Thursday, July 25, 2013

Voices From the Past

On the QuiltMashUp site they were discussing a quilt-a-long on line that used the pattern Women's Voices.  It reminded me of one that I had started and not listed on any of my UFO posts, so am adding it today.

The class was called Women's Studies. We discussed and studied historical figures in our countries past and the quilt blocks named after them. We looked at what was going on in the world during the time they lived and their roles and activities in society.  The series was put together by Kaye England and we started with her Voices of the Past Martha Washington block. I want to get the rest of the blocks in the series. We also used her book Voices of the Past Volume II and A Civil War Legacy.

I decided to do my quilt in red, white and blue and have three blocks completed. This quilt was started in 2007.  I have done nothing since the class, but have everything all together and have since ordered all of her Voices of the Past booklets, and her Voices of the Past book.

The Martha Washington block represents the many start qualities of our first president's wife, "...her natural talents, her humbleness, her devotion to George Washington, and her love of our country." ( Voices of the Past Martha Washington). Kaye England quotes Martha Washington in her booklet as saying: "I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances."  I agree whole heartedly with this statement, because we make our own happiness, not others.

The Louisa May Alcott block is my favorite so far. It is from the book Voices of the Past A History of Women's Lives in Patchwork Volume II. Louisa May Alcott cared for her father until just before her death, two after his in 1888.  She said " books are my children and the pen is my husband." She never married but always cared for others, including her sisters who Kaye England represented with the four stars in the corners, while the center star represents her mother, Marmee. Kaye England included a quote by Louisa May Alcott that I like. "You have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading then, for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long, and the great charm of all power is modesty."  This statement is very true and I believe we all need to live by it. We do not need to brag about ourselves, as our actions speak louder than our words.

Union Square comes from the book A Civil War Legacy. It is named for the square where the courthouse at Appomattox is located and represents the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the ceremony that restored the Union. President Lincoln later began the healing of our country when when he said that the dead did not die in vain, but to give birth to new freedoms in our nation, so that a "...government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." (Gettysburg Address) Kaye England also quotes a poem by M.C. Bisbee entitled Always Stand on the Union Side in her book.  I think the poem is appropriate even today, considering all that the current president is doing to destroy our country and tear it apart. We need to stand strong as a country and fight back against his tyranny.

By M.C. Bisbee

Always stand on the Union side,
And battle for the right.
With conscience clear, we’ll laugh at fear
In the midst of the boldest fight.
Why turn against our native land,
The mother whom we love?
Who ever rules with gentle hand,
Till children recreant prove?

Always stand on the Union side,
And battle for the right.
With conscience clear, we’ll laugh at fear
In the midst of the boldest fight.

Always stand on the Union side,
And “keep your powder dry.”
We’ll soon rejoice both far and wide
To see secession die.
‘Tis better in defense of truth,
To be both brave and bold,
Than side with traitors and at last
Be left out in the cold.

Always stand on the Union side,
‘Tis better, as you see,
Heav’n will crown our gallant arms,
With Union victory!
If you would have your children learn,
To speak with holy pride,
Of this their dear beloved land!
Stand on the Union side!

Now that I have pulled this out I am thinking about which block I would like to do next.  I have a multitude to choose from.  There are 11 other Voices of the Past blocks, 19 other blocks in Voices of the Past A History of Women's Lives in Patchwork Volume II and 11 other blocks in the Civil War Legacy book.  How many blocks I complete will depend on how much fabric I have and if I want to incorporate other reds and blues into the mix. I am thinking Julie Ward Howe and Eleanor Roosevelt might be the next two I tackle. A few of the others I like will require me adding a fourth and even a fifth fabric so I need to search out what other fabrics I would like to add to my quilt.


  1. You did a great job on those blocks!

  2. Nice blocks! And very interesting history.

  3. I have really enjoyed history more since I started quilting. This project would be fun and educational. Your blocks are beautiful. Of course, red, white ,and blue is a perfect color pallet for this historical quilt.

  4. Thank you ladies. I ordered the other "Voices of the Past" booklets, so now can work on this UFO once I finish a few other WIP that are gifts, and the two UFOs that I am currently working on. Hoping to get back to work on this one this fall.