Saturday, September 26, 2009

Underground Railroad Sampler Quilt

As you know I have been trying to finishes several quilts that I started and this is one of them. Its the Underground Railroad quilt from the book by Eleanor Burns. She wrote the book after reading a book called "Hidden in Plain View". I love the story's about how they would hang quilts out to communicate information about the Underground Railroad. It was like a code to guide slaves to freedom. Each block would tell a different way for them to go, like the monkey wrench block told them to turn the wagon wheel towards Canada on the Bear's paw trail which is a block, to the crossroads which is another block. I just find it fascinating that they would use quilts to send these codes. There was ten quilts used to direct the slaves to get ready for escape, the quilts would be hung one at a time on a fence or cabin door! There was also a few other blocks used as secondary patterns.
I love the back of this quilt as much as the front! I also made another set of these blocks for my daughter to use in her 5Th grade class when she was teaching about the underground railroad. She had her class choose one block and they cut it out of colored paper and glued there blocks onto another piece of paper. Then they hung there blocks out in the hall to form a quilt!
Here she is hanging in my hallway just off from the great room. I found the reproduction fabrics from 1840-1880 on eBay, the backing also came from eBay.

I hope you liked the history lesson I know I loved making this quilt!

Happy Fall!



  1. Lovely. I really like this one. I didn't know they used quilts as messages. Very cool.

  2. i loved the history lesson, very interesting julie! it all makes sense really, they were so clever back in the 'old days' weren't they? we take for granted all the modern technology that we use!!!! even blogging!!!! i would never have met you unless i got on a ship and travelled the seas!!!!!!!

  3. julie this is me liz@broderie!!!!! i don't know why this funny number bit has come up!!!!

  4. What fun I would love to learn out more, will have see if I can find the book. Love the quilt
    Big Hugs

  5. Julie it's wonderful! My roots are in quilting. Wonder if I'll ever go back to it....

  6. I had forgotten about the slaves and the quilts being signs! I knew that once! I love your quilt. So fallish. So beautiful!

  7. Thank you, your quilt is beautiful Julie!

  8. Your quilt is gorgeous, and although I knew about the underground railroad, I did not know they used quilts as messages to guide the slaves, but now that you've told me, it makes a lot of sense! How about that? Thanks for the bit of history too. :)