Quilts as Utah’s Pioneer Heritage

September 7th, 2015 by BBIU

Quilts have been a part of Utah’s heritage since the very first days of the pioneers. As they travelled west, they brought the age-old technique of quilting to provide both needed warm covers, and in time, as works of art.
According to Wikipedia,
“A quilt is a type of blanket, traditionally composed of three layers of fiber: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding, and a woven back, combined using the technique of quilting. A quilt is distinguishable from other types of blanket because it is pieced together with several pieces of cloth. “Quilting” refers to the technique of joining at least two fabric layers by stitches or ties…
In the early days of United States colonies, “It was essential for most families to use and preserve textiles efficiently. Saving or salvaging small scraps of fabric was a part of life for all households. Small pieces of fabric were joined together, to make larger pieces, in units called “blocks”. Creativity could be expressed in the block designs, or simple “utility quilts”, with minimal decorative value, could be produced. ”
Quilts have long been a solution to what to do with the fabric from worn out clothing. By cutting and sewing the pieces together, quilts used pieces of cloth that might otherwise have been discarded.
Often reflecting cultural influences, quilts were frequently made to commemorate major life events, such as marriages and births.
Today, making quilts continues primarily as an art form, with festivals, competitions, and shows dedicated to quilts and quilting.

Panguitch Quilt Walk- Quilts were critical to survival

Panguitch Quilt Walk

Utah has some of the best quilt shows around, many reflecting the pioneer heritage as part of heritage festivals.
Of particular note is the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival in June. It remembers the hardships of a group of early settlers who travelled across the mountain to another community in search of supplies. The deep snow hindered progress until they realized that they could spread quilts on the top of the snow and could “walk” on top of them. This feat is celebrated each year in an annual festival.
Quilt shows can be found throughout the year. A very short list appears here. In January, find the St. George Annual Quilt retreat and the Winter Fest in Logan. In Delta,
the Snow Goose Quilt Show in February takes place along with Snow Goose Festival.
Brigham City’s June Heritage Days includes a quilt fest.
July and August seems to be the time for the most activity. Sites include the Springville Museum of Art, Alpine Quilt Show, the Castle Country Quilter’s Show and the Western Legends Quilt Show in Kanab.
September has Farmington’s Art & Quilt Show and Layton Quilt Fest
In addition to festivals, exhibitions, and competitions, many Pioneer Museums feature quilts. Often on display are the utilitarian ones used for normal day to day living as well as “art” quilts made for special occasions or as decoration.

When planning a visit to a quilt show, check Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah for a nearby Member Inn.

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