The Quilt that Walked to Golden

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A book I just got through.

The book begins by detailing the journey of women and their families

traveling from different parts of the country to Golden City, Colorado and

how quilts were such an important part of their lives.

Golden was a supply point for the mining towns further West and

was important between 1862 to 1867.

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A Minnesota man in search of gold,  wrote his wife, “Quilts don’t answer very well on the road.”

The year was 1863. Blankets were preferred over quilts because of their durability but,

it did not dissuade women from taking along their cherished quilts. Some

women would layer their clothes in a ridiculous fashion just so they could make

room on the wagon for their precious quilts.

The quilts served as bedding, shrouds or protective covering.

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A woman named Emily Gorton was widowed and left with six children and a

sewing machine. She made quilts and sold them to people traveling West and

she herself went west and lived in a sod house in Wyoming. When Indians

arrived unexpectedly, Emily fed them in hopes she or her family would not

be harmed. The Indians not only did not harm them, but several days afterward,

they left a slain deer  on her doorsteps. Later Emily made quilts and old shirts and  traded them

to the Indians.

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The author then moves into discussing quilting during the 1930’s during the

depression. One group formed , called the Jolly Stitchers.

“We had little money for recreations so we did our best

to make things pleasurable for us and our families.” On club days,

the members brought their families while the women cooked and quilted,

men played cards and children played games. Many women turned to sewing

clubs for support and friendship. They helped one another in whatever ways

they could.

Lastly, my favorite part about this book was a quote from Emily Gorton:

“A quilt was sewn together with love. When you passed it on to your neighbor you were

passing on your love. It was a special thing to give to your neighbor, like putting your

arms around someone and giving them a love (hug).”-Emily Gorton 1877

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Some hand stitching, I have done from little scraps of fabric…

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The women who walked to Golden would take any fabric that was leftover

and make braided rugs. This is one I started.I used cut up garments

that we no longer wear.

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20 Responses to The Quilt that Walked to Golden

  1. Chris Mundy says:

    Hi, I enjoyed this post. I love stories of women and quilts from THEN. Those people really knew how to recycle, eh? I’ve been randomly collecting quilt squares and unfinished quilts from antique stores. I hope to finish the love someone else began.

    • ancientcloth says:

      I think that is a beautiful idea, “to finish the love someone else began.”
      I wonder what stories those cloths hold? It would be fascinating if you
      could find out the history of any of the quilt pieces you collect.
      The folks from 1860’s definitely knew how to recycle : )
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!
      I loveee your paintings and dolls! One word:
      FABULOUS!

  2. Deb G says:

    Great post! I love looking at old photos too…fun to imagine the story behind them.

    • ancientcloth says:

      The old pictures are fascinating! I noticed a lot of the people did
      not smile much. I wonder if that was the “style” or if life was
      such a challenge that they did not want to? Or perhaps,
      after the picture was taken they busted out laughing???
      : )
      The author of the book mentioned that women had to learn
      to dye their own fabric using wild plants. (When I read that; I thought of you!)
      Lastly, I found a blog I think you might enjoy:
      http://www.berlinswhimsy.typepad.com/
      Thank you.

  3. What a lovely review! This looks like a very fine book on all the quilts that went west. I love the quotes you chose to share with us, especially that last one. I have a brand-new quilt that some wonderful people made for me, and being wrapped up in it is truly like being all wrapped up in their loving hugs! xo Kari

  4. Patricia says:

    Marie, thank you for sharing this gem of a book! Your post made me cry, in a happy way. That last quote about a quilt being a hug is a total gem. Definitely words to live by!

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving your sweet comment. I’m glad that I can follow you on Twitter so that I can see the soulful projects you’re working on.

    • ancientcloth says:

      I am touched. Thank you! <3
      I am so inspired by your creative blog. I love the spirit filled
      stones you embellish and the beautiful words you share.

  5. Kaye says:

    Wonderful. What an interesting book!

    • ancientcloth says:

      I learned a lot of things I did not know. For instance how the women
      would put on as many pieces of their clothing so they could make more
      room for the quilts! Another interesting fact was that sewing needles, etc.
      were traded with Indians.

  6. Ger says:

    I´m very fond of quilt stories… unfortunately, we don´t have a quilt tradition to speak of in Germany (except a very early one, then people who emigrated took it with them, I guess…)

    • ancientcloth says:

      I have read another blog from Germany that mentioned there was no real quilt tradition there.
      I was quite surprised. I like to read the stories about quilting and the people who lived and loved
      with them too. There were so many stories from the book I could have included but, my post would have been too long!
      Thank you for letting me know your thoughts
      : )

  7. Great Post. I love learning something new. Quilts have that romantic history that lives in them. There is a lot of love in quilts.
    Becky

    • ancientcloth says:

      Thank you. I so enjoyed learning about these women and how the quilts were
      so important in their lives. There is definitely a lot of love that goes into them.
      : )

  8. mendofleur says:

    I love reading about these stories, how the women treasured their quilts. Furniture was cumbersome to bring, but a quilt would have seemed more manageable as well as comforting. Thank you for the fine review. I would love to read this too.

    • ancientcloth says:

      Furniture was the first thing they got rid of; it seems. The book mentioned they might
      bring a chair or two and trunks that might hold dishes that were packed away for the
      final destination or perhaps a trunk would be used to store food. It was a very interesting
      book. I am happy to “see” you again! : )

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