Friday, December 11, 2009

Homestead Act Quilt

Homestead Act Quilt

Made by Homestead National Monument Volunteer Rhonda Eddy

This quilt was donated to the park for the 2007 Dedication of the Heritage Center. Mrs. Eddy hand-quilted the top in a similar fashion as pioneers by using a large hoop and spending many hours working on her lap. It took nearly six months to complete. Different colors of thread were used just as a thrifty pioneer would have. Pioneers used what was available.

The quilt is rich in symbolism about homesteading. It began with a pattern, and took on a new life as her creative mind starting filling in meanings.

• 13 pieced star blocks to represent the 13 original colonies

• Flying geese represent immigrants moving west to settle the country

• Large pine tree represents the tree claims many homesteaders used in conjunction with the Homestead Act

• Criss-cross quilting represent the plowed furrows and fences built on the homesteads.

• A horseshoe was replaced with a plow because of the requirement that a homesteader must plow a minimum of 10 acres to prove up on their land.

Several enhancements were made to the quilt pattern. To emphasize the importance of the Homestead Act, the outline of all 30 homesteading states were sewn into the design. States are hidden throughout the quilt as well as along a border that was added to accommodate them.

Quilters interested in quilting Homestead Act quilt squares for sale at the Monument bookstore can contact Ranger Susan Cook at  (402) 223-3514.

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