Saturday, November 24, 2012

Week 13 - Everybody's Favorite: Universal Suffrage

This week's history lesson focused on the evolution of Universal Suffrage, particularly in the United States.  The block, called "Everybody's Favorite" is not one I've ever pondered before. It has a slightly tricky area, where the small triangle meets the stripe - the white color in my block.

I chose to make the slightly more elaborate original version of the block - I like the way the white stripes create a focus on the center. Again we have an "x" to signify voting.

But for my own history lesson, I have to turn back to my grandparents whose 99th wedding anniversary is this coming week on November 27th. I posted the one early photo of the two of them back on Week 1 -  but here's another.  There is no date associated with this photo, but they both appear to be very young:

It's too bad there aren't more pictures! But we do have a good story from their wedding in Aunt Alice's ancestry book. She says they were married at Faye's house and spent their wedding night in the little house on Fielding's farm. Their friends surprised them with a charivaree that included dynamite. The exuberant noisemaking resulted in the breakage of some of the china they had received as wedding gifts.

Although Faye also had a great sense of humor, I suspect the rowdiness was somehow related to Grandpa's - here's an undated photo of a party -

I don't know if Fielding was the guest of honor, but he's sure making himself the center of attention - cropped so you can see his expression:

And that's Faye in the dark clothing directly behind him, wearing her smile.

On a less raucous note, here's a family photo from Faye and Fielding's 50th Wedding Anniversary -
May, Fielding (Buddy), Alice, Fielding, Faye, Loris and Myra

This is the formal portrait they had taken for the occasion. 

By the time Fielding died in 1982, they had been married close to 69 years.  Faye would have been 71, and Fielding 73 at the time of this photo.  Neither one of them dyed their hair!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's winter but

... about two weeks ago, I finally finished this little project -

I didn't get to take it outside for photography while the landscaping work was creating chaos, but that's over. 

I worked on it during my social knitting time on Monday evenings, and off and on when I needed a break from the much more complicated Tapestry sweater.  Then Operation Colorstorm took up all my knitting time for a few weeks. 

This sweater, Ylva, designed by Elsebeth Lavold, has some really interesting details - this cabling at the waist front and back,

and the rope-like cable around the armholes, up the center front and splitting to encircle the neckline.

The yarn is a silk and wool blend that was easy to work with.  But now it's Thanksgiving and there are no sleeves on it, so I'll put it away till spring.

Meanwhile, I've finally started working with the New Zealand Possum yarn Kerry sent late last winter. It's such a special yarn, it needs to be used in a special garment. I chose another beautiful design by Carol Sunday who designed Tapestry that I recently completed.  This one is called Woodland. (The link will take you to Sunday Knits and the full description of the sweater.)

This sweater is complex, but not on the same order of difficulty as Tapestry. I should be able to wear it before the winter is over. 

Many of my Monday-night knitting companions are also spinners and whoever I sit next to becomes extremely interested in this possum yarn, examining the knitted fabric as well as the skein. They particularly note the halo, which isn't as evident in the skein as in the fabric.  It doesn't show particularly well in my photos but I tried to capture a bit of it here with the macro setting on my camera. The halo appears to be a mix of brown and gray and, though they aren't familiar with possum they know merino and silk so they assume the possum fur does not take the dye nor the twist the same as the merino and silk content of the yarn.

I probably wouldn't have thought so much about it, but their studied observations make me appreciate the depth of the texture the yarn creates.  Everyone also marvels how soft it is to touch!  This rose color is a favorite of our resident felt-hat artist and she also loves the halo.  I'll have to be careful she doesn't try to get me to trade her a hat for a sweater-- I don't even wear hats!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Week 12 - Little Boy's Breeches

With this week's block, we reflected on 19th Century women's clothing styles and how pants for women would have been liberating compared to the style of petticoats and cages and crinolines. (there was no mention of corsets!)  The four corners are shaped a little like pant legs, but I had a hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh I thought would make an interesting flower out of this block.  This is a very tricky block to sew with lots of inset seams to match up.  Only one of my four corners at the center is really nicely done. I used a beautiful leaf print from Dorry to set it off and perhaps that distracts enough from the little piecing issues. The center is a daisy from a fabric my friend Sherrye gave me. It's really ridiculous I have used only this 2.5 inch piece - she gave me five yards of it!


The history lesson reminded me of this photo of my my Grandmother Faye - in the basketball field with relatively short skirts - but skirts, nonetheless.  Dana, a talented soccer player, will probably find this photo interesting.

In 1908, Grandma played on her high school's first basketball team.  Notice I did not say "first women's" basketball team - the boys didn't have a team until 1914.  By the time I knew my Grandmother she was close to 70 years old and not particularly athletic so this story was always a source of pride about her.  She always said her high school's was one of the first women's basketball teams in the state of Indiana. I'm not sure, but she may be the figure closest to the camera in the photo above.

