Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 26 Ladies' Wreath - Mourning for Mother

I wound up thinking about my mother and her wedding as I pondered my fabrics and blog entry this week. My sister was here with her daughter Niki, with the news that her daughter Tanya was just engaged.

My parents' wedding anniversary was back at the beginning of this series, during the first week of September, before I knew I was going to be posting so many family photos. So with thoughts of my mother, and Tanya, I looked at the photos and announcement from Mom and Dad's wedding in September, 1949.

Mom and Dad were married in a chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. Mom had just earned her degree - her diploma is dated the 2nd, the wedding was on the 4th.  Mom made her veil and borrowed her beautiful ivory satin gown from Handa, a college friend, whose sister Helen also wore it. The three women remained friends all their lives, and the shared dress was recollected in a 2002 letter from Handa to Mom.

My grandparents, Fielding and Faye, Myra and Harry, and my grandmother Mary.
From the wedding announcement, we know that Faye wore a teal blue dress with black accessories and Mary's dress was brown with matching accessories.  Both had orchid corsages.  Mom's bouquet was white roses with an orchid center. The orchid was used in a corsage on her blue going- away suit, which I would guess she made. 

I know that Mom made her bridesmaids' dresses.  She saved a June 18, 1949 receipt for 26.5 yards of rayon that I suspect that was for these three dresses and more (her sister Loris' dress was probably 5.5 yards listed separately from the other 21 yards. The fabric cost her $12.79.)  The dresses are described below.

Talisman roses are a beautiful pink and orange, but I decided my Wreath could be made with Loris' yellow roses to fit in the William and Mary quilt.

I printed a free-to-use yellow rose, and combined it with two fabrics I used in the quilt I made for Mom and Dad that I mentioned in week 17 for the Mother's Delight block (seen at the link).  Both the green roses print in the two light triangles at the center, and the teal green orchid print paired with it were in the older quilt. As with the Week 17 block, I chose a music-themed print as music was always important to both of my parents.  Mom's brother Buddy, who also had a beautiful voice, sang "Because" and "The Lords Prayer" at the ceremony.

You may wonder why the block is called a wreath:  the wreath appears when the block is repeated and mirrored. This illustration shows how I could make a wreath of the yellow roses from four blocks like this one.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 25 - The Carrie Nation Quilt

I think if I've seen this block before, it was called a Double Four-Patch, so we're always learning something new. Carrie Nation was an interesting character - perhaps being six feet tall automatically made her a center of attention which pushed her to her boldness? It is interesting to learn that the alcohol industry lobbied to keep women from getting the vote because they knew so many would support prohibition.

This block is very simple, but it was difficult for me to choose fabrics for it. Somehow, it just didn't lend itself to fussy cutting with the fabrics I have to work with, so it was hard to make it special. I decided to base my choices on the fresh green circles print, perhaps because I'm looking forward to spring. The other prints I picked for variety of scale and texture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What the mail carrier brings me

I was utterly delighted with Vicki Welsh's fabrics I ordered for Dana's Grandmother's Choice quilt -this photo is really too dark to show how beautiful these are.

Vicki has a good friend who shares Dana's Alma Mater who helped her select the right base shades of green and gold, then she sent me samples of some of the grandients for my approval.  When she  packaged them and invoiced me, she called the two sets William (greens) and Mary (golds).  

Oh I can't resist - I liked my fan but this photo shows the colors a little better:

I can't really start setting the blocks until they are all made, but I can do some of the preliminary piecing of these beautiful hand dyes to get a head start.

And then, in a gesture of pure generosity, Dustin, who organizes the Flickr group where quilters around the globe who are making the Grandmother's Choice blocks share photos, tips, and encouragement every week, sent me this lovely lemon print fabric that may just have to find a place in Dana's quilt:

That's a big enough piece of that fabric to plan a whole quilt around it - but did you notice the little note he included?   He cut his yellow-orange page in a lemon-shape-- and there's a little kitty cat sticker at the top!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week 24 - True Blue

This block, True Blue, goes in the Grandmother's Choice because of the pejorative term "blue-stocking," once used to describe an educated woman.  I didn't have to look hard to find the fabric to build my block around.

