Tanya spotted my headboard as looking like a fence when I shared some photos of Cranberry Cottage. She was right as it really is a fence! There is a story behind this headboard so I thought I would share it with you here even though normally my needlework is on my other blog. It all started with a quilt.....
I used to teach patchwork and quilting and this project was a very special one to my heart. It is my baby and I wanted to make it different from all the other Underground Railroad quilt code samplers you see nowadays. I designed this quilt using the Underground Railroad quilt code (which you can read at the bottom of this entry) but wanted it to have a look all my own. I also wanted the story of slavery to come alive for the ladies who took the class. I named my quilt "Sukey's Road to Freedom" and used all reproduction fabrics from the 1800s for my own quilt.
I organized a quilt show back in 2005 which was set in a Dutch farm near my home. We always feature the quilt projects I taught as well as the projects the quilt group work on. Here I am setting up the display for Sukey's quilt. Since the story goes that the quilts were used to give signals to escaped slaves and were often hanging out over a fence, I asked Jos to make me a fence post to hang one of the quilts on. We used two standing poles and attached the fence between and added finials to the posts. I knew when I came up with the idea that it would make a great headboard for the cottage after the quilt show.
This was one of the last classes I taught and it will always be very special to my heart. I created a booklet for the class.
I wrote the individual lessons up as if it were a diary of a young slave girl who runs away to freedom. Her name is Sukey and during the lessons, they followed her from the South to Ohio and then on to Canada. It was a moving quilt to teach and I remember one of the ladies sitting with tears in her eyes as I sat telling Sukey's story.
This is the period dress my mother sewed for me to wear during the quilt show.
Ozella's Underground Railroad quilt code:
"There are five square knots on the quilt every two inches apart. They escaped on the fifth knot on the tenth pattern to Ontario, Canada.
The 'monkey wrench' turns the 'wagon wheel' toward Canada on a 'bear's paw trail' to the 'crossroads'.
Once they got to the crossroads they dug a 'log cabin' on the ground.
'Shoofly' told them to dress up in 'cotton and satin bow ties' and go to the cathedral church, get married and exchange double wedding rings.
'Flying geese' stay on the 'drunkard's path' and follow the 'stars'."
taken from "Hidden in Plain View" by J. Tobin and R Dobard