Sunday, March 29, 2015

Shindig 2015

The Mountain Jam Circle (Alice, Ann and I) have started on a quilt to benefit the Shindig on the Green again this year.  After discussing a red and white nine-patch with Alice at last winter's Folk Heritage celebration banquet, they let me be in charge of the design. I trolled the web, sent them photos to ponder, and we settled on a plan for a scrappy traditional unequal nine-patch.  Ann got her blocks done the day after we exchanged fabrics (Thursday) I just finished my share of the blocks.

Alice is also making a set of blocks,  and she's in charge of the plain off-white setting blocks and borders.  We'll have them ready to put together when Alice and Ann go to a quilting retreat in a couple of weeks - I'm hoping to drive out to the retreat location for the day and maybe do a little of the assembly work with them.  I will probably quilt this with traditional feathered wreaths and simple lines connecting the red patches. 

I love quilting a scrappy quilt!  It's so much fun to see all the fabrics and how the varied prints combine.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A new version

Dorry suggested posing the TV stand propped up to give more of the idea of the scale for some new photos.  It was far easier to turn it sideways - for the purpose, since there are no features to this cabinet like drawers and handles, one way is as good as another.  And the height is very close to that of the mattress this way.

After I took that picture, it went back to the garage for a new paint job.  I made a 50-50 mix of the wall paint to the tint I worked with earlier so that the color is closer to that of the wall. I included some of the stained window frame in this shot.

Norris is off doing the Search and Rescue exercise in the woods, so he has only seen the new color under artificial light.  He's not going to see it in sunlight until late Saturday at the earliest, so these photos are for him.  But anyone should feel free to chime in with ideas. We're still considering other options up to and including floor to ceiling built-ins.  Meanwhile, I have started haunting Craigslist and the local resale shops on-line announcements of new items.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March, 1865

By March of 1865, the 82nd Indiana was still moving north with Sherman, sweeping through the Carolinas with the goal to join up with Grant at Petersburg.  The 82nd was among the Union forces at the indecisive encounters at Fayetteville and Averysboro, and finally on the 19th-21st, at the Battle of Bentonville.  Bentonville was the last major conflict between Sherman's forces and Joe Johnston's. It's one of those Western battles we don't read as much about as those of the East.  Since it took place right here in North Carolina, I'll plan to go there on some future journey.  The outcome of Bentonville was a Union victory but I don't know what role my great-grandfather's regiment played.

We usually think of the Carolina Lily block to commemorate this state, but I chose this block known as the Star of North Carolina, or State of North Carolina. 

It was not an easy block - I paper pieced it, but still had eight "Y" seams to contend with once I had my seven foundations ready.  I think this block would be really nice at a slightly larger scale - this is  eight inches.

The Indiana 82nd's big battles may be over by this point, but the soldiers still have some marching to do as we will see.

The 52nd moved from Eastport to New Orleans in February.  

Eli wrote a long letter to Calvin from New Orleans on the 2nd of March.  The postmark was the 6th, but this letter was in transit a long time as Calvin only received it on the 17th.  I like this letter because there's a lot of detail on Eli's life with the army, which I am excerpting.

Eli was happy to hear Calvin wouldn't be drafted at this time and says, [with minor corrections for readability] "...we live very well here to what we did at Eastport we have plenty of rations besides turnips and greens in abundance. This is really a land of milk and honey, but I have not seen any of either yet. We have orders to be ready to move at an hours notice. I suppose that we will go around on the Gulf in a salt water ship - the talk is that we are going to an Island near Mobile and if we do I am going to build me a house of Oysters, and then lay by them for they say there is plenty of them there. ... you want to know how it is arranged about cooking, The Company is divided in to six messes and they cook just as they are a mind to at the time. There was another fellow and I were cooking together but we have seperated now and I live by myself. I have what you call a spider at home but we call it a frying pan that I fry my meat in and a little bucket with a lid on it that I make my coffee in and then there is buckets mess from Camp kettles that belongs to the Company that is hauled in the wagons, and then I have a tin plate cup knife and spoon to eat with, and I get along splendidly but if I just had you here how happy we could live together."

