This past fall, I embarked on a bit of a quilting journey. Around the Labor Day weekend, I learned of a "Pony Express Block Party" that was being sponsored by Northcott Fabrics. To make a long story short, the "party" involved a line of fabrics emphasizing the Pony Express and participating quilt shops located in the states through which the Pony Express ran.
Those who participated in this block party were challenged to visit participating shops to acquire a free block pattern. Participants were then issued a challenge of creating a quilt featuring at least six different blocks from six individual participating shops.
Because I enjoy the history of the American West, I was intrigued by this "Block Party" and decided to start visiting some shops. I then decided to go ahead and create a quilt to enter in the challenge contest. Because some of the shops designed 12-inch blocks while others designed 6-inch blocks, I had to make some decisions about my own quilt's design. I opted to go with smaller blocks and then had to size down some of the block patterns. To add a little variety, I put them "on point" and created my own corner blocks. I hope that you will enjoy a few close up looks at some of the blocks.
This star pattern is actually featured twice in the quilt. Can you find the other version of it?
These arrowheads required curved seams. This was actually my first effort at sewing a block with curved seams. The points aren't as exact as I would like, but I enjoyed giving this block a try.
When turned on point, this block takes on a fun zigzag appearance. Interesting what a 90 degree shift can do to your perspective.
With this quilt, I also opted to be deliberate with how I designed the back. Rather than attempting to incorporate a panel featuring the map of the Pony Express route on the front, I centered it on the back.
For those of you a little less familiar with the history of the Pony Express, it ran for only 18 months between April 1860 to October 1861. The length of the route was 1966 miles. Stations were located approximately 10 miles apart. Riders changed horses at each station and would ride for approximately 100 miles before being replaced by the next rider. The Pony Express allowed mail to be transported from Missouri to California in 10 days (up to 16 days during the winter). By comparison, transporting mail via stagecoach would take 24 days.
The identities of many of the Pony Express riders are shrouded in obscurity. No one knows the name of the first rider or the precise location in St. Joseph, Missouri, from which he departed. Advertisements for Pony Express riders give us some insight into their characteristics. They were to be young (18 years or younger), skinny, wiry expert riders who were willing to risk death daily. Advertisements also noted that orphans were preferred, suggesting perhaps, that these riders were regarded as expendable.
Reflecting on this history has also given me opportunity to reflect on our status both from the perspective of the world and from God's perspective. While the world may see us as obscure and expendable, we are raised to significance through what Christ has done for us. With the Advent season upon us, this particular passage from Galatians seems fitting for closing this post.