Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shindig 2015 Raffle Quilt - nearly done

You saw my blocks for the Mountain Jam Circle's 2015 quilt to benefit Shindig on the Green here.  Somehow I separated the mention that Ann and Alice were making blocks, so you might think only one of them did.  In fact, Ann made so many we had more than enough to make an extra quilt.  But that's another story.

Alice and Ann did all the sewing to set the blocks together into a top - I didn't get a photo of that, but I've had the top for several weeks now and finally finished the quilting.  I tried taking photos outside, but it was too close to noon and the quilting didn't show.

I'm posting this next one so you can see the quilting design in the corners.

I like this shot that shows some of the variety of reds and background fabrics - 


This photo shows the backing fabric - the quilting doesn't show there at all.  But it shows nicely on the front.

I really enjoyed quilting this. I was going to do "simple feathered wreaths" but the more I looked at dividing up the space, the more I started filling with more designs.  It's still relatively simple.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Yoga socks

I was too sick to go to yoga class today, so I finished this pair of stirrup socks I hope will allow me to use my toes as directed, and stay warm.

I had fun with our new camera taking "selfie" photos of the sock.  Norris tells me there's an ap I could get that would allow me to remotely release the shutter. I'm still learning.  The bright colors in the above shot are closer to that of the yarn.  Don't know why these make it look so dull. The yarn has white, tan, bright turquoise and periwinkle in it.

I never thought I'd be knitting socks - I would not wear such colorful socks outside of a yoga setting, and besides, I like to go around in stocking feet.  Why would I hand knit something I'm going to abuse like that? Lastly, my feet are sensitive. I vastly prefer finer gauge commercial socks.

But if these open toe/open heel socks keep my feet warm in the studio, I could see making another pair of wool socks for class, if I stick with yoga practice. Appreciation of yoga has not been easy for me. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April, 1865

The block I chose for April, 1865 dates from the 1940's and is called "Sargeant's Stripes."

For my 8 inch block, the stripes finish at 5/16ths of an inch wide, so I foundation-paper-pieced them. This one stands out among the star blocks and others I've made in the last two years for this quilt. I chose this relatively modern block because on April 9th, 1865, my great grandfather John was promoted to 1st Sergeant at the Regimental Headquarters in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The promotion certificate is signed by Lieutenant Colonel John M. Mathey and by Michael E. Bunger, the adjutant who had replaced Alfred Morton who was then a prisoner of war. April 9th was the date of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, but Johnston had not given up yet.  Sherman's forces headed toward Raleigh from Goldsboro on the 10th of April. Johnston finally surrendered to Sherman on the 26th of April at Bennett Place in Durham.  The 82nd and the rest of Sherman's army would start the long march north to Washington DC on April 29th.

Yesterday, I visited the Hayden History Museum in the town John, Billy and his brother Shepherd, and Eli Hause came from. This time I took a photo of Billy's haversack with a hole shot through. Billy mentioned this in his letter of December, 1983. This near-miss occurred during the 82nd's charge up Mission Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga.  

Eli started a letter to his cousin Calvin on April 7th, datelined "Camp in Front of Blakely."  At the time, the 52nd was taking part in the campaign for Mobile, Alabama. The Union forces took Camp Blakely on the 9th, but the letter is postmarked on the 20th from New Orleans. Eli says he is in good health but sorry to hear their Grandpa was sick. (Grandpa would live until 1867). He describes the skirmish lines where he's been serving, "there is considerable shooting on that line, the bullets come whizzing around as the boys say, saying where is you where is you, but it is very seldom that they hit any body..."

Following up on his idea to build a house of oysters, Eli writes, "well Cal we have been to that Ister Country and had all the fresh Isters that we wanted while we were there and fresh fish too we just lived the best kind, the next morning after we got there Sargeant Aple Charley Rector Herg Coffee and myself struck for an Ister bed and got a lot and when we came back to camp the Sargeant says well Corp Hause as you are the best cook among us you must cook our oysters for our dinner, so I went to work and made a three quart bucket full of soup and four of us eat it all for dinner, and if I did make it it was as good as I ever eat, but we have left that land now and got into a land of rebs and blue pills made out of lead."  His letter ends with some comments about friends back home.

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!