" ... I will have to tell you a slick joke on one of the boys that thinks that he can play seven up with any of the boys but I am afraid that you will think that I have got to be a great black leg but how ever I will tell you. Night before last after I had gone to bed he ... hollowed to me and said that he could beat me three best out of five for the turkey (meaning canned turkey). At first I refused him, said he would give me a game to start on and then I would have but two games to get while he would have to get three, well I told him to come and bring his candle and cards, and we went at it. ... I let him get the first game very easy and then I went for him and beat him two strait games.  The turkey is $1.50 per can they will hold about three pints. The turkey is very good but chickens are better.  I do not suppose that you ever saw any of them. It is not very often that I do the like of that but I did not like to see so good a chance slip by, as money is scarce. ... Fighting is not so common here as it was at Nashville and as far as I am concerned I do not want it to get that either. ... Cal I have seen ships sailing up and down the river since I came here, I saw one that came ... all the way from New York, I have seen oranges on the trees some green some partly ripe and some entirely ripe I tell you they look pretty sure."

He signs his letter
Cousin Eli W. Hause
Co. "K" 52nd Ind Vol Inft

The 52nd would be involved in the campaign against Mobile and its defenses starting March 17th.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Results of My Painted Furniture Experiment

After two coats of primer, I spent more time on the internet and learned I should have bought an "adhesive" primer for the shiny laminate on the estate-sale TV stand and my light sanding was not going to give me a finish that would not chip off.  No matter  -- instead of an improved piece going to a thrift shop, I now had a total throwaway and didn't have to try to fix the misaligned screws and other flaws.  Here's what the too-short TV stand looks like trying to play the role of Bedside Table in my bedroom.  It is painted in the lightest version of the wall color on the paint-chip strip.

To give it a fair chance, I covered my quilt with an old comforter, plain off-white side up, and added colored pillows and a small wall quilt folded at the bottom of the bed -- that one is too small, but it helps my vignette look more "decorated."  With the off-white comforter and nearly-white TV stand, we felt we had to take the linen shades off the sconces.  We thought the results were not bad, but started to think about other finish colors - a somewhat more intense version of what's on the wall? Or perhaps gray??  So I grabbed our Marcus Thomas goldfinches print with its gray frame and placed it in the scene.  We did like how the frame color echos the metal finish of the sconce. 

There's still a lot of white in that framed print. What do you think?  Maybe we need a pale green or white piece with some gray highlights?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Last Season

I've just finished the last of the little quilts out of "orphan" vintage blocks that made up the Four Seasons Challenge series led by my friend Dorry. The starting block for Winter was a stained and not-quite-square blue and white Churn Dash. I decided I would just soak it to try to remove the stains (they were stubborn) and then work with the block as it was.  Like all the Season Challenges, the quilt was to finish at 24" square and we were required to use green on the face of the quilt.  I have some beautiful  wintery green and gray fabrics that I set out to use in the setting.  To make this one different from any of my others, I had the Churn Dash block be the main element without being in the center of the quilt.  I planned to use the wintery green prints as  cornerstones and setting triangles, or sashing.

I picked a starry block to go with the Churn Dash because my design wall was looking like a night sky when I started pulling my navy blue fabrics out.  Notice that my collaborator of years gone by had two different blue and white prints in her churn dash block (it's the large scale one lower right.)

Obviously, the green setting fabrics didn't make it into the quilt.  A deep blue that has streaks of green that I didn't use in any of the stars has to play the part of the green. I had already chosen a very pale green fabric for the nine patch of the star blocks figuring it would tie my blocks in with the intended setting.  So I managed to follow the guidelines in spite of my change of heart.

When I was making my label, I looked up the name of the star block I had chosen.  I was surprised to discover that one of the historical names for it is Churn Dasher! Maybe you can see the green in the closeups.

Some of my deep blue prints were starry skies -

 - so I chose to call this quilt Moonlit Midnight.  I really enjoyed quilting such a small quilt right after finishing the more involved World War I project.

Green fabrics are entirely responsible for the pieced backing.

The trees fabric was the original leading candidate for the setting triangles. I took this photo while my computer-printed label dried, and shipped my Winter Challenge off to Dorry this afternoon.

