that can be quilted. More themed pieces are added around the holidays. One of my favorites is the Christmas stocking. I must purchase a few of those for family members this year — to go along with the gorgeous, well-made table-runner and placemats I bought last year.
There is no admission fee, so the museum exists today through its sales and with the help of volunteers, like my friend Myrtice. Of courses, generous donations are a large part of its operational budget and are overseen by a board whose job it is to disperse funds where needed. Right now, funds are needed to repair the air-conditioning. If Miss Winnelle were here, she’d say, “Okay, quilters, let’s get busy and get it done.” And they will!
The Levy County Quilt Museum provides not only the breathtaking beauty of its exhibits, a place for quilters to meet for fun and fellowship and to apply their craft, but it also provides a particular service to the community. Inmates from the local correctional facility who qualify for supervised outside work come weekly and are fed lunch by the volunteers for their work on the grounds. That sounds like an even trade to me!
The museum often has events designed to attract visitors. On Saturday, November 2, from 10 AM to 1 PM, the museum will host a traditional yard sale but its headliner will feature several local authors. It will be an opportunity to meet the “Writers on the Porch.” There to help meet and greet the museum visitors, they will read from their books, offer the books for sale, and sign any that are purchased. Any donations made to the museum will be their choice.
The Log Cabin Quilters still meet there, and while most are seniors, they are pleased to welcome younger quilters who are learning the craft. Some of the finished quilts on display are such artistic creations and true works of beauty until they literally steal your breath. Do go visit. It’s a welcome stop off the highway.
Enjoy a few minutes out of your busy day with some peace and beauty.
Photo from The Tampa Bay Times of Miss Winnelle Horne in 2011.
*All photos with the exception of The Tampa Bay Times’ Jeff Klinkenberg’s photo of Miss Winnelle Horne are courtesy of Myrtice Bailey Scabarozi and can be found on the website: