An itch to stitch
About 25 people showed up Wednesday morning at the museum, supplies in hand and fingers at the ready, for the Heritage Quilters' annual Quilt Cutting.
The new quilt for the 2020 raffle is a bow-tie pattern made from 1930s pastel prints. Some of the fabric prints have recognizable figures in them. They are called object or conversation prints. These were used as early as the mid-1880s.Often the early prints were of a patriotic or nautical subject, or a nature theme.
The popularity of conversation prints spread as a new printing process made it economical to print small designs on fabrics. These prints remain popular and now include Disney characters and popular game or movie heroes.
The Heritage Quilters' Bow Tie quilt has a lightness and whimsey to it, with a center block of applique. The bow tie block alternates with a 1930s' green to add interest and color. The Bow Tie was rarely used by Amish, but some rare examples of their use do exist.
The pattern dates to the 1880s and was first published by the Ladies Arts Company in 1895. Like so many quilt patterns, it had other names: Colonial Bow Tie, Peekhole, True Lovers’ Knot, Dumbbell.
The persistent story of quilt blocks used as code for runaway slaves includes the Bow Tie. That story tells of signaling runaway slaves to dress up in fine clothes to pass in disguise if stopped. The ultimate authority of quilt history, Barbara Brackman, states there is no evidence of quilts being used as signals, codes or maps. This story persists, yet has no documentation in quilt history to back it up.
The new blocks are a bit oversized so that it can be trimmed to size. The Heritage Quilters have learned that this cuts down on alterations and remakes for the people who assemble the top.
Blocks are due back to the museum, 6422 Main St. in Union, the week of Feb. 14. Include your name, so that you can be checked off the master list. Hitting the deadline will ensure those assembling the blocks will be ready for Basting Day on Wednesday, March 20. Set up is at 9:30 a.m., basting at 10 a.m. It will be followed by a brown-bag lunch, so bring something to share.