by Diane Sheckells
Each year the Modern Quilt Guild presents its members with a unique challenge: to create a quilt for charity with a limited palette that also illustrates a design principle. Scale was the design principle this year and the solid colors were indeed unique. The Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild drew upon the rich textile history of our geographic area. Many of us see thundering rivers and the brick remains of the factories that dotted their banks on a daily basis.
These “model” factory communities gave Yankee farm girls a taste of independence and the money they earned supported their families. Even after working bone numbing hours in the mills weaving, they took advantage of lectures and cultural opportunities. Early strides in the labor movement were born right here too, first with the mill girls and later with their immigrant replacements. Bread and Roses was a cry for a living wage and respect for the individual worker back in 1912.
Our design committee came up with an original design. At a sew-in, members improvised the basic unit……a traditional rail fence block. The right angle placement represents the weave of a textile. This plan also speaks to the design theme of the challenge by making the strips varied widths, and by having some blocks stand singly and others stand together in a larger arrangement. Many hands made light work as members volunteered to assemble, quilt and bind the quilt.
Weaving Between the Lines is destined to be given to a charity organization. The individual strips represent the weaving together of lives. The finished quilt captures the spirit of our Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild. It celebrates where we are from and the rich history of brave women who shaped New England and us. The teal bars in the quilt could represent those valiant mill girls who dared to strike out on their own….the revolutionaries who changed the world of work, unions and women’s rights forever.