The little paisley in the four-patches is a print I purchased for Dana's Green and Gold Quilt that I just had to have, even though it has a bit of blue. The True Blue block is my excuse for including it in the quilt.

Many of the other quilters following along with this block of the week have placed the four patches so the dark and light squares all line up, where I have rotated two of them. I was hoping the arrangement would enhance the movement of all the paisleys and ferns. The central flower is from a print I've been saving for this kind of block. It pushed the choice of leaf prints for the other fabrics (after the paisley).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Civil War Block of the Month - February 1863 Checkered Allegiances

This month we used the Checkerboard Block to look at split loyalties among families.

In February, 1862, Great Grandfather John and Great Great Uncle Billy with the 82nd have finished the battle of Stones River and set up camp outside Murfreesboro Tennessee. The armies generally wintered in camps, with major actions happening only in the warmer months.

For some personal commentary on the War, I turn to a letter from Great Great Uncle Shepherd to his sister Joanna on the 14th of January, published in From the Hayfields to the Battlefields. Shep was at Fort Pillow where the regiment had been stationed since the end of September, chasing guerrilla  forces in Tennessee and Arkansas:

 "Well, Joanna, the Old Year '62 has gone and left our National difficulty seemingly as bad if not worse than She found it. What will the Year 1863 bring about I wonder? When will this bloody war come to an end? ... I would like to have been at home to enjoy Christmas and New Years with you."

A little later in this letter, Shep asks if Joanna can send "an old singing book (the Melodian), my dictionary and grammer. They would help me to pass off my leasure hours to a better advantage than I can without them.  Joanna, you must not worry about me, I am getting along fine. Enjoy yourselves the best you can...." The Melodian Shep asks for is possibly The Sacred Melodeon, a hymnal first published in 1848.

Shep's regiment, the 52nd Indiana Volunteers, left Fort Pillow on January 23rd, 1863, coming under  the command of General Sherman and participating in the campaign to capture Vicksburg, over 250 miles to the south. From February 3rd until March 2nd, they were on a scouting mission, meeting Rebel resistance at Clinton and Jackson, Mississippi but reaching Meridian by February 14th. On the 16th, they moved back west to Canton Mississippi where they remained until the end of February. A map of the Vicksburg region can be seen at this link.  Meridian is not shown on that map - it is to the east, closer to the Alabama border.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week 23 - Girl's Joy

Last week we looked at humor used by those opposed to women's right to vote. This week we examined the more light-hearted images used to promote the cause.

 But for me, the name of the block, Girl's Joy, evoked this image of my grandmother and her younger sister May. Faye always kept this framed photograph on her bedroom wall.  My brother Jeff owns it now and took a photo of it for me to use here.  I chose my fabrics with this picture frame in mind.

Even when I was young I thought it was a beautiful photograph - although I couldn't really see my grandmother's face in that of the young girl on the left.  Jeff has the last formal photograph of Faye tucked into the frame. Faye made fun of her "horse face" in that photo.  Sadly, May never grew old. The only photos I have that include her are this one and those of the basketball team.  Carefully comparing these faces with the ones in the newspaper photo that I used in my week 12 post, I believe May is in the back row, second from the left, while Faye is the one second from the right (still in the back row), with her face a little blurred. Photography was a slow process and she is wearing a big smile - not often done in photos of the era since you can't really hold a smile long enough. 

Back row: second from left, my Great-Aunt May, and second from right, my grandmother Faye
My mother's collection had the newspaper clipping showing these young women that I used to determine identities, because I have a list of their names in conjunction with that one.  I was not sure which was May and was surprised when I eliminated the other possibilities and realized by 1909, she was a couple of inches taller than her older sister. Faye was born in 1892, May in 1894.

I have not yet been able to find May's actual birthday - but I confirmed the year of her birth from her tombstone. I found photos of it by searching for May W. Beaty who died in 1916 on a site containing cemetery images.