Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WWI - December - Heavenly Puzzle

This is the last block in this series.

All the red and blue fabrics in this interesting block are from Vicki Welsh.  I used foundation paper piecing for the four corners which helped keep the points sharp.  

I'm going to miss working on this series  even the leaves.  After a few months, I knew the whole rhythm and allotted the time for the applique, never trying to get the entire block done in a day so I didn't find that job as tedious as I did in the beginning. 

Service records for the majority of our WWI veterans were burned in a fire in at the Federal Records storage facility in St. Louis in the 1970's, so precise information on my four great-uncles who served is unfortunately not as easy to come by as for Civil War veterans. Their tombstones list their units, though without much precision.  There is information about the Army's organization and where the elements served available at Federal libraries scattered around the country.  The University of North Carolina Asheville is supposed to be one of those places where the public can access that information, so that will be a project for me, perhaps before I get the quilt completed. As it is right now, I'm not sure any of the uncles actually shipped out to Europe.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Threads of Memory - December 1864

This month's Rochester Star block is a nine-patch star on point giving us interesting shapes for the corners -

I enjoyed picking the fabrics and making this block, the last in Barbara Brackman's Threads of Memory series. Next year, she is doing something completely different so I'll have to choose my own blocks to go with family Civil War history from 150 years ago.

Sherman's army's March to the Sea  ended on the 21st of December when they captured the port of Savannah.  The 82nd's regimental historian recorded that in the latter part of the march, they went through mostly flooded rice fields. There was a lot of work in making corduroy roads for the troops and their wagons to pass over the water. By the time they were laying in for the siege, their supply train had nothing left, only foraged rice to sustain them.  He commented that the horses seemed to like the rice better than the men.  The rebel army did not surrender but departed Savannah on the night of the 20th. Sherman's troops had left a 40-50 mile wide track of desolation behind them, and the 82nd suffered no casualties on the campaign.  They enjoyed plenty to eat once they were in camp.  An undated letter from Billy to his sister Carrie says, "We have a firstrate good little house and a good fireplace in it.... We have had no cold weather here to amount to anything. The ice has been 1/4 of an inch thick 3 or 4 mornings." Billy reminds his sister he has but 7 months left to serve as he closes his letter.

I do not have a letter from Eli with the 52nd Indiana to my great-grandfather Calvin from this time in  1864, but, like his November letter, there was one published in Rodger Ruddick's book.  Eli wrote on the 11th of December from Nashville, Tennessee, full of questions about life at home. He asks about the pumpkin crop in Indiana, saying "When we were in Missouri, we had stewed pumpkins several times, but it is played out with us now." He wishes he were back in Indiana to eat buckwheat cakes and molasses, but he doesn't think he'll be there any time soon. Calvin must have told him about going to dances because Eli would have gone too. Then he tells Calvin a prayer from their nights out on raid in Missouri:  "Every time I lay down to sleep, the greybacks all around me creep, and if they bite before I wake, I hope by God their jaws they break." Later he describes current conditions: ".. we are suffering with the cold very bad and the wood is getting very scarce near camp. I don't know what we will do in a few days if the weather still keeps cold, we will freeze, I grief, but I live in hopes of a better time coming."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Threads of Memory - November 1864

This block is yet another version of the star we did last month and in in August.  I fussy cut every piece of this one, though the star points don't show it very well.

The red and white print fabric, of which I had only a 10 inch square, drove the fabric choices.

John and Billy with the 82nd were placed under the cmomand of major General H. W. Slocum. In early November, they prepared for the march to Savannah, passing through Atlanta on the 15th. That night, the regimental history records, "the light from the burning city made our camp as light as day. Details were sent in to check the fire. The more details the brighter the light." The brigade was treated to some fine music by the brigade band while the fires burned. I guess Billy, listed as "musician" on the Regimental roster, was among those playing.

The marching orders were to cover 15 miles a day, destroying railroads on the way.  This map illustrates the routes of the four Army Corps - John and Billy would have been on the heavy line identified as the 14th Corps.  The 82nd did witness attacks by Rebel cavalry and were involved in some fighting, particularly during the earlier part of the march.

