Posts Tagged ‘pioneer quilts’

Rose of Sharon Quilt

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

Prairie Wild Rose

One of my passions is flowers, especially the prairie flowers that grow on their own in pastures, just blooming for themselves. My college degree was in horticulture and I spent many years in the flower and plant research industry before “returning to the prairie” myself with my living and writing.

Wild flowers have grown across the Kansas prairie and the Great Plains of North America since the start of time. Dots of color from the prairie plants wave with the green sea of grass during spring and summer. Their seed pods turn color in the fall and disperse their seeds to start another cycle of colorful and useful flowers.

Pioneer women used the prairie flowers as an inspiration for their quilt patterns, and I’ve mentioned them in my historical fiction writing.

Here’s a quote from my Trail of Thread book:

“Ann has quilts tops and quilts of her own along. It’s customary to make a baker’s dozen of quilt tops for a young woman’s dower chest. When the wedding is about to take place, the neighborhood women get together and help finish them. Ann has gone ahead and quilted three of them since she’s nearing the spinster age, but she saved her appliqued Rose of Sharon top for her wedding bed, just in case she’s proposed to yet.”

Think of the ideas and color schemes the pioneer women would have seen as they walked along the trails. And, they would have varied from state to state and the time of year. I think it would help the walk to concentrate on the beauty of nature and how it could be used in a future quilt.

The Meaning of Quilts

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

Thimble of Soil, Book 2 in the Trail of Thread book series.By definition, a quilt is a coverlet or blanket made of two layers of fabric with a layer of cotton, wool, feathers, or down in between, all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design. The top layer may be a single piece of fabric, or it may be a made from a variety of scraps of material that were pieced together to form blocks, that are then sewn together to make the top layer.

When one thinks of pieced quilts, pioneer women automatically come to mind. This group of women often had to move, start new households, and work with what they had on hand. Their quilts would have been used daily, made and patched to last through the rigors of pioneer life.

Pioneer woman's story by Linda K. Hubalek.For example Deborah and John Pieratt, featured in the first book of my Trail of Thread series, left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. Quilts would have been used for bedding—in the wagon or on the ground, as a hanging shelter, or as a partition for privacy. They were also used for burial of loved ones along the trail.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. She was dedicated to the cause of the North, and helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas. It is possible that some of the quilts she made had special blocks giving direction to runaway slaves.

Stitch of Courage, Book 3 in the Trail of Thread book series by Linda K. Hubalek.Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas looking for a better life as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. Women made and gave quilts for the soldiers to use during their journeys and battles.

What was the meaning for all these quilts? They were all just fabric to provide warmth and protection, but they also connected the hearts and souls of the past, present, and future.

The young woman on the trail packed quilts to use, but also to bring memories of her family left behind to her new frontier home.

The older woman—who stitched directions in her quilt that hung outside to air— gave freedom to people trying to escape a bad life.

The soldier wrapped in a dirty quilt, trying to keep warm and get a bit of sleep, was given the security of knowing that someone from home was thinking of him and waiting for his return.

Think of the countless hours of work and devotion it took to create these pioneer quilts. These finished masterpieces of the fingers gave a sense of accomplishment to the makers, and comfort and connection to the users.

Do you have a special quilt passed down through your family? What does it mean to you?

Family Research Online

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

I actually started my Kansas Quilter book series back in 2002, but finally shelved it in 2005 when agri-tourism took over our Bison Farm.  I didn’t have the dedicated blocks of time to work on it anymore.

Now that we’ve retired from our farm business, I’m going back over research notes and already written chapters to pick up the series again.

And I’m also looking for information that wasn’t available before online. Like census records. Instead of going to a physical place to actually see the written pages, I can put in the name, state, choose the year of the census I want —and voila— the actual page pops up on the screen in its original handwritten form. It so cool to see who was in the family at the time, and it even lists anyone that is working for them too.

Pieratt family- 1900 Kansas census

Of course some information is easy to find, and other questions I have will never be answered. I guess that’s where the fiction part of my writing fills in the gaps.

I’m also working on the list of family members that will be my main characters, their conflicts, plot, etc. Kizzie will be the “heroine” of sorts, telling the early history of her part of the Kansas prairie along with her family’s dreams. And quilts and quilting will be primary theme for this Kansas pioneer.

I’m sure every quilt Kizzie made had a story behind it…and I want to share it with you, my readers.

Cleveland Tulip Quilt

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

Pieced quilt made in Ohio in the 1830s and traveled to Kansas in 1858.In 1938 my mother’s great aunt Martha Pieratt gave her a quilt. At that time the quilt was over 100 years old and had been handed down through her mother’s Kennedy family.  Doing some research on it while planning my Trail of Thread book series, it turns out to be the Cleveland Tulip pattern and it came with Martha’s mother Maggie Kennedy when she moved from Ohio to Kansas in 1858.

Quilts and quilting seemed like a perfect theme for the stories of my mother’s side of the family, so I wove a quilt theme into this book series and featured twelve quilt patterns in each book.  The titles also went with the quilt theme.

My Trail of Thread book was about Deborah Pieratt’s wagon trail journey to the Kansas Territory in 1854. The second book, Thimble of Soil featured Margaret Ralston Kennedy’s decision to move her family from their safe Ohio home to the unsettling territory in 1855. And the final book in series, Stitch of Courage, followed Maggie Kennedy Pieratt during her young years as she marries James Monroe Pieratt during the Civil War.