Monday, April 18, 2011

Re-Union?

Small squares of Civil War Reunion and other repro prints

April is the month the nation is remembering the beginning of the Civil War 150 years ago. My latest Civil War era reproduction is called Civil War Reunion because I thought the best way to remember that horrible event would be to celebrate the post-War reunion of North and South, the Blue and Gray Reunions of Veterans and events like Memorial Day to recall the sacrifice on both sides.


Gettysburg Reunion 1938



I was pleased to find a scrap of fabric with the word Union, which probably is NOT a print from the years 1861-1865 but more likely one from the 1870s when the country was celebrating the peace at our Centennial celebration in Philadelphia.


This Union shield and double flag stripe likely
 dates to the 1870s and celebrates the Reunion.
It was in Civil War Crossing, a collection a few years ago.

We find a few patriotic prints from the war years but most of the flags and star prints are probably from post-War era. And no one has found a Confederate print because the South grew the cotton, they had no factories to print it.
 All that said, it's always a surprise to get a mean little note like this one.

I'm really disappointed in your lack of historical mindedness when it came to your creation of the Civil war reproduction.

it also seems a little one sided. How could you make all the other beautiful creations in this line and then go and add "UNION" !!!!!
There was 2 sides to the Civil War. You Chose to only show the Union side. I personally am on the Confederate side, a Southerner if you will.
So yes I'm disappointed. To be historically correct you should have chosen to show both sides or leave them out entirely.
How many others have commented on this HUGE mistake of yours? I bet this letter never makes it to the light of day with the public. However it would be nice and Politically correct for you to comment and apologize for your error. I will be commenting publicly wherever and whenever I can as well as boycotting your Beautiful Fabric. This is a shameful Reproduction. For Moda to even enter into this with you is also shameful. They also will be boycotted.
Sincerely,
MaryDenise Roeller

I told her I'd be glad to post the note. Not everybody seems to understand the point of Civil War Reunion or reproduction fabric.
If you care to comment, do please remember we try to keep a civil discourse going here.

47 comments:

Colleen said...

Thanks for always being informative. Many people dont know the economic history of our country and how manufacturing was in the North. They confuse their loyalties with the actual facts of history. The souths fabric manufacturing came long after the Civil War. Hereis nice website with info on this http://www.textilehistory.org/

Peaceful Piecer said...

I wouldn't use fabric with union or union flag and shields,but it's a personal choice. I certainly respect your right to produce it. I enjoy reading your blog.

Quilt Station said...

As I grew up on the other side of the world, my (limited)knowledge of American history and particularly the Civil War has been learned only in the last ten years or so. However I do understand that it was a terrible time in America's history. I enjoy learning from your extensive knowledge and using your reproduction fabrics which are some of the best around. Even the names of the fabric ranges sends me off on a history search, thank you.

Kim Q said...

The Civil War has been over for an awfully long time. Isn't it time to bury the hatchet? My fabric stash would be awfully bland (and greatly reduced!) without Moda. ;-)

Me and My Stitches said...

Oh my! I guess I am of the belief that if you don't like something, you don't buy it. No reason to insult. I personally love your fabric and all of the historical information you provide. Thanks for all that you do!

Pat said...

Thank you so much for the information that you supply on historical quilts and reproduction fabrics.

Thank you also for printing an opposing view. It also shows how very easy it is to jump to conclusions without having all of the facts, something we can all very easily do.

Bertie said...

Never realised that the Civil War history still plays such a large part in the American's people mind today, but you cannot please everybody:)) Personally I would also not use fabrics with this logo or the USA Flag on it, but that is because I am not American:))
Love reading your blog.

*karendianne. said...

Thank you for the information and sharing the note. Education is the only thing that can really make a difference. I live in the South and I'm exposed to the feelings that are still QUITE ALIVE when it comes to the Civil War. It's interesting to see it bleed over into the quilting(fabric) world.

DarleneN said...

As always, an informative and thoughtful article. I love how we can learn history through quilts! Keep up the great work!

Diane said...

My husband and I toured Gettysburg for 4 days last fall. I spent most of it with a lump in my throat.
I felt the same emotions whether we were viewing Union or Confederate monuments.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it enriches my life and my quilts.

Sheila said...

Wow. We lived in a southern state for 25 years and just a little hint for you - they referred to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. I am not making this up and I am not trying to start any trouble, just reporting a fact. Gives a new perspective on "current events," doesn't it?

Frances Leate said...

Thank you for your informative and entertaining blog. Even though I am an Australian, I studied the American Civil War and its aftermath in High School and am still fascinated and interested in it. I have become addicted to your Civil War quilt blocks and it is a highlight of my weekend when they appear. Keep up the good work.
PS We sell Moda and your fabric lines in our Craft Shop in Cairns.

