Divided Hearts: A Civil War Friendship Quilt -- A Crafty Sundays Review


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. The links are affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made through them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

Our country is divided right now. It is wearing on my heart. I usually try to ignore politics as much as I can. It keeps me more relaxed and at peace. However with everything going on right now and it being a presidential election year it is basically impossible to ignore. I have read articles about how our current politics are breaking up relationships--marriages, siblings, parent-child and friendships. This has not occurred before in our lifetime, but it did occur in our country. In fact our country had a civil war because of such differences. The Civil War divided families, neighbors and friendships. Perhaps that is what drew me to today's book. I feel we are in many ways at a similar point and finding a divide in our country. Today's book is Divided Hearts: A Civil War Friendship Quilt by Barbara Brackman.
Brackman shares twelve quilt squares that she has seen in friendship quilts from the Civil War era. With each square she shares about women from the Civil War era and their lives and how they had alliances with both the North and the South. The women are from all walks of life--wealthy and poor, white and Black, Northerners and Southerners. Each had alliances in the other part of the country. How torn these women must have been. The historical narratives about the women are so interesting. There is information about the schools and the differences between Southern schools and Northern schools. There is information about Mount Holyoke as well as schools that did not teach all the academics to women. Two of the women are well known in our country--Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, mother to President Theodore Roosevelt, and Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln. The story that fascinated me the most was Charlotte Forten Grimk√©. Let me begin by saying she could be part of our Black Lives Matter Series. She was a Black woman who lived in Philadelphia. Her father wanted her to get an excellent education and did not want to send her to the subpar Black schools near them. She went to live with a family friend and attend public school in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem was the first school district in Massachusetts to allow Black students in their public schools. She was the only Black student in her classes. She became the first Black student to graduate the Salem Normal School and the first Black schoolteacher hired to teach white students in Salem Public Schools. She however wanted to do more to help Black people and moved down to Saint Helena Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina where she taught freed slaves for two years. Talk about a meaningful life! This is just a tidbit of her story but it is what fascinated me. 

The quilt itself was actually a block of the month club to make a Civil War era album quilt. I love the history of the quilts and the blocks that Brackman includes in the book. Throughout the book are pictures of quilts as well as the people and the society in which they lived. Then there are the quilts from the club, some of which I am sharing here. There are instructions for each block. I have not made any as I have not thought about the fabric I would want to use--whether Civil War era reproduction or modernize it. There is also a beautiful ink design to sign each square as was common during this time period. Each quilt square is given measurements to make a twelve-inch or an eight-inch square. The ink design is for the twelve-inch squares. The instructions seem clear and precise.

At the end of the book there are instructions for placing the blocks (with options) and finishing the quilt. 

The quilts are beautiful and I love the idea of a friendship quilt. I would love to get twelve of us together to make blocks for one another. We each would choose one block and make twelve of them. We would pick a certain fabric set so it would all match. Then you would send them to one another or to me and I send one to each. Would you be interested in joining a project like this? If yes, let me know in the comments of by emailing me (email at the bottom of the linked page). 

In the mean time, please check out this amazing book