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Quilters stitch Rotary piece

It’s a tradition among Rotarians to present other club chapters with a flag from their chapter — but anyone receiving one from the Rotary Club of Unicoi County will receive a piece of art that is sure to stand out among others.
In a recent meeting of the Unaka Piecemakers quilting club, members voted to take on quilted flags for the Rotary as one of the club’s yearly projects. The Rotary banners will capture the heritage, the geography and the history of Unicoi County, by featuring a mountain landscape flag made from quilting scraps and stitched to perfection.
The 8 1/2-by-11 miniature quilt will bear the seal of the Rotary Club of Unicoi County and will be presented to club members of other chapters whenever they are encountered.
Quilters will be at liberty to vary colors and patterns to their liking and are free to sign their flag as individuals or as a club.
“They don’t have to be identical,” said Nancy Maddock, president of the Unaka Piecemakers. “That way, no two will be alike. Each quilter could put their name or the club name on the back like a signed work of art.”
Club Member Lavinia Sala originally suggested the pattern for the Rotarian flags, based on a pattern quilted by Jane McGehee of the Blue Ridge Quilt Guild in Johnson City.
According to Mark A. Stevens, president of the Rotary Club of Unicoi County, the county’s local chapter had never had the flags made, despite the tradition, noting that most chapters order standard white nylon banners with fringe at the bottom.
“All the money we’ve made goes back into the county,” Stevens said, “so we always concentrate efforts on improving our community with our funds. But the flags are good to promote our community, too. With the help of the Unaka Piecemakers, the Rotary flag will be more than just traditional white nylon and not using club funds dedicated to community projects. We thought it would be nice to make our flag reflect the traditions, heritage and history of our county.”
He added that working with the Unaka Piecemakers is also a great opportunity to team up with another local club.
Stevens said Rotarian flags are collected and displayed by different chapters across the nation and the world.
“It’s tradition to present your flag when you are visiting other chapters,” he said. “It could be internationally or locally. It could be in England or the Dominican Republic or in Johnson City.”
Members of the Unaka Piecemakers will begin quilting the more than 50 flags needed by the Rotary Club of Unicoi County in January.