While sewing these blocks I like to imagine what it must have been like for a young woman to have been sewing blocks to make a quilt in 1861, the year the Civil War began. She most likely hand pieced the blocks in the evening after working all day to keep the household going.
According to many, the sewing machine was invented in the 1840's by Howe and brought to many homes by Singer in the mid-1860's. It seems it was a controversial invention because 'delicate and excitable' women may not have the 'technical ability' to operate the machines. Additionally, it was thought that sewing and other tasks 'occupied the time' of women and if they didn't have the handwork to keep them busy they might spend their time shopping and playing cards. Here is a brief history of the sewing machine if you're interested. Here is an article on early sewing machines and quilters.
This morning I completed blocks 9 Birds in the Air and 10 Lincoln's Platform. Long ago I embraced the technology of the domestic sewing machine and I used it to make these blocks. Maybe next week's block will be hand pieced to pay homage to our fore-quilters (men and women alike!).