Now that those two quilt deadlines are met, I have a new project to start.  If you read our "main blog" you know we have been working with Interior Designers to get some repairs done and finish decorating our retirement house.  While I thought we had Too Much Wood in our Master Bedroom, the professions didn't care for much of anything we have going on there. I'm embarking on an experiment with an idea to add a painted nightstand.  At a nearby estate sale, I found this TV stand with a $15 price tag on it.

Norris doesn't like it because it's veneered MDF, so he paid $10 and stipulated it's not to stay. But I figured I could try painting it, put it in the room and see if something like it will be a simple solution to the Too Much Wood question, while I look for another piece that will no doubt cost a little more.  I have calculated I could invest in a couple of dozen experiments twice the price of this piece and the paint, and still have plenty of money left over to buy a few brand new pieces of furniture for the price of one of the designers' solution nightstands.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Four Great Uncles

I am aware of four Great Uncles who served during WWI.  Because of a warehouse fire in St. Louis in the 1970's, their military records are not available.  Information at their graves might help me determine what kind of service each performed if I looked up the Order of Battle and Department of Defense information about the deployments, which is available in books held in Federal Repositories across the country.  The library at UNC- Asheville is one of those, but I haven't been there to try to investigate. At this point, I'm not sure any of my Great Uncles actually went overseas.

My grandmother's older brother, Uncle Casimir Hybki - Private, 18 Co Discharge Unit

My grandfather's older half-brother, Uncle Louis Patyk - Private, Casual Detachment

My grandfather's younger brother, Uncle Willard Wohrer Battalion C, 68th PA

My Great Aunt Carol's husband , Uncle Irvin Pumphrey. Since it is not marked on his headstone, I don't know his unit. 
  • Uncle Pump's Find a Grave memorial  Uncle Pump died before Uncle Cas, and unfortunately, I have no memory of him, either.  From the marriage record I can find on-line, I know his occupation was already "Soldier" when he married my grandfather's younger sister on December 24th 1917.
My quilt from the Where Poppies Grow - Remembering Almo pattern by Denniele O'Kell Bohannon and Janice Britz is done, except for the label.  The fabulous blue-striped red fabric in the "bunting" of the borders was custom hand dyed for this quilt for me by Vicki Welsh.  A click on these images should give you a closer view.

Read more here:

I was careful to cut the three curved pieces across the top from the same part of her fabric as the stripes were cut.  You can see in this closeup that the seam between the 3 inch strip and the demi-lune shaped piece beneath it pretty much disappears.  It didn't happen everywhere - couldn't be helped when you have seam allowances to deal with.

I was very happy with the Baptist-Fan based inspired quilting design on the borders and the blue and white stripe of the binding fabric.  I don't often cut binding strips on the bias. A half yard was really just enough with the strips cuts at 2 inches for this 71 x 82 inch quilt.  I usually cut my binding 2 1/8th but I would have had a couple of very short strips to contend with and more seams had I done that.

  My other original (?) quilting idea was to put a star like the one at the base of each block's leaf wreath in the wide white border at the bottom of the quilt.

The sashing was treated with free hand feathers, while the blocks got channel quilting and minimal treatment in the colored piecing. This French Star is the one place that got something a little different.

 Tight echos, micro-stippling and 1/2 inch grid cross-hatching completed my quilting plan.
  Here's one more look at that bottom border.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shifting colors

A few months ago, I custom ordered hand dyed yarn by Erica Heftmann, who calls her yarn, "Colorshift" - do check out the link to her Etsy shop for a real treat!

Here's my yarn -  Erica uses pure wool.

Erica sells her yarn in various steps of a color or a color bridge. This was my first time working with anything like this (in knitting - obviously I have done this with Vicki Welsh's hand dyed fabrics for my quilts!) so I chose her 6 step gradation, and asked her to make two extra skeins of the lightest color so make the design I had chosen come out the way I wanted it to.  I chose a very simple design so the color would be the star.  Here's my Corrina sweater front- 

... and back -

The two photos were taken seconds apart, but I think the color is more accurate in the second photo. 

You can see that the sleeves are longer than the body.  I wanted the last color change to come come out at the same place across the arm and body, and I wanted to use every bit of the darker colors.  It took a little experimenting with the first couple of colors to make that happen, and I'm very happy with the way it looks and there were literally only inches left of each color except the last.  (I had the equivalent of a full skein of that lovely pastel blue-violet color.  It's hard to find pastel yarns that aren't for babies so I'll have to turn it into something!)

