Thursday, October 10, 2013


Soon after Joyce's daughter Tanya announced her engagement, I started working on ideas for a quilt for her wedding, now less than two weeks away. Since Tanya's generation doesn't really read blogs - especially not blogs written by aunts, I think I can post photos of the quilt, almost ready for giving.

I put it on a clean sheet on the driveway to take the photos - the leaves kept blowing around and getting on the quilt, so I had to make my photo session quick.

The blocks are a traditional one called "Interlocked Squares" that I thought was appropriate for a wedding.  I did them in two colors and alternated their placement in crossing lines. It should remind you of the quilt I worked on with Alice and Ann to support the Shindig on the Green this past summer.

I kept the quilting pretty simple overall, in keeping with the Modern Quilting look I wanted for the quilt: lots of negative space and geometric themes keeps it in the basic idea of a Modern Quilt - though the Interlocked Squares block with its Y-seams is not one they would normally gravitate to. The quilted motif in the middle of the blocks also interlocks.  The fabrics in the center of the blocks are both music-theme prints.
I wanted all the negative space to feature some special quilting. I used a silhouette photo of Tanya when she was a dancer that Joyce sent me a few years ago.  My best friend from high school Ginger Gebka is a graphics artist - she turned it into a simple line drawing for me to quilt.

 The backing is a green and white floral - I like it when I can see the quilting on the back and it shows nicely in this photo I took after going back in the house, away from the leaves.


The label text is printed over the photo I used for the quilted silhouettes, turned green and artistically mellowed. I photographed the label laying on the front of the quilt - I'll sew it on the back during TV time this evening. 

Tanya's quilt will be ready to wrap by tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fun lace knit

I just finished this sweater and modeled it with my new (first ever) Little Black Dress.

The yarn is a hand-dyed blend of silk and Blue-Faced Leicester.  Both fibers are known for their lustrous qualities.

The design is by Fiona Ellis and was published in Vogue Knitting magazine a couple of years ago. It looks pretty straightforward across the back with the lace sleeves.

And in this full on shot you may not notice the unique design feature.

So here is a closeup of the lace patterning in the front. The sweater is seamed and the lace strips meet up with the lace on the back, but it's knitted with short rows in the stockinette sections to give these interesting diagonal lines on the front. 

It was a fun knit. I'm going to enjoy wearing it!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Civil War Block of the Month - October 1863 - Shooting Stars

Diarist Sarah Morgan witnessed fighting for Port Hudson in Louisiana. The block is called "Shooting Stars."

The pink fabric shows very bright in my photo - it is more subtle in reality.

The 52nd made expeditions to Covington, Durhamsville and Fort Randolph from September 28 - October 5, 1863. On the 6th of October, Shep reported he had been having a kind of ache for a week or two but he was feeling "first rate" at the time of his writing.  He commented on the battle his brother Billy had no doubt just been in, saying, "I suppose that Old Rose (as he is called) got rather the worst of the bargain in his last fight. I expect Bragg thinks he has done wonders. Well, he has, but it took the biggest part of the southern Confederacy to help him. Henry, what is the reason that our men can't reinforce as quick as the Rebels can? I don't know how it is, but I am afraid they will pitch into Rosecran[s] and whip him again before he gets sufficient reinforcements to stand ground. If such should be the case, it would be a bad blow on our Army and a great advantage to them. But then, what is the use of fretting... we should do what we think to be our duty and trust the rest to Him who rules the universe. For the rest, for I think, that in His own good time, He will work out all things for the best. ... I think the South has too large an Army and too much territory to be whipped in a very short time. But I have full faith that we will conquer them after a while." He wanted to hear from his brother Billy in the 82nd because reading over the wounded list he knew they were in the fighting. He'd recently received a letter but Billy wrote it prior to the battle. 

Meanwhile, the 82nd was in Chattanooga under new commanders doing picket duty. They were still in the first brigade, under Brigadier General A. Baird, in Brigadier General Turchin's division. The Union's food rations ran low because the Confederates had the supply routes cut off.  Thousands of horses and mules starved to death and the men were on reduced rations. On the night of October 26th, the 82nd was in the contingent that marched and traveled in 50 boats to Brown's Ferry to build a bridge, creating a new supply line. Some of the 82nd were wounded by Rebel picket fire but the bridge was completed. You can find a detailed account of the opening of the "cracker line" at this link:

There is an undated letter from Billy to his sister that must date to the time right after the Brown's Ferry expedition, saying he is camped on the top of a high knob, but Billy arrived after the bridge was built. "Our Regt. came over here while I was gone and drove the Rebel army. The Rebels still hold Lookout Mountain but I don't think they will hold it much longer. The steamboats have commenced running here now, think we will have more rations soon. We have been on half rations for some time but any way to put down this cursed rebellion."  Later he wrote that he was sorry to hear that Mother "will worry about us as she does. Tell her that she must not do so, if she knew how unconcerned we are, she would feel better. ... We have got very good winter quarters built in town if we get to stay in them."

The Confederates continued to shell the Union camps, believing they had the city surrounded and that the Union Army would surrender. General Grant had food brought in first, then ammunition to prepare for the next battle, as the Army had only enough for about a single day of fighting when he arrived in Chattanooga.