|Home of the Brave Service Project|
The Home of the Brave Quilt Project is an effort to make and deliver a quilt to every family that has lost a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan. You may read more about the Home of the Brave Quilt Project at www.quiltersmuse.com.
The project was inspired by a similar one that took place during the Civil War. The Sanitary Commission, which was an organization of mostly women who worked to support Civil War soldiers, made over 250,000 quilts during this historic effort.
Because of this Civil War connection, many of the state coordinators have chosen to make a replica of a quilt made for Civil War soldiers and distributed by the Sanitary Commission. The block is called the Old Italian Block or Maud’s Album Block. It’s constructed like a nine patch on point. There are long crossing arms from corner to corner, and when they meet in the center there is a muslin square that can be signed. See the rough sketch below.
Preferred fabrics for the block are in colors and patterns reminiscent of the Civil War period. The typical colors include clear bright blue (sometimes called Lancaster blue), indigo blue, double pink (also called bubblegum pink), gray, dark chocolate brown, reddish brown (called madder), wine red, and gray-green; shirting fabrics are also appropriate. Thimbleberries fabrics are a good substitute for Civil War reproduction fabrics in color. To see samples of typical fabrics, go to www.reproductionfabrics.com.
The quilt is composed of 15 of these signature blocks with 3½² sashing. Detailed instructions can be found at www.quiltersmuse.com. Instructions are also found below. The instructions on the Web site are for rotary cutting, and they are very complete.
To this day. Minnesota has lost 25 soldiers, and I fear it’s only a matter of time until one is from Dakota County. I feel very strongly about this project and would hope that you could see the value of it. The kind of effort needed by our members would include making blocks, assembling a top, soliciting donations of fabric for sashing (usually red) and back and batting, and machine-quilting the quilt. A quilter in Hackensack, Minnesota, has agreed to be the contact person for the families and to arrange for delivering the quilts. However, if one of our members would choose to help with this, I’m sure she’d be appreciative.
I’ll coordinate with the national effort and with the original volunteer in Hackensack. The project is a good fit for our group since it involves varying degrees of participation and yet is still a group effort in which we could produce complete quilts and see them distributed to the families who are grieving the loss of a soldier.
Making the Block
Fabrics: For pieces A and B, use the Civil War–type fabrics: clear bright blue (Lancaster blue), indigo blue, double pink (bubblegum pink), gray, dark chocolate brown, reddish brown (madder), wine red, gray-green, and shirting fabrics. For piece C, use muslin.
Cutting: Cut A, B, and C pieces this way.
n A—Cut four 8² x 2⅝² rectangles. (Corners will be trimmed when you square the block to 12½².)
n B—Cut one square 10¼² and then cut in quarters diagonally to get four triangles.
n C—Cut one 2⅝² square.
Piecing: Make two B-A-B units by sewing the short side of a B to either long side of an A (refer to diagram). To avoid stretching the bias on the B, I place it under the A piece when I sew, so the foot doesn’t stretch it. You can use your favorite method, such as spray starch, etc. Press the seams toward the A piece.
Make an A-C-A unit by sewing the short side of the remaining A pieces to either side of C. Press toward A.
Seam the B-A-B units to either side of the A-C-A unit. Pin to match seams. Press seams away from the A-C-A unit.
Squaring the block: Lay the block on your cutting table. If you have a 12½² ruler, use that. I don’t, so I lay a ruler that’s 6½² wide so that the ¼² line is across the center of the block (over the points of the center square) and cut the outside edge. Then I lay that edge along one of the lines of my mat and use the same method for the other edges, making sure it stays square by the lines on the mat.
Signing your block: Sign your name and home town on the center muslin square. Write from corner to corner, so the signature appears correct when the block is laid straight. You may write any other sentiment you feel appropriate to a family of a soldier who has died. Use a Pigma Pen or other permanent fabric pen and press again to set the signature