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Thread: Underground Railroad Quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member miholmes's Avatar
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    Hey guys!

    I've planning out quilts I want to make people for Christmas. My sister in law is a librarian, so I was thinking of making her an underground railroad quilt, thinking she could not only use it but use it as a teaching tool for classes she has.

    Anyway other than the Quilt-A-Day version (I believe that the right title...going by memory) Does anyone else have a good reference book that they would reccomned? Let me know. Thanks!

  2. #2
    JJs
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    just remember that the Underground Railroad quilt stories are not true....

  3. #3
    Senior Member miholmes's Avatar
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    Isn't it more of a "we don't know for sure" kinda thing? I could be wrong. Just going off of National Geographic. :)

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...avequilts.html

  4. #4
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    The book Underground Railroad Sampler Quilt (I wish I owned it) is suppose to be great. Hidden in Plain View is a book about the underground RR and in the back it has what block was used for what code. Reproduction Quilts has a pattern The Freedom Quilt C1850 inspired by the ides that quilts were used by the underground RR. I check for you it is still in print and costs $9. www.reproductionquilts.com
    Hope this helped, I live and breath the Civil War and the years leading up to it. It is proven through written documents that in SC there were indeed Freedom quilts even though people say they were a falsehood. If you go to www.osblackhistory.com/quilts.php you will get a good education in freedom quilts and how they were used by slaves. I wish all who disbelieved in this fact read about it. Also I live by the ONLY Freedom center in the US, they have the only slave pen know to exsist and when I spoke to them a few years ago they have confirmed that freedon quilt were used by the underground RR, however in was in only a few stated. Ohio was the place slaves were headed, there are markers all over the town where I live showing safe houses, conductors etc. There are even mapped out tours of my area it was the runaway slave hub.

  5. #5
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I think that she'll love any quilt you make. Although the Underground Railroad/quilt connection is purely speculation and quite a bit of romanticized fiction, the quilt itself can be used in teaching the value of hand made creations and the stories can still be told. If you are wanting a to make a quilt that would have some true history to it, check out the Hobo Quilt. It's made using fabric interpretations of actual hobo markings. Or, come up with your own design. I'm currently working on designing a quilt depicting either the miracles or parables of Christ.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ctmhjenn's Avatar
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    So I guess they had a lot of us hoping that the stories were true. I just read the info on National Geographic, and I would like to keep that 'myth' as somewhat of a possibility. It was a hard life, and I would like to think that there was something that gave them an easier way out even if it was a quilt hanging on a line.

  7. #7
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trupeach
    The book Underground Railroad Sampler Quilt (I wish I owned it) is suppose to be great. Hidden in Plain View is a book about the underground RR and in the back it has what block was used for what code. Reproduction Quilts has a pattern The Freedom Quilt C1850 inspired by the ides that quilts were used by the underground RR. I check for you it is still in print and costs $9. www.reproductionquilts.com
    Hope this helped, I live and breath the Civil War and the years leading up to it.
    I have this book(the first one) and it's great! It tells the stories and has blocks from that era in it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ctmhjenn's Avatar
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    I have forgotten to add that I did make an Underground Railroad quilt. It was done using Eleanor Burns book.

  9. #9
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJs
    just remember that the Underground Railroad quilt stories are not true....
    Really, they aren't true :?:

  10. #10
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    I found a book called "Underground Railroad Sampler" by Eleanor Burns on Amazon.com.

    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keyw...s&link_code=qs

    I hope this can help!

  11. #11

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    My daughter loves to read so I made her a bookcase quilt with paper pieced books on the shelves. Very, very easy. That might be an idea for a quilt for a librarian if you decide not to do the Underground Railroad.

  12. #12
    JJs
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilts_...round_Railroad

    people can 'believe' whatever they want to believe, but making up stories doesn't make them true, and writing books and articles about the made up stories do not make them true...
    if you want to believe in the easter bunny and santa claus and quilt stories, you can do that....
    have fun...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanetM
    Quote Originally Posted by JJs
    just remember that the Underground Railroad quilt stories are not true....
    Really, they aren't true :?:
    THEY ARE TRUE............ if you go to the site I posted above you can read all about them. Also as I stated they were used in the Carolinas and there is written documentation pertaining to that. If people researched the right places they would know. I am a history nut as is my son what has his BS in history, and is now getting his 2nd masters stupid he is not, he could tell you how many men Picket had on his charge in Gettysburg. He will attest to what WE have read freedom quilt were used as were certain color curtains and candles or will anyone disbute that? When it comes to the CW we have read everything in print and oop on the subject. I have friends who reenact some portray runaway slaves and they have to have facts and they state that they are true.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJs
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilts_...round_Railroad

    people can 'believe' whatever they want to believe, but making up stories doesn't make them true, and writing books and articles about the made up stories do not make them true...
    if you want to believe in the easter bunny and santa claus and quilt stories, you can do that....
    have fun...
    But if that be the case you can't see the wind but you know it is there along with the air you breath. If there is written documention dated from the mid 1800's in SC then that is not SOMEONE writing a book. Would a diary of yours be untrue?????????? Then why would writings from FREE slaves during that time be untrue???????? Also at wikpedia it says SOME textile historians say it is untrue it didn't say according to ALL textile historians. On top of which Freedon quilts were utility quilts, used everyday that is why there are none know to exist today and so none for textile historians to examine. Many quilts still in exisitance today were for show in the 1800's and they is why they are still around but those used all the time are also gone. I have read too much to dought there were freedom quilts. And if you are correct then I suggest you contact the Clermont County Ohio Freedon trail headquarters because they then are misinforming the public.


