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Rumblings of War
At the quilting bee, one might have learned . . . how to bring up babies; how to mend a cracked teapot; how to take out grease from brocade; how to reconcile absolute decrees with free will; how to make five yards of cloth answer the purpose of six; and how to put down the Democratic Party.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Quilt name: Underground Railroad
The social climate of the years preceding the Civil War was filled with political turmoil. Quiltmakers used their work to make political statements, naming their quilts to match the times. Clay’s Choice, Underground Railroad, and Whig's Defeat were a few of them. At about the same time, the sewing machine was invented. It freed up women from the tedious task of hand-sewing quilts and clothing. The Log Cabin block is attributed to Lincoln’s run for the presidency, symbolizing the rustic home and frontier he came from. The logs of the block are built around colored centers with a variety of meanings--red for the hearth as the center of the cabin, yellow for candles in the cabin windows, and black to denote safe houses on the Underground Railroad. The Log Cabin block can be assembled in so many ways, with each variety having a different name.
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