Sunday, July 20, 2014

Austen Family Album Block 16 - Lucky Pieces

A block of all triangles with many options for coloring.

 I had fun with a little shading.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 15 - King's Crown

I like the look of this block with all the triangles, but I'd rather sew a Bear's Paw block - same configuration of little triangles around the outside, but you are spared the four seam traffic jams.

I used the solid lmedium periwinkle around the center and figure I can quilt something interesting and distracting there.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 14 - Home Comfort

Not so sure about the outcome of my fussy cutting this week - I thought I'd try to place that interesting print in the four squares in the corners, which meant switching the pieces that make the center to the lighter value. But I'm not going to remake it!  The upper right corner appears dark - that's just some trees moving around changing the light while I was taking the photo.

The block's story came with the sad truth about what happened to the mentally disabled in Jane Austen's era: her older brother was placed in a home for his care and was not much discussed. Our author applauded that decision over placing him in an institution, something that was still encouraged when she was teaching special ed not many years ago.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 13 Crosses and Losses

This week's Crosses and Losses is a simple traditional block - quick to put together.

The big triangles were good for that Hawaiian print. I chose two other fabrics I had not yet used for the smaller triangles. We are more than 1/3 of the way through this 36 block series.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Threads of Memory - June - Salem Star

This was a fun block to make - I finally had a good use for that stylized floral stripe of which I had only about a 10 x 10 inch piece.  Then I just had to pick fabrics to go with it and show off the star in the center.

On June 12th, Billy wrote to his Parents, Brothers and Sisters from "Camp on Altoony Creek" (actually Allatoona), "After so long a silence, I am seated for the purpose of penning you a few lines to inform you that I am still alive and well, have stood up to this campaign of ours bully. I didn't think that I could stand so much although we have been having a very good time of it. our Brig[ade] has been back with and guarding supply trains ever since we left Kingstrom and I guess we are to still continue the same occupation. We are 1 and one half miles south of Acworth, but I don't know how far it is to Atlanta."  He reports that "the Rebs have fell back from several strong positions lately. Our Army appears to be halted here for some purpose. I suppose to find the movements of the enemy and to get up supplies. We will say so anyhow, I am not commanding this Army at present, however, I am expecting every minute when I will."  They received mail for the first time in three weeks last night. He reports they are all in fine spirits, expecting every day to hear of the fall of Richmond and Atlanta. He closes saying it is dinner time and his company has picket duty afterwards.

Acworth Georgia is about 3/4 of the way between Chattanooga and Atlanga. Three days after Billy wrote his letter, the 82nd finished their train guard duty and became involved in the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain. From the Regimental History,

 ... On the llth we again moved on 
the enemy, who was in a strong fortified position, 
some five miles from Kennesaw Mountain. They 
soon gave way and we continued to drive them 
from one position to another until the 18th, when 
they again occupied strong works. Here the 
Eighty-second fortified in a very exposed and dan- 
gerous position. But such was our extreme care 
that we had but one man wounded, to wit: Private 
John Linen weber, of Company G. When once 
fixed we made the rebel works so uncomfortable 
that they were compelled to abandon them under 
cover of the night. On the 19th we pressed them 
until they entered strong works previously pre- 
pared, at Kennesaw Mountain, where they again 
made a stubborn resistance. Here for twelve days 
we were exposed to a heavy fire from shell and 
musketry. We fortified with such care that we 
were protected from direct shots, and only suffered 
from stray shots as we passed from one point to 
another in rear of our works. Lieut. Joe Morris 
was on top the works during this time while the 
enemy was shelling us. He would say, " Look 
out, boys; here comes another darned scalp 
seeker." He kept this up until a twelve pound 
shell made straight for him, and as he threw him 
self forward to get out of its way he said, "Here 
I come." He was a little late, as it stripped his 
blouse clean from his back. The Lieutenant con- 
cluded after that if the boys wanted to know when 
to dodge they could find out for themselves. 
While here our loss was five in killed and wounded. 

Eli Hause with the 52nd Indiana wrote to my grandfather Calvin back home on June 12th from the hospital in Memphis. He tells his cousin not to be scared, he is not bad off nor does he intend to be. He got there on the 10th but is feeling "tolerable well" when he writes.  He was happy to have received a letter from Calvin which arrived when he was on the boat coming up from Vicksburg. He complains that not one of the boys have been in to see him in the hospital,"not even "Lieut Wm Hause" -  his older brother, also with the 52nd.

Eli comments on some of his friends and acquaintences back home that Calvin has evidently updated him on, including one who has recently married, about which he says, "how much better a man is after his wife is dead. I would like to of seen Horace before he was married again and see if he looked any better, he may have looked better to her but I doubt whether I could have seen it or not but upon the whole I will wish them much joy and say no more about it untill I come home....Well the Babies come next I believe. America believes in raising soldiers..."

Eli finishes his letter displaying more of this humor, "I would like to be there to go to Mollies with you but I can't be there and here both and I am here So I am not there .... there is three of the boys from Co. K. here in the Hospital besides me so it is not like being in here alone among strangers, well I will stop and rest before I finish this up for dinner will soon be ready. Well dinner is over and as I have got a pass to go out on the street this afternoon I will close by asking you to write soon and give me all the news."

Calvin saved Eli's letters in the envelopes. He wrote on them the date he received and the date he answered them. These first two letters from Eli took 8 days to get from the 52nd to Calvin in southern Indiana. It's hard to tell how long it took Calvin's answer to get to Eli, as the regimental history says only that they moved from Yellow Bayou to Vicksburg and then to Memphis May 20-June 10.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 12 - Waves of the Sea

I thought I would do the more complicated original version of this block and that I would paper piece it for precision. 

