I recently went to see the quilt exhibit "Treasures from the Trunk" at the Willamette Heritage Center here in Salem.  These quilts were made by women on the Oregon Trail between 1840 and 1870.  If you get a chance, go.  They are beautiful in design and color, some simple and some complex, each with a great story.  (Here's a book I'm going to have to get that tells these stories.)  I love the idea not just of family heirlooms, but hand made heirlooms that tell a story.  I wrote about my grandmother's quilts a while back.  It's an art I hope to learn someday.
by mlekoshi