Monday, February 24, 2014

my civil war signature quilt

Anyone who knows me or reads about me, knows that I have a hard time finishing my quilting projects.  I really do.  I have a great idea, I LOVE to cut fabric, I love to sew it up, but usually I am just a border short of complete, and then I lose interest.  Well, I never lost interest with this quilt, it really just took me awhile to get the top completed. 

So, this one is FINISHED, excepting a few more signatures from my friends.  Not just any friends, my civil war reenacting friends.

I found the interior print of Grant and Lee at a wonderful quilt shop called Elaine's Quilt Block in Salt Lake City in the clearance fabric bin in the basement.  I bought two of the panels.  Two?  Why did I only buy two?  Who knows!  I held onto it for awhile and then decided to make a signature medallion style quilt with it in the center. 

So a few years ago I got busy making 5 inch square in a square signature blocks.  I took them along with me to various meetings and events that our civil war group was involved in, and had my friends sign them.  I am still missing a good handful of my Utah civil war friends, but I will catch up with them soon.

Well, a few days ago I put the final border on this baby and I am saying it is finished.  Its around 50 inches by 65 inches.  All the blocks are not signed yet.  I still have those Utah friends I have known for years that need to sign it, and then I made some wonderful Idaho friends last year.  Some of them have signed it, but not as many as I would like.  I am headed to Idaho for an event in two months and I can't wait to get a few more from those great folks.

I am a pretty sentimental person, and I love meeting people and making friends.  I think this quilt right here is going to be one of my favorite quilts I have ever made.  Just for the sake of all the memories that flow through my mind when I read the names of my friends that enjoy the mid 1860s with me.  Such wonderful times like singing songs around a fire, laughing over me falling down during the Virginia Reel, lacing up corsets and giggling over split drawers, eating cornbread and watching the guys roll cartridges, laughing in my tent with a lantern, cheesecake, and a mandolin, watching my kids jump rope and play with their cloth dolls and wooden swords, getting my hair done up into a bun just as the public arrive, and just spending great times with my favorite friends. Yep, a favorite quilt for sure.

Signature or memory quilts were very popular during the mid 1800s.  With many people headed west, going to war, or getting married and moving away, signature quilt blocks were made by loved ones and sent with those leaving as a sweet memento of friendship and kinship.  Unlike today with the ease of traveling, many times those farewells were final.  It was a wonderful way to remember those close to you and those you loved while you were away.  The reasons still apply today.  I want to remember these friends I have made, to have a little piece of them, and something to trigger beautiful memories.

Now, to get it off to the quilter.  Oh, and I gave that other Grant and Lee panel to a sweet lady last year who fell in love with it at an Elizabeth Stewart Clark sewing conference we were attending.  Her name was Luann.  Hopefully I see her again too.


Deonn said...

LOVE this quilt and all it represents to you! A terrific idea.

Tiff said...

Oh my goodness! I love this quilt and I love the idea of it. I really need to get quilting again. BTW, how is the log cabin quilt coming ;)


Rachel said...

Tiff, I looked at my completed pile of log cabin blocks last week and thought to myself "I really need to finish that for Tiff!" No kidding. Then I brought the pictures up on my phone of the two different layouts and asked my husbands opinion. He wasn't much help, he liked them both as well!
So, the blocks are still in a pile, but I have high hopes this spring!
Thanks Deonn!!


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