"Fit to Be Tied," the quilt for the current 2020 raffle conducted by the McHenry County Historical Society, is a bow-tie pattern made from 1930s pastel prints, a news release stated.
Some of the fabric prints have recognizable figures in them. They are called object or conversation prints. These were used as early as the mid-1880s. Often, the early prints were of a patriotic or nautical subject, or a nature theme.
The popularity of conversation prints spread as a new printing process made it economical to print small designs on fabrics. These prints remain popular and now include Disney characters and popular game or movie heroes.
The Heritage Quilters' Bow-Tie quilt has a lightness and whimsy to it, with a center block of applique, according to the release. The bow-tie block alternates with a 1930s green to add interest and color. The Bow Tie was rarely used by Amish, but some rare examples of its use do exist.
The pattern dates to the 1880s and was first published by the Ladies Arts Company in 1895. Like so many quilt patterns, it had other names: Colonial Bow Tie, Peekhole, True Lovers’ Knot, Dumbbell.
The persistent story of quilt blocks used as code for runaway enslaved people includes the Bow Tie. That story tells of signaling the escapees to dress up in fine clothes to pass in disguise if stopped. However, an authority on quilt history, Barbara Brackman, states there is no documented evidence of quilts being used as signals, codes or maps.
The drawing date for this year's raffle quilt, "Fit to Be Tied," will be announced at a later date. Tickets cost $1 each or six for $5.