The significance of the red “X” appearing in the secondary design element of my Civil War study quilt is a mystery that I hope to solve one day. I am currently collecting and analyzing images of antique quilts that have this same design element in an effort to determine any significance or meaning. Like my inspiration quilt, most of the examples I have seen come from the northeastern vicinity of the United States. I hope to join forces one day with other quilt historians and share information so that we may form an agreeable hypothesis as to the design’s meaning.
The original antique quilt comes from my own collection and is constructed of 182 “Wild Geese” blocks (Brackman 1692b) – with each block constructed from nine half-square triangles. In an effort to meet the size requirements for the study but maintain the integrity of the original quilt, I reduced the block by half. Given the small size of the block, I decided that a single half-square triangle would best showcase the selection of reproduction fabrics I chose from my stash to create the quilt. This also allowed me to quilt the reproduction exactly as the antique quilting was done. The only difficulty I had while making my study quilt was finding fabrics that best represented those in the antique original. While today we have some of the best reproduction fabrics widely available, I find that we still fall short on many of the earlier colors and patterns that were popular in the first half of the nineteenth century.