By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Every quilt has a story, although we may never know whose hands sewed each stitch or who slept under its warmth.

But the quilt endures, passed on to other generations who snuggle under its warmth, or smooth it on the back of a couch.

A new exhibit celebrating quilts opens today at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

"Enduring Patterns: A Quilted Heritage" will be open from Sept. 27 to Nov. 17 in the Flagstaff Gallery.

Gypsy Burks, exhibits specialist, borrowed quilts from local and afar, as well as from the Baker Heritage Museum, to build this display.

One, owned by Eliza Spalding, dates to 1838. (She came west her husband, Henry, and Marcus and Narcissa Whitman).

Spalding's ancestors have donated the quilt to the center's collection.

Not all quilts have such a detailed past, as Burks describes: "Sometimes the story is lost when the quilt is given away or boxed up in storage, but the care that was put into the design and construction of a quilt will always remain in the folds of its fabric."

For "Enduring Patterns," Burks chose traditional quilt patterns - such as log cabin, Ohio star, and flying geese - and found examples from the 1800s and early 1900s to compare with modern designs based on the same pattern.

"The point was to take a specific pattern and show how it's evolved through the years," Burks said.

Take the fabric, for example - quilts from the early 1900s often were made from flour sacks, which were made from patterned cotton fabric.

Today quilters simply select their desired fabrics at a store where you can find nearly any pattern and color imaginable.

This new exhibit also features interactive spaces, where visitors can practice creating their own quilt blocks with fabric pieces and vinyl-covered squares.

If you go:

"Enduring Patterns: A Quilted Heritage" will be open from Sept. 27 to Nov. 17 in the Flagstaff Galleryat the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 adults (good for two days), free for youthage 15 and younger and $4.50 seniors. Federal passes are also accepted.