Create Your Own "Potholder Quilt"

In 2011, as we marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, the New England Quilt Museum presented "One Foot Square, Quilted and Bound", an exhibit of uniquequilts, several of which were made for soldiers wounded in that conflict. The exhibit also included rare and never-before-displayed Civil War artifacts and textiles. As the name of the exhibitimplied, each individual block was about one foot square, quilted, then bound, using a similar technique for making potholders. These small, bound blocks were then whipstitched together to create afull-sized quilt. So, though these were not actually made from potholders, they became known as "potholder quilts," and by the time of the Civil War, the method was a popular way for groupsof seamstresses to work together to make quilts for injured and recuperating soldiers.

The potholder style is perfect for guild projects, with each guild member creating a finished block, and for "Saturday Sampler" projects at your favorite quilt shop. This beginner-friendlyapproach makes easy work of charity projects and other community efforts, and is also inviting for those who enjoy (or want to try) hand piecing and hand quilting in a manageable size.

Try this technique with Jean Ann Wright's quilt project, using THE UNION FOREVER collection by Judie Rothermel and the New England Quilt Museum.