Thursday, October 23, 2014

WWI - October - Dove in the Window

This month's block came with the story of the death of the great-grandfather whose service inspired the quilt. The block is called Dove in the Window.

This was a technically challenging block with the oblique angles -- and that is after our pattern designers simplified the piecing lines from the version that came with my computer software. 

Vicki Welsh sent me some of her remnant shibori-dyed fabric with my custom order for the borders of this quilt.  Two of the blue pieces wound up in this block. I cut my four corner triangles out of a more solid area on the edge of the darker one and really like the effect - but the intersecting diagonal lines on the center pieces are gorgeous.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 29 Lend and Borrow

This almost seemed like a block that needed to be repeated like the King's Crown I did last week, but I decided just to let it be a single block.  The traditional setting keeps these all oriented the same way.

The little Olympus camera really washed out the color. The Pentax is in the repair shop where it will probably be for another 10 days. I really hope it can be fixed!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seasons Challenge Series - an Ohio Star block for Fall

Just as the fall season struck, Dorry sent me the block I get to use for the next challenge quilt, an Ohio Star with a really bright solid orange fabric -


Our long ago quilting sister had a little problem with her orange fabric.  It looks like she tore strips and the squares wound up as rectangles. Meanwhile, the quarter square triangles on the two sides are cut with the bias on the outside edge - you can see how they have stretched out of shape and bulge on the sides.

I'm planning to leave the block as she designed and mostly how she made it - though I did take it apart, and a bit of trimming to make the "squares" square so this will fit into a nice flat quilt might have happened before I put it back together. It was not possible to get all the points to stay pointy but the result is something she would recognize if she were able to see the quilt I'm going to make from this block.

I wrote that like I know where I'm going with this challenge.  I have some ideas, but I'm not ready to start cutting and stitching.  The blue-purple of the triangles is related to my Jane Austen blocks, but one of the challenges for this quilt is to include green in the finished quilt.  This block has no relationship to green and what I'm doing for that series has no green either, so I have to stop thinking about that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Austen Family Album - blocks 27 and 28

I was out of town last weekend for Dana's wedding so I have two blocks to post. This is Crossroads.

When I replaced the batteries in our digital SLR camera, it started overexposing the images. I tried taking the picture outside where there was no confusion about flash, and it was still making nearly white photos. The block got crumpled as I ran here and there and consulted the manual and tried again and again.  I gave up and used my phone and there's a wrinkled block. The camera is about 9 years old but still has value - we'll look into getting it repaired.

Today I was less hectic as I used the very small digital Norris bought a few years ago and got a better block photo.  I didn't have it set for the highest resolution, so we get a slightly soft-focus effect.

 The block is actually just 1/4th of this - I made four and put them together for the crown. My four little blocks are just 4.5 inches finished.  Doesn't Vicki Welsh's Shibori frame the crown beautifully?  I just bought more fabric from her to finish the WWI quilt and it is fabulous.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Austen Family Album - Fanny's Favorite

I always wonder why some blocks are (fill in the blank) Choice and some are (fill in the blank) Favorite?

I like my version of this block as a place to show some quilting. Only problem is, I'm not sure any of the rest of my blocks qualify for the same treatment. Not sure what I'm going to do to set these and there are a few that may not make it to whatever setting I decide on.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Threads of Memory - September: Lancaster Star

There were a lot of new seamlines in this redesigned sawtooth star block. Some of the extra piecing could have been distracting from the star I thought, so I followed our leading block-modeler Becky and used low contrast fabrics for the four sets of triangles around the center square on point.

I bought some new fabric at the Quilt Show in Chattanooga I was able to use to make this month's block work for me. I already had the interesting plaid overlaid with a flower that I put in the four corners.  I had not felt it would work in any of the previous blocks of this series.

In early September, 1864, the 82nd celebrated the fall of Atlanta. Allen Brown wrote to his wife on the 3rd, "The glorious news has reached us that Atlanta is ours and the wildest enthusiasm prevails and the soldiers that have fought so hard for almost four months have the right to rejoice." 

Later in the month, Billy took time to write to his sister Joanna after having received her letter describing the mood at home since their brother Shep's death:  "I am very sorry that Mother mourns and worries so much about dear Shep.... he is a great deal better off than you or I, even if he was alone, I don't think he needed anybody to pray for him for I believe that he was as good a Christian as could be found and am sure he died perfectly satisfied. If he died in a regular U. S. hospital, he was buried in a mahogany coffin. But he is just as well off if, of course, he was buried in a board coffin. Even a soldier that is buried in time of battle, with nothing but his clothes and blanket, is just as well off in the future world as though he was buried in marble. If it is my fate to be killed or to die with sickness, I don't ask to be taken home. If our dear brother Shep could see us mourning his loss, he would say to us, why do you mourn for me? I should mourn for you instead of your mourning for me. I am happy while you are still in that troublesome world, but oh my dear friends, but there is but a faint shadow between us. Soon, why, soon, we will meet again where parting is not known."

