Collections Blog

Rolling Star Quilt

Collection Spotlight May 1, 2016
Rolling Star Quilt
By Katie Adams, Curator

The Tread of Pioneers Museum has a wonderful quilt collection. One quilt, called the Rolling Start quilt, dates to about 150 years old. The quilt (like many in the collection) was hand-pieced and machine-sewn with cotton fabrics. The quilt, called Rolling Star, is a version of the Eight Pointed Star pattern, a very popular quilt motif with hundreds of variations. The star pattern is not an easy design to cut or sew and was often selected as a way for the creator to show off her skills. Precision is key because mistakes can lead to unevenness or prohibit the quilt from lying flat.

Based on the fabrics used, the museum’s Rolling Star quilt was pieced sometime between 1860 and early 1880. The quilt was made by Ellis Clark’s mother in Missouri probably before her son set off from Missouri to the unsettled Northwest corner of Colorado in 1879. Before filing a Homestead, Clark was a mail carrier, delivering mail from Rock Creek to Hayden. The quilt was handed down to Clark’s daughter, who later married William Clay Shaw, who is part of another local pioneering family. The Shaw family donated the quilt to the museum in 1959.

While quilting is not uniquely American, the pioneering people of the United States have made it their own. Women created quilts out of necessity, and the quilts blossomed into a delicate art that has remained a popular past-time. To see more of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s quilt collection, go to where the museum has collaborated with the Delectable Mountain Quilters Guild to show a small sampling of its quilt collection. In addition, on May 19, the museum, the Quilters Guild and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will present “Quilts of the 1930s: Hard Times, Great Quilts.”

"Quilts of the 1930s:
Hard Times, Great Quilts"

May 19 at 6:30pm
Steamboat Springs Community Center
Join the staff from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum for a walk through history as they share their insight into the revival of quilting during the hard times of the 1930s. Learn about fabrics and prints and how to recognize a 1930s era quilt. View
approximately 20 incredible quilts from the Quilt Museum's collection.
Sponsored by the Delectable Mountain Quilters Guild and the Tread of Pioneers Museum. For more information, contact Donine Schwartz at or

Posted by Katie Adams at 16:24