Dye batch 1 and first quilt square done!

Nothing like a deadline to get things done. I finally got around to dyeing some fabric for my first quilt with more than one square. I have made very minimalist quilts with one giant square for the quilt top. I wanted yoga blankets and thought it would be more fun to make them than pay the $30 per blanket, which in hindsight seems like a really reasonable price. I made two and then bought a couple of blankets.

I’ve been doing an online craftsy course called The Art of Cloth Dyeing with Jane Dunnewold. Here is my first batch of fabric.

The fabric was in the dye bath for the minimum time because I dyed the fabric the day before I needed it for the first meeting of my quilting group. I will dye some more today for a longer time. I was unsure whether I would dye all of my fabric for the quilt, but after sewing my first block, I think I will.

Here is the first square…

Bogus Underground Railroad block
The project is an Underground Railroad Sampler quilt. The story is that quilts blocks were a kind of code giving information to slaves making an escape to freedom. The quilts would be hung out to air out, marking safe houses and passing along information to escaping slaves. The version of the story presented in the book we are using comes from Ozella McDaniel Williams, a quilt store owner from South Carolina. The story of the role of quilts in the underground railroad has become popularized but under scrutiny it appears that it is more fiction than fact and our book is listed in the ‘Quilt Code’ hall of shame by Hart Cottage Quilts who provides a short FAQ sheet about the myth of the quilt code. I am intrigued to learn more about the facts about the true history of slavery and the Underground Railroad and the persistence of this false story.
I’m suddenly rethinking whether I want to continue with this quilt. I’ll have to rename it – for now the Bogus Underground railroad sampler quilt? I still want to learn to quilt. I give the writer the benefit of a doubt that she did did not know she was propagating falsehoods. But why not? In part because it is easy to believe this feel good story rather than look head on at the full reality of slavery, the good the bad and the ugly. Before I sat down to share a few photos this morning I thought it was true.
On a lighter note, it was my turn to bring a snack. Here is the recipe for the apple cake I made.
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