It was the easiest way for a club or church group to make a quilt because each contributor took the instructions, worked at home, and then returned the finished block. Though it might appear this was also a quick way to make a quilt, the reality is that many such quilts made for Civil War soldiers and other reasons, such as fundraising, presentation, or friendship, took as long as a year. The earliest known potholder quilt – dated 1837 – " This information from Pamela Weeks.
Soldiers' Aid Quilt with each block
individually quilted and bound
The quilt-as-you-go sewing technique. “each block was individually bound with pale blue silk and then the blocks were closely whip-stitched together on the back.” They appeared to be “elegant eleven-inch-square potholders” fashioned into a quilt. Well-known quilt experts such as Gerald Roy, Stephanie Hatch, and American Quilt Society appraiser Vivien Lee Sayre confirmed that this “block-by-block” method (the preferred description) was informally known as making “potholder” blocks. Civil War Quilts
Noted Civil War Quilt Historian, Barbara Brackman, has an interesting page on her blog concerning these New England Quilts.
The Constant Quilter, Wendy Canton Reed, is working away on her star 'potholders', which will be assembled into a quilt. This is a good way for groups to make the small blocks and assemble for a charity quilt.