This next photo was scanned from an undated newspaper clipping. Grandma is on the far right with her head resting on her hand.  Behind her and one over is her sister, May, who died of complications during pregnancy in 1916. The young girl with big hair bows at the center is Grandpa's sister, Carol, whom I remember and can easily recognize.  Carol's bows make it obvious she's the one holding the ball in the photo of the nine young women on the field.

Ethel, just to the left of Faye, with the basketball beside her, is also one of Fielding's sisters and was one of young Faye's closest friends.  Our family tree contains four of these pioneering athletes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Week 11 - Schoolhouse

Today's block honors Lucy Stone, who in 1847 graduated from Oberlin College, the first in the nation to offer degrees to women. Lucy paid her own way through school with her earnings from teaching. 

On Dana's father's side, all her grandmothers were teachers.

My mother's mother Faye taught from the time she finished school until she was married, 1910 to 1913. The photo below, scanned from Aunt Alice's book, is the same photo that the local historical society in Hayden Indiana used in their article on teachers - I am guessing it was her high school graduation photo, 1910. She was the only student in her class, and went on to a 12-week teachers training course at the Indiana State Teachers College in Terre Haute that summer.  She taught grade school in Spencer Township where she grew up, and in a one room school in Patoka 130 miles away.

My father's mother Mary also taught school. She finished high school in 1918 and attended Junior College in LaSalle-Peru, then went to the State Teachers college in Bloomington Illinois.  My father believes this is her graduation photo and would date from about 1920 or 21.  She taught at a country school in nearby Lostant Illinois, then later, she taught 2nd grade pupils at Jefferson public school in LaSalle.  This school was only three or four blocks from her home and had all 8 grades. My Dad thinks she probably taught one or two semesters before her wedding in 1924.


Mary, born in 1901, was the middle child in the family of nine. Two of Mary's sisters were nuns and they were also teachers: Weronika born in 1894 who became Sister Mary Egidia; and Florentina born in 1898, who became Sister Mary Charissima. 

My mother -Dana's grandmother- and her sisters, our Aunts Alice and May also taught school.  I am using this photo from 1940 of the whole family - Faye and Fielding with their five children.

Faye and Fielding with Loris, Alice, Fielding (Buddy), May and Myra
Our Family Historian, Aunt Alice, had been a teacher in a one room school until she was married just a few years before this photo was taken.  My mother would be about 13 here so just about finished with grade school at the time. Aunt May was the middle child after Alice and Buddy.  Just one year older than my mother, Aunt Loris, on the left, became a nurse.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

La Vie en Rose

This little quilt is done -

Well, not quite - there's no label on it 

and the hanging sleeve is not ready.

I quilted the center Lady of the Lake with a Wild Rose triangle continuous line motif by Anne Bright, echoed around the outside to set it off on the piecing. I finally settled on a peach thread, picking up on a color that appears in that print I used in the pointy triangles.
The border alternates three red fabrics and two blue rose prints. I didn't do any elaborate quilting with them.

My self-imposed rule for these June Bride Challenges is to use only fabrics I already have and I stuck to it.  Except for the binding and narrow spacing strip where I used a batik with heart motifs, the other fabrics for this Bridesmaid Basket turned Lady of the Lake are rose prints.  The very romantic La Vie en Rose is the song that came to me when I contemplated naming it.  Here's a Youtube video of Edith Piaf singing it live.  You can find other versions, including some of her singing in English or with English subtitles, but I love this one for the way she gets the audience to join her at the very end.  And I can understand the lyrics even though I don't practice my French very often.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Week 10 - New York

Today, I was delayed starting work on this block because I went to Early Voting at the Town Hall.  There is little danger of having to wait in line at our polling place on Tuesday, but now, when the my phone rings I can smile and respond, "Thank you, I already voted."

This is not the first traditional quilt block I think of when I think of New York, but the other one really signifies the Statue of Liberty - and this week we are honoring Susan B. Anthony who made history by voting in the presidential election on November 5th, 1872.

The block seems like it should be red, white and blue, as I did it for the Civil War quilt  - - you can see it here -- Civil War Week 51.

But our leaders showed it in different color combinations: green and purple, red and white, and all green, so I made my green and yellow version for Dana.  I rather like the bright mix I finally settled on.

Thanks to our grandmothers, the politicians have been paying attention to "women's issues" this election.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tapestry at last

I started my version of Carol Sunday's Tapestry way back on the 8th of May - but two months later, after knitting the entire body up to the armscye, I figured out it was just going to be too small.  I took it all apart and started over. So that -- along with the Operation Colorstorm projects -- is why it took me so long to finish this sweater.

I've done colorwork before that was complicated, but I've never made anything out of such fine yarn as this sweater, with as much detail as it has with the lace and leaves and cables and seed stitch

I'm happy to say it fits.

 with room to spare.  It really would have been a sad day if I put it on and it was baggy or too tight.
I shortened the sleeves and raised the neckline at the center front just a little - this is why I like to make my own clothes!

Here are a few closeups of the knitted fabric.
 The yarn is tweedy with bits of darker stuff that look almost like seeds here and there.
 It is Brigadoon, a Carol Sunday yarn.

 And I'm looking forward to wearing it.