Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 39 - Endless Stairs

This Endless Stairs block is very simple.  Instead of just four of the two piece units, I made them smaller and created my block from 16 of them. I felt it would emphasize the stair step quality of the quilt design, and that prompts a lot of family photos for my post this week.

Today, May 25th, is Dana's father's - my brother Carl's - birthday. So I thought it would be fun to post some photos of him that Dana may not have seen before and take the block's stair steps to revisit his childhood and youth.  Getting this collection together took help from our sister Joyce, since she currently has our parents' photo albums, though a few of these are from my own collection.

With big brothers Jeff and Roger

All the cousins up to that point on my mother's side - left to right: Ed L., brothers Roger and Jeff, Mary Kay L., Don L., Dennis W. and Jimmy W. holding baby Carl, in the Glen Ellyn dining room. Jimmy was the oldest and 11 years old in this photo. He died in 1969 when his plane crashed in Vietnam.
Grandmother Mary's mother, Walentyna, in the yard between hers and Mary's houses

This may be our Aunt Bernie, who married Uncle Frank after I was born

I think Aunt Florence is the young woman interacting with Carl on the floor at our grandmother's house
Roger and Jeff flank our grandmother Mary, holding younger cousin Dale and Carl, in her La Salle living room. All the cousins on this side are younger than Carl.

With Mom in the backyard of the Glen Ellyn house

Dad and Carl. It's hard for me to imagine that maple tree was ever so small!

Not the happiest Carl we've ever seen

Mom is wearing a different outfit - it must have been a different day
Our mother always let us play with the pots and pans at some point during our toddler exploration days

First Grade
A couple of years later
8th Grade - Carl is in the front row, third from the left

By the time he was a senior in High School, Carl easily won the Student Council presidency.
Carl is pictured center front. I'm behind him with my chin on my hand. 

During our high school's production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Carl's appearance on stage during the fight between Molly and her brothers nearly stole the show.  I think his opening line was, "What the samhell's going on here??"

Carl, standing right, as Shamus Tobin, the man who rescued and raised Molly Brown

I had to include some of these photos of Carl in the 1970's with his long hair and beard.

Practicing with the band in the basement of the Glen Ellyn house

I remember one family gathering at Aunt Alice's from about this era when the dinner table was likened to a gathering of the apostles for the last supper, around Carl's well groomed but then-radical appearance.  Our parents' and grandparents' generations definitely did not approve.

A serious moment in the living room of the Glen Ellyn house

Two more photos, taken at a party for me with my Dad's family, at the Glen Ellyn house in 1981 just before I moved to Germany.

Happy Birthday, Carl!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week 38 - Nonsense

Barbara Brackman chose this week's block, Nonsense, to talk about the ideas people used to have about what women should not do - like riding a bicycle or astride a horse.  The block has a center focal area and I was not sure what to put in it, until I looked at the green and white toile with the cherub spilling water into a fountain.  I thought that went along with the nonsense better than other prints I have, so I chose other fabrics to go around it.

I really liked the combination of the narrow striped green and white fabric with the toile, but I didn't want it right next to it.  However, I also didn't think the stripe had the right scale for the large rectangles or corner triangles, so I pieced it with the tone-on-tone floral.

I have a photo of my grandmother Faye to post because it is 101 years old this month. Rarely are these older photos dated, but this one has quite a bit of information written on the back. It was taken in Darlington Indiana on May 5, 1912, so Faye was just 20. I have the full names of the other young women (Doris, Elizabeth and Jean) - but I am not sure who is who. Elizabeth and Jean are sisters and  Jean later became Faye's sister-in-law when she married Fielding's brother. Faye wrote where each was from, but her own name came first, while she is on the right in the photo. I don't know why they were photographed in Darlington where Doris lived.  That is about 120 miles from Hayden where Faye lived. Elizabeth and Jean were from Alexandria, just about as far away in yet a different direction from Indianapolis.  I guess they would have traveled by train to meet up at Doris'.

Faye is on the right
Faye's suit was almost undoubtedly made by her, or by her mother Carrie, who was a dressmaker. Faye told us her mother could make any dress from a picture in the fashion magazines of the time and also made men's shirts, nightgowns and underwear.  Faye sewed for her daughters, and she made doll clothes for me when I was very young.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The June Bride - Part 5

When last I wrote about this project I was contemplating what to do with the magenta and off-white album block.  (You can see the starting block in this post from March) The 24x24 inch quilt is almost ready to ship off to Dorry. I'm calling it Strawberry Fields Forever.

The design is my own variation on the traditional Double Wedding Ring pattern. I made one set of rings narrower in plain white, and the other is slightly wider, in three shades of green.

Here's an angled look at it in the afternoon sun so the quilting shows up better.
The darkest of the green fabrics that makes up the rings was one I believe I won as a "free" bonus with a purchase of fabric on the internet. It was a cheery shade of green and had both the magenta of the Album block and the blue required by the challenge.