Helene Juul said...

I thought that comment was rude and unnecessary. As a not american quilter I would not use fabrics with "union" or American flags on it ... but only for that reason. I LOVE your books about the Civil War, and I have often thought for myself, that you clearly dont chose side or only write about it from a certain prospective. Is that because you are from Kansas, one of the border states caught in the middel of the two sides?
I have also visited Gettysburg (it's almost 10 years ago) and was touched by the special spirit there. On that tour we also visited Virginia and it was clearly a Southern Stated. I have often wondered why this old conflict is still so apparent, even today. Please enlighten us foreigners?!?!

Leila said...

I grew up in WA state and didn't realize there was a different version of the Civil War until I moved to TX as an adult. High school history books are very different in the south.

But really, whatever the "real" reason and cause of the war, can't we all agree that the outcome - The UNITED States of America - is good? How sad it would be if the "Union" of States had fallen apart in our early days.

P.S. She failed to mention how many blue prints there were in the line. Barbara, no grays?!? How very one sided. :)

Amy R said...

Wow. So much for working hard to built the "union" after the war. We are after the war, aren't we? We are one "union" now, aren't we? The topic of the Civil War is not only timely because of the anniversary, but as I observe our politics today I can't help but wonder if we aren't in a place where a "civil" war couldn't happen again. Haven't we learned we can accomplish so much more working together vs. tearing each other apart? Love your fabrics. Love the history you share with us to educate us. Love your projects. Thanks so much for enhancing my live creatively and intellectually.

kathyg said...

Barbara....
I thoroughly enjoy your blog, fabrics, books etc. The information you offer regarding quilt and fabric history is most informative. Some people are too narrow minded to see the big picture of history. It's too bad but I take it for what it is.... mis-information on their part. Please keep up with sharing your knowledge; by the way, I look forward to each new block your are posting weekly!

Barbara Brackman said...

Helen, Regarding Kansas as the middle of the country---therefore the middle ground in the Civil War. NOT!
Kansas as an antislavery state was one of the main contentious issues before the Civil War. We have always been proud that we sent a higher percentage of soldiers to the Union Army than any other state (of course we didn't have that big a population) but Kansas was decidedly a Union state.
Regarding your other question "Why this old conflict is still so apparent?" That's too big a question for the comment box.
Thanks for all the thoughtful comments.

Beth said...

I work in a quilt shop and I've had customers ask why there is no confederate fabric. They won't buy the "Union" fabric because there is no confederate fabric. While they understand reproduction fabric, they don't understand civil war commemorative fabrics without a print for both sides. They feel their quilts will be too "Yankee"...especially those living in the southern part of the US. Something to consider next time for the consumer even tho' it isn't "pure" reproduction. It isn't about being a "union", it is about heritage...I think one would have to live in the south for awhile to understand.

Laura said...

Wow, talk about taking something too seriously. Apparently, someone missed the entire point of this particular line being about the reunification of the U.S. rather than about the bloody tragedy of the split between North and South.

I'm incredibly amused that Ms. Roeller is so affronted by a single word on a single piece of fabric that she's not only going to write you a nasty letter, but is also going to boycott the line, you and all of Moda Fabrics. I know it probably isn't amusing to you, because it's never fun to be raked over the coals, especially when the person doing it is doing so from a standpoint of lack of information (at least, I hope it's lack of information), but from this end, the MASSIVE over-reaction is just hysterical.

WoolenSails said...

Its fabric to have fun with, lol.
I love reproduction pieces and it has nothing to do with politics, it is a bit of history.

Debbie

Asiyah said...

omg...it's fabric people! I don't get it.

There's ways to design your own fabric, if you want to.

Still...I would never get that wrapped up in a fabric line. But that's just me.

The Humble Stitcher said...

I love your new Civil War Reunion fabric and think you did a wonderful job in designing it. As a former Civil War era reenactor, I understand all too well the feelings that were expressed in that not so nice letter. I am no longer involved in reenacting because those feelings were just too hard for me to handle. Somehow, I think our ancestors (both sides) are crying in Heaven because the hatred is still so strong. All one really has to do is to look at the photos of those precious Civil War Veterans coming together at their many "reunions" and realize that if they could bury the hatchet, then I think they would want us to do the same. (Off of soapbox....back to stitching!!!)

Robin said...

I think we are all loyal to our roots whether it involves this particular war or any other. But, it's all about forgiveness and moving on.

suzanne said...

And what about the feelings of African-Americans? Because the Civil War resulted in the end of slavery in this country, it is difficult to bring it back to life today without evoking considerations of racism or alignment with North or South.

I think Barbara has always done a beautiful job of avoiding all of that in her writings and fabrics, by simply showing us the lives of women of the North and the South, black and white, who, without a vote of their own, were called upon to suffer and act heroically in the midst of our most devastating War. An important thing to do.

