Saturday, January 8, 2011

2 North Star

North Star by Barb Fife

Northern women opposed to slavery raised money for the cause through Anti-Slavery Fairs, much like our Christmas Crafts Bazaars. The antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, described the 1836 Boston fair:

See a digital version of the 1846 book The Anti-slavery Alphabet
by clicking here:
and browsing through the book.
The Hall was filled with visitors at an early hour, and continued full until late in the evening. Very many of these were not abolitionists, but belonged to a large and increasing class of the community, who have been strongly abolitionized by Anti-Slavery efforts … The cake table was loaded with varieties of cake, made of sugar not manufactured by slaves, and near it was placed the motto, “Free Labor.” … There was a great variety in the articles, and many of them were very handsome and tasteful.”
Handmade items included pen wipers inscribed with “Wipe Out the Blot of Slavery” or “Plead the Cause With Thy Pen.” Needle holders proclaimed, “May the use of our needles stick the consciences of slaveholders.” Needle books shaped like shoes had written on the bottom, “Trample Not on the Oppressed.” Watch cases were inscribed with “The political economist counts time by years, the suffering slave reckons it by minutes.” Bunches of quill pens were bound with a label that read, “Twenty-five weapons for abolitionists.” Candy was wrapped in papers printed with poetry: “Come little ones! For the sweets you see, Were made by the labor of the FREE.”

Abolition Crib Quilt (Reproduction)
by Barbara Brackman & Terry Thompson
Our inspiration was the quilt
in the collection of Historic New England.

A cradle quilt was made of patchwork in small stars. On the central star was written with indelible ink:
“Mother! When around your child
You clasp your arms in love,
And when with grateful joy you raise
Your eyes to God above—
Think of the negro mother,
When her child is torn away—
Sold for a little slave—Oh, then,
For that poor mother pray.”
Detail of our reproduction with the central inscription

Lydia Maria Child, one of the Boston Fair’s organizers, wrote in a letter: “You have doubtless learned the success of our Fair … My cradle-quilt sold for $5.” Her quilt has, amazingly enough, survived. The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now Historic New England, owns a small star quilt with the exact poem inscribed.

 Lydia Maria Child 1856
Quilts remained important to the era’s fairs. In 1846, The Liberator described a “North Star bed cover,” named, undoubtedly, for the escaping slave’s heavenly guidepost. The simple star here, one of the oldest patchwork patterns, represents the abolitionist’s needlework in our sampler. It’s been published by many pattern companies under many names, including Aunt Eliza’s Star or Variable Star, over the past 120 years or so. Today’s quilters often call it Sawtooth Star.
For a finished 8-inch block cut the following pieces:
A - 4 light squares 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"
B - 1 light square 5-1/4". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 cuts. You need 4.
C - 4 print squares 2-7/8" x 2-7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut. You need 8.
D - 1 print square 4-1/2" x 4-1/2"

This story is taken from my 2006 book Facts and Fabrications: Unraveling the History of Quilts and Slavery. See page 84 for a 15" pattern. Click here for more information about the book:


Vickie said...

Oh deary me I jsut couldn't ressit checking before I went to bed..ermm now I jsut have to see what fabrics I will be using..this is so awsome to read the story then make the block-bless you Barbara,cheers Vickie

Becky in VA said...

I've been waiting all week for the next lesson and block! This is fun. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, to my sister, Elvis and my (deceased) Grandmother who passed the love of quilting to me.

Tazzie said...

I was waiting with bated breath for the next block, and I've made it already! Thank you so much Barbara!

Cheryl said...

I am so pleased with these blocks! Thank you so much for hosting this BOW. I plan to donate mine to the Quilts of Valor. I will post my completed block on my blog this am.

Deanna said...

I'll do block 2 today. I am using civil war prints and Daughter, who is quilting along, is using something much more 10yo-ish. We will have fun sharing this project this year.

Dora, the Quilter said...

My only knowledge of Lydia Maria Child was as the author of "Over the River and Through the Wood." I love this block the information about LMC adds meaning to my day. Thank you.

Sharon said...

Thanks for the block and the information you have provided, I like the links to the books. Hope to get this one made today!

Irene said...

Going to get this block done today. Thanks for the history lessons. They are awesome!

Rosemary Youngs said...

Thank you, what interesting history and such a moving inscription on the quilt. It makes the blocks we are working on mean so much more.

Marsha B said...

This is the way I like to learn history, interesting and fun!

Jocelyn said...

Thanks for the new block Barbara. I made mine up already and have posted it on my blog :-)

Anonymous said...

I would love to post your Civil War button on my blog, but how do we do it? Where is the code for it? On other blogs, I usually see a text box with code.

I'll go work on the this block... am having a great time with this!


Linda in IN said...

I wonder is there a way to print these patterns?


Anonymous said...

I have completed the block and posted it on my blog. I chose to use a scanned picture as the center of my block.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the second block. Mine is a step away from finished, too!

Barbara Brackman said...

I still don't get the button concept. If you click on it you see the blog and you can copy the code from the very top. Regarding printing these. I'd select the type you want to print and go to Print. Print selection. Hope that works.

Becky in VA said...

I am printing the info & pattern for each block. I selected the type/pictures, copied it and placed it in Word and printed. It will be nice to have as a record of the quilt.

I left a comment early this morning but have decided to wait to make #2 - until tomorrow afternoon. :-) What fun. Thank you, Barbara!

Hennie said...

This is a great idea Barbara, i love to make a block each week. I also put the button on my blog and post my blocks on my blog
Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
Greatings from Holland

Linda in IN said...

Becky thanks for the printing tips. Works fine and I can take it to sewing room with me.

Connie said...

I couldn't wait to get the second one ,thanks so much for the block and history stories. Will do my block on Monday! Thanks Connie

Nat Palaskas said...

Dear Barbara, I would love to quilt along with you. Do I need to register or sign up any where?

Many thanks, it's going to be great - Hugs Nat

Aggiequilter said...

This will be so much fun to do. Thanks Barbara, for doing this series. Is it also possible to put the patterns in a PDF/link for us to print & use more easily? Thanks!

Christie said...

Another great block and interesting story along with it. Thanks for sharing. HUGS... and stitches

Sandy said...

Barbara- Thank you so much for this wonderful blog and the historic information. I live in Washington state now, but I was born in Virginia and grew up in Georgia where the Civil War and 'Dixie' is still very much a part of the history and culture of the area. I am following along and making the blocks for my own Civil War anniversary project. I'm learning so much- I'm currently reading the book by Eliza Potter- the Google Book you posted. I am really enjoying it!! Southern history is close to my heart- Thank you!!! Sandy

Diane said...

I made my block last night. I know I am going to learn a lot and have fun along the way. Thank you!

Liz Needle said...

An inspiring site. I just have to join in the fun.

Miss Hillbilly said...

My 13 yr old just got this one done...plugging along...