Saturday, November 30, 2013

2014 Civil War Block of the Month: Threads of Memory

We are going to do another free online Block of the Month on this blog on the theme of the Civil War for the year 2104.

The theme Threads of Memory refers to the Underground Railroad. Each month you'll get a block named 
for an important place in the story of the network that assisted slaves on the road to freedom. We'll explore true stories of people who lived in slavery, escaped on the "Liberty Line" or helped the fugitives.

The twelve blocks will finish to 12" and each is an original pieced design for a star block.
(No applique!)

YOU DON'T SIGN UP. I'll post the block instructions here. But you might want to sign up on the left here
for email notifications. The weekly post will come right to your inbox.

I'll post blocks and stories on the LAST Saturday of each month beginning on January 25, 2014.
UPDATE: Here's the first post

Jean Stanclift made the blocks for this sampler several years ago. We'll be showing hers in primary colors.

She used
reds, yellows and blues 
with a very dark brown as a background.
Her sashing was two shades of blue.

To update the sampler Becky Brown has done two new sets of blocks---One in rather romantic prints of pink and brown and the other in my 2014 reproduction collection Ladies Album for Moda.

Here are some fabrics from her pink and brown set done and
in her signature style with lots of fussy cutting.

Here are the swatches from Ladies Album
which is scheduled for March, 2014 delivery.

Dustin is also doing two sets of blocks as models.

He's mixing my 2013 collection Civil War Jubilee
with a plain white for contrast.

He is going to make a set out

Blue & white ticking.
Stay Tuned!

Jean's sampler of 12 blocks with sashing finishes to 68" by 88". We'll give you that basic set and some yardage suggestions in January.

Right now it's time to start sorting your fabrics.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dustin's Organic Diary

Have you been watching Dustin's Dixie Diary on our Flickr Page?
He wrote that it was growing organically.

Half way done

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wishing For a New Civil War Block of the Week?

Here's the sample quilt for Jennifer Chiaverini's quilt book
Loyal Union Sampler
There are 121 blocks, each 6" x 6"
This book will keep you in stitches for 2 years.

It's paired with her novel
The Union Quilters

See her web page here:

I think it would look lovely in prints from my last two Civil War collections for Moda

From Metropolitan Fair

And Civil War Jubilee

And since you will be working on this sampler into 2015 here's a sneak peek at my next mid-19th-century reproduction collection from Moda: Ladies' Album.

Ladies Album should be in shops in March, 2014.

See a preview of Jennifer's book at C&T here.

You can download it as an ebook too.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Shield Quilt Pattern

I was looking through my Encyclopedia of Applique pattern book a couple of weeks ago and I came across this Shield pattern (my #60.86) from the Ladies Art Company about 1900. You don't see many published patriotic patterns before 1950 or so.

Did anybody ever make a quilt from this pattern?

This is the kind of question my old pattern detective friends Cuesta Benberry and Joyce Gross would have enjoyed. 

We'd have spent an afternoon looking through our books and filing cabinets and calling each other. Now things are digital so I looked through my files of 20th-century patriotic quilts. I spent a week looking at shields.

There are many patriotic quilts
from the first half of the century
and some feature shields.

But not the same shield.

Here's a spectacular full-sized example we uncovered
in the Kansas Quilt Project, made during World War I
when you'd guess someone might order
that Shield pattern and make it.

But n-o-o-o

I'd have to say the pattern started few projects.

Although it's not too late.

Last Minute Addition:

48 hours ago I was looking through Stella Rubin's fabulous collection of quilts for sale 
and came across this Patriotic Crib Quilt.

Here's the link:

I think I have to amend my blog post:
At least one quilter may have used the shield pattern.

Suzanne points out that the shield is similar to the Union Pacific railroad logo.

It's possible that several of the quilters looking for a shield would look to advertising.

Here are two others

Karan reminds me that the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park has a quilt in their collection made in the Ladies Art Company shield pattern. She found it in Sue Reich's recent book World War II Quilts, page 47. 

Shield Quilt

This rung a small bell in the back, way back of my memory. I did a little internet searching and found a list of quilts in the holdings at Hyde Park with some black and white photos. The caption on this one reads:

"U.S. Shield Quilt Red, white and blue taffeta quilt decorated with shields of the U.S. Designed by Rev John A. Stubbs and made by the young people's department of the Church of God, Cleveland, Tenn. The quilt was sent to FDR by Miss Willard H Boyles, Gen'l Sec. Victory Leaders Band, the Church of God on September 21, 1943."