This map is free to use, from the Wikipedia article on the march at

I do not have Eli's letter to Calvin from November 1864, but it was published in Rodger Ruddick's book.  Eli, with the Indiana 52nd  wrote on the 25th, datelined, "On the boat, Prairie, down the river." He tells his cousin "this has been a hard trip on me, we have walked about seven hundred and fifty miles. Was gone just fifty days and was marching just forty days out of fifty."  He lists the Missouri towns they passed through on their way to Kansas and back - they did pass through St. Charles, the location of the story behind our block this month. Eli comments on the election, "I am sorry that the abolitionists won the Presidency this time, but it can't be helped now." He goes back to the march, saying that his feet are so sore he can just barely get around and he has pain in his right hand from a wart he had had knocked off over two weeks earlier.

Then Eli tells Calvin, "I saw some of the prettiest prairie land in Missouri that I ever saw. I have seen the biggest part of the state of Missouri this trip and this is some of the prettiest land that I ever saw in any state. I think that if this war was over, I could find a home in the state that would suit me first rate." There was not always enough food - one day they had flour and a little piece of fresh beef, "just about enough for one good meal for a day rations and all the way that we had to cook the flour was to mix it up in some water and salt it a little and bake it in our frying pans."

Eli asks his cousin to write more often - even if he can't write while on the march he can get letters from home. He closes his letter, "... give my love to all inquiring friends and retain a share for yourself, Yours truly, Eli to Cal Direct by way of Cairo, Ill."

I included the closing of this letter because it is the same way that Eli will finish letters to Calvin in the early 1870's, when he and his future wife Jennie will have started a family and struggled to make a living in Missouri.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Austen Family Album - Block 34

I did not care one bit for this block - Queen Charlotte's Crown. So I played with stripes.  I really like the way my version looks in the thumbnail where I changed the block design slightly to do something a little different.  I'm showing it to you in the smallest thumbnail because it shows the effect best.

My personal stamp on the block was to have two different stripes meet up going across the block from lower left to upper right.  The rest of the block is just background to that, and my photo shows that some of my seams are off.  I really did hurry through the cutting and piecing.

In the original block, the upper right and lower left squares were made of half-square triangles which met the "crowns" in Y-seams at the inner corners.  I don't really mind doing Y-seams anymore, but I did mind the block and thought it would be interesting to play the two stripes into each other in a more yin-yang coloration.

I like it a lot better now, so I'm thinking I should correct my sloppiness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WWI - November - Mother's Dream

I don't know why this block would get that name - I do know I like how this one came out.  I used foundation paper piecing for precision on all those 1 inch half-square triangles.

The red fabric in this block is different from the others in the series, but my blocks are all made with slightly different reds. I love the drama of  Vicki Welsh's shibori stripes in the four squares, so I chose a commercial print for the more subdued blue version in the center square. The red fabric in the long rectangles with a more subtle stripe was not from the same piece but it was also dyed by Vicki.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 33 - Corn and Beans

This is not the only block that goes by the Corn and Beans name -

I like how this one came out with that symmetrically arrayed stripe.  Funny, that stripe was the main reason I decided to participate in this block of the week project - I had used it in my tablet cover

and thought it would lend itself to this block-by-block quilt.  But I only used it in maybe two other blocks. The print is actually trickier to use than average - in fact the two horizontal bars in the block are colored slightly differently than the two vertical ones.  It's a subtle difference that will it probably never be noticed by the casual viewer.  But cutting other areas of the stripe, it would be noticeable and I would have had to waste so much of it for the blocks I thought I'd use it, so I just didn't.  There still isn't much left.

The dark blue mottled fabric with its unpredictable flashes of light is what makes this block work for me though.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seasons Challenge - Fall

When last seen, the Fall challenge was a single Ohio Star block with a very bright solid orange fabric (photo at this link).

I took the main block seams apart so I could square up the block for easier piecing.  My friend Judi scheduled another Dye Day in her nearby studio, so I brought the quilt block pieces.  She suggested I try a bleaching technique to change the character of that orange.  It happened I had brought along stencils so I tried painting the thick mild bleach solution through the stencils to create an interesting design, but whatever the dye was, it was quite stubborn.  By the end of the day, it had done what it was going to do, which wasn't much.

Back at home, I printed a maple leaf graphic on freezer paper, cut it out and centered it on the orange squares. I used black and blue watercolor pencils around the edges of the freezer paper stencil for  another layer of design on the fabric. Here's how the block looks now, pieced back together and much closer to square (only very minute shavings had to come off the orange pieces and the hourglass blocks).