Even though I finished this several weeks ago, I have yet to wear this sweater.  We've been indoors with the home improvement work, and mostly, this is light weight - perfect for our usual winters, but not this one (brr!!)  I'm sure I'll get to wear it as winter finally cedes to spring though!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Augusta - A block for February, 1865

In January, 1865, Grant ordered Sherman to move troops by boat to assist in the taking of Richmond, Virginia, but Sherman countered with a plan to move his force by land through the Carolinas to hit Richmond from the rear. Sherman's plan was accepted and the movement began on the 27th of January. The enemy was kept guessing as to where Sherman and his army were going, as the various Corps made movements toward several important targets.  The 14th Corps was given the job of making a feint on Augusta Georgia and got within 25 miles of the city.  The Augusta block marks these initial movements of the Indiana 82nd from Savanna.  It is a pretty star block that fits with many of those we have made.

I looked for a block to commemorate this part of the war because of this story from the Regimental History, told by Alford Hunter, brother of the Regiment's commander who had been promoted:

General Hunter, being in command of our brigade, ordered Captain Whedon and myself to make search for water , ... it being very scarce, and, if found, report to the commanders of the regiments of his brigade, so as to relieve the men from the labor of hunting it up, the men being tired, having marched all day, and were ordered to tear up rail road after night. ... We divided forces, he taking the right and me the left, to scour the country back to a road some three-quarters of a mile, there to meet and report success. After riding a short time, hearing a noise in the rear, I looked around and saw the Captain with eighteen other horsemen dressed in blue coming in my rear. I took them to be Kilpatrick's men (he being on our flank), but soon discovered they "wasn't that kind of cats." The outside appearance was all right, but the inside was all wrong. ...  I found,to my horror, that Captain Whedon was a prisoner, and, having promised his wife to follow him through thick and thin, and die with him if necessary, I concluded to go along and look after his welfare, and thus became a prisoner with him.

Alford Hunter was taken to the stockade in Augusta, and spent the next two and a half months in the Confederate prison system, even spending over two weeks in the infamous Andersonville camp before being taken by rail to Florida. He was released on the 28th of April.

Eli Hause with the 52nd wrote to his cousin from Eastport Mississippi on January 30th.  (Eastport is on the border with Alabama.) This letter took much longer to arrive in southern Indiana - Calvin received it on the 10th of February.  But there is no stamp on it and Eli's brother William had just been released from service with an injury.  Eli mentions the letter might be making the journey to Indiana with William. 

This photo of Eli's brother comes from the Hause genealogy page about Civil War service

Lieutenant William Hause

Eli's letter  reports his leg "has got almost well but my eyes are so near smoked out that I can scarcely see the lines as plain as they are...." Eli and Calvin's grandmother died on the 11th of January, and about that he writes, "I was very sorry to hear of Grandma's death but she was getting very old & could not live much longer & we will all go that road sooner or later... " (Polly Maynard had turned 71 just a few weeks before she died.)  Eli later muses, "the papers have a good deal to say about peace they think that the rebs are willing to come to time now but I do not dare to believe half that they say for fear that I will get humbugged."

Eli asked about mutual friends in other Indiana Regiments and tells of the three members of the 52nd who are going home including William, then mentions, "We are living better now days than we have been doing, we drew three days rations of hard tack Coffee & sugar last night hard tacks are better than boiled corn when we can get enough of them, I used to think when boiling sugar out in the woods if I had to pack my wood a hundred yards it was hard work, but pshaw that was nothing here we have to pack our wood a half mile & up a larger hill than from the creek up to Grand Pa's house on the northwest side or corner of his yard, that is it is as long again but about as steep as that is, how would you like that fun eh?" But he tells Calvin to stay out of it as long as he can, "and when you have to go (if you do) do your duty like a man & you will get a long very well, at least I always have so far."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January, 1865 - Sherman's March Concluded

With no organized Block of the Month, I'm choosing blocks to go with my own family Civil War stories from here until Eli will finish his service later in 1865.

