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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Civil War Quilts 2002 - 2005

My son's Log Cabin quilt, made from Civil War reproduction fabrics.
      It is fitting on the 4th of July weekend, and the observance of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg,  that I am documenting the making of a Civil War quilt. 
     My son was a Civil War buff from a very early age.  We had fun attending some small civil war reenactments, including a fun time on the Arcade and Attica RR.    As a result, it was easy to decide on the fabrics for a special quilt for him.  I collected a slew of Civil War reproduction fabrics, from a variety of sources, and paper-pieced a log cabin quilt.   I enjoy the history of old quilt blocks.   I used the traditional red center, and then a scrappy combination of fabrics for a light and dark divide.   



A close of one of the 80 blocks in the quilt  


     After completing the blocks, I tried all sorts of designs to highlight the light and dark.  This is a really versatile block to use!  I decided on the placement below to create the strong diagonal lines, and the diamond shapes on the quilt. 


A close up showing the alternating placement of the dark and light halves of the blocks.





I didn't remove the paper until I had sewn the blocks together (to keep them from stretching).  I ended up needing to use tweezers to get the little scraps stuck in the corner seams.  I  now remove the paper before sewing paper pieced blocks together.

The finished design pops out in this picture, which was taken before the quilt top was pinned and quilted.

     I started the quilt in early 2002, right after I had finished the broken dishes quilt for my daughter.  I hand quilted the blocks, with an "X" in the center, and then following the design of the blocks, quilted up the middle of each strip, creating a Greek-key type of design in each block. 
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A close up of the quilt back which shows the quilted design on the blocks.
A close up of the quilted top showing some of the many fabrics



Another close up of different blocks. I think I used over 80 different prints in this quilt.


     For the border, I used a dark blue print, and some scraps as a middle border.  For the hand quilting of the border, I purchased a template, and lightly chalked the top to follow.  I used a large lap hoop to hold the quilt during the quilting process.  This quilt has the nicest drape to it, which to me is a big difference between hand quilting and machine quilting.   I used the Warm and Natural batting, which always gives a nice crinkly feel to the finished quilt after washing.


A close up of the quilted border, before washing the quilt.  I liked how the cream colored thread showed up on the dark border.

A close up of the border quilting, after washing.  The quilt design still shows up.


One of the blocks, after quilting and washing.

A different block, after quilting and washing.

     The hand quilting took a LONG time.  I finally finished the quilt in September 2003.  I belonged to a quilt guild at that point, and the quilt won a ribbon at the guild's quilt show that year.  It also won a red ribbon the following summer at the Erie County Fair. 



I still had not mastered the art of sewing on the binding.  Nevertheless, every stitch was made with love! 

     I had plenty of Civil War reproduction fabric left over.   I also wanted my son to have a quilt to take to band camp and later to college.  So, I used the scraps to make nine-patch blocks, which I then set with bright red blocks, on the diagonal, and bordered with blue.  This quilt was machine quilted, and backed with a cute flannel.  I finished this quilt in time for my son's 13th birthday in 2005.   


The band camp quilt.
     I ended up using a walking foot to quilt diagonal lines with framed the nine patch blocks, and created an interesting grid in the solid red block. 
A close up of one of the nine patch blocks.


Another close up.  I ran out of the red solid during the construction of the quilt, and substituted a red print in some places, as you can see in the lower right corner of this picture. 


A close up showing the grid pattern of the quilting.

A close up of the cowboy and cactus flannel that I used to back this quilt. 

     The nine-patch quilt is well-traveled.  It has gone to band camp, to college, and to music festivals.  The log cabin quilt remains on my son's bed at home.   I still have some of that fabric left over.   Expect to see another scrappy quilt using those fabrics in the future!  

Take care,

Gretchen

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