Q&A with the creator of the Civil War Legacies series (book #4 is here!)

Love fabrics inspired by the Civil War era? Save every scrap? Best-selling author Carol Hopkins applauds you—she saves every scrap too! You’ll find fantastic ways to use your reproduction stash and scraps in Carol’s latest book, Civil War Legacies IV.

Civil War Legacies IV

In this fourth book from Carol’s “Civil War Legacies” series, you’ll find a collection of small, spectacular quilts where every scrap you save can shine.

Make a quilt honoring the Blue and Gray Trail:

Blue and Gray Trail quilt
Blue and Gray Trail

Choose a stunning tribute to the woman who established the American Red Cross:

Battlefield Angel quilt
Battlefield Angel

Or stitch a sampler chock-full of charming Basket blocks:

Tilly's Basket Sampler quilt
Tilly’s Basket Sampler

Along with 14 of Carol’s exquisite designs, you’ll enjoy reading little-known facts about the Civil War and Carol’s stories about how each stunning little quilt came to be.

From Civil War Legacies IV

We asked Carol to answer a few pressing questions we had about her quilting life—read her answers below!

Stitch This!: This is the fourth book in your best-selling “Civil War Legacies” series—what inspired book #1?

Carol HopkinsCarol: I’d been designing about six new patterns a year to introduce to shop owners at spring Quilt Markets. I’d never thought about writing a book, but during my fifth trip to Market, I was approached by several publishers, one of whom was Karen Soltys representing Martingale/That Patchwork Place. I have bookshelves full of That Patchwork Place books that I’ve collected over my 30 years of quilting, and I was so humbled and excited about the possibility of having my own book with that logo in the corner. It was my own “yes to the dress” moment!

ST!: What’s your typical process for designing quilts, and where do you find inspiration?

Carol: To be honest, I never design a quilt from start to finish before I start sewing. I’m always on the lookout for interesting blocks or settings in antique quilts. When I find an unusual block or a clever use of fabrics in a traditional block, I’ll make up one block as a reference. Then, when I’m ready to start a new quilt, I’ll make a few more, still with no plan for where I’m going.

I seem to have a 10-block attention span, so when I’ve made about that many, I start to think about how I’ll set them together and how many more blocks that would take. This is probably the main reason that I make small quilts—once I’ve figured out a small one, I’m ready to move on. I often think I’d like to remake my small quilts into full-sized quilts containing more of those cute little blocks, but that just doesn’t seem to happen.

Wedding Bouquet

ST!: It’s obvious that you have a love of reproduction fabrics; what is it that draws you to them over other fabrics?

Carol: Reproduction fabrics call to me for several reasons. One is the soft, muted colors that reflect the worn-and-loved patina of those found in antique quilts. I’m also drawn to the motifs and details in the prints themselves, especially the beautiful florals and paisleys which may contain 20 or more different colors.

When I first started quilting in 1980, there were no fabrics like these in the marketplace, so it was virtually impossible to reproduce an antique quilt. Turquoise polyester just didn’t do the job! When manufacturers started reproducing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prints in the late 1980s, I could finally make quilts like those found in old trunks, and I’ve been focused on them ever since.

ST!: You must have many, MANY little quilts—how do you use them?  Do you display them all, rotate them out? How do you like to display them?

Carol: My favorite display is a two-foot-tall folk art angel with jointed arms that can hold a quilt without folding it. I also have two small wooden rocking chairs once used by my husband and his twin sister, the backs of which are perfect for showcasing quilts. Other little quilts are displayed on doll beds, folded up in piles in glass-front bookcases, rolled in baskets, or used as table toppers. I used to have groupings of quilts hanging on the walls, but when we went all fixer-upper and removed walls, those spaces disappeared. With more than 100 small quilts, there’s no way I can display them all at once, so some spend their time in storage bins, waiting for their turn to shine.


ST!: What do you love about being a quilter?

Carol: In addition to the creative outlet that quilting itself provides, and the never-ending new offerings of fabrics, patterns, and techniques, it’s the friendships with and inspirations from other quilters that nourish my quilting soul. I’m challenged to think of another group of people with such diverse talents and interests who come together to share, listen, support, and encourage others more than the heartfelt way that quilters do.

ST!: Finish these sentences for us!

  • One reason making smaller quilts is so fun is: They allow you to explore something new without huge time investments, and then you get to move on to a new project with a different selection of fabrics.
  • If I had a three-word quilting mantra, it would be: Enjoy the process!
  • My best tip for new quiltmakers is: Find your ¼".
  • Before I begin a quilt, I must have: A scavenger hunt through my house to make sure I’ve found just the right fabrics from my stash. This goes with my other three-word quilting mantra: It’s here somewhere!
  • If I had a quilting superpower, it would be: To surround myself with an anti-procrastination shield.

>>> Follow Carol on Instagram: @carol_hopkins_designs <<<

Thanks for indulging us, Carol—congratulations on your lovely new book!

Carol’s had lots of experience piecing smaller blocks and quilts—if you haven’t seen her tips for making flying-geese units (many of which you’ll find in Civil War Legacies IV), don’t miss this helpful video:

Reading this post in email? Click here to watch the video.

Civil War Legacies IVWe have a copy of Civil War Legacies IV to give away to one lucky winner today! To enter the drawing, tell us in the comments:

My Civil War fabric stash needs: 

  • Some thinning—I’ve amassed a lot.
  • A few more colors and prints—I need to go shopping.
  • A kick start—I don’t have any yet!

We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. And if you’re ready to start sewing with Carol’s new book now, order Civil War Legacies IV at ShopMartingale.com and you can instantly download the eBook for free.

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Susan, who says:

“Lots more colors and prints. I have done a few Civil War quilts, but would love to do more. I love the tiny prints and colors of that era.”

We’ll email you about your prize, Susan—congratulations!


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