Great idea except the block above (with the last three seams basted and not pressed) was 12 inches and I'm making mine 9.  I just didn't look at that setting when I printed the paper foundations.  

I took it apart down to all the sets of triangles - that is, I didn't not have to separate the two triangles that form squares, cut each square to the correct size for my quilt, and voila -

I left the paper attached but still lost some of the precision I had. In my photos, the only way to see the difference is in the scale of the blue and white print.  I didn't place them in exactly the same way the second time.

So this block was more than twice the work it should have been - all the unsewing costs about as much as recutting, but I didn't want to waste my precious periwinkle and yellow handdyes from Vicki Welsh!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 10 - Good Fortune

(oops!) While trying to find my week 5 post, I realized, I never posted the week 10 block -

That striped fabric, purchased recently just for this quilt, seems like it was made for this block at this scale. I used it once before, for Week 6's odd Empire Star. You might not recognize it as the same fabric because I centered the piecing on the yellow stripe.  Here's the small thumbnail of that block.

Austen Family Album Block 11 Friendship Square

This block looks a lot like week 5's Village Square - well, it is the same, with an added frame around the square on point.

I selected a large-scale print for the center, then concentrated on making the color value distribution different from that block - seen at this link.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

There is a Season - Spring: "Trillium"

This year, the "new from old" challenges Dorry is issuing have a new theme, the four seasons.  I posted a photo of the starting block back at the beginning of Spring - it looked like this -

Since I am not especially fond of boats, I used the block as a source of fabric. You will notice that my long-ago collaborator had no special respect for grain. The background fabric really shows this well.  This is why her block is not square and there are serious issues with the points of the triangles.  I took her hand-sewn block completely apart and starched the pieces thoroughly, over and over, until they were as stiff as paper.  See how they can stand up and hold each other up.

I've read that starch can only do so much to help with grain problems, and I certainly found that to be true. The boat fabric was a feedsack, and the background pale pink was also a very loose weave, and neither one stayed straight as I pieced the background of my little 24 x 24 inch quilt. I had a lot of difficulty with the points matching up. But no matter, I had more plans for this piece.

When I wrote about this challenge in April, I was pondering my color scheme. All the quilts in this series will incorporate green. I studied a lot of images on Design Seeds and came up with a sort of hybrid of several of the spring-flower inspired palettes that combined green and a pink somewhat  close to that of the boat block.

I think all my previous quilts for these challenges (except elements of the Dresden Plate), were pieced, so, with the Design Seeds photos' fresh in mind, felt it was time to do some more applique.

I wanted to design my own flower, and settled on the simplicity of the trillium, which is a native in the woods here. The smaller pink flower with the green center is straight out of the Electric Quilt library and serves as filler in my leaf wreath.  The bunny also comes from Electric quilt. Including a bunny was highly influenced by our Challenge Master herself, as she had chosen Easter as the theme of her most recent Round Robin quilt, and started us off with some very cute bunnies on a pastel block.

We are supposed to use 100% of the starting block on the front of the quilt if possible.  I designed the background to use the the fabric from the boat hull, visible in the larger pink piece top right. I then sewed the sail pieces together to make the piece I used on the bottom left so it would not be covered by the applique.  After that, I took the background pale pink and cut it for the small corner triangles in the blocks but had some leftover pieces.  I placed them on a too-bright pink fabric and held them in place with sheer iron-on interfacing, which you can see in the lower part of the larger piece in the corner block.

But I still had some little slivers of fabric I trimmed off when I got done cutting out the pieces for the face - so I used them in an extra block on the back of the quilt.

The backing fabric is a small part of a very large piece that Sherrye gave me for Dana's green and yellow Grandmother's Choice quilt. I'm trying not to buy fabric for any of these New from Old challenges, and that fabric seemed like a perfect late spring choice.

The bunny's eye was fun - they always tell you not to make the eyes just black - they need a catch light. I would have used a dot of white fabric paint, but a circle cut from the batik we used in  Judi's Healing Cloak served my purposes even better.

My quilting was pretty simple with a lot of parallel straight lines. I really love the effect it has combined with the triangles printed on the teal fabric just behind the bunny's nose.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Breezy Blue Summer Sweaters

Joyce picked out some patterns a while back for me to make for her - I just finished this quick knit -

 With lace straps instead of sleeves, it was a really quick project. It's a very interesting consruction with the bias panels on the sides. The back was knitted exactly the same as the front, but the seams attaching the bias pieces to the lace straps was completed, whereas they were left mostly unstitched in the front.

Back in April I made this summer top for Tanya.  This is the back. The front is pretty plain - just the dart shaping to break up the rows of knitting.  I have been waiting to write about it until I had a photo of Tanya in the sweater.  It doesn't really show well on my dress form which is my size, while Tanya and the sweater are not. But it may be awhile before I ever get my photos, since Tanya and her husband are buying a house.

 The back of the sweater is macrame, something new I thought would be fun to try. This photo shows some of the tools and techniques used to get the knots evenly spaced.

I thought that open back would make this sweater really fast to knit but since the macrame was all new to me, I think I might have finished it just as quickly if I had knitted that bulky yarn.  I gave the sweater to Tanya when I was in Chicago in late April, but she decided she'd get more use out of it without the fringe, so I had to cut it off and weave in the ends.  

Here's that plain front, too small for my dress form.  The color is a beautiful periwinkle and you can tell by the photos, the camera sensor is confused about whether it is blue or purple.

Both sweaters are from Vogue Knitting.