I was pleased with the end result - I think that garish orange has a lot more interest and texture. You can best make out the bleached design in the center leaf where I outline quilted only - it's a four way symmetrical design that makes an "orange peel" center.

When it came to setting the block into a quilt, I turned to the Quilt Index for Ohio Star quilts and settled on one that just alternated the hour glass blocks and squares.

I wanted the vintage block to stand out among the fabrics from my collection I chose to go with it.  With the blue-purple print and the leaves, I think it is obvious even in the small view. It's not the typical "fall quilt" but all of the prints in my little hourglass blocks feature leaves. The plain squares are hand dyes and prints that look like hand dyes.

I quilted it in a light pink thread, as though it was 5 Ohio Stars set with alternating plain blocks. The feathers have a sprinkling of stylized leaf shapes.

The backing and binding are made from a fabric that combines orange, pink, and magenta with greens.

I named the quilt "Maple" in keeping with my single word titles for the previous two season quilts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 32 - Ladies' Wreath

This is one of those blocks whose name doesn't make any sense in isolation -

We made this block in the Grandmother's Choice series. I showed how it makes a wreath at the end of this post.  I didn't use the floral as I did the yellow roses in that block - the polka dots would hardly make a mourning wreath.  But I decided the name of the block didn't matter.

The block looks very wonky in my photo. It's just so hard to get a square photo with that little camera I didn't even try to get the block to lie flat.

Only four more bloks to go.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Austen Family Album - Weeks 30 and 31

This week's block is the Lady of the Lake.  There are many versions of this block - happily the one chosen works nicely with my 9 inch size so this was quick to make.
We still don't have our good SLR camera back.  These photos were taken with the little digital that tends to overexpose. It's also very hard to get this camera's small face squared up with the subject. My block really is square with the triangle points all nicely aligned.
 I never posted my block from last week - it's Caroline's Choice.

The block is constructed of two pinwheel and two hourglass blocks - I decided to make it as though I were putting together a scrappy quilt of blocks of each type so I could use more different fabrics.  I'm not sure it will wind up in my quilt - there are several blocks I'm not thrilled about that will probably  be set aside.

I still don't have a setting in mind for these.  I like each block, but as a sampler group, I'm finding them distinctly uninteresting. This one, with the iris print in the corner, doesn't fit in, but now I wish I'd had and used more fabrics like it to liven up the batch.  I think too, for a sampler, I miss the variety that a couple of applique blocks would have brought to the mix.  The whole group may languish while I finish up the WWI quilt and other projects that pop up ,,,unless I find some wild print like those huge irises to set it with - that would breathe new life into me, if not the quilt.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Threads of Memory - October - Britain's Star

This months block was a new variation on the Storm at Sea -

It was a fun and easy block - far fewer pieces than last months.

I have no letters from Eli or Billy from October, 1864. The 82nd Indiana with Sherman's army was sent with others in pursuit of Hood and the rebels who had recently vacated Atlanta.  The job of chasing down Hood's army as they moved to Alabama was left to General Thomas and other corps, while the 14th, of which the 82nd was part, began to prepare for the March to the Sea.

Eli was with the 52nd in Missouri in the chase after the Confederates under Sterling Price. I have not found more detail of the regiment's specific actvities in Missouri, but the history of the raid includes many significant battles beginning on September 27th and continuing through October.  Price's raid has been deemed a failure, and modern historians believe it probably contributed to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

WWI - October - Dove in the Window

This month's block came with the story of the death of the great-grandfather whose service inspired the quilt. The block is called Dove in the Window.

This was a technically challenging block with the oblique angles -- and that is after our pattern designers simplified the piecing lines from the version that came with my computer software. 

Vicki Welsh sent me some of her remnant shibori-dyed fabric with my custom order for the borders of this quilt.  Two of the blue pieces wound up in this block. I cut my four corner triangles out of a more solid area on the edge of the darker one and really like the effect - but the intersecting diagonal lines on the center pieces are gorgeous.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 29 Lend and Borrow

This almost seemed like a block that needed to be repeated like the King's Crown I did last week, but I decided just to let it be a single block.  The traditional setting keeps these all oriented the same way.

