EDIT: Nominations are open! You can see all the entries in the Blogger’s Quilt festival at Amy’s Creative Side. The nomination form is also on her site. This quilt is #581 and is nominated in the bed quilt, group or bee quilt, and quilt photographer categories.
Oh my! Suddenly, I find myself with just hours to enter the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. I kept looking at the page and noticing that the dates on the blog button say “October 26-November 9.” Well, turns out, I have until the end of TODAY to submit my quilt and the remainder of the festival is nominating and voting for your favorite quilts!
The Blogger’s Quilt Festival is a twice yearly event for the online community of quilters to share a favorite quilt and the story behind it. Then the entries are open for voting and everyone can pick their favorites.
This is the Civil War Love Letters Quilt, with blocks from the book by Rosemary Youngs. It was a collaboration between my mother and me, and was presented as a wedding gift to my sister and her new husband when they were married this past summer.
The story behind this quilt is one of many pieces, falling perfectly into place. This quilt, its creation, and the recipients were meant to be.
Chapter 1: The recipients
My sister Christine and her new husband, Patrick, are Civil War reenactors. On summer weekends, their idea of a good time is to go out in a field and camp in canvas tents and pretend to have battles (with cannons! Cannons, people!) during the day.
Patrick and Christine are below in period dress. This is Christine’s man character. She has a man character and a woman character that she uses when reenacting. Both were real people who lived during the Civil War era. Note the canvas tents in the background.
And when the weather is no longer conducive to camping in canvas tents and firing cannons, there are winter balls to attend! Look, she’s wearing a hoop skirt!
I don’t quite understand the excitement in this hobby, but Christine and Patrick enjoy it, and it is something they enjoy doing together.
Chapter 2: The Quilt and the Quilters
Eleven months before Christine and Patrick were married, some of the quilters on blogs I enjoy were talking about the Farmer’s Wife Quilt. Since I had no idea what this was, I did a quick search and learned that this was a quilt based on blocks in a book. When I clicked on the book, Amazon.com suggested I might also enjoy a book called “The Civil War Love Letter Quilt.”
The moment I saw it, a light bulb went on in my head. What could be a more perfect wedding gift for two Civil War reenactors sharing their love and beginning their life together than a quilt made from a book called “The Civil War Love Letter Quilt”?
My mother had begun quilting a few years before, and I had recently started dabbling in quilting myself. I asked my mom if she would collaborate with me on this project, and she agreed. Over the course of the 8 months or so, the two of us completed every single one of the 121 6-inch blocks in the book. Some of the blocks were so intricate that they had as many as 81 different pieces. Eighty-one separate pieces of fabric to compose one six-inch quilt block!
We chose fabric from the green, blue and orange colorway of Lola’s Posies by Lila Tueller, split it between us, and then we each added in other fabrics to coordinate. We divided the blocks between us, and we made a schedule so that we would be sure to finish with enough time before the wedding for the quilt to be quilted and bound.
The back of the quilt has a row of fabric scrap blocks from the quilt, and a few that ended up too small and were redone. We also added an embroidered dedication block to one corner.
The quilting was done by Pat Willis, who is local to my mom out of Menominee, IL. She really did an amazing job!
Here we are with our masterpiece and parts of historic, Civil War town Galena, Illinois in the background:
Chapter 3: Capturing the Quilt
One more piece that fits in this puzzle. I grew up in historic Galena, Illinois, which just happens to be the hometown of Civil War General Ulysses S Grant. Galena’s Grant Park has several Civil War cannons on display, as well as views of the town, which is composed of many restored Civil War era buildings. It was the perfect location to capture this Civil War Love Letter quilt with my camera.
The Soldier’s Memorial and Napolean Cannon are in the background of the next photo.
General Ulysses S Grant gives his full approval of the Civil War Love Letter Quilt.
Chapter 4: Presentation
I was the
Maid (ahem …) Matron of Honor at Christine and Patrick’s wedding. During the reception, I gave a speech and used some bits of history to weave in the story of the Civil War Love Letter Quilt. Each spread of the book features the quilt block on one side and an actual letter from a soldier who fought in the Civil War on the opposing page. The quilt was presented to Christine and Patrick along with a copy of the book so they can read the stories within.
Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures approximately 100 x 100 inches
Special techniques used: paper piecing on some blocks
Quilted by Pat Willis, Menominee, Illinois
Best Category: bed quilt, group or bee quilt, quilt photography