Cultural Objects, Quilts

“Wish We Knew” Quilt

Maker/Creator: Arlie M. Harman Tobler
Burks Fork (Burks Fork District)


  • Length: 86 inches
  • Width: 66 inches

Dark red print sashing and orange triangles frame blocks pieced from twenty-nine separate squares, rectangles, and triangles. The as yet unnamed pattern starts with a three-inch square center. Each side of the square borders two rectangles (3 x 1 inches)and the corners of the block are two-inch squares turned on point and edged with right triangles. The center square and outer ring of rectangles and small squares are cut from dark materials including some feed sack prints. The inner rectangles and all the small triangles are cut from light materials, creating a rounded appearance. The quilt backing is a gray and white gingham cotton. The hand-quilting is done in rows with 6-7 stitches per inch.

Pieced quilt, feed sack material, patchwork quilt, scrap quilt
Bio Sketch

Arlie M. Harman (1900-2000) was the eldest of the eleven children of Martin and Cordelia Weddle Harman. Her father was the blacksmith, veterinarian, and coffin maker for their neighbors near Buffalo Mountain. Arlie helped her mother sew the linings for the coffins. She completed this challenging quilt when she was thirteen. Arlie taught at Union School and became a storekeeper after her marriage to Sherman Tobler. In 1999, she was interviewed as a part of our Floyd County Traditions – Buffalo Mountain Place-based Series.


There are two quilts in the Old Church Gallery collection made with this pattern but we have yet to learn the actual name of the pattern.  Neighbors often swapped patterns and the second quilt is from the same section of the county.