Barb said...

I give you high praise for sharing this comment. I received a comment that was so negative about our current president I immediately deleted.
It does shed light on the unfortunate fact that even though we have a shared love of quilting in our community the political issues are still divisive.
I agree with your last commmenter, Suzanne, in your interest and ability to share historical facts, not personal opinions.

carrie said...

I think that the previous commenters have said it all. I just want to add my support for you, the amazing work you do in sharing the history of quilting and fabric, and the beautiful fabric lines that you and Moda produce. Keep it up, please!

Lyn said...

Sheesh, she really missed the point of your collection, didn't she. Hopefully, you don't get very many notes like that one, which is clearly way off base. Love your fabrics, and I've learned a lot from your books. Please keep up your excellent work!

Jan PATEK said...

I've never read either a northern or southern bias into your writings or your fabric. Thanks for all of your research and hard work. And I agree - the poor woman let her bias miss the point of the whole collection - to honor the women of both sides who lived through the war and kept quilting.

Julie Loeschke said...

I guess some people need something to be angry about. I really enjoy your blog and fabric.

Anonymous said...

Sad to say, the War of Northern aggression has never ended for many in the deep south. I never understood that until I came to live in Georgia. In Oklahoma, it was the Civl War. The carpet baggers left a bitter taste in the mouths of many southerners and that bitterness has been fed for generations now. However, having friends who are involved in re-enactments here in the south, I know there are those that truly study the history, study both sides of it and must take turns representing both sides. It was an awful war--for both sides and did a great deal to shape this country and still influence who we are. We must learn history so as never to repeat it--or so they say, but sometimes we have not learned much. I love your fabric lines and all that you have done to teach us some history. History especially of the women of this country. Thanks for the civil war blog and its commemoration of those who fought for what they believed in. Becky in Georgia

NW Pennsylvania Quilt Study Group said...

I wanted to send a comment but found it difficult to put to words all of my feelings until I came upon a quote by Shelby Foote. "Southerners, their funny about that war." I think that sums it up. My friends and I make Home of the Brave Quilts for the families that have lost a loved one in the two wars we are currently engaged in. The quilts are reproduction Santitary Commission quilts that were made by women as a source of comfort. Only four exist today of the over 150,000 to 200,000 that were made. The reason, soldiers were usually buried wrapped in them. We reproduced these quilts, often using your fabric as source of comfort to families in both the north and south for soldiers that fight under the stars and strips of a country formed by the blood of both sides.

quiltfool said...

Hi, Barbara. I've followed you for years, followed your blog for months but this is my first comment. I grew up in the south and would like to say, in my humble opinion, GET OVER IT ALREADY! Love your reproductions. And, am a proud citizen of the United States of America. All 50 of them. Take care. Lane

Sue said...

I've noticed a lot of negativity about the north when I've visited my parents in Florida. I was really surprised by it since I've never noticed any anti-southern sentiment here (in Michigan) or when traveling in the north. The war did so much damage to this country, north and south, it's too bad that some people can't let the past go.

Donna Becker said...

Oh, for cryin' out loud. That post can't possibly be an example of Southern good manners.
Barbara, if someone is offended, it's because they've TAKEN offense by choice.
You've handled it quite well. After all, it's never wise to kick a skunk.

Pat said...

It really is too bad that people can be so narrow minded as Ms. Roeller. Sadly parts of the South are still fighting the civil war. My great grandfather proudly served his country with a unit from New York. Please continue to design your beautiful fabrics and teach us about this very interesting time.
A Union Lady living in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Ms. Roeller has not read your "Butternut and Blue" booklet, Barbara. I am planning a Civil War anniversary quilt, and will include both "butternut" and blue in my quilt to commemorate both sides of the war.
Has anyone ever thought about what would have happened to *all* of us, had the North/South remained split, in light of WW I and especially WW II??? Thank God the Union prevailed.

Anita said...

I'm almost as nuts about genealogy as I am about quilting and know that I have ancestors who fought on both sides of the Civil War. I love your fabrics and just made a small quilt using Charm Packs from your Civil War Homefront and Civil War Crossings collections...and definitely used the Union flag print. Re-Union is, indeed, a fitting theme for your new collection. Those who won't let the Confederacy die need to learn the lessons of reunion. Thank you for your blog and the history of women from this time in our collective past.

Sharon said...

Build a bridge and get over it. Don't you love that expression, it came from a Dove chocolate. I'm not American, but I live here and I've learned so much history of this great country from the quilting books. Thanks for all that you share. If you don't like the fabric, don't buy it. no big deal. It's just fabric!

Blogless me said...

