Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quilters! This is a "once in 200 years" opportunity!

A War of 1812 Commemorative Bicentennial Activity

We invite you to make an  1812 reproduction quilt for the 2012 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show.

Please use the following guidelines:

30 inches wide by 70 inches high for “Cot to Coffin” size
(size may vary 2 inches either way)

Use cotton, linen, silk, wool, linsey-woolsey fabric or combinations in appropriate color for top of quilt; no batiks

Design options:
  • Pieced
  • Whole Cloth
  • Appliqué

  • Choose fabric of one, two or no more than three colors in one fabric
  • Colors: keep in mind what might have been imported or what people had to make dyes in America in 1812, just the way we dye Easter Eggs with beet juice or onion skins. Few could afford or had access to new fabric to use for quilts. No true fast black existed at that time.
  • Fabric choices in print can be Chintz, Botanical, Toile, solids, plaid or strip
  • Use three-layer traditional quilt building with batt, back and top
  • Sew top by hand or machine
  • Batt and back are your choice
  • Hand or machine quilt with thread of your choice in a design you feel is most appropriate. Please no tying - these are special quilts.
  • Binding could be whip stitch, knife edge tucked or bound
  • Finish including a 4 inch pocket on the top end for hanging the quilt and a label identifying the maker(s)

Now:  Register your "Expression of Interest" as soon as possible (see details below.)

Before January 15, 2012:   Respond to Seaway Trail Foundation with complete details on your entry.

Before March 3, 2012:   Mail or deliver your completed quilt to Seaway Trail Foundation, Inc., Box 660, Sackets Harbor, NY

March 17-18, 2012:   Quilt Show dates at Seaway Trail Discovery Center


Quilt historians Barbara Brackman and Anne Orr have suggested that a pieced quilt with an alternating star and 16-patch blocks made from clothing scraps might have been the kind of quilt made by Abraham Lincoln’s mother.

Barbara Brackman’s research indicates common choices were medallion format, simple pattern, complex fabric and low contrast.

Quilt Author Pepper Cory has written about the importance of using quality fabric when marking a design for a whole cloth quilt; fill the space with quilting; it does not have to be white, try a color.

Appliqué can tell life’s stories in pictures perhaps you had an ancestor who fought in the War of 1812.  What a lovely way to honor their memory and your family.

1812 Challenge Sponsor:

This international quilt challenge is sponsored by the Seaway Trail Foundation, Inc. in commemoration of the military history of the 518-mile-wide Great Lakes Seaway Trail region and the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.


To register your "Expression of Interest"  please send an email to: and we will send you a complete registration package with all the details and a sample fabric packet with historically correct swatches (while supplies last) to get you started.

In the interim for information on theme background, resource list, updates visit:

Or telephone:  315-646-1000 x202 or x203  with any questions

Check back often for updates on resources and to find out what is going on in the competition!  As always, your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

The War of 1812 Along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail

Other than the year it started or that it gave birth of the Star Spangled Banner, most Americans would be hard pressed to tell much more about this conflict that greatly affected the Empire and Keystone States.  

The War of 1812 ranged along much on the Great Lakes’ coastline. From Plattsburgh, on Lake Champlain, to Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, American, British and Native American forces clashed for control of the heart of the continent.

Today, most Americans know little about this war because so little changed.  The outcome was a return to the status quo, to the conditions before the fighting began.  As a result, it has been said that this is the war that the Americans think they won and that the Canadians know they won…and in the end the ones who lost the most may have been the Native Americans. 

Two centuries later, visitors from across the state and across the country will see a wide range of bicentennial events that will honor the heroes and heroines, sites and events of the War of 1812.  Starting in 2012, the US, Canada, England and the First Nations will begin 1,000 days of celebration to mark the events of the War of 1812 and 200 years of peace that followed. 

Here at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail we are very excited to present a "once in 200 years opportunity" for quilters! 

Please follow this blog as we update and present details of our War of 1812 Quilt Challenge - a War of 1812 Commemorative Bicentennial Activity sponsored by the Seaway Trail Foundation.  

Your comments, suggestions and most importantly - your quilts - will be appreciated as we embark on this historic international quilting adventure.