Obviously, I did cut up the album block.  I figured out that cutting it into 25 pieces, they would wind up the right size to fit in the shapes between the arcs of the 12-inch rings.  But my design needed 32 pieces. Dorry provided us with an off-white fabric that closely matched the muslin of the vintage blocks, but only one of my 25 pieces would be plain muslin. I had saved a bit of gift-package ribbon of the right color that I used on top of 16 of the square pieces, then used those in a regular 4-patch distribution. Some of those squares are almost entirely pink, even though I only covered about half of any block - I didn't have enough of the ribbon to do much more, and I melted some of it trying to iron it on the normal high setting I use for quilting cotton.
I knew the cut up block partially covered in ribbon would wind up in a crazy-patch look, not my favorite, but this after all is a challenge and a chance to try something I normally wouldn't do.  I decided it reminded me a little of Victoria Findlay Wolfe's Best of Show quilt at the first Modern Quilt show (QuiltCon), Double Edged Love and I went for it.  (The link is to Victoria's blog entry about her win.)

This was a difficult piecing job and not one of my better ones, but now I'd like to make a "real" Double Wedding Ring quilt some day (maybe soon?) with scrap fabrics for the traditional wedges that make up the rings. I'll buy the plastic templates for that though!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Week 37 - Nameless Star

I've always known this classic 8-pointed star as Sawtooth Star so the Nameless Star name was new to me.

I chose to highlight yet another flower from the green and gold print I have used in three other blocks, and combined it with the unusual Jason Yenter swirling Wintergraphix print to give this static block a little movement.

The history lesson about the Lucy Stoners was not one I was familiar with - but should be, since I chose to keep my name when I got married.  When I majored in languages and didn't wind up staying in my hometown, I thought it would be good for me professionally to have an identity that stayed with me my whole life. I never thought about this being something I might not legally have been permitted to do, had I belonged to my grandmothers' generation.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Civil War Block of the Month - May 1863 - Aunt Eliza's Star

I used a ticking stripe for the points of this star and a very dark blue print. The combination reminds me of a night sky.

I place the little plaid appliqued star off-center so some of the floral print on the red fabric I used would be visible.

On April 10th, the 82nd Indiana moved with the entire Third Army to Triune, Tennessee, midway between Nashville and Murfreesboro.  In the regimental history, Alf. G. Hunter writes they were kept very vigilant, and heavy picketing was necessary. Scouting parties went out to see what the nearby rebels were doing and foraging parties went out "as long as there was anything to get within a reasonable distance." The troops were kept ready from 3 a.m. to daylight in case of an attack, and they drilled daily.  The men were promised furloughs, privates as well as officers.

With the 52nd at Fort Pillow on May 24th, 1863, Shep wrote a letter with more political commentary to his brother Henry and and sister Jane. Shep then reports they "just received quite flattering news from Vicksburg. Have not heard the particulars, probably in a day or two it will be contradicted. Hope not though, for it is time that our Army was doing something. I suppose you know the soldiers are getting furloughs now. Our Capt. is giving them for fifteen days time. The order says not to excede thirty days so our Capt. thought the first ones that went had not ought to have so long a time granted them as those that waited until the last, so you see if I wait a while I will get to stay the longer when I do go. I may not get a furlough at all so you need not look for me. If we do not get paid before I would want to go I would have to stay for those that go have to pay their own way, that is, government price."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 36 - Sunbonnet Sue

Oh that Sunbonnet Sue! It seems you either love her or you hate her!!

Our block pattern this week was very similar to the one in this quilt, made for Norris' mother by her grandmother, when she was a baby -

This is definitely a 1930's era quilt with the bright pink and 21 Sues!  I had the quilt for a time because it had been put away, suffering from too much love and use.  

One thing these Sues have that most do not is the detail of embroidered hands, and a bow on the back of the bonnet in black floss. The floss was also used for the applique, and unfortunately, it did was not up for that job long term.  Several years ago, I repaired the binding, applique, and quilting on these Sunbonnet Babies and, after a good vacuuming for dust and a soak in an special quilt-restoring bath, they all look good as new.

Barbara Brackman explained why she chose this block, "Is she a baby or a faceless woman? The ubiquitous doll can remind us of all the girls who've rebelled against becoming 'an entirely ornamental young lady.'"

So I decided to make my Sue the faceless woman, and chose an older looking, hard-working Sue for Dana's quilt.

I put the block on point so she will stand upright in the quilt.  Her arm and parts of the watering can don't stand out very well in the photo, which is just a little washed out. If it's not just the lighting, they'll get help from my quilting.  When I've looked at this in other light, I may also decide to outline the arm and watering can in darker thread, much as the black thread was used to decorate the 1930's Sues.