1862 Battle Hymn

by Valley Forge Homestead Quilt Guild

The VFHQ Guild selected and made the “1862 Battle Hymn quilt” as their 2013-2014 Raffle Quilt. 

The pattern is “1862 Battle Hymn” by Barbara Brackman for Moda and the kit was purchased from Main Street Cotton Shop. These reproduction fabrics represent fabrics available during the first year of the Civil War including men’s clothing, small florals in a repeat pattern, seed bags, and sometimes old uniforms from soldiers who had died. Because quilts were made by the women left behind to run the home, raise the children, keep businesses afloat and finish as many quilts as possible quickly, simple blocks were used and often no batting was available.

Barbara Brackman and Moda chose to name this as a commemorative to the anthem written in 1862 by Julia Ward Howe and is still sung by many today. 

I was honored that they asked me to quilt it. I enjoyed researching quilting designs from that era and was fascinated to observe that Victorian designs, both in quilting, fabrics and accessories showed clear evolution into the “look” and designs we all love from the 1920’s retro period. The interior of the quilt is done in Victorian style designs, but the border quilting design sports a little 1920’s Retro influence.

When I first approached the quilting, thread choice was a big concern to me because not only were there several different colors in the fabrics, the larger challenge was the many contrasting colors in the fabrics. A light color would “pop” on the dark fabrics and vice versa. In the end, after testing several different threads, I settled on a medium color, variegated mix of the earthtones. It turned out to be perfect, because while the quilting can be admired up close, this was a quilt where the patchwork design needed to take center stage while the quilting was less prevalent. The thread I used is Almond Bark in the Rainbows line by Superior Threads.