During the Civil War, Union and Confederate women alike made quilts for soldiers to use in camps and in hospitals. They sewed and raffled off quilts to raise funds to support important causes, and they quilted to express themselves artistically during a time of national strife and personal turmoil. In my historical novel The Union Quilters, the women of a Pennsylvania quilting bee rally the women of their community to create a magnificent opportunity quilt — the Loyal Union Sampler — to raise money to support their local regiments.
My longtime readers know that I enjoy making the quilts featured in my Elm Creek Quilts novels, and Loyal Union Sampler was no exception. I made the original Loyal Union Sampler using “Elm Creek Quilts: Anneke’s Collection” from Red Rooster Fabrics, and Sue Vollbrecht of Quilting Memories in Monona, Wisconsin quilted it beautifully.
To make the other lovely samplers featured in this book, I enlisted the help of 212 talented quilters and Elm Creek Quilts fans from around the world. Supplied with block patterns and fabrics from various Elm Creek Quilts collections, my volunteers set themselves to the task. Before long I had collected the hundreds of lovely blocks—and two complete quilts, which you’ll find within the pages of my new pattern book, Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts.
If the story of my volunteers, the Union Quilters, and the real, historical women who inspired my characters has captured your imagination, I hope you’ll enjoy making your own Loyal Union Sampler. These 121 new 6” (finished size) blocks are the same size as those in Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler, so you can swap favorite blocks between the two quilts to create a wonderful new masterpiece all your own. However you use these patterns, I hope you’ll find your endeavor both rewarding and fun, and that you’ll proudly display your Loyal Union Sampler to inspire your own circle of quilters.
As quilters across the country and around the world, united we stand!