Sunday, November 30, 2014

Threads of Memory - November 1864

This block is yet another version of the star we did last month and in in August.  I fussy cut every piece of this one, though the star points don't show it very well.

The red and white print fabric, of which I had only a 10 inch square, drove the fabric choices.

John and Billy with the 82nd were placed under the cmomand of major General H. W. Slocum. In early November, they prepared for the march to Savannah, passing through Atlanta on the 15th. That night, the regimental history records, "the light from the burning city made our camp as light as day. Details were sent in to check the fire. The more details the brighter the light." The brigade was treated to some fine music by the brigade band while the fires burned. I guess Billy, listed as "musician" on the Regimental roster, was among those playing.

The marching orders were to cover 15 miles a day, destroying railroads on the way.  This map illustrates the routes of the four Army Corps - John and Billy would have been on the heavy line identified as the 14th Corps.  The 82nd did witness attacks by Rebel cavalry and were involved in some fighting, particularly during the earlier part of the march.

This map is free to use, from the Wikipedia article on the march at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea

I do not have Eli's letter to Calvin from November 1864, but it was published in Rodger Ruddick's book.  Eli, with the Indiana 52nd  wrote on the 25th, datelined, "On the boat, Prairie, down the river." He tells his cousin "this has been a hard trip on me, we have walked about seven hundred and fifty miles. Was gone just fifty days and was marching just forty days out of fifty."  He lists the Missouri towns they passed through on their way to Kansas and back - they did pass through St. Charles, the location of the story behind our block this month. Eli comments on the election, "I am sorry that the abolitionists won the Presidency this time, but it can't be helped now." He goes back to the march, saying that his feet are so sore he can just barely get around and he has pain in his right hand from a wart he had had knocked off over two weeks earlier.

Then Eli tells Calvin, "I saw some of the prettiest prairie land in Missouri that I ever saw. I have seen the biggest part of the state of Missouri this trip and this is some of the prettiest land that I ever saw in any state. I think that if this war was over, I could find a home in the state that would suit me first rate." There was not always enough food - one day they had flour and a little piece of fresh beef, "just about enough for one good meal for a day rations and all the way that we had to cook the flour was to mix it up in some water and salt it a little and bake it in our frying pans."

Eli asks his cousin to write more often - even if he can't write while on the march he can get letters from home. He closes his letter, "... give my love to all inquiring friends and retain a share for yourself, Yours truly, Eli to Cal Direct by way of Cairo, Ill."

I included the closing of this letter because it is the same way that Eli will finish letters to Calvin in the early 1870's, when he and his future wife Jennie will have started a family and struggled to make a living in Missouri.




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Austen Family Album - Block 34

I did not care one bit for this block - Queen Charlotte's Crown. So I played with stripes.  I really like the way my version looks in the thumbnail where I changed the block design slightly to do something a little different.  I'm showing it to you in the smallest thumbnail because it shows the effect best.

My personal stamp on the block was to have two different stripes meet up going across the block from lower left to upper right.  The rest of the block is just background to that, and my photo shows that some of my seams are off.  I really did hurry through the cutting and piecing.

In the original block, the upper right and lower left squares were made of half-square triangles which met the "crowns" in Y-seams at the inner corners.  I don't really mind doing Y-seams anymore, but I did mind the block and thought it would be interesting to play the two stripes into each other in a more yin-yang coloration.

I like it a lot better now, so I'm thinking I should correct my sloppiness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WWI - November - Mother's Dream

I don't know why this block would get that name - I do know I like how this one came out.  I used foundation paper piecing for precision on all those 1 inch half-square triangles.

The red fabric in this block is different from the others in the series, but my blocks are all made with slightly different reds. I love the drama of  Vicki Welsh's shibori stripes in the four squares, so I chose a commercial print for the more subdued blue version in the center square. The red fabric in the long rectangles with a more subtle stripe was not from the same piece but it was also dyed by Vicki.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 33 - Corn and Beans

This is not the only block that goes by the Corn and Beans name -

I like how this one came out with that symmetrically arrayed stripe.  Funny, that stripe was the main reason I decided to participate in this block of the week project - I had used it in my tablet cover


and thought it would lend itself to this block-by-block quilt.  But I only used it in maybe two other blocks. The print is actually trickier to use than average - in fact the two horizontal bars in the block are colored slightly differently than the two vertical ones.  It's a subtle difference that will it probably never be noticed by the casual viewer.  But cutting other areas of the stripe, it would be noticeable and I would have had to waste so much of it for the blocks I thought I'd use it, so I just didn't.  There still isn't much left.

