Not Something New

I’m sorry that I didn’t post anything last week. Unfortunately, I had to make a last minute trip to Massachusetts to see family. I visited Massachusetts once before, when I was about 3 years old, but I don’t remember the trip.

While I was away I found myself¬† with some free time one afternoon. I spent some time searching the Internet for things to do and discovered Lowell, Mass. You may know this already, but Lowell is well-known for its rich history with the textile industry. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I did get to visit the New England Quilt Museum and the National Park Service Boott Cotton Mill. I was most fascinated with Boott Mill, but I’ll wait until next week to tell you about that.

I was impressed with the exhibits at the Quilt Museum, but one in particular touched my heart. On display this month were quilts from World War I. Many of the quilts displayed reflected on personal stories of individual people or communities.

Red Cross Quilts Red and Blue Quilt made by M.E. Lord, age 82, in 1919 (Left) Red & White quilt made by an unknown quilter dated 1918 (right)
WWI Red Cross Quilts on display at
New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, Mass.
Red and Blue Quilt made by M.E. Lord, age 82, in 1919 (Left)
Red & White quilt made by an unknown quilter dated 1918 (right)

However, there was a small group of quilts with little red crosses that caught my attention. These quilts are believed to have been inspired from a quilt pattern by Clara Washburn Angell published in Modern Priscilla Magazine in 1917. The idea was that each block should be embroidered or inked with the names of those who paid to have a block made. Upon completion, the quilt would be raffled to raise more money. The money raised was donated to the Red Cross and used to purchase ambulances, equipment and yarn used in the war effort. (Yes, yarn. Back then, the Red Cross had big campaigns to knit socks for the soldiers.)  The goal was to raise $1,000 with each quilt. That was a ton of money back then.

I liked these quilts because they remind me of what quilters do today through the Quilts of Valor project. Volunteers with QofV make patriotic quilts that are given to wounded veterans. Both the Red Cross project from WWI and the Quilts of Valor project in recent years used quilts to produce a positive impact during ongoing military conflicts.

Quilters frequently pull together to use their skills to do good deeds. We are known for our generosity in making quilts for charity or family and friends who may just need a little love. Seeing the WWI quilts in Lowell brought the idea home for me. The generosity amongst quilters is not something new.