The blaze approached the city limits.
The winds had already arrived. Within minutes, the flames reached neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city; within an hour, wind speeds had doubled, driving flames through communities and toppling utility poles. The resulting blaze killed 14 people, injured nearly 200 others and damaged or destroyed nearly 2,500 homes and businesses.
In Dedication to the victims of the Gatlinburg Fire
From an idea of this quilter, to the generosity of women from all over the world, “The Burning Leaves of Gatlinburg” quilt were born...
After seeing the inferno that engulfed our beloved neighborhood in Gatlinburg, TN, my heart could not rest until I set my fingers busy to try and ease the pain of others that had suffered an even greater loss than my husband and me. This was just our vacation home and we knew from previous experience, in 2005, what it was like to lose everything to fire.
The Gatlinburg fires started during a drought that made the fall leaves brilliant with color, colors of fire itself! With this in mind my quilter's hands began to designed and cut a leaf pattern that I set out to tell other quilters about. I would send the pattern to all who would craft a leaf from it, return it, and then I would sew the beauty of the falling leaves and the compassion of others, into the warmth of a quilt for those who had lost so much.
The response was uplifting, the results were beautiful, most of all, lives were touched... and none not greater than mine.
I received 213 leaves in total and they are still coming. Four quilts are already made, one is donated, three more will be given away soon, 2 more of these charity quilts are under the needle… Hopefully they will turn out my neighbors’ memories from burning to warming up their souls.
This quilt will stay in my family as a memory of the beautiful house we lost in that fire.
By Natalie Patton