Eula Greene made hand-tied fishnet bed canopies at her home in Watauga County. “It used to be that all the older women in the area made canopies,” she said. In her later years, though the craft was not as common as it once was in her area, she continued to make canopies by order, and she passed along her knowledge to her siblings, niece, and other interested visitors.
Eula grew up in the Deep Gap community of Watauga County, and she learned to make knotted bed spreads and tie canopies from her mother-in-law, Maggie Greene. “She took it up on her own after seeing someone else’s work,” Eula said of her mother-in-law. “Back in the Depression, (income from) her knotted work helped keep the family going.” Eula was about 19 years old when she met Maggie, who first showed her how to make a knotted bed spread. “We each knotted a bed spread and sold them,” she remembered. “And that was the last one I ever made.” When Maggie showed her how to make hand-tied bed canopies, Eula immediately concentrated on that.
She continued to hand-tie bed canopies in the style that she learned from her mother-in-law. Of the several patterns she used, the “double-diamond” was the most popular. Special thread and shuttles are required to create her fishnet-tied canopies, and she kept the holes small to ensure a quality canopy. “I just like to see it done that The canopies with smaller holes hang better and they last longer.”
Eula Greene sold her work through Carter Canopies of Troutman, North Carolina. She did not cut any corners. “If I worked at it steady, I used to could make a standard-sized canopy in a week,” she said. “You definitely don’t count the hours you put into a canopy when you sell it.”
Eula was proud to continue the tradition of making hand-tied fishnet bed canopies, and was happy to fulfill special orders. She also welcomed visitors who wanted to find out more about the fishnet canopy making tradition.
Eula Greene passed away on October 22, 2010.