Pioneer Quilts

September is my favorite month – I can’t believe we’re already at the end!  It’s been a gorgeous one, so I won’t complain. I’ve got a sick boy this week and as a result I’m feeling a little thrown out my rhythm. I have nothing new to share today so I thought I would post some pictures I took last month as we wrapped up our summer. 

These pictures come from a place called This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. (It’s called that because it’s at the mouth of the canyon where Brigham Young first saw the Salt Lake valley in 1847 and said “this is the place” where they would stay and build a city.) 
The village consists of mostly-original structures relocated to recreate an early pioneer western settlement -think Mormon-pioneer version of Old Sturbridge Village or Williamsburg. I’ve shared pictures from here before. 

This time I had a little bit of time to run in the Utah Quilt Guild museum and catch a glimpse of their display of pioneer-era quilts. Quilts from this era are among my favorites- especially because of their resourceful, scrappy coolness.

This is an irish-chain pattern made from squares about 3/8 of an inch big. Some wear and tear, but still incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quilt with smaller pieces.

Tiny hexagons and tiny flying geese.
 This signature quilt was made about 1885 in Illinois and Tennessee and has the signatures of Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. Who knew they were quilters??

This Star of David quilt made in the 1880’s was my favorite. I loved the colors and the pattern  It would be fun to make this same pattern in a more contemporary color scheme too.

Log cabin made by Ellen Dougherty in 1870 in Illinois. Look at the pieced borders on this one. I’ve never seen something like it.
Another beauty: Rose of Sharon probably made in the 1850’s in amazingly good condition.
And there you go. 
And now, a moment of silence for the end of September. :(


  1. says

    I love this post Amy. I have taken pictures of these same quilts along with others as I have visited the park many times!<br />I&#39;m like you…I love the heritage of our pioneers and I am always proud and amazed when I see all of the beautiful things that they were able to make with very little recourses….I have always admired thier ingenuity:)<br />I agree…the Star of David would be

    • says

      Those pioneers were amazing. Makes our &#39;stashes&#39; seem a bit rediculous compared to what they worked with. And I think you should draft that Star of David pattern for us Lori. :) (In all your spare time…)

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing Amy. The heart and souls of those individuals are so inspiring. You are so fortunate to be able to experience so much quilting treasures. I could spend hours in a place like that.<br />I hope your son feels better real soon. Love ya. Trish

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing these photos. The quilts pictured are truly amazing. I love that rose of Sharon quilt (we have a rose of Sharon tree in our front yard that is blooming beautifully right now). Hope you little guy feels better soon!<br />Smiles-Beth

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing the Pioneer quilts. I wish I had one of the 2,381 piece Ocean wave quilts my 3rd Great Grandmother made. I read she made 8 of them.

  5. says

    October is my favorite month, so hooray for me. :-) I really love when you feature these old quilts. The one that struck me most is in the middle of the first pic. The really graphic one with tons of red and a splash of mustard and green.

  6. says

    Wow – this are so wonderful quilts! The irish chain is amazing. The Stars of David too… Thanks for sharing this pics with us.<br />I wish you a wonderful week!

  7. says

    Ah, September, how we loved thee. So sad it&#39;s gone already. Should we start to panic yet? Those quilts are gorgeous. Especially that Irish Chain. And we should do that Star of David as a block a … well, week for you. Month for me. You&#39;ll have yours done early next year and I&#39;ll have mine done…when I&#39;m dead! ;-D


  1. […] A late 19th Century wool penny rug. In the background on the left you can see the infamous “Squirrel Pelt Quilt”. (Yes, it’s really made of squirrel pelts. Eww. I’m sure necessity was the mother of invention and if you were living on the frontier and just needed something to keep you warm at night, you used whatever was available… but I’m glad I don’t have to sleep with that one.) You can see pictures of past visits to this quilt museum here. […]

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