Part five of the PP forum Block of the Month - Underground Railroad
“Follow the Path” ...
Our November block, the ‘Wagon Wheel’ and the December block, the ‘Carpenters Wheel’ both signified that travel by wagon was either imminent or in the planning.
“It was dark under the blanket, and not exactly comfortable, but Harriet decided that riding was better than walking.”
This is a line from the book ‘Harriet Tubman - Conductor on the Underground Railroad. The wagon journeys were described as rather ‘jouncy’, a word I can only surmise as having been formed from ‘jolt’ and ‘bouncy’.
The Underground Railroad, painted by Charles T. Webber for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, celebrates abolitionists’ efforts to end slavery. It depicts Levi Coffin, his wife Catharine, and Hannah Haddock, all friends of the artist, leading a group of fugitive slaves to freedom on a winter morning. The setting of the painting may be the Coffin farm in Cincinnati.
Once released from the confines of the blankets, our passengers were told to follow the mountain path, out of view, find the path of the bear and it will lead you to fresh food meaning fish and clean water.
To start out the New Year, our January 2011 quilt block pattern is the “Bears Paw”.
Apparently bears have excellent memories and they always knew where food and water could be found. It has also been stated that Springtime was a good season for fugitive slaves to travel as the bears would have vacated their dens allowing the runaways a place to hide. As long as the bears didn’t return, that is.
There were areas of the eastern states where the footprints of the bear could be found within the hills and mountains of the Appalachian mountain range. Two of these states were South Carolina and West Virginia where many plantations were owned by slave holders.
So, once again, each participant must find a block pattern with the name ‘Bears Paw’. The size of your finished block is completely up to you. If you have any trouble drafting a block to your required size, email Katy with your original block diagram, and the finished size that you want, and she will redraft it for you. When you have finished your block, post a picture on the forum for everyone to enjoy or email a photo to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Underground Railroad Sampler quilts grew from the belief that quilts made with specific block patterns were used as signals to communicate a message to the African American people escaping from slavery in the US by travelling in secret to Canada. In recent years quilt historians and academics have debated over whether quilts really did feature as a widespread method of communication, and you can read about this in Xenia Cord's article, The Underground Railroad