Diaries divulge links to quilters’ legacies
No doubt needles are as essential to a quilter as hammers are to a carpenter. We couldn’t do the job without them, by hand or by machine.
Still, we don’t give them much thought these days, because needles of all types and sizes are easy to come by at negligible cost: a $4 pack of five Schmetz for your machine and an $8 vial filled with 50 Roxanne betweens for handwork.
But our foremothers over the two centuries prior didn’t have today’s luxuries, and what we consider mundane notions they revered as cherished treasure.
Sue Hillhouse, who leads the Ouray County Historical Society’s quilting team, shares an excerpt from a woman’s diary of yesteryear.
She was so “thrilled” to receive a needle as a gift from her husband, the woman wrote.
This and other tidbits from women’s diaries spanning more than 150 years will be part of a presentation scheduled at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at the annual Quilter’s Tea at the Venue Roscoe Fox in Ouray. The theme for 2013 is “Under the Covers.”
Along with stories of women recounting their hopes and dreams, which they sewed into quilts as their legacy, memories from today’s generation will be interwoven and reflect the meaning of handmade quilts to present-day families.
Enhancing the program will be author Jo Ann Glim of Bradenton, Fla., who will draw from her memoir detailing the lives of her ancestors, who lived in Grand Junction and Ouray. The title of her book is “Begotten With Love: Every Family Has Its Story,” and much of the action takes place in those communities, Glim says.
You can learn more about Glim and read the first chapter of her memoir at begottenthebook.com.
Although she’s not a quilter herself, Glim was the grateful recipient of a “crocheted quilt” made by her grandmother in 1954.
“I grew up in a three-generational household and spent hours watching her (grandmother) form each stitch,” Glim recalls, adding that her grandmother was 75 years old and legally blind at the time. Glim was 10 years old.
Every stitch of this bedcover is perfect, she says, and looks the same today as it did when completed nearly 60 years ago.
Glim’s great-grandparents, Adam and Sannie Weir, moved from Alabama to Grand Junction in 1902 “because the heat and humidity of the southern climate were affecting his health,” she recounts.
Adam Weir opened Western Slope Brass and Iron Foundry on First Avenue; their home was on Pitkin Avenue, and the couple were members of St. Matthew Episcopal Church. They had nine children.
The Weirs’ oldest son, who was Glim’s grandfather, and his siblings, worked in the family business.
Her own father later was born in Grand Junction and, as a young man, worked for Cox Market.
Eventually, Glim’s grandfather caught gold fever and moved to Ouray to pan for nuggets in the mountains.
Her family stories will highlight the Quilter’s Tea, which is the bookend of an annual quilt show at the Ouray County Historical Museum, 420 Sixth Ave. The show opened Tuesday and features vintage heirloom quilts, as well as traditional and unique patterns created before 1960.
Admission is $6 for adults, $1 for children ages 6–12. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 970-325-4576.
For the Quilter’s Tea, the cost is $10 and includes refreshments and admission to the quilt show.
And remember, next time you’re searching for one of your many needles in that proverbial haystack, consider how precious one needle alone would have been 150 years ago.