Saturday, December 29, 2012

Week 18 - Cheyenne

This week's block recognizes Wyoming, the first territory or state to grant the right to vote to women, in 1869. This powerful image called The Awakening from 1915 was part of the story.  It depicts the West lighting the way for the oppressed women in the East.

This image is from the Library of Congress. 

The Cheyenne block design let me use a photograph from the William and Mary collection of Creative Commons licensed images I wanted to incorporate in Dana's green and yellow quilt. The Tribe is the sports team name.  It stands for union and comradery, which I thought went along with the idea of the illustration above.

 The photo is of a logo decal on a bus stop. I brought up the green just a little in this photo to print it on fabric and make it go with the commercial leaf prints I had in my fabric collection. 

My fabric placement probably makes more sense if you view it on point, as it will be set in the quilt.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Quilt for Lyn

Brother Roger's daughter Jen, having completed only a quilt or two before this, decided to make one for her sister Lyn who recently moved into a drafty house. Jen is a working single mother of two who recently bought a house, so she recruited other family members to help. I volunteered to provide the backing and batting and said I could do the quilting on my longarm so it would be easily finished in time for Christmas.

Jen had already picked the pattern and deep blue and autumn colors for Lyn.  I looked through my stash and picked a couple of fabrics I thought could add sentimental value to the project: a blue music print I used in Roger and Laurie's Civil War quilt, the red-orange fabric we used on the back of the comfort quilt we gave Brother Jeff and his wife Joanna after their daughter and grandson were killed, and an orange fabric Lyn's cousin Niki used for her quilt. I threw a few fabrics from Joyce's latest quilt in the box  - some of those I used in my own projects as well. Lastly, I sent a blue and white print purchased in Egypt by my Dad while traveling there on business decades ago.  Mom made a summer shirt from the fabric and wore it a lot. Lyn and Jen were both very close to my mother so I thought that print in particular could have a place in Lyn's quilt.  Somehow, Jen managed to include just about everything I sent her.

I asked Jen for photos of the fabrics she bought so I could buy the right backing fabric, and gave her a deadline in early December for piecing the top.  She beat it by almost a week.  I sent her photos like these next two while I had it on my machine.


I took a photo of the quilt before I put it in the box to ship it back to Jen. Lilly was the Acting Quilt Model that evening. (Like almost all my photos, clicking on them will give you a larger view.)

Not only did Jen put the quilt together, she also wrote a lovely poem to go with it.  Lyn received the quilt at the family Christmas gathering at Joyce's house on Sunday - and it is reported she was so touched she was in tears. 

I really enjoyed working with Jen on this quilt for Lyn!

Week 17 - Mother's Delight

This being Christmas week, I have to think of my own mother with a block named Mother's Delight. So I chose two of the fabrics she picked for a lap quilt I made for my parents a few years ago, thanking them for giving all five of us children piano lessons, as well as a second instrument, and an appreciation for music of all kinds. 

For Mom and Dad's quilt, I started with the piano print.  The small living room in our house had a cut-down concert grand in it for many years. The big piano didn't leave room for much else, so during those years, the family Christmas tree was short and wide so it could be placed on top of the piano,  the gifts piled on the floor underneath.

Mom and Dad came to the Washington DC area for a visit before I got the quilt started, and I asked for Mom's input to the plan.  I had pulled a much more colorful group of fabrics together, but Mom was set on using only the greens and golds with neutral accents. I bought a couple of new prints to add to the mix, including a light green roses print.

That and the green instruments are the two fabrics I started with for this block.

The yellow music print I used here was one I acquired after making the quilt for Mom and Dad.  Dana also plays the piano, and like her Dad and my Dad, the trombone.  Sadly, though that dark green has its place here, there is no trombone for Dana, nor a saxophone for Mom. Mom's main instrument was her voice anyway.  She was most comfortable singing alto, but could sing soprano as well if the choir director needed her to.

I don't think this is the prettiest block I've made for the quilt, but I hope the dimensional qualities can be brought out when I quilt it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Knitting Group Holiday Party Gift Exchange

One member of our Monday knitting group is the party instigator, and she decided to host a December gathering at her home. She also decided that we would have a gift exchange, and the gifts should be items either that we made ourselves, or they could be "recycled" items.  That was easy for me - none of the ones who were coming are quilters.  The dollar value was small, so I made mug rugs.  When knittters and weavers make mug rugs, they are usually coaster sized.  But for some reason, quilters always make them much larger - well, they will say that provides room for a cookie.  These are about 6x8.

Some of the members don't celebrate Christmas, so I picked a winter theme and named the set "Appalachian Winter Sky."

The colors go with the mugs we've been collecting, so I also took a shot of each one modeled by a different mug.

A contemporary mat with a leaf-mug

An Ohio Star with a drip glaze pattern mug

A Christmas Star with more leaves

And the last rug is string pieced and has the mug from our local Mangum pottery on Main Street.

These are so small, I quilted them on my DSM.  If you don't think about longarm quilting machines, you probably never called yours a "domestic sewing machine" - but among industrial machine owners, we just use the abbreviation, DSM.

