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February 17, 2014

Quilting history a stitch at a time

PLATTSBURGH — Two-hundred cot-to-coffin quilts are wanted for the Battle of Plattsburgh Quilt Exhibit 2014.

The odds of achieving that seem as insurmountable as when Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough’s outgunned naval squadron squared off against British forces commanded by Capt. George Downie in Plattsburgh Bay.

But Linda LaMarche Harwood hopes quilters, masters and novices, will rise to the occasion.

She and Jean Welch chair the project for the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemorative Committee.

“We are looking for people to create a quilt to enter into the exhibit,” Harwood said. “The exhibit will be the week of the Battle of Plattsburgh and will be shown at the Rotunda at City Hall.”

The cot-to-coffin quilts must measure 30-by-70 inches. Period patterns and early 19th century inspired fabric can be used for the quilts.

For the pictorial category, anything goes except the finished product must measure 30-by-70 inches.

“It doesn’t have to be cloth,” Harwood said.  “We’re hoping some schools that reach history of the time period will make quilts and enter them. It could be paper. It could be anything.”


She has already created a quilt in honor of the soldiers, British and American, interred on Crab Island.

“It has a chain around the quilt that contains the names of British and Americans buried on Crab Island. It has the British and American flag on it. This is the only place where the soldiers are buried together in common graves. I have a replica of the flagpole that is on Crab Island that’s built in the shape of a crow’s nest to represent a ship’s mast. There’s a poem I wrote.”

Harwood’s quilt is a whole-cloth quilt.

“It’s made of one piece of cloth,” she said. “The embroidery on it is what gives it the color, picture and the story.”

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