'Order No. 11' quilt block was renamed by Fannie Kreeger Haller when she reproduced this quilt block that she had carried around in her memory since she was a 10-year-old girl. This quilt had been her mother's prized quilt which she saw snatched by marauders during the American Civil War by Union soldiers back in 1863 - the year that the Union Army directive, Order No. 11, was issued. This order forced the evacuation of families in rural areas of western Missouri/Kansas in order to deprive material support to pro-confederates. Union soldiers stole possessions from them, killing many, and burned the town of Lawrence, KS. A rich but sad history, this quilt block is included in the history of Civil War Quilts. To read more about Order No. 11 history and the famous painting based on this directive I have provided a link - Order No. 11.
This block pattern actually dates back to the 1840's and is also known as the 'Hickory Leaf' and also the 'Reel'. Published in 1929, in The Kansas City Star, by Ruby McKim, we are able to reproduce this wonderful quilt! In addition to the intriguing quilt block name, the construction of this block caught my attention. I am an avid lover of applique and this was the perfect block for me to break out my applique supplies! There are so many ways to applique blocks today, however, I am still using the method I learned years ago. As a quilter, I have seen the arrival of great, new products and have incorporated them to make life easier. I have shown a few pictures below of some of these new products and how I go about prepping for applique.
A great new invention was high-temperature, melt-free plastic! I use these sheets of plastic to make my templates which can then withstand heat from ironing. Using a water-soluble pen or heat-activated marker has replaced my use of chalk or those crumbling pencil markers. The one thing though that I don't think I could live without is my applique pins :) I found these about 12 years ago in a little quilt shop here in Lincoln, NE that has since closed. If you do applique work you need these!! I have looked for them in stores but have only found them online to order through Foxglove Cottage.
The best part of applique for me is that you can do it anywhere! Piecing usually has one sitting at the sewing machine for hours and dragging a queen-size quilt around to quilt is not so easy - I've tried. At the same quilt shop where I found the applique pins, I purchased an applique quilt tube - can't find these anywhere anymore! Everything fits inside the tube - thread, pins, scissors, my glasses - and my quilt block stays wrinkle-free by rolling it up on the felt mat around the tube. Think about starting your own applique project - it's perfect for those who travel, sit in dentist/dr. office waiting rooms, or in the car picking up kids from school!
Suzanne is a NIH fellow and holds a Ph.D. in molecular virology. In addition to spending time doing viral research and teaching, she is a modern textile designer and quilter and is mom to 5 awesome kids!