Part four of the PP forum Block of the Month - Underground Railroad
Our November block, the ‘Wagon Wheel’ quilt was a signal to the slave to pack the items needed to travel by wagon or that could be used while travelling.
I can only imagine the number of safe houses, conductors and quilters that may have existed back then and of course not all of the women making the signal quilts would have the same patterns in mind. So this next block actually parallels the previous pattern and explanation. It would have been used and shown for the same reason as the Wagon Wheel block, only it’s a more intricate pattern and to the slaves also had a slightly different meaning.
Decembers block pattern is called the “Carpenters Wheel”.
Made with diamonds and triangles of different fabric patterns the ‘Carpenters Wheel’ would have particular significance to slaves skilled in the craft of carpentry. With the points of the darker fabrics strategically placed, it gave a sign of direction to safety and in most cases to the west - northwest. It told slaves to “run with faith”.
Slaves were very spiritual and conveyed a huge reliance on religion. They would prepare for their journey to freedom and believe that the Master Carpenter, Jesus, would set them free in one of two ways. They would either die and go to Heaven and be forever free from slavery or make their journey and be free because of His blessing on them. We’ll never know if there was another Carpenter's Wheel quilt at the end of their journey to remind them who had brought them to freedom and to continue to trust the Carpenter.
So, once again, each participant must find a block pattern with the name ‘Carpenters Wheel’. 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: email@example.com
Want the latest issue of British Patchwork & Quilting? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!
Got a patchwork or quilting problem? Looking for a phone number or email address to ask someone for help? Click here to find the right person