Billy told Joanna there was no word on whether the men of the 82nd would be given time to go home on furlough or to vote.  But Billy was not concerned - he believed he would have no more than the requisite 9 months left (per original terms of the 82nd's service, implying the war would be over by that time.)

Eli Hause with the 52nd wrote to Calvin on September 28th, from "Camp at Jefferson Barracks."  This is the envelope (if you click on it for a larger size it is much larger than life).  When I transcribed these letters, I included postmark information, but other than the Sept 28, I can't make out the letters on this one.  It was informative that Calvin wrote the date he received and answered the letters right on the envelope. Receipt date could have been slowed simply because there was no home delivery of mail: someone had to pick it up at the post office in town.

It is interesting to me that this letter has another address on it, faintly written in ink, and upside down. It is addressed to Jesse W. Heaton, Co H 26th Regt, Ind Vols, with Calvin's name below on the left (if you flip the envelope around.)  The Heatons were neighbors of Calvin's, and two letters from Jesse's brother Bivans to Calvin were in small envelopes with no stamp and no address other than "To Calvin Wilder/Next Door" or "please hand to Calvin Wilder" on them. Bivans saved on stamps and I imagine the Heatons and Wilders picked up mail for each other regularly.  But I don't know why Jesse's address is showing up on Eli's envelope. Perhaps Calvin forwarded Eli's letter to Jesse in a letter of his own (they were all good friends) and Jesse returned the letter to Calvin later?

Jefferson Barracks is located on the Mississippi River at Lemay Missouri, south of St. Louis, and is still is use by the Army and Air National Guard. The 52nd was starting their pursuit of Price in Missouri. Eli's letter consisted mostly of comments on various bits of news Calvin has sent him from home, with a little bit of his take on the political sentiment in the regiment. He adds, "I am glad to hear that there is going to be lots of wheat sown this fall. I am in hopes that I will get home in time to help harvest it if nothing happens."

My transcription of this signature and postscript is "Eli to Call  P. S. my hand is so cold that I can hardly write so I will quit untill some other time"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

WWI - Red Cross

All the colored parts are hand dyed - I love the shots of yellow in the red.

The center square is a tiny piece leftover from a quilt made around 2002. The rest is by Vicki who is working on my border fabric this week - can't wait to see it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Austen Family Album - Anna's Choice

We made this block for one of the previous series -

It's a whole lot of triangles. I paired mine in slightly oversized squares, then cut them to the size for my 9 inch blocks. I featured one hand dye from Vicki Welsh (the darker fabric that makes up the star) and a commercially dyed fabric that looks hand-done (the darkest blue/purple). The only yellow in this block is in the centers of the little flowers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beaded Knitting

I wanted to make this beaded sweater, Lalique, by Laura Patterson, and thought I had the perfect yarn for it - only once I started the knitting I realized it was not working.  After a quick trip to a couple of yarn shops I had something else to knit it with, Findley by Juniper Moon Farms, a silk and merino lace weight yarn that was really nice to work on.

I had to take my face out of the photos - as you can tell the shadows were pretty harsh and distracting. You should be able to see some of the bead work in this close up of the back if you click on the photo - the beads decorate the lower edging on the sleeves and body, the lowest four Feather and Fan lace rows, and they zig zag up the fronts of the sweater in the flower motif at the opening edges.

The "sweater" has no closing, it is meant to be worn open and is rather like the elaborate shawls being knitted these days - only it has sleeves, which is far more practical for me.

Here's the sweater on my dress form so you can see the front without the shadows. The flash made some of the beads sparkle.

The designer called for #6 Hex beads because those facets give some shine. My bead store didn't have them except in black, so I got beads with a metallic finish on the insides.  I don't plan to wear it with the matching T - a black dress will show off the lace better.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm a winner!

When I was wandering the vendor aisles at AQS Quilt Week Chattanooga a week ago, there was a loud bell that sounded nearby and the very familiar voice of Bonnie Browning calling attention to everyone around. She was accompanied by a woman with a basket.

The ringing stopped and Ms. Browning asked if we were enjoying the show, which was greeted with cheers. Then she asked how many of us had joined AQS at the show - probably 6-8 women raised their hands, and the hand that shot up first in her eyesight was handed a prize out of the basket in return

Next she asked us to raise our hands if we had been a member of AQS for 10 years - well, I joined sometime shortly after my introduction to quilting class in 1994, so I raised my hand, along with several other women.  Probably too many hands went up because then she asked who had been a member more than 15 years.  I kept my hand up and was surprised when every other hand fell. See what came out of the basket for me -

There are actually five one yard pieces, neatly wrapped in that cellophane (there is no manufacturer's name printed in the selvedge).  They appear to be high quality, densely woven cottons.  Prizes were donated by show vendors - mine came from Accent on Quilting in Florida.  Here I have taken them out of the wrapper so you can see the variety of prints.

I'm pretty sure I can find a use for them.