The dark blue mottled fabric with its unpredictable flashes of light is what makes this block work for me though.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seasons Challenge - Fall

When last seen, the Fall challenge was a single Ohio Star block with a very bright solid orange fabric (photo at this link).

I took the main block seams apart so I could square up the block for easier piecing.  My friend Judi scheduled another Dye Day in her nearby studio, so I brought the quilt block pieces.  She suggested I try a bleaching technique to change the character of that orange.  It happened I had brought along stencils so I tried painting the thick mild bleach solution through the stencils to create an interesting design, but whatever the dye was, it was quite stubborn.  By the end of the day, it had done what it was going to do, which wasn't much.

Back at home, I printed a maple leaf graphic on freezer paper, cut it out and centered it on the orange squares. I used black and blue watercolor pencils around the edges of the freezer paper stencil for  another layer of design on the fabric. Here's how the block looks now, pieced back together and much closer to square (only very minute shavings had to come off the orange pieces and the hourglass blocks).

I was pleased with the end result - I think that garish orange has a lot more interest and texture. You can best make out the bleached design in the center leaf where I outline quilted only - it's a four way symmetrical design that makes an "orange peel" center.

When it came to setting the block into a quilt, I turned to the Quilt Index for Ohio Star quilts and settled on one that just alternated the hour glass blocks and squares.


I wanted the vintage block to stand out among the fabrics from my collection I chose to go with it.  With the blue-purple print and the leaves, I think it is obvious even in the small view. It's not the typical "fall quilt" but all of the prints in my little hourglass blocks feature leaves. The plain squares are hand dyes and prints that look like hand dyes.

I quilted it in a light pink thread, as though it was 5 Ohio Stars set with alternating plain blocks. The feathers have a sprinkling of stylized leaf shapes.


The backing and binding are made from a fabric that combines orange, pink, and magenta with greens.

 
I named the quilt "Maple" in keeping with my single word titles for the previous two season quilts.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 32 - Ladies' Wreath

This is one of those blocks whose name doesn't make any sense in isolation -

We made this block in the Grandmother's Choice series. I showed how it makes a wreath at the end of this post.  I didn't use the floral as I did the yellow roses in that block - the polka dots would hardly make a mourning wreath.  But I decided the name of the block didn't matter.

The block looks very wonky in my photo. It's just so hard to get a square photo with that little camera I didn't even try to get the block to lie flat.

Only four more bloks to go.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Austen Family Album - Weeks 30 and 31

This week's block is the Lady of the Lake.  There are many versions of this block - happily the one chosen works nicely with my 9 inch size so this was quick to make.
We still don't have our good SLR camera back.  These photos were taken with the little digital that tends to overexpose. It's also very hard to get this camera's small face squared up with the subject. My block really is square with the triangle points all nicely aligned.
 I never posted my block from last week - it's Caroline's Choice.

The block is constructed of two pinwheel and two hourglass blocks - I decided to make it as though I were putting together a scrappy quilt of blocks of each type so I could use more different fabrics.  I'm not sure it will wind up in my quilt - there are several blocks I'm not thrilled about that will probably  be set aside.

I still don't have a setting in mind for these.  I like each block, but as a sampler group, I'm finding them distinctly uninteresting. This one, with the iris print in the corner, doesn't fit in, but now I wish I'd had and used more fabrics like it to liven up the batch.  I think too, for a sampler, I miss the variety that a couple of applique blocks would have brought to the mix.  The whole group may languish while I finish up the WWI quilt and other projects that pop up ,,,unless I find some wild print like those huge irises to set it with - that would breathe new life into me, if not the quilt.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Threads of Memory - October - Britain's Star

This months block was a new variation on the Storm at Sea -


It was a fun and easy block - far fewer pieces than last months.

I have no letters from Eli or Billy from October, 1864. The 82nd Indiana with Sherman's army was sent with others in pursuit of Hood and the rebels who had recently vacated Atlanta.  The job of chasing down Hood's army as they moved to Alabama was left to General Thomas and other corps, while the 14th, of which the 82nd was part, began to prepare for the March to the Sea.

Eli was with the 52nd in Missouri in the chase after the Confederates under Sterling Price. I have not found more detail of the regiment's specific actvities in Missouri, but the history of the raid includes many significant battles beginning on September 27th and continuing through October.  Price's raid has been deemed a failure, and modern historians believe it probably contributed to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln.




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!