Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Christmas Calendar-Grab Bag

The Quilt you see on this page was actually a Christmas quilt that was made for my great grandmother, Mary Ellen Ramsey Dunn in 1935. I am her namesake by her request.

Her family members painstakingly designed and embroidered each quilt square themselves, the only exceptions were for those who were deceased, like little Jimmy Dunn.

Each square had the embroidered signature of the person who was sewing it. The squares also included images that were chosen to reflect things that each person liked. My dad's has flowers on it, some, like my great grandfather Wilbur's have graduated colors on the monograms.
I only knew of this quilt through family oral history as it was passed to the various family members of those who had put it together. According to tradition, groups of family members worked together to make each square and then the women spent several afternoons putting the pieces together and doing the quilting.

The first time I saw the quilt in person was at the Overland Trail Museum in Sterling Colorado, prior to the opening of the new display of the prairie sod home. It brought me to tears to see each carefully crafted squares with the signatures and images dear to my ancestors, many of whom I never met.

What a testimony to the love this family had for their matriarch. She must have felt it was a gift of love on that Christmas that carried through the years.

The quilt is now on display at the museum in the bedroom and lovingly lies over the end of the bed, much like it probably did in my great grandmother's room. This special gift has inspired me through the years to try and make my gifts to others personal and meaningful.


  1. Such a beautiful quilt. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a treasure! How generous of your family to donate it to the museum where others can enjoy it as well. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This makes for a beautiful background. This is all so inspiring.

  4. Thank you Natasha, I appreciate your comments.

  5. I just want to thank you all for commenting, this quilt is a very special heirloom. There are several and other from our family at the museum. I was able to take my younger grandchildren there this summer and they were amazed by it all. It is a wonderful museum.

  6. As a quilter & a genealogy buff, I love the quilt! Do you know all the signatures & their stories?