The little Olympus camera really washed out the color. The Pentax is in the repair shop where it will probably be for another 10 days. I really hope it can be fixed!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seasons Challenge Series - an Ohio Star block for Fall

Just as the fall season struck, Dorry sent me the block I get to use for the next challenge quilt, an Ohio Star with a really bright solid orange fabric -


Our long ago quilting sister had a little problem with her orange fabric.  It looks like she tore strips and the squares wound up as rectangles. Meanwhile, the quarter square triangles on the two sides are cut with the bias on the outside edge - you can see how they have stretched out of shape and bulge on the sides.

I'm planning to leave the block as she designed and mostly how she made it - though I did take it apart, and a bit of trimming to make the "squares" square so this will fit into a nice flat quilt might have happened before I put it back together. It was not possible to get all the points to stay pointy but the result is something she would recognize if she were able to see the quilt I'm going to make from this block.

I wrote that like I know where I'm going with this challenge.  I have some ideas, but I'm not ready to start cutting and stitching.  The blue-purple of the triangles is related to my Jane Austen blocks, but one of the challenges for this quilt is to include green in the finished quilt.  This block has no relationship to green and what I'm doing for that series has no green either, so I have to stop thinking about that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Austen Family Album - blocks 27 and 28

I was out of town last weekend for Dana's wedding so I have two blocks to post. This is Crossroads.

When I replaced the batteries in our digital SLR camera, it started overexposing the images. I tried taking the picture outside where there was no confusion about flash, and it was still making nearly white photos. The block got crumpled as I ran here and there and consulted the manual and tried again and again.  I gave up and used my phone and there's a wrinkled block. The camera is about 9 years old but still has value - we'll look into getting it repaired.

Today I was less hectic as I used the very small digital Norris bought a few years ago and got a better block photo.  I didn't have it set for the highest resolution, so we get a slightly soft-focus effect.

 The block is actually just 1/4th of this - I made four and put them together for the crown. My four little blocks are just 4.5 inches finished.  Doesn't Vicki Welsh's Shibori frame the crown beautifully?  I just bought more fabric from her to finish the WWI quilt and it is fabulous.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Austen Family Album - Fanny's Favorite

I always wonder why some blocks are (fill in the blank) Choice and some are (fill in the blank) Favorite?

I like my version of this block as a place to show some quilting. Only problem is, I'm not sure any of the rest of my blocks qualify for the same treatment. Not sure what I'm going to do to set these and there are a few that may not make it to whatever setting I decide on.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Threads of Memory - September: Lancaster Star

There were a lot of new seamlines in this redesigned sawtooth star block. Some of the extra piecing could have been distracting from the star I thought, so I followed our leading block-modeler Becky and used low contrast fabrics for the four sets of triangles around the center square on point.

I bought some new fabric at the Quilt Show in Chattanooga I was able to use to make this month's block work for me. I already had the interesting plaid overlaid with a flower that I put in the four corners.  I had not felt it would work in any of the previous blocks of this series.

In early September, 1864, the 82nd celebrated the fall of Atlanta. Allen Brown wrote to his wife on the 3rd, "The glorious news has reached us that Atlanta is ours and the wildest enthusiasm prevails and the soldiers that have fought so hard for almost four months have the right to rejoice." 

Later in the month, Billy took time to write to his sister Joanna after having received her letter describing the mood at home since their brother Shep's death:  "I am very sorry that Mother mourns and worries so much about dear Shep.... he is a great deal better off than you or I, even if he was alone, I don't think he needed anybody to pray for him for I believe that he was as good a Christian as could be found and am sure he died perfectly satisfied. If he died in a regular U. S. hospital, he was buried in a mahogany coffin. But he is just as well off if, of course, he was buried in a board coffin. Even a soldier that is buried in time of battle, with nothing but his clothes and blanket, is just as well off in the future world as though he was buried in marble. If it is my fate to be killed or to die with sickness, I don't ask to be taken home. If our dear brother Shep could see us mourning his loss, he would say to us, why do you mourn for me? I should mourn for you instead of your mourning for me. I am happy while you are still in that troublesome world, but oh my dear friends, but there is but a faint shadow between us. Soon, why, soon, we will meet again where parting is not known."

Billy told Joanna there was no word on whether the men of the 82nd would be given time to go home on furlough or to vote.  But Billy was not concerned - he believed he would have no more than the requisite 9 months left (per original terms of the 82nd's service, implying the war would be over by that time.)

