Sunday, January 25, 2009

Research Begets Hobby

The fun of research for me is learning new facts, finding new layers to use in my stories and discovering new interests. My research about the Underground Railroad for my April release, The Innkeeper: An Unregistered Death, included field trips to Graue Mill and John Hossack’s home and the courthouse in Ottawa, Illinois.

The research also uncovered escape routes, disguises and ‘stations’ or hiding places, along the journey to freedom. One method used to signal to freedom seekers hiding in the woods or field if it was safe to approach the house, was a quilt thrown over the railing. The pattern on the quilt might indicate safety or give directions to the next station.

I became curious about so many of the patterns and meanings spending hours pouring over books and patterns. Next, I became obsessed with creating an Underground Railroad quilt to raffle off at my book launch in April. But I wanted to keep one to display at signings and libraries and well, just to have.

You see where this is going. I have convinced my friend that we need to make small quilts. I found on a digest I read. We begin this afternoon. My friend has lots of fabric squares; I’m bringing the wine.

Has anyone else succumbed to the lure of research? Be careful what you research. It could become your next hobby or money pit!

Luisa Buehler

1 comment:

Helen Ginger said...

Creating the quilt for display and for use at signings is a brilliant idea. I don't quilt, but I do love quilts. I treasure the ones I have from my mother and aunt. Yours will definitely be one to treasure because you made it and because it has such historical meaning.