Guest Blogger Jo-Ann Roberts – Quilts and Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Earlier this year, the lovely Zina Abbott asked if I would be interested in being part of a historical MAPs that would feature quilts and Christmas. Gosh! As an avid quilter what could be better? Maybe a rugged cowboy? I answered with a very enthusiastic “Yes!”

While history books, almanacs, and memoirs chronicled the West as a man’s world full of adventure and clashes with nature and man, it should be noted women also played a vital role in the migration and taming of the frontier.

Prior to leaving for the journey, female friends in the East came together to stitch a quilt for the departing woman. These “quiltings” became farewell gatherings, united in purpose as well as in friendship. Thus the “friendship quilts”, squares inscribed with names, dates, and heartfelt sentiments became popular.

As preparations continued, the women gathered all the quilts, blankets and tied comforters they could make or acquire. While special quilts were packed in a trunk, or used to wrap fragile keepsakes, everyday quilts were left out for bedding or padding on the wagon seat. When the winds rose up and blew across the dusty plains, quilts were used to cover the cracks that let the dust inside the wagon.

Since most of the women walked alongside the wagon, little quilting was done on the trail. More often the women knitted or mended clothing during the short breaks or occasional layovers. Besides, the poor light of a campfire would not have been conducive to stitching blocks together.

Quilts often reflected the adventures the of the family. “Road to California”, “Crossing the Plains” and “Log Cabin” (my personal favorite!) often indicated memories of home and hearth, the trail looming up before them, or the movement of the wind across the plains.

As the journey continued, quilts were needed for far more serious purposes than simple comfort and dust control. They were hung on the exposed side of the wagons for protection against Indian attacks. Loss of life from sickness and injury was inevitable, and wood for building a coffin was scarce along the trail as well as time-consuming. Wrapping a beloved mother, child or husband in a quilt for burial gave the family comfort knowing that something symbolizing family love enfolded their dear one in that lonely grave along the trail.

Once a pioneer family reached their destination, quilts and blankets were needed to keep the elements out of their windows and doors of log cabins or dugouts. Quilts also gave emotional sustenance as well. Putting a favorite quilt on the bed gave a woman a sense of connection with her former way of life, and something of beauty in her desolate home.

A Swedish woman settled in Kansas in the early 1850s, and recalled an invitation to a sewing circle. Being new to the country and the territory, she took this as an offer of friendship. Pioneer quilting had become an opportunity to express creativity and cultivate friendships in the new land.

Here’s the buy link for Noelle:    Noelle – Christmas Quilt Brides



On to the fun stuff….

Today is release day for Noelle – Christmas Quilt Brides, Book 8. If you’d like to read an excerpt, PLEASE CLICK HERE

 ***** Giveaway *****

Jo-Ann will be giving away two ebook copies of Noelle. For a chance to win one, leave a comment about the type of crafting you enjoy most ( quilting, knitting, sewing, cake decorating, wreathing-making, etc.). If you’re not a crafter, what crafty skill to admire most in others?

Many thanks to the P&P authors for extending an invitation to their blog. I love sharing my love of the West and sweet historical romance!


+ posts

46 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Jo-Ann Roberts – Quilts and Christmas”

  1. It is amazing the information one can track from these old quilts. It is a shame such actives are no longer done.

    • Good morning, David! Thank you for your interest in my blog. I’m happy to report that quilting is still alive and thriving. While some quilters create quilts mainly for family, many others make them for veterans’ groups, hospital NICU, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. Quilting arts have survived for hundreds of year and I’m happy to be among those men and women who bring joy to other.

  2. I’ve done most of the arts and crafts, and quilting is my favorite. My mother and I have made quilts and sold them at craft fairs. I am also a history major and have written magazine articles on the history of quilts as well as dated them for people. I would have loved to have been a part of this MAP. Thanks for the well-done blog.

    • Good morning, Janice! Thanks for stopping by to read the blog. So happy to hear quilting is your favorite craft. I’ve been a quilter for nearly 40 years. In 2000, a group of friends and I got together for a weekend of quilting and visiting fabric stores. Fast forward to the present…our Quilting Week has now morphed into 10 days of renting a house in Lancaster County, PA to quilt, laugh, eat, visit fabric shops, and show off our creations. Perhaps we can do a quilt series together in the future.

    • Good morning, Teresa! Thanks for stopping by Petticoats and Pistols to read my blog on quilting. Reading or doing a craft while at work would be ideal. I did a bit of cross stitch when I was first married, but once I started quilting I found my passion. Now, of course, writing sweet historical romance has overtaken the quilting. However, since my office doubles as my quilt room, I often work on a quilt when I have a plotting problem to work out. I guess it’s two different sides of my brain! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    • Good morning, Debby! Before I was married, my mother taught me how to crochet. I made a few blankets and scarves but once I found quilting, I was hooked! However, I do enjoy going into a yarn shop where there are so many beautifully-colored yarns and intricate patterns. I did try knitting once, but couldn’t get the hang of it. I guess the Lord only blessed me with a knack for quilting! Happy Holidays to you and the family.

