I love quilts. Quilts denote family, home, coziness and comfort. When our pioneer ancestors headed west, many of those women would gather bits and pieces of cloth from their loved ones clothing in which to sew into a quilt. This was often the last time they may ever see their loved ones alive so these bits and pieces meant everything to them. In the last century, young girls were expected to complete anywhere from one to three quilts prior to marriage so that they would have some necessary items prepared to start their future homes. In TheseHappyGoldenYears, one of the first things Laura Ingalls Wilder notices when her new husband brings her to her new home, is her "Dove-in-the-Window quilt spread upon the wide bed , and her two feather pillows stood plumply at the head of it."
Log Cabin set in star pattern.
As they traveled, many of the quilt patterns took on different names and that is why a Star of Bethlehem in one place is a Texas Star in another. Quilting bees were the “Facebook” of their day, allowing women to gather and share the news of the town. The gift of a quilt from these ‘bees helped to gift a new bride, console a widow or may even have been used to raise money for social causes. They were often the only chance for busy pioneer women to take some much needed time away from home.
Large 4 patch.
While I don’t particularly like to quilt, I do love to patch. I love to choose the colors and see them come together in pattern of my choosing. Like the pioneers, I’ve often used quilts to mark the special occasions in my life. When I married, I had a wedding ring quilt made my by quilting teacher. I chose the fabrics but had her put it together as I knew that I didn’t have the acumen to even attempt it at that point. I use this quilt every day.
My Wedding Ring Quilt.
When my son was born, I created a Star of Bethlehem quilt which still graces his wall. A local quilt shop was having a wall hanging competition and I asked him if I could enter his quilt in it (It was his quilt after all.) and he told me, “I wish you wouldn’t, that is special to me.” That, coming from my now teenage boy, really brought home what that quilt meant to him. He knew that quilt was made for him out of love and will probably have it with him the rest of his life.
I’d like to think that when I pass away all these quilts will be cherished my future grandchildren yet unborn. I still have an embroidered coverlet that my grandmother made me when I was a child and know how dear that is to me especially since her passing. I truly hope that my quilts become threadbare with use and love. That would be a fantastic legacy.