We are are almost to the end of our year long underground railroad Block of the Month. This month we feature the sail boat block. When Ozella McDaniel Williams documented her knowledge of the blocks to the authors of Hidden In Plain View, she explained there were the primary blocks – which we have covered in this BOM, and the secondary patterns. The sail boat is one of those secondary patterns. I couldn’t necessarily find an explanation for this block, but one can surmise the significance of the sail boat block. Perhaps it was a signal to escaping slaves to travel the water way by boat. Or to cross from one side of a river to the other. It is possible a small raft or boat would be left at a point in their travels to aid their escape. We do know that walking through the water would make it difficult for tracking dogs to pick up the scent of escaping slaves. So given what we know, it is very likely that a boat or raft was used in some way to help the slaves reach their destination.
I hope you enjoy making this boat block. It is made up of half square triangles, squares and rectangles. You can make different variations of this boat block. You can leave off the lower rectangle which represents the water, you can make an additional row of sails. Make several and put them all together as a baby quilt. Let your imagination run wild.