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The Underground Railroad

Something else that I have read about since becoming interested in Civil War quilts and reproduction fabrics is the Underground Railroad.
Just like Red Rock Cider (It’s not red and there’s no rocks in it) the Underground Railroad is neither underground nor is it a railroad. That’s disappointing but nevertheless still interesting.

I understand that the Underground Railroad grew as a romantic myth describing a network of secret routes used by slaves trying to escape their confines and assisted by abolitionists and freed slaves along the way. I wouldn’t have heard about this unless I was reading about the history of quilting in the US and what initially caught my eye was the story that slaves and abolitionists made quilts which included secret codes and messages enabling escapees to seek out friendly homesteads and safe routes towards freedom. For me, this was a great idea and what a fantastic story. The more I read however, the more evidence I found to render this story invalid.

What a shame. I would much rather think of white abolitionists fighting against the regime to help the slaves gain their rightful freedom, than read about the harsh reality. Slaves were more likely to escape on their own, safe routes were often closed down quickly and those enslaved in the deep south were unlikely to survive the longer journey northwards to the free states.

Personally I can’t grasp the idea of having a slave employed to do my bidding. It is unthinkable. Slavery still exists in some countries and cultures which I find incomprehensible but thankfully it is much less widespread than 200 years ago.

So much for coded quilts.

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Guilt-free quilting

Going through difficult times and wanting to stay at home rather than venture further afield makes it very easy for me to feel guilty that I’m not doing anything. Of course that is nonsensical as it is impossible for me to do nothing except when at my lowest nadir confined to bed and sleeping all day.

So when I look back at the last week or so, although I haven’t been out and about as much as the previous week, I have still achieved a lot and should take pride in that instead of beating myself up. We could all learn that lesson and be kinder to oneself more often.

I finished my mini-quilt swap for my swap partner in the US. I will now be able to put it in the post and wait for her reaction. I just hope she likes it. Likewise, I will be waiting for mine to drop through the letterbox and I am sure I will love mine! Just the thought that someone has spent their precious time and energy on a project for me is warming and I love this idea of quilt swapping.

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Mini-quilt swap Spring 2017[/caption

My quilt-swap partner lives in Texas and I therefore settled on a pattern which has one star at the centre as I understand that Texas is known as the “Lone Star State.” I also hand-quilted it with stars. I love how you can personalise even the smallest quilt either by pattern or colour, or both and all quilts are made with love. They are almost living things and each one gifted goes with a piece of me.

I have also started to hand-quilt one for me. It is divided into 4 large squares which I will sash together when quilted. I find it very relaxing to sit and stitch in the evenings whilst watching TV. Good chill-out time and, as I am being creative and making something tangible, it’s all guilt-free.

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I am also learning a lot about the history of quilting both in the UK and the US. I have to say that the US wins the “most interesting” award and I am now fascinated with the quilting stories, history and myths which abound. All this in addition to the Civil War quilts and fabrics mentioned previously.

[caption id="attachment_14798" width="2560"]IMG_5075 Easy 4-square mini-quilt

I may not be racing around like an ant, but I am still being productive and creative. This should not be underestimated!

Creative

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Week One-“Hectic”

These years keep rolling by at a worrying rate and I find myself, yet again, at the beginning of my 16-week break from work. The plan was that I have a couple of weeks catching up on my sleep and generally chilling, but the best laid plans of mice and men dictated otherwise.

So the first 7 days went something like this…..

Saturday- a lovely evening out with our next-door-neighbours at a charity “do” for Menphys. No suitable photos available.

Sunday- Will came over for lunch and a catch-up.

Monday-My birthday and up early to take Jasper for his quarterly groom.

Tuesday- A quick tidy and clean up ready for the workmen to arrive.

Wednesday- I fell down the stairs and chipped a bone in my ankle. I hopped into the minor injuries unit and came out in a neoprene support-boot and crutches.

Thursday/Friday-the workmen turned up as planned and replaced our aged boiler, 4 radiators and left us sweltering in unaccustomed 22.5 degrees of heating-loveliness.

Saturday- Hubby and I both came down with coughs/colds in various forms and spent most of the day in bed and plying each other with Lemsip.

Sunday- I feel much better and have actually managed to take Jasper for a walk without doing my ankle any further damage, made some panels for hand-quilting, cleared out and re-filled the airing cupboard now that we have no hot water tank and sunk half a bottle of vodka after a hectic week.

Just reading this back makes me tired but, as they say, the Devil is in the detail, and of course the summary above is only half the story. I am hoping to keep my Blog up to date as far as I can, even if it is only a summary of the week’s activities. There is so much going on behind the scenes however that I should be able to embellish the week’s highlights more regularly than once a week. I need to write more-it makes me feel better.

A Bientot

Caroline

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4 panels ready for hand quilting