The article on the Hyde Park quilts is in Joyce Gross's Quilters Journal #19 June 1982, page 10. You can read a PDF of the magazine at the Quilt Index website:

The good news is Karan is right. This looks very much like the Ladies Art Company pattern.

The bad news is I co-wrote that article. I went to Hyde Park and I looked at the quilts in 1981 and Joyce, Cuesta and I did the article for an issue that focused on New York quilt history.

Well, at least Karan still has a memory.

From an online auction, looks to be about 1900.

UPDATE: 6 years later.
Dealer John Sauls showed this one from his long ago inventory.

13 stripes, just like the pattern.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dixie Dairy 11: Just Hominy

Dixie Diary 11
Just Hominy
8" Version

A two-tone star represents Sarah’s dilemma: 
Starvation or surrender.

After two years of war the Morgan women were hungry. Sarah's 56-year-old mother was suffering in the town of Clinton where food had run out. Confederate brother Gibbes hoped to find them a home in a city far from battles and poverty. Brother Philip living in Union-occupied New Orleans suggested they join him there, take an oath of loyalty to the Union and end their ordeal.

Confederate refugees in a Union camp

March 31, 1863, Linwood, East Feliciana Parish

"To be or not to be; that's the question." Whether 'tis nobler in the Confederacy to suffer the pangs of unappeasable hunger and never-ending trouble, or to take passage to a Yankee port, and there remaining end them. Which is best? I am so near daft that I cannot pretend to say; I only know that I shudder at the thought of going to New Orleans, and that my heart fails me when I think of the probable consequence to Mother if I allow a mere outward sign of patriotism to overbalance what should be my first consideration---her health. For Clinton is growing no better rapidly. To be hungry is there an everyday occurrence. For ten days mother writes, they have lived off just hominy enough to keep their bodies and souls from parting, without being able to procure another article---not even a potato.

Hominy is field corn boiled in an alkali solution such as lye.

Mother is not in a condition to stand such privation; day by day she grows weaker on her new regimen; I am satisfied that two months more of danger, difficulties, perplexities, and starvation will lay her in her grave….Lilly has been obliged to put her children to bed to make them forget they were supperless, and when she followed their example, could not sleep herself, for very hunger. 

Sarah's mother is in Clinton (the white star).
Sarah is at Linwood Plantation (white circle).
Gibbes has searched Augusta (blue heart) for shelter.
Union-held New Orleans is the blue arrow.

"We have tried in vain to find another home in the Confederacy. After three days spent in searching Augusta, Gibbes wrote that it was impossible to find a vacant room for us, as the city was already crowded with refugees….The question has now resolved itself to whether we shall see mother die for want of food in Clinton, or by sacrificing an outward show of patriotism (the inward sentiment cannot be changed), go with her to New Orleans.…

Sarah Fowler Morgan,
Sarah's mother, in better days.

Just Hominy by Sandi Brothers
 12" version with a 1" frame, set on point

Cutting a 12" Block

A Cut 1 square 4 3/4".

B Cut rectangles 5 1/8" x 2 5/8". Trim one end at a 45 degree angle to make the shape B. 
Cut 4 medium going one direction and 4 dark going the other direction.

C Cut 2 light squares and 2 dark squares 3 7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with 1 cut. 
You need 4 triangles of each.

D Cut 1 square 7 1/4" (7-3/16th" if you use the 1/16th" default)
Cut into 4 triangles with 2 cuts. You need 4 triangles.

Cutting an 8" Block

Cut 1 square 3-3/8" (3-5/16")

UPDATE: I fixed the above measurements. Thanks to PinkD and Cheryl .

B Cut rectangles 3-5/8 x 1-7/8"". Trim one end at a 45 degree angle to make the shape B. 

Cut 4 medium going one direction and 4 dark going the other direction.

C Cut 2 light squares and 2 dark squares 2 7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with 1 cut. 
You need 4 triangles of each.

D Cut 1 square 5-1/4".  (5-3/16th" if you use the 1/16th" default)

Cut into 4 triangles with 2 cuts. You need 4 triangles.

Optional applique:
Applique a star or a heart after piecing.
Go back to the January 5, 2013 post to see a JPG with the heart and the star.