Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Inspiration underfoot

The restaurant in which our early morning Bible study meets has a sizeable foyer with a gorgeous tiled floor. The floor has always looked vaguely familiar, but at quarter to six in the morning I’m too foggy to figure out why. Now I know why: the floor is patterned in the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt pattern.

The quilt block itself is named after events during the Revolutionary War.

If you look, you can often find historical references in quilt block patterns. Quilt designing is a very personal art, incorporating not only pleasing design elements and color choices, but the personality and experiences of the designer, including the influence of the times in which she lived. Whig Rose, Tudor Rose, and Fifty-Four Forty or Fight blocks are just a few of the block with political and historical references. Many more have connections to everyday life – Broken Dishes, Hole in the Barn Door, Jacob’s Ladder, Crown of Thorns.

Names change, however, and some patterns appeared first in print with no names at all. In doing some research on blocks in preparation for making a Civil War reproduction quilt, I’ve learned that the Churn Dash block (what I’ve seen most often referred to as Churn Dash) has at least three other names.

Put (badly) another way: A Whig Rose by any other name is still a pretty quilt block.

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