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Thread: underground railroad

  1. #1

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    I am a new quilter but, I am fascinated with the blocks of the underground railroad. I think these blocks are a great way to learn and teach our country's history plus,your making a wonderful quilt! my problem is that I don't know the original colors to use? any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Eleanor Burns has a great book Undergroung Railroad Sampler. It shows the colors as well as great block construction directions. I got the book for Christmas from my DH and am starting to built a stash of civil war repo fabrics so I can get started on it..

  3. #3

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    that book sounds interesting keep me in the loop ok

  4. #4
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Just to fore warn you. There may be a lot of people on here that don't believe in the underground railroad quilt story. (there's been LOTS of debates in the past) DON'T let it discourage you. It's a wonderful legend.

    Underground Railroad quilts are usually made with Civil War reproduction prints but one of my sisters made a beautiful one using various train prints.

  5. #5
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    Here is El's site for the book and it is at the lowest I have ever seen it:

    http://www.quiltinaday.com/shoponlin...er&i=1497&pg=4

    Here is a site for the 'Civil War Quilt' from the expert of the era, Barbara Brackman:

    http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/

    For the fabric pick any of your favorites of the 1800's and they will fit. Here is a couple links for sites that sell these:

    http://www.bearpawquilting.com/cgi-bin/Store/store.cgi

    http://www.bonniebluequilts.com/default.aspx

    http://www.quiltbook.com/CivWarRepo.htm

    http://www.trinityquilts.com/categor...category_id=45

    http://www.reproductionfabrics.com/shelf.php?ID=39

    http://www.this-n-thatfabrics.com/cg...tore/store.cgi

    http://www.shopvintageandvogue.com/c...tore/store.cgi

  6. #6
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    This is a topic that fascinates me and I'm eager to start reading about the history of the underground railroad.

    We have several homes in my town which were part of it and my sister was telling me last night about two buildings in Burlington, VT that had tunnels running between them. (Turns out one was later converted to a fraternity house and the other to a sorority house in which she lived. The tunnel was used for midnight visiting.) She also told me that the underground railroad ran from Burlington to Canada. I had no idea.

    I've seen these quilts and - despite any argument about the authenticity of the blocks - they are great.

  7. #7
    Junior Member lynn_z's Avatar
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    Fabric Depot in Portland carries a huge line of repro fabric. Usually the word repro offends me but I actually have some Civil War squares and went to FD to match it up so I can put them all together. They don't offer much online but here are a few on sale now....you can email them, also, and they may help you find colors.

    http://www.fabricdepot.com/index.php...ng=civil%20war

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jamiestitcher62's Avatar
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    I bought the underground railroad book. It's really neat and there are pages of label headings that you can copy on to labels to organize all the pieces and fabrics.

    I thought the story was true and wasn't aware that it was just a theory. Hmm, I guess you live and learn.

  9. #9
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Since the setting was in the 1800's, Civil War reproduction quilts are a natural choice but I have seen many different ones including some made with 1930's reproduction fabrics. The above mentioned Quilt In A Day book is wonderful and will teach a new quilter many techniques in the process.

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i made one in 1800's reproduction fabrics and one in 1930's fabrics...both turned out wonderful...the 1800's one is closer to what they would have been though. i have a friend who used thimbleberries fabrics for hers and that one is beautiful too!
    the elenor burns book shows good pictures and fabric samples

  11. #11
    buffalogrl's Avatar
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    Along with just a fun quilt, it is a great way to learn different and basic techniques. Somethings I just could not get (and Still can't) until my daughter and I made it for her history teacher.

  12. #12
    Super Member clsurz's Avatar
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    People who don't believe in the underground railroad and how they communicated don't know what they are talking about.

    I am best friends with the great granddaughter of a slave family. And for those of you who are familar of Blind Tom who was a slave and also a famous piano player (debuted on PBS) few years ago was a relative of hers.

    I have been bless these last 26 years to have been a part of her history and family, many of whom were slaves, and sharecroppers back in the 18th and 19th century and the things even her mother, herself and families have endured into the 20th century until the 1960's.

    Despite what some may think of the underground, or not, just like the holocust some still today will say it never happened and it did.

    Slaves in this country communicated messages to each other in manners we would never have thought of to do. Besides some documentation as you find in quilts, and other means they have a wonderful oral history passed down from generation to generation. Todays generation however with all the technology are able to put it all down and have electronic documentation of the history centuries pass to even this day.

  13. #13
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    It is not the Underground Railroad and its existance but the use of quilts to guide that is under discussion. I visited the Uderground Railroad museum in Atlanta a few years ago and the curator was describing the quilt and the signifiance of the blocks.
    One block that was of some interest to me was her explanation of the Sun Bonnet Sue block......that block didn't come into existance until the 1930's. Even respected African Amerian quilt historians have disputed the story of the use of quilts in this way.

  14. #14
    wartime jane's Avatar
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    I wonder how many fans of the myth descend from slaves. I do. Do you? I wouldn't knowingly exploit other people's ancestors with these fairy tales. We're not talking about mythological creatures here. They were real people who struggled and deserve respect. Please do not treat them with a cavalier "George Washington slept here" attitude.

    It would be wiser, and kinder, to make an homage to the movement and cease proseltyzing the myth. There are wonderful quilts, real quilts, to be reproduced. Make an abolitionist quilt. Remake this wonderful 1980 folkart blanket:
    http://www.quiltindex.org/basicdispl...?kid=1A-39-2A0

    http://www.ugrrquilt.hartcottagequilts.com/
    Scroll down to the index and then read it all.

    http://www.antiquequiltdating.com/Qu...R._Wright.html
    Read every word Giles speaks here. Fleeing Carolina slaves were not idiots to be demeaned by blankets. Imagine the courage and determination required.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/200...owned_sch.html

    From Barbara Brackman:
    What harm can a charming yet false story do? You be the judge. But do realize that we are teaching a generation of children false history. And by focusing on this connection we ignore our national obligation to learn about the true and less charming stories of slavery.
    http://www.marilynquilts.com/id26.html

    No one should profit from this and yet that is how it started. From Ozella to Eleanor. When will it end?

  15. #15
    Senior Member chickadee_42us's Avatar
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    I love the look of Underground Quilt blocks, the tone of fabric used are. Keepsake Quilting has several quilts with reproduction fabric being used.

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