    I am just curious JJ's why is YOUR information true??????????

  15. #15
    JJs
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    as I said, believe what you want to believe - if it makes you happy to believe in the underground railroad quilts, do so...
    some of the patterns attributed to use in such quilts weren't even around then but, I guess if you believe hard enough then it's true..
    how about we agree to disagree - sounds good to me...
    I personally don't believe in the underground railroad quilts touted in books as a total thing... there may have been particular quilts used a particular way - I don't know, I wasn't there, just as someone mentioned that hobos used to mark fence posts, it's possible that someone somewhere hung a quilt out and somebody else said, hey there's that quilt we're supposed to be looking for...
    who knows...

  16. #16
    Super Member kwhite's Avatar
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    Ladies. None of us were there. No one that we know were there. It has been proven over and over that a good lot of "history" we know has been "embellished".
    I choose to beleive it can be true. JJ chooses to beleive it is not. No one will ever be able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is or is not so let's agree to dissagree and discuss the actual point, beautiful quilts.

  17. #17
    lacikat's Avatar
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    My friend made the one from Eleanor Burns book and it turned out beautiful. There is a page that you can copy that explains the "supposed" code. As for me and my family we believe this
    could be very valid. As was said, I wasn't there and don't know
    anyone that was. There is a house about 6 miles from me that
    was used to hide escaped slaves. My house was a "blind pig" back in the days of prohibition. I wish the walls could talk and tell me the history and happenings.

  18. #18
    Super Member Gramof6's Avatar
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    And BEAUTIFUL the quilts were or are! It is so interesting to see how diff. Eleanor Burns Pattern looks made using diff. fabrics. I love the CW reproduction fabrics.

  19. #19
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Sounds like it will be a great idea, particularly for a Librarian (maybe some book inspired fabric thrown in!). I can't say I have read much about the Underground Railroad, but this has piqued my interest. I come from the deep south-west of England, legends and stories abound from beasts on the moors to tales my elders would tell of smugglers and later local exploits during WWII. I find often the truth is stranger than fiction and there have been many very inventive ways used for people to overcome the difficulties they face. Thanks everyone for contributing to this excellent thread.

  20. #20
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacikat
    My friend made the one from Eleanor Burns book and it turned out beautiful. There is a page that you can copy that explains the "supposed" code. As for me and my family we believe this
    could be very valid. As was said, I wasn't there and don't know
    anyone that was. There is a house about 6 miles from me that
    was used to hide escaped slaves. My house was a "blind pig" back in the days of prohibition. I wish the walls could talk and tell me the history and happenings.
    My husband's grandmothers house was equipped with a secret area for the slaves to hide after they came across the river. In fact, the last town I lived in have many many places that the slaves would start off and go from one place to another hiding. I think its absolutley wonderful how innovative people became to help each other and I really can't imagine someone along the line didn't give them a quilt for their freedom journey.

  21. #21
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwhite
    Ladies. None of us were there. No one that we know were there. It has been proven over and over that a good lot of "history" we know has been "embellished".
    I choose to beleive it can be true. JJ chooses to beleive it is not. No one will ever be able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is or is not so let's agree to dissagree and discuss the actual point, beautiful quilts.
    I couldn't agree more, although I do love a good debate. I just never could wrap my head around the idea because what if someone that wasn't part of the UR had a similar quilt and washed it? It could have meant real trouble. But just because that's my thoughts doesn't mean it couldn't have happened. I also have a hard time imagining a king beheading or otherwise killing his wives but I guess that happened too. But as you said, let's get back to quilts!

  22. #22
    Senior Member miholmes's Avatar
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    Wowsers

    -I didn't realize this would be such a touchy subject. I guess I've always heard about not discussing politics and religion, I might be adding underground railroad quilts to that list. :)

    But really like other posters have said, it will be a nice way to talk about the underground railroad, black history, and craftsmanship, and quilting etc.

    So either way it will be a good conductor for teaching, as well as a warm and comfy quilt. :)

    Thanks for everyone's feedback. And I didn't mean to stir up any hard feelings. I guess we all have our own opinions on the subject and we can agree to disagree.

  23. #23
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctmhjenn
    I have forgotten to add that I did make an Underground Railroad quilt. It was done using Eleanor Burns book.
    I made this one as well, and posted a pic of it in the Pictures section. It is now hanging in the library at our high school for a month.

  24. #24
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Well said. We all have the freedom to choose what we believe. My beliefs are not going to change yours and you aren't going to change mine. It was a rousing debate though. :thumbup:
    And when all is said and done, she will love the quilt.

  25. #25
    Piedmont Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwhite
    Ladies. None of us were there. No one that we know were there. It has been proven over and over that a good lot of "history" we know has been "embellished".
    I choose to beleive it can be true. JJ chooses to beleive it is not. No one will ever be able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is or is not so let's agree to dissagree and discuss the actual point, beautiful quilts.
    Thanks for posting this!! I hope it "nips" the arguing in the "bud". This is a quilting board ~ not a history board, nor a I'm right, your wrong board.

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