  3. Good morning, Jo-Ann! A lovely blog and so poignant. I was especially touched by the practice of enfolding a deceased loved one in a quilt in the absence of a coffin and how it symbolized their love and gave such comfort.

    Making a quilt has always been on my bucket list. What a treasure. Good for you for making time in your busy life to enjoy your passion!

    Best of luck on your new release. Readers are sure to fall in love with you – and your book!!

    • Good morning, Pam! Thanks for stopping by to read the blog. There was so much more I wanted to say about quilting and the ingenious ways the pioneers used them but I think I covered it fairly well. Any time you’d be interested in making a quilt, I’ll be happy to help and/or advise. Thanks also for the kind words on my new release. It’s always a pleasure talking with you. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

    • Good morning! Thanks for stopping by to read my blog on quilting. I have made dozens of baby quilts over the years. When my grandson was born, he was a preemie. And my son asked me to make a 24 x 36 inch quilt to place over the incubator. When we were finally able to visit him in the hospital, I noticed how threadbare some of the incubator covers appeared. So, every year I make two quilts for the NICU at Forsyth Medical Center in Greensboro, NC. It’s my way of honoring my grandson who is now well over six feet tall, and in his third year of college. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  4. Many years ago, in a time long past, I used to do many different crafts such as crocheting, cruell work, lots of sewing clothes from a pattern, and the list could go on and on. My greatest accomplishment, to me is, the baby blanket, knit jacket and cap sets of which I did two. They were for my son and daughter as they both were having babies at the same time. I wish I had taken a picture, but at the time we did not have the handy Iphone at our beck and call. The blankets were out of this world and I took them to the cleaners to have them blocked which added to their beauty. I do not know if they were appreciated as I never heard a word from either child to this day. Oh well, the joy is in the crafting and the giving. So, I guess crocheting is my favorite craft of years gone by. Quilting is not a gift I was given. I appreciate looking a them but have no desire to try to tackle one myself. Congratulations to those who can create such beauty.

  5. Hi, Judy! Thanks for stopping by Petticoats and Pistols to read and comment my blog on quilting. I’m sure the baby sets for your grandchildren were appreciated and well-used. Yes, you are correct when you say the joy is in the crafting and giving. I know quilting is still popular today as is knitting and crocheting. There are some very lovely yarns and patterns that call to me, but I know my gift is quilting.
    Wishing you a blessed holiday and a peaceful new year!

  6. I learned to crochet at 4.
    I started sewing clothing for my dolls by hand when I was about 4 or 5.
    When I was 12, I moved on to sewing clothing for my mom and me… and later for my kids.
    I learned card making about 20 years ago.

    Arthritis cuts down on the hours I can spend doing much of any hobby at one go, but I still enjoy them all.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Maryellen. Thanks for stopping by to comment on my blog. Goodness, you started crafting and sewing at an early age. While I was in high school, I made my own clothes, but during college it was more fun to go shopping. The art of card making intrigues me…I may have to take a class at the local community college. People post pictures of their cards and they are so pretty! It’s unfortunate that when we get older we have more time, but our bodies dictate what and how much we can do.
      Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a joyous new year!

  7. I used to sew some of my own clothes, make curtains, and other things. I have gotten away from most of that now, I have switched my hobby to flower gardening. I have a small house and it don’t leave much room for crafts and such.

    • Thanks for stopping by Petticoats and Pistols, Connie! I think as we get older our interests change. Out of necessity, we may have had to make our own clothes and household items. In the early years of our marriage I had a food garden and a flower garden, while working full-time. When we retired, I decided I only wanted two window boxes to plant. And as you know, craft supplies can easily take over your house.
      Wishing you a happy holiday and a joyful new year!

  8. Good morning, I think quilts are beautiful and I admire the people that make them. When I was a preteen, I put a little quilt together or my version of a quilt, my grandmother used to make quilts , knit and embroider. I too have embroidered some cute things but it has been awhile. I love to paint birdhouses and I like make different crafts. Thank you so much for sharing the excerpt on your great sounding book, I loved the sound of it!! (I am not entering this ebook giveaway as I am not tech savvy at all, but Thank you, but I will for sure look for your book in print) Have a great weekend.

    • Welcome, Alicia! Thanks for stopping by to read my blog on quilting and the excerpt. I admire people who do several different types of crafts. I guess when the Lord was handing out gifts, He only blessed me with the gift of quilting…for which I am deeply blessed and thankful! Hopefully, the print book should be coming out late in December or early January. Thanks for your interest in my writing.
      Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a joyous new year!

  9. I enjoy quilting along with several other crafts and I have made special quilts for each of my children and grandchildren. I recently found out that I will soon be a great- grandmother and my granddaughter let me know right away that she wants a quilt for her baby.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rhonda…and BIG congratulations on your soon-to-be great child! How exciting!!! I’m certain your children and grandchildren cherish the quilts you’ve made. And what a great heirloom you will give that new little one!

      Wishing you a happy holiday and a joyful new year!

