Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WWI Block of the Month - French Star and My Country

I guess I have too many "Blocks of the X" projects because I don't seem to have done a post for this series for June.

The June block was My Country - straightforward piecing. I love how when I fussy cut Vicki's deep blue shibori to highlight the whiter parts, it looks like faded denim in this block.

July was French Star. Perhaps there was another way to do this when the block was invented, but the designer of our series gave instructions for raw edge fused applique for the white curved pieces. 

I used foundation paper piecing to make the blue and red star, which was quite pretty without the white applique.  (Sherrye wondered how it was pieced - there's a square of the red in the middle, surrounded by the blue points with a small red right triangle between each pair going around the square, related to an hourglass or quarter square triangle block. The block is put together like a 9 patch around the center square.) The 8 curved applique pieces make an usual block.

I have had a couple of other projects to work on this week, so I have not yet finished the machine stitching around the 34 leaves on the French Star, but that will be done before we see the August block.  I haven't done last weekend's Austen block yet either.

Summer Sweater

I finished this sweater and have worn it but didn't get pictures taken until this week.

The original sweater was cropped - I lengthened it by just a few inches. I foolishly bought the yarn because I got an ad for a deal on it in email and it came in this nice minty green color I like. There are a lot of other things I wanted to knit first, and I prefer a finer gauge (this is worsted) but I'm happy with it anyway.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Threads of Memory - July 1864 - Oberlin Star

This block celebrates the town of Oberlin Ohio and the role of the local people in defying the Fugitive Slave Act -

The first time I made it for some inexplicable reason, I put put the tiny triangles on the inner side of that 4-way intersection - where I have the red fabric. I lost the effect of a glowing rounded square behind the star so I remade those four quarter-square triangle segments. 

I like this Ohio Star with the added detail.

I have no letters from Eli or Shepherd with Indiana's 52nd Regiment for July 1864. The Regimental History shows them moving around, spending most of July in Mississippi. Picking up where I left off  in June, it says: "Colliersville, Tenn., June 23. Near Lafayetteville June 23. Smith's Expedition to Tupelo July 5-21. About Pontotoc July 11-12. Harrisburg, near Tupelo, July 14-15. Old Town (or Tishamingo) Creek July 15."  On modern maps, I can find Collierville (no "S") outside of Memphis, and  Lafayette County in Mississippi, not far west of Pontotoc and Tupelo, but no Lafayetteville in either Tennessee or Mississippi. Tishomingo Creek is north of Tupelo.

Here is a link to a brief Wikipedia description of Smith's Expedition to Tupelo - a Union success except they almost immediately had to retreat back to Memphis because of spoiled rations.

There is no other activity noted for the 52nd until the first of August.

My Great Grandfather John and great-great uncle Billy are still with the 82nd - we left them at Kennesaw Mountain at the end of June. They continued to battle the rebels, pushing to Atlanta. On the 4th, they fought a short battle at Marietta and were given the rest of the day to celebrate the holiday. Fighting continued for the next four days at the Chattahoochee River. One of the 82nd's soldiers was wounded and another killed. Company commander Allen W. Brown wrote a letter describing the country as "the most forsaken looking that I have even seen since I have been in the Army for nobody is at home and not many ever lived here. But everything is flying south before the Yankee Army." In another letter, he tells his wife, "The boys are all well and feel very well considering the heavy march that they have made. Our Regt. lack twenty men now of being as big as Co. A and B when we left Madison. Company A and B had 200 men then and now the whole Regt. only has one hundred and 80 men now commissioned and all there is some other Regts. with less a number than us." They have full rations and their communications are safe. To reassure his wife he will not be harmed, he describes exchanges during the fighting - "We are about a quarter of a mile from the river and the river is about two hundred yards wide and the Rebels occupy the other side of the river. But the boys are on very peaceable terms and when our boys have orders to shoot, they will holler "you to your holes Jonneys" and when the Rebels have orders to shoot, they will holler "you to your holes Yanks", and the first shot fired from either side is always aimed high so as to give each party time to get into their holes." He also credits the Rebels for not giving up and says they are "not demoralized as some of the newspapers say they are... they are well organized and determined to hold their ground." 

The Army constructed a pontoon bridge to cross the river under cover of night on the 17th. They advanced to Peach Tree Creek and had to ford it, as the bridge had been burned.  It took some maneuvering, but the rebels were outnumbered and fell back with little resistance.  The press to Atlanta continued through the end of July.

This Wikimedia Commons map depicts the Union Army's advance from Chattanooga, back in May through the end of August.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On Stage at the Shindig

All three of the Mountain Jam Circle members were at the Shindig on the 12th of July so the organizers let us get up on stage to show it off - Norris' camera changed the aqua/teal blues but it still makes a graphic impact on the stage.

The Folk Heritage Committee also invited us to have a "sponsor banner" - but gave us about 2-3 days to submit our design.  We quickly threw a logo together, without really realizing what the size they offered would look like from any distance -

Yeah, I know, you're not even sure where to look.  Here's some help -

Clever Alice came up with the "Stitching traditions together" that is absolutely perfect.  Well, if we do this again, we'll make the letters much larger and not concentrate on our beautiful quilt design so much!

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!