The Bowtie block dates back to the days of early Americans settling in the West. Although some blocks were created and named to honor important events or people in history, many quilt blocks were also named for everyday parts of pioneer life.
Later, the block was also part of the Underground Railroad. Although it’s controversial among historians, there are many stories of quilts being used as secret codes for stops on the Underground Railroad.
Secret messages in the form of quilt patterns aided slaves escaping the bonds of captivity in the Southern states before and during the American Civil War. The quilt patterns, used in a certain order, relayed messages to slaves preparing to escape. Quilts slung over a fence or windowsill, seemingly to air, passed on the necessary information to knowing slaves. As quilts hung out to air was a common sight on a plantation, neither the plantation owner nor the overseer would notice anything suspicious. It was all part of a day’s work for the slaves. Characteristic of African culture is the communication of secrets through the use of common, everyday objects; the objects are seen so often they are no longer noticeable.
Specifically, the Bowtie block was “a symbol indicating it was necessary to travel in disguise or to change from the clothing of a slave to those of a person of higher status.”
Cutting Instructions for the Bowtie quilt block
Always be careful of the colors you are choosing. They can easily mess up your block (or quilt) or on the contrary, make it shine! I prefer to make a test block before cutting pieces for the whole quilt. It makes me more confident to continue and make the whole thing.
And always remember FINISHED SIZE means the size it will be in a completed quilt. The measurements given already have the ¼ inch allowance included.
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Modern Quilts by Zafira Vaxevanidou
Zarkadia Quilting Co. is a home-based company that focuses on making special and unique quilts that hug and caress. Quilts are love, tenderness, warmth and cure. Enjoy and be inspired by this art form and know yourself in the process.
Zafira loves color and fabric, color and cotton and the dynamics of quilting and patchwork, she shares and teaches her love for quilting, in Xanthi where she lives with her family.