⏰ Flash sale! Quilts from the Civil War era + a special Civil War story

If quilt patterns from the Civil War era make your heart skip a beat, you won’t want to miss today’s flash sale on a very special eBook:

Remembering Adelia flash sale

Through actual diary entries in Remembering Adelia, you’ll get a rare glimpse into one year in the life of a teenage girl during the Civil War: minding daily chores, joining in sewing and quilting circles, and watching friends and neighbors go off to war. Interspersed throughout Adelia’s diary entries are beautiful quilt patterns from the Civil War era—authentic Civil War blocks and quilt designs typical of the time are included.

Peony Star quilt
Peony Star Quilt from
Remembering Adelia

In this excerpt from Remembering Adelia, author Kathleen Tracy explains how she came across Adelia’s diary and was inspired to write her second book.


Kathleen Tracy“While I was visiting local historical societies and researching pioneer families for my book Prairie Children and Their Quilts, I came across a small, leather-bound journal dated 1861. The journal was written by Adelia Thomas, a young woman of 19 who lived in a farming community in northern Illinois, miles away from the conflict when the Civil War began in the spring of that year.

Adelia and her daughters
Left: Adelia Thomas Bennett at 54 years old, 1896. Right: Adelia’s daughters, Grace, Alice, and Hester.

Despite the intensity of the war, Adelia’s journal focuses on family life and daily experiences and is filled with records of births, deaths, marriages, and social visits. It’s a wonderful look at what kinds of activities and thoughts occupied the lives and minds of young women at the beginning of that crucial time in America’s history. Journal accounts like hers show us just how much sewing and quilting was a part of life for the average woman, and perhaps provided sustenance in times of strife, as well as fulfilling a desire to “do something” patriotic to help the soldiers. For many, quilting was also a way to preserve their memories.

Orange Peel quilt
Orange Peel Quilt from
Remembering Adelia

The diary begins in January 1861, just months after President Lincoln was elected and before his inauguration in March. Fort Sumter was attacked by the Confederacy in April and Lincoln’s first call for volunteer troops occurred a few days later. Most people, including Lincoln himself, expected that the war would be short-lived and over within a few months at the most, with minimal casualties. The actual loss of life that did occur (over 620,000) would have been unimaginable. As the year unfolds, we watch the crisis build as Adelia’s friends, family, and neighbors join the fight to save the Union, some never to return.

Civil War soldier
Civil War soldier from McHenry, Illinois

Many quilts were made during this time in history, but few survived because of the devastation brought by the war. The quilts that did survive are excellent examples of quilting trends of the time. Inspired by a variety of antique quilts and the diary entries, the quilts and projects included in Remembering Adelia reflect some of these trends.

Quilts from Remembering Adelia
Quilts from
Remembering Adelia

I can’t look at antique quilts without imagining the lives of the women who made them. Adelia’s diary shows what daily life was really like for many women in the latter half of the nineteenth century. I hope this book will take quilters into that world. At first it may appear far removed from our own lives, but a closer glance will show that we are not so different from women who lived and quilted a century and a half ago. In remembering Adelia, I have tried to honor quiltmakers from the past and their extraordinary quilts that have been left to us as inspiration to re-create and treasure.”

Quilting party, 1898
Quilting party, 1898


Read entries from Adelia’s diary and enjoy Kathy’s small quilt patterns from the Civil War era in Remembering Adelia—download the eBook for just $6.00 through May 29 at noon (PT).

Small and ScrappyLove Kathleen Tracy’s antique-inspired style? Pick up her best seller Small and Scrappy, filled with tiny Civil Warera treasures that are full of scrappy charm. Keep Small and Scrappy by your fabric-cutting area: every time you create a new pile of scraps, you’ll have this inspiring resource at the ready.

What inspires you most about Civil Warera quilts: the colors, the quilt blocks, the stories behind them? Tell us in the comments.

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