For January, I chose to make the block we usually call "Churn Dash" these days, but one of the names it has gone by is "Sherman's March."  I made it look a little different with an unusual color placement - the floral strip with bright blue just seemed to want to be used this way.

We made this block in the 1862 Civil War block of the month, when it was called "Lincoln's Platform."  It's a simple block that goes by many names.

Sherman's March honors the men of the 82nd Indiana who had made the March to the Sea that ended in December.  There are no more published letters from the Hayden Indiana soldiers of the regiment, so this marks the end of the first-hand contemporary accounts.  The regimental historian later wrote of their experience, " ...Now, to let the loved ones at home know of their victory and safety, and to hear from the dear ones at home, was the next pleasant task to accomplish. ... We had no men killed or captured in the Eighty- second, and very few sick on the campaign. This was decidedly the finest soldiering it was my pleasure to meet with during my time of service. Plenty to eat, reasonable marching, and just fighting enough to remind us there was an enemy in our front. To give its proper standing I would call it a regular " dress parade" performance from Atlanta to the sea.  (History of the Eighty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry by Alf. G. Hunter, 1893. p 145)

As for the 52nd, the Regimental History tells us, "Battle of Nashville December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-23. Duty at Clifton, Tenn., and Eastport, Miss., until February, 1865. Eli Hause started a letter to his cousin on the 3rd of January, though he did not finish writing it for some days He does not mention any fighting or what duties the regiment performed - it is possible he had sent that information to his parents, from whom Calvin would have been informed. The letter is postmarked, Cairo, Illinois.

"As we have got through to the Tennessee River & board of a boat again I thought I would write a few lines to you in answer to your kind and welcome letter of the 11th Inst which found me better off than what I am now; there is some kind of a swelling coming on my left leg just above the knee it has been very sore and painful for the last four or five days so much so that the doctor had to haul me in the ambulance, we reached the Tenn River last evening and embarked today about noon and are now on our way up the River to Eastport which I understand will be our destination 

Jan 4th well Cal they kept moving us around so much yesterday that I could not finish this we drove up to the bank last night and hitched up and are laying here yet and it is now about two oclock, my leg pains me worse today but am in hopes that it will do better soon."

After some mention of friends in Hardenburg, Eli writes, "If I were there I would not be afraid to try you a game of eucher seven up or even a game at eating Buckwheat cakes I think that I could hold you a very close game at either, why didn't you call around Sunday evening and invite me to go with you Monday to hunt Rabbits. ... I did not see much fun Christmas & New Years this season how did you spend the time?"

Eli finishes his letter saying, "well Cal you think that you are a poor scribe if you just knew how much good a letter from you does me you would not think of that, when I get a letter from you with two sheets filled full I sit down and read it over & some time think that I have missed some of the pages and go back and read it over and still it seems so short, well as I have nothing of interest to write I will close this scribbling."

The letter was postmarked Cairo, Illinois, either the 12th or 13th of January, and Calvin received it on the 16th. My great grandfather took Eli's words to heart as he did not take more than a few days to send his next news from home.

Here is a photocopy of the first page of Eli's letter. It's the first example I have of anything other than blank paper.
Wikipedia has this article on the U.S. Christian Commission's role during the Civil War:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A most comfortable sweater

I finished knitting this sweater back in the middle of November but realized recently I never posted photos of it here.  It is Fylingdales, by Lisa Lloyd from her book, A Fine Fleece.

It's a long oversized sweater made with an Aran weight yarn. I usually knit a medium size for myself, but this one was so big I made the smallest size and it fits very loosely and feels comfortable. I bought this discontinued yarn from a fellow Ravelry user who was moving and sold it to me at a very nice price.  I was going to make my Silver Belle sweater with it, but couldn't get the right gauge.

This sweater was easy to knit (those are the simplest of cables) and went very quickly once I devoted  time to it.  The ribbing at the bottom really pulled in and the welting below the cable and seed stitch part was very wobbly and ugly until I blocked the completed sweater.

 I wear it over lighter sweaters inside the house all the time, and it sometimes goes outside with me too.
Looking at my photos you're probably wondering what color is that anyway?  Well, I think the photo below captures it.  The manufacturer called it "light blue" but it's really a pale grayed blue-purple.

I only used about half of the yarn I bought. The rest of the yarn would make another very nice sweater!