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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Patchwork Quilts of the Underground Railroad  Event

patchwork quilt
14 January 2019 - 18 March 2019
Avenue Campus, Highfield Rd, Southampton SO17 1BF

Event details

Stitch patchwork blocks and make a quilt whilst exploring the stories of the road to freedom, travelled by those escaping slavery in America in the 1800’s.

Students taking this course can expect to create a number of patchwork blocks which follow the story of those escaping slavery in America who used what was known as the ‘Underground Railroad’, whilst exploring the myths and stories surrounding patchwork codes.

The course will begin with a short talk giving an overview of the story of the Underground Railroad and how quilts were used to communicate with those escaping from slavery. Each week the historical significance of patchwork patterns in the story will be explored and stitched in class, with patterns and instructions provided. The blocks may be used as individual pieces for sewing projects – bags or cushions, or pieced together to make a quilt.

The course will enable you to understand how patchwork quilts may have been used to aid those escaping from slavery whilst developing patchwork and quilting skills as you stitch blocks from the code. The course is suitable for those who wish to stitch by hand, though it is advisable to use a sewing machine.

Every class will include practical patchwork with patterns and instructions each week.
Patchwork techniques covered will be: accurate cutting using a rotary cutter; patchwork blocks – flying geese, log cabin, half square triangles, appliqué; technical patchwork piecing and accuracy; hand-stitching and sewing machine skills.

If you wish to use a sewing machine you will need to bring your own machine along to every class. You will also need to bring your own rotary cutter, ruler and mat along with sewing notions e.g. pins, scissors, thread. You will select and use your own fabrics throughout the course. It is expected that the patchwork blocks stitched will use no more than 0.5 m x 8 fabrics though more will be required once you have decided whether you are making a quilt or cushions. Advice will be given in the first lesson when students should bring 4 pieces of fabric to class equivalent to ¼ metre of each.

Tutor: Val Dubben.

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