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Pre-Grace Quilts: Sew a War of 1812 Quilt

January 11, 2012

Marching Soldiers - Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail at Battle Hill commemorative plaque (photo ©2012 by Michelle Southern)

Marching Soldiers - Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail at Battle Hill commemorative plaque (photo ©2012 by Michelle Southern)

While I’ve long been planning to make the quilt blocks in Alias Grace, recently the opportunity has come along for quilters to make and display a “cot to coffin” quilt in the style and fabrics that would have been available during the War of 1812. This war, while generally forgotten after 10th grade history class, is important to Canadians as well as Americans and this year is the bicentennial anniversary.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail War of 1812 Quilt Challenge seeks quilts that are “authentic reproductions”, which means that fabrics cannot have any black colour on them (black was not colour-fast yet). Indigos, browns, and some pinks were popular at the time and patterns included stars, medallions, and strippy quilts. Not just commemorating that war, the event celebrates the women who were behind the scenes, holding down the fort, and still “making do” with what they could to provide for their families. Fabric may have been scarce but some well-to-do women were able to get their hands on some that was of very fine quality – luckily for us, as they still survive today. View photos from that time period on the GLST blog.

Battle Hill commemorative plaque on Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail (photo ©2012 by Michelle Southern)

Battle Hill commemorative plaque on Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail (photo ©2012 by Michelle Southern)

I first heard about it months ago and tweeted every link I could find. I’m very excited about this exhibit and hope I can contribute as well as visit! Historically, the area where I grew up is full of those blue plaques commemorating the battles fought, so this initiative interested me greatly. As a Canadian I would prefer to create and contribute a quilt that would have come from my area, but as I mentioned my only source for authentic, period quilts from Ontario went missing.

The Seaway Trail Foundation wants you to commit to entering before January 15 (although the entry form says February 19), and have it mailed/delivered to the event by March 3. I’m not sure I’ll be sending in my application to commit to a spot because it would really be a bummer to work on a quilt for the exhibit, only to be turned down for a spot – they are limited to 200 spots due to space issues. But we will be well-represented as I have heard the Markham Towne Quilters are contributing several quilts as well as many from the Kingston area!

For the Great Lakes Seaway Trail blog (which includes fashions of the time, pattern ideas, and links to sites about the War of 1812) visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail blog. This Quilt 1812: War and Piecing blog, which I found while writing this, also looks AWESOME.

I’m not sure how many opportunities to combine history with quilting can come along in a lifetime, so if you are able to and it warms your soul to enter, please do so! Are you thinking of making a War of 1812 quilt? Have you submitted your entry form yet? Please let me know if you do and I’ll link to you in a post on this blog.

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