I have followed your blog for close to two years now in my Google Reader. I find it extremely informative - succinct and yet entertaining - and have recommended it to all my quilting friends. Not being a specialist in the Civil War, or matters of fabric history (just fabric buying ;-)), my feelings when I read your posts are of a very sympathetic, yet scientific attitude on your part and the fabric lines you design are certainly beauties in their own right.

You can not please all the people all of the time and there is no reason you should even try. Thank you for all the knowledge you share with us!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Barbara Brackman for allowing me to express my feelings on such a tender subject and showing there are 2 sides to everything.
As a side note: I live in the state of Michigan, my husband is from Germany and my son-in-law is in the Army in Iraq. My Heritage is Southern (that's where my family lives). I have no problem with "Reunion" ! I do however with "Union" alone! United would have been a better choice. All the Fabric but one is Beautiful. I just expressed my heart felt thoughts and I was not alone. As much as I am still disappointed in the one piece of fabric I do not feel that Barbara Brackman intentionally meant to start another "Civil War". In my opinion and a few others a bad choice of word.

Barbara Brackman said...

The above comment on April 24th was by MaryDenise Roeller who was disappointed that her identification came out as "Anonymous." She wrote this email:

"I tried to reply on your blog and it came out Anonymous. I do not in any means want it to be Anonymous. I am proud of who I am and what I say... If you could some how fix this....Thank You!!"

I don't know how to fix the Anonymous i.d. but do notice her name here linked to the comment post above. BB

susiequilter said...

I love reading these posts. I am having a hard time with the celebration of the Civil War as I find this a depressing and evil time in America's history. I think the Reunion is an excellent way to approach this subject. I
had ancestors on both sides of this conflict which is hard for me to stomach as I abhor slavery and all of the ramifications that we still see from this great evil.

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I tend to look at "Civil War" reproduction fabric solely in terms of the mid Victorian era. While I haven't had any use for fabric stating "Union", I have nothing against it. My assumption when I first saw it was that it was originally manufactured for the American Centennial celebration in 1876. My dolls are made to represent an earlier period, so I don't use the "Union" fabric.

Additionally...I understand without anyone having to tell me, that there wouldn't be period correct fabric printed with the word "Confederate". I paid attention in high school history. I'm from Texas and I was certainly aware that the cotton while produced in the south, was manufactured in the north.

Common sense. Which should also dictate that "period" fabric (which was modern at the time), was continually printed throughout the 19th century. Victorian era fabric wasn't all produced between the years 1861-65 for crying out loud.

I appreciate Moda's dedication to printing historically accurate designs and not re-inventing history simply to appeal to a certain commercial demographic.

Thank you for publishing the letter. It's surprising to see that in this day and age of the internet at our fingertips, someone write such a letter without double checking her facts prior to sending it. Doing so would have saved her the embarrassment not only of wrongful accusation, but of a lack of initiative to educate herself on the matter in the first place. A lesson for all of us.

nancyc20 said...

I'm from California, so I don't "get it" at all! History is so young here...150 years ago, not too many Southerners or Northerners were here. My great-great grandparents were from both sides...never talked to each other (must have been a marriage like Romeo and Juliet) and contributed to her nervous breakdown. 150 years seems enough time for old feuds to die down. A house divided against itself will fall. If you keep digging at old wounds, they fester and never heal up. Time for the Civil War to be over, not redug. Quilts are for healing, mending and stitching back together.

Anonymous said...

I have had a bad day today, reading two mean-spirited things on my computer within an hour, and both things were from people who totally mis-understood the subject at hand. You do good, Barbara, and are not in the least mean-spirited or hateful towards anyone through your work.

Anonymous said...

I could never bring myself to make a "Union Square" block or use fabric with the slogan "Union" printed on it because one of my great uncles gave his life for the Confederacy. He was only 19 years old.

"Union" soldiers also destroyed his family's farm and his parents and sisters were forced to flee from the approaching troops. I also happen to live in one of the hundreds of cities which "Union" General Sherman had his men burn to the ground in an attempt to annihilate the South at the end of the war.


Eighty years later, my father's first cousin gave his life for the United States of America. He was also only 19 years old.

I could never make a quilt block called "Third Reich" or buy fabric with the slogan "Axis" printed on it.

We can't imagine anyone printing such fabric, can we? The leaders of the Third Reich are quite rightly regarded as monsters. But had they won the war, they would be honored as heroes in Germany. The EU and the USA would be expected to join in the celebrations of certain anniversaries or at least not interfere with them.

That's how history works. The victors are heroes and the defeated are demonized. We in the South are still being blamed for slavery, which ended here in 1863, while slavery existing in other countries today is ignored. The US can't question those allies about their slaves because we need things that they have.

Style, She Wrote said...

Great post, Barbara! May I ask how you determined the fabrics were from the Centennial? Also, could you recommemd some books on Centennial printed cottons so I may learn more about them? Thank you!