All in the Family: Friendship Quilts

I’ve recently been asked to contribute to two friendship quilts for heartbreaking reasons. The first was because a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and the quilt was to “provide a hug” for her during treatment. Thankfully she has fully recovered from the treatment and now uses the quilt at retreats for her bed. The second quilt was for a friend whose son was killed in an accident. This quilt was also to be a comfort quilt, but since there is no way to fully recover from the loss of a child, I hope the quilt will bring her love and comfort for many years.

So, when the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum had an exhibition about friendship quilts called: All in the Family: Family and Album Quilts, I was curious about the reasons the quilts were created. Unfortunately, the reasons for the quilt creation weren’t always included. The motivations may have been lost, or perhaps simply needs a research project to discover the reasons.

Whatever the reason, these quilts were a joy to explore. One was a two-sided quilt: a crazy quilt on one side, the other side was a 16 patch. The Old Tippecanoe/Ohio Star Friendship Album Quilt was made by the Zimmerman family with dates from 1841-42. The Zimmerman’s were Quakers from Pennsylvania. The last quilt that caught my eye was a Feathered Star by the Mill Family, which had some talented quilters. There is still time to see some of these quilts in person, because the exhibition runs through April 20th.


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