Sunday, July 24, 2011

History Lesson

It's Pioneer Day-- A Utah holiday celebrating the day the first group of pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley to make it their new home after walking halfway across the continent.  So around here, with Independence Day on the 4th, and Pioneer Day on the 24th, we pretty much have fireworks all month long.  Every get-together of any size involves fireworks--and especially this year because the air-born exploding fireworks are now legal for the general public.  Each night I look out my back window and see fireworks displayed across the valley.  It has been so much fun.
So I dragged out my Utah quilt for the occasion. 
This is about the first quilt I designed.  I made it in 1996 to celebrate Utah's 100th birthday as a state.  All the blocks depict Utah images -with 45 stars (becuase Utah was the 45th state) and 29 log cabin blocks representing the 29 counties in the sashings.  The outside border is made of 100 birthday candles with hearts in the corners for Utah's state song, Utah We Love Thee.

The beautiful mountains are the thing I miss most when I am not in Utah.  I love the snow covered peaks and how tall they rise above the valleys as a protection from the rest of the world.  I have so many good memories of skiing and snowmobiling; camping and fishing; picnicing and hiking among these peaks.  The state flower, Sego Lily can also be found here.

While the pioneers arrived here in 1847, they did not get statehood until 1896.  Believe it or not, that fabric around the dates in the Utah block was dark navy blue when I made this.  In this quilt there were several fabrics that faded, and they were all blue.  None of the reds faded--interesting.  There was a little quilt hanging out of the back of the covered wagon, but it is lost somewhere.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is one of my favorites.  I once hiked up there in the dark to watch a full moon come up over the arch.  The hike back down was well-lit!

The trans-continental railroad was joined in Utah with a Golden Spike, and the mining block is important to me because I grew up in a mining community. 

The Salt Lake Temple block has a lot of little pieces.  This was before I learned to applique, so all these blocks are pieced using hundreds of pieces.  The temple was started almost as soon as the pioneers entered the valley, but it took 40 YEARS to finish it!  All of the granite stones that make up the walls were hand cut from the nearby canyons.  Each stone weighed thousands of pounds and was transported to the valley by ox cart.  What a lot of work!

Here's the state bird (Seagull) and the state symbol (Beehive) --one comes from a tale of a miracle and the other from the state motto, INDUSTRY.

 So now you know almost all you need to know about Utah, and if you want me to name all the counties,  (and county seats) I can, but I won't bore you any more.  Being that this was one of my first quilting projects, I just pretended to know what I was doing, and it was a big learning experience.  I hand quilted this project, and I haven't done that since.  I love the look of hand quilting, but it just takes me too long. 
I wish I had time to do that again, I really did enjoy it. 

I share this with you today because this was really the start of my quilting journey, and I have loved every minute of it.  I am so fortunate to live in this beautiful place that gives me so much inspiration.  I LOVE Utah!  Happy Pioneer Day!!!

15 comments:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Such a gorgeous quilt that truly shows the history and much love put into it.

Mary said...

I love your quilt. My MIL was raised in Salt Lake and she misses her "Mountains" here in Washington where she has lived the past 57 years. Did you sell the pattern for this quilt?

Janet O. said...

I'm with Mary--is there a pattern for this? It is a wonderful quilt. Can't believe it was the start of your quilting journey. Doesn't look like beginner material to me!

JCnNC said...

I loved the Arches National Park - truly spectacular. Thanks for sharing this wonderful quilt and you did such a great job. Judy C in NC

Jen said...

What a beautiful quilt. Such a treasure! My favorite block is the Arches also. I've been to Zion NP a fw times, it sure is gorgeous there! You are very lucky to have such beautiful landscape. Thanks for sharing!

Aunt Susie's House said...

Love your Utah quilt. I love the state of Utah, too.
Beautiful job. I hope you are having a great summer.

Carrie P. said...

Beautiful quilt. And the parts of Utah I saw this year for the first time were beautiful. I got to visit Salt Lake city and I love the mountains there. We came in May and they had lots of snow on them still.

Shirlene said...

Jill~ I remember when you were making that quilt....all the figuring out of each little piece so it would all work!

Janet said...

Thanks Jill for sharing the great history lesson along with your beautiful quilt. That is definitely a Utah piece of art to treasure!

abby said...

This brings back wonderful memories! My then teenage daughter and I saw the quilt in a fabric store and fell in love with it. We took on the project for YW. I cut and she sewed. She did a beautiful job. I can't count the times she would say, "Mom, you cut it wrong." The quilt was completed and it is beautiful treasure! She now has an online quilt shop!
Thank you Jill!

JEllen said...

Amazing quilt Jill and I enjoyed the history lesson about Utah. Sarah and I truly miss the mountains too. We will have to return to SLC one day.

Wendy ~ Quilts by the Sea said...

Love your quilt, so inspiring, and that it was hand quilted....We once drove through the state on a leisurely drive and the mountains were beautiful, the people friendly and kind...Thanks
Wendy

Vanilla said...

This quilt is absolutely beautiful.
I love the colors and the fact that the symetry is so harmonious!

Richard Healey said...

I love this quilt do you have the patern you used for the temple?

Jill Finley said...

Richard,
I hope you are checking back here for an answer.. Yes I have the pattern. It is in a booklet--but not listed on y website. Email me if you are interested.

jill@jillilystudio.com