I can proudly announce that the Civil War in our house is over. Done. Finished. A Civil War bed quilt that is.
This quilt, the pattern is a Four Square Farmhouse, uses all reproduction fabrics from the Civil War era. Fabric designers pair with historians to recreate actual fabric patterns or design fabrics to look similar to what was used back then. The Civil War fabric palettes tend to be darker and the motifs are smaller. I tend to gravitate toward these reproduction fabrics as my tastes run more antique than modern. You could create a starkly different quilt using more modern fabrics.
This quilt is also a journey. Originally, I found this pattern in a now defunct quilt shop in Grand Junction, Colorado in June 2013. This shop had an incredible array of Civil War era fabrics and I was instantly inspired to make something big — this pattern was perfect. First, this pattern was something I understood and as a beginner quilter, I wanted to create a project that I easily understood. Second, the pattern consisted of using fat quarters which allowed me to not only spend money only when able but also to procure fabrics where able. To me, this quilt is so special because I remember all of the stores in all of the towns where parts of this blanket came from. With an origin in western Colorado, these fabrics move west to Boise, Idaho continuing on through Oregon with stops in Ontario, Nyssa, Baker City, Halfway, Pendleton, La Pine, Burns, Bend and Portland. It was a good summer of exploration and my keepsakes from each little town are embedded in the quilt. The amazing Bishop’s Fan quilt work was done by long arm machine by my incredibly talented friend Heather in Ontario, Oregon. Now, this quilt that represents the small towns and amazing quilt shops of (mostly) Oregon resides in Durango, Colorado on our bed where I admire it every day.
This was my first queen sized quilt and definitely posed some challenges. The blocks were easy to create after a stressful day at work, but the construction of something so large was new to me. Even though we had vastly more space in our old home than our current home, finding a space to lay out 42 15 inch blocks wasn’t easy. Also, it wasn’t always easy to see the contrasts between fabrics when laid out; there are a few blocks that I now wish I would have placed differently. But this a minor thing for I am immensely happy with what was created by me with the help of a talented quilter.
This Farmhouse quilt makes my day every time I see it. When I make the bed in the morning, I smile at the quilt even if I’m not exactly thrilled to be upright. When I snuggle down for bed, I am cozy, warm and more at peace with this quilt atop me. What a difference a homemade bed covering can make in a day! My utilitarian bulk Ikea duvet cover from 8 years ago works just fine, but it is nothing special — it certainly doesn’t give me any warm fuzzy feelings. Warm, yes, warm AND fuzzy not so much.
Making things is always an experience, a journey in and of itself. For me, this quilt is part road trip, too. The fabrics transport me to memories of canyons, rivers, mountains and fun times with friends. What more can you ask for in a blanket?