Heather and I attended our first class/workshop to complete the quilt Underground Railroad Sampler by Eleanor Burns & Sue Bouchard. Our instructor was an older gentleman named Ken. He has been quilting since the 90's and really seemed to know his stuff. I definitely learned a few new things. You may know a little history of the Underground Railroad...how runaway slaves risked their lives for freedom and how other risked their lives helping them. Did you know that quilts were used to relay hidden messages to runaways to get ready for escape and to guide them on the journey to freedom? According to one woman's family history, there were ten quilts used to direct slaves. There were also a few secondary patterns. Each block has a different meaning and part to play in the code. The quilts would be hung one at a time on a fence or cabin door, left to "air out" while communicating a specific action or step in the journey. I didn't know this and find it very fascinating. This project is designed to complete fifteen blocks.
We only completed two blocks in class. It took a little while for everyone to get going. We'll have to pick up the pace at our next session. I only completed one block and got a start on the second which I finished tonight. I've been having a little trouble with my seam allowances......but I'll save that for another post.
As I progress on this quilt, I'd like to share the story with you. Here's block one, Underground Railroad (aka Jacob's Ladder)
Stay tuned for the next block in the story...the wagon wheel. Oh what fun that block is going to be!!