Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I know, I am so far behind, I think I'm ahead! Here is my block for March. It is called Wagon Wheel. I didn't get it appliqued to the base block. I plan to do that tomorrow night and Stitch and Bitch.

Here's the story...

The Wagon Wheel was the second quilt to be displayed on the fence. Wagons with hidden compartments were one means of transporting runaway slaves.

The quilt was a message to pack things for their journey as if they were packing a wagon. With limited space and weight, they would need to consider supplies that would be essential for survival.

The wagon was also a symbol of a chariot that was to carry them home. The spirituals they sang carried hidden messages as well. Like "swing low, sweet chariot".

Sunbonnets and bandannas were indicators of social rank for women. Bonnets were worn by women that were above the rank of slave and indentured servants. A sunbonnet could also help fleeing slaves by disguising themselves by obscuring their faces. If a woman was to tilt her head slightly down, eyes looking shyly to the ground, she could use a bonnet for disguise.

In Nebraska City, Nebraska, stories are still told about a minister who used to drive his wagon with two sunbonneted ladies sitting by him. A half hour later, the minister would return with two ladies still sitting beside him. What no one noticed was that on the return trip, the two women wearing the bonnets had dark complexions.

I am going to list the names of the 12 blocks that I picked. If you have the book and want to work ahead, you will have the names. They are in the order that they appear in the Table of Contents in the book Underground Railroad Sampler.

1. Underground Railroad/Jacobs Ladder
2. Monkey Wrench
3. Wagon Wheel
4. Bear's Paw
5. Basket
6. Crossroads
7. Log Cabin
8. Shoo-Fly
9. Bow Tie
10. Flying Geese
11. Drunkard's Path
12. North Star

Thanks for your patience!


  1. What cool stories there are behind these blocks!

  2. I am in awe of people who do quilting. I used to do a lot of knitting on big needles with thick wool ... patience isn't my strong suit!

    Interesting history behind the block:)

  3. This is absolutely fascinating, Michelle! I can't wait to hear more as you progress through your quilt squares. Love this style.


    Sheila :-)