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols! I’m so happy you stopped by to read and comment on my blog. Honestly, I am in awe of those who do cake decorating. Their talent for creating life-like flowers, baskets, vines, animal…you name it boggles my mind. I once took a cake decorating class at our local adult education program, but sadly, my talent for creating something even resembling a rose or a leaf was non-existent. Kudos to those who have the talent!
      Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a joyful new year!

  10. Oh, my goodness, this sounds delightful! Thank you for the chance to win a copy. I fell in love with quilting at 17, in less than a minute of watching someone hand-piece basket blocks. That was over 57 years ago, and I’m still quilting! I loved the pictures in this blog post, and can imagine making everyone of them, and quilting them on my longarm – not exactly tradition, but if they’d had them, I’m sure it would have been!

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Susan! So happy you stopped by to read my blog and to meet a fellow quilter. All the quilts on the blog are mine. The top one is a Missouri Star quilt pattern I made for Father’s Day for my husband; the second is on our bed; and the last quilt is a Christmas Log Cabin made with red, green, and tone-on-tone.
      Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols! Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. Cake decorating is indeed an art form. I truly marvel at bakers who can transform simple ingredients into jaw-dropping creations!
      Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

  11. I have always wanted to learn how to quilt. I have seen such beautiful and intricate quilts which are pieces of art. Maybe when I retire, I’ll learn how. ?

    • Welcome, Kathleen! So happy you stopped by Petticoats and Pistols to read my blog on quilting. It is truly a satisfying art form that takes shapes cut from fabric and stitched together with batting and backing to create a wholly different object. There are many, many videos on You Tube for beginners. I hope you’ll find some time to create your own masterpiece.
      Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season.

    • Welcome, Denise! Friendship Quilts were and still are some of the more favorite types of quilts. From pioneers who cherished quilts made by friends they left behind in the East, to the quilts of the 1930s like your parents have, to quilts made by grandchildren’s handprints, they all are made with much love. I’d love to see some of your quilts. Please send photos to me at
      Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  12. welcome today. I quilt, sew, count cross stitch and make my own greeting cards. I used to crochet and knit.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Lori! It sounds as if you are an accomplished crafter! I’m fascinated by the designs I’ve seen on FB of greeting cards made by crafts. The designs, colors, and details are amazing. I, too, used to crochet and knit, but found that quilting is really what I enjoy doing.
      Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  13. Thank you so much for your post about quilts. Over the years they have been so important to so many. The comfort they give is still true today. I am a Red Cross disaster volunteer and respond to local fires, floods, etc. A group of ladies at a local senior center donated several hand made quilts to our office. The first one I took out I gave to a woman who had lost her house and everything she owned. She had just lost her husband of many years only a few months prior. The look on her face and the tears showed just how much the quilt meant to her. I will be goin to one of the ladies’ meetings to make let them know just how much their kindness, and thoughtfulness means.
    Sewing and embroidery are what I enjoy. I did try quilting and made some small pieces and Christmas items, I have several antique quilts and enjoy them.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Patricia! And thank you so very much for volunteering to help those who have experienced devastating losses. Quilters are an amazingly generous group who use their talents to provide comfort to those in need. My own group of quilting sisters have made quilts for hospital NICU, veterans’ groups, and homeless shelters. It is our way of sharing our talent with those that need a hand up…not a handout.
      You are indeed fortunate to have several antique quilts…they are to be cherished!
      Wishing you a happy holiday season!

      • Many thanks to your group for doing quilts for those groups. We have a lady here that does quilts for veterans. I think she has made and given away over 400 quilts all on her own. Those your group are giving quilts to need all the support and comfort those quilts give. They are gifts of love and encouragement.

  14. Happy book birthday! Thank you so much for sharing. I have not taken the time to do any crafts this year. I have cross stitched, crocheted, and sew sequins and beads on banners and calendars. God bless you.

    • Welcome, Debbie! Thanks for stopping by to read my blog on quilts, and for your good wishes for the book. I never did cross stitching…a little too much of a strain on my eyes. Wow! sewing sequins and beads on banners and calendar must be fun…all that glittery shine just makes me happy thinking of it!
      Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a joyous new year.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols! Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I pray that your condition improves so you no longer need the medication, and you can return to creating your miniatures.
      Wishing you heartfelt prayers for a complete recovery, and blessings for a blessed holiday season!

  15. I use to piece a lot of quilts and my sister would quilt them on her quilt machine. Now I have so much arthritis in my hands and back that I can’t quilt anymore and also my sister past away, so I don’t sew to much anymore.

    • Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols! Sending sympathies on your sister’s passing. I’m certain the quilts you and your sister created were lovely and much appreciated by the recipients. Sending you heartfelt prayers to ease your discomfort due to the arthritis, and a wish for a blessed holiday season.

    • Good morning, Megan! Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols blog spot. Every once in a while, I will rummage through my quilting room to pull out some yarn and crochet hooks and make something…usually a dishcloth or two. However, as you can probably guess from the pictures of my quilts in this blog, quilting is my passion…along with writing sweet romance, of course!
      Wishing you a happy holiday season and a joyous new year!

Comments are closed.