We drew numbers and picked our packages.  Ann from Wales who lives in the neighborhood knew which package was mine and chose it.  She seems delighted with the little "rugs".  The back side is a dark blue print with silver snowflakes - I forgot to take a photo!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Week 16 Capital T

This block serves as a reminder that the first women to come to the women's suffrage movement were associated with the temperance movement, dating to the mid-19th century. I tried to highlight the star in the center instead of the four spikey "T" shapes, and chose a large flower for the center of the star. The other fabric choices include a toile and two green 19th Century reproductions. 

In my personal family history, I have to acknowledge Aunt Alice's birthday this week on the 19th - she would have been 98 this year.  I don't have the original of this photo of Faye and baby Alice - it must have been taken in early 1915. Aunt Alice used it for the chapter on Faye in her family history book.

But I do have a few other delightful photos - illustrating that parents in the 'teens of last century took photos of their children just as they do today -

My mother always pointed out that her sister Alice was their mother's favorite, evidenced by all the photos of Alice as a baby.  There were so many interesting ones, I had a hard time limiting the ones to post, so I'm including quite a few - this one must have been in a frame.

It's hard to recognize the adult Aunt Alice in those baby pictures, but I can definitely see her in this next pair. These were taken when she was two and a half.

Here's one of Alice with a cousin -

 Just one more - Aunt Alice with her younger brother called Buddy, born a year after Alice - so this was probably early 1916.

 I wonder if someone in the family knitted those little hats?  It was not Faye - she crocheted, but I don't believe she knew how to knit.  Someone else taught my mother to knit. Faye taught me to crochet, and my mother showed me the basics of knitting.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Week 15 - Centennial: New Zealand's Victory

On September 19, 1893,  the women of New Zealand won the right to vote.  In our history lesson, we saw how the women of New Zealand then carried their success in marches for Women's Rights in Washington DC and London. The centennial block was chosen to recall the 1993 100-year anniversary celebration of New Zealand's "honorable position as the first country to enfranchise all women in all elections."

My block this week thus departs from my Grandmothers' stories to pay tribute to our Kiwi sisters.

We have many quilters around the world making these blocks and sharing them in a group on Flickr, but I suspect not many other U.S.-based quilters have the benefit of a collection of fabrics from New Zealand.  I have two pieces of the Kiwi print from my dear friends Dorry and Kerry, sisters who live in the U.S. and New Zealand, respectively. For something like 8 years now, I have been participating with them in an International Round Robin group. Jo, another of the Remarkable Robins was born in New Zealand but now lives in Melbourne.  She sent me the yellow and green floral print. The beautiful golden yellow flower is the Kowhai, New Zealand's unofficial national flower. I was pleased to see that one of the print's motifs was sized to perfectly fit the center of the block.  I could have made the star a more powerful element, but I think I like how joyfully the fruit and flower combination seems to shout its Kiwi heritage more than I need it to be a star.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Week 14 - Brides Knot

This week's block is Bride's Knot, and the discussion was about how women, under British common law,  lost their property rights when they got married. Everything they owned or earned belonged to their husbands.  This practice ended in the U.S. by about 1900 as the states each passed legislation allowing married women to own property.

However, for my block I am continuing to celebrate my Grandparents' 99th Wedding anniversary a few days ago, and chose some fabrics that reminded me of my Grandmother's living room, as it was decorated in the late 60's and early 1970's.

My grandparents had moved off the Waterman farm into a bungalow with the front porch fully enclosed in windows, on Pierce Street in Elburn. Faye did all her own decorating, including the wallpapering. Although she used generally neutral colors, she had a large green leaf patterned area rug.  She chose the stylish Avocado Green and Harvest Gold for accents.  The leafy pattern of the darkest fabric in my block serves to remind me of the rug. The other fabrics I chose to use with it have ornate patterns accented with gold , which she also used tastefully.

Faye was a skilled needleworker.  Probably in the late 1960's, she crocheted a two-sided afghan for her front room. It was folded over the back of the Davenport - a common word for sofa for people of her age.  She continued to make this style of afghan, and give them as gifts even when she was losing her eye sight.  My sister has one in colors that went with her townhouse in the mid-late 1980's.  But I got the original one -

It has been used and washed over the decades but it is large and warm and we have it in our bedroom where we can put it over the covers on a chilly winter night.  I photographed the entire afghan here on my "Davenport."

Thinking about the Pierce Street bungalow, I wondered what it looks like today, and checked Google Maps.  Too bad the folks at Google have not taken their camera down Pierce Street, but I did enjoy seeing the overhead image. It's the light gray house in the center of the image. Someone has finished off the former attic space and created two bedrooms and an additional bath (I learned from a description of the property).  I don't remember any porch gable when my Grandparents owned the house.   I wonder if subsequent owners have also converted the porch into a regular room.  If they did, they probably don't know they could have grown amazing African violets there -  assuming they had Faye's talent with indoor plants.

I was interested to see the oval is still visible in the back yard. That is the concrete edging of a former croquet court.  Fielding used it for an extensive flower and vegetable garden.
Now I wonder if Joyce, current keeper of the family photos, has any pictures of Faye and Fielding's living room, in color? I'm pretty sure we have home movie footage of the beautiful sunken garden in the back yard.