Saturday, June 30, 2018

Call For Quilts: Cutters

Two women sewing, about 1860
Photo from the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection:

Hundreds of calls for quilts and bedding went out during the Civil War.
This article from an Ohio newspaper in the first year of the war is quite specific:

"Sheets and quilt are wanted...7 feet long, 4-1/2 feet wide, and may be made of odd calico or delaine, with cotton firmly quilted in, so that it will not lose its place in being washed.... It must be remembered that hospital cots are very narrow, and second hand bedding, if sent to us should be cut over into proper size. Two half worn quilts of ordinary size can be altered into three hospital quilts.."

I still recall my growing horror during an AQSG paper by Ginny Gunn years ago in which she explained how many quilts were consumed during the Civil War---destroyed accidentally in battle, mud and laundry or deliberately burned after a soldier's death. It's nothing compared to the lives that were lost, but it is still a loss.

Looking at the newspaper request suggesting that one could cut two half-worn quilts into three hospital quilts I started imagining....

Let's say I'm an Ohioan with two "half-worn" quilts inherited from
my late mother-in-law. 

I was never that fond of her and I am indeed less fond of these medallion quilts, which are so out-of fashion. But dear Hubby insists we display them in the extra room. I'll appeal to his patriotism by showing him the newspaper.

A little binding and I have three bedcovers for the Soldiers' Aid Society plus I can put a new red and green applique on the bed.
It's a win/win situation for everybody except the future quilt historian.

Read Virginia Gunn's ground-breaking paper "Quilts for Union Soldiers in the Civil War " in Uncoverings 6 at the Quilt Index:


Suzanne A said...

Love the hybrid quilt on the right! Aesthetics be damned, the soldiers need this.

Sandy said...

Maybe you shoud do this as a sew-along.

Lizzy D said...

Wouldn't we love to find a make do quilt like the third one!

Judy said...

What a sad and terrible time in our history. Most of us would never have survived.

Laura Lane said...

Just last week at the Vermont Quilt Festival, there was an antique quilt on display that was oddly narrow and long. On close examination, it had been cut down and the other side border resewn to the cut edge. We speculated on why this cutting had been done, but this scenario didn't come up. Now I wonder. The quilt was part of the antique exhibit of the Christ Collection. No photos were allowed of the exhibit, so I have none to send.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to the article. Quilters continue to donate to people in need. A wonderful heritage.

Denniele said...

Just too funny!

Janie said...

It was tough at that time, but they made do.
Holding onto faith and hope, life went on for some of them.
That could be called a reconstruct technique.