Eli Hause with the 52nd wrote to Calvin on September 28th, from "Camp at Jefferson Barracks."  This is the envelope (if you click on it for a larger size it is much larger than life).  When I transcribed these letters, I included postmark information, but other than the Sept 28, I can't make out the letters on this one.  It was informative that Calvin wrote the date he received and answered the letters right on the envelope. Receipt date could have been slowed simply because there was no home delivery of mail: someone had to pick it up at the post office in town.

It is interesting to me that this letter has another address on it, faintly written in ink, and upside down. It is addressed to Jesse W. Heaton, Co H 26th Regt, Ind Vols, with Calvin's name below on the left (if you flip the envelope around.)  The Heatons were neighbors of Calvin's, and two letters from Jesse's brother Bivans to Calvin were in small envelopes with no stamp and no address other than "To Calvin Wilder/Next Door" or "please hand to Calvin Wilder" on them. Bivans saved on stamps and I imagine the Heatons and Wilders picked up mail for each other regularly.  But I don't know why Jesse's address is showing up on Eli's envelope. Perhaps Calvin forwarded Eli's letter to Jesse in a letter of his own (they were all good friends) and Jesse returned the letter to Calvin later?

Jefferson Barracks is located on the Mississippi River at Lemay Missouri, south of St. Louis, and is still is use by the Army and Air National Guard. The 52nd was starting their pursuit of Price in Missouri. Eli's letter consisted mostly of comments on various bits of news Calvin has sent him from home, with a little bit of his take on the political sentiment in the regiment. He adds, "I am glad to hear that there is going to be lots of wheat sown this fall. I am in hopes that I will get home in time to help harvest it if nothing happens."

My transcription of this signature and postscript is "Eli to Call  P. S. my hand is so cold that I can hardly write so I will quit untill some other time"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

WWI - Red Cross

All the colored parts are hand dyed - I love the shots of yellow in the red.

The center square is a tiny piece leftover from a quilt made around 2002. The rest is by Vicki who is working on my border fabric this week - can't wait to see it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Austen Family Album - Anna's Choice

We made this block for one of the previous series -

It's a whole lot of triangles. I paired mine in slightly oversized squares, then cut them to the size for my 9 inch blocks. I featured one hand dye from Vicki Welsh (the darker fabric that makes up the star) and a commercially dyed fabric that looks hand-done (the darkest blue/purple). The only yellow in this block is in the centers of the little flowers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beaded Knitting

I wanted to make this beaded sweater, Lalique, by Laura Patterson, and thought I had the perfect yarn for it - only once I started the knitting I realized it was not working.  After a quick trip to a couple of yarn shops I had something else to knit it with, Findley by Juniper Moon Farms, a silk and merino lace weight yarn that was really nice to work on.

I had to take my face out of the photos - as you can tell the shadows were pretty harsh and distracting. You should be able to see some of the bead work in this close up of the back if you click on the photo - the beads decorate the lower edging on the sleeves and body, the lowest four Feather and Fan lace rows, and they zig zag up the fronts of the sweater in the flower motif at the opening edges.

The "sweater" has no closing, it is meant to be worn open and is rather like the elaborate shawls being knitted these days - only it has sleeves, which is far more practical for me.

Here's the sweater on my dress form so you can see the front without the shadows. The flash made some of the beads sparkle.

The designer called for #6 Hex beads because those facets give some shine. My bead store didn't have them except in black, so I got beads with a metallic finish on the insides.  I don't plan to wear it with the matching T - a black dress will show off the lace better.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm a winner!

When I was wandering the vendor aisles at AQS Quilt Week Chattanooga a week ago, there was a loud bell that sounded nearby and the very familiar voice of Bonnie Browning calling attention to everyone around. She was accompanied by a woman with a basket.

The ringing stopped and Ms. Browning asked if we were enjoying the show, which was greeted with cheers. Then she asked how many of us had joined AQS at the show - probably 6-8 women raised their hands, and the hand that shot up first in her eyesight was handed a prize out of the basket in return

Next she asked us to raise our hands if we had been a member of AQS for 10 years - well, I joined sometime shortly after my introduction to quilting class in 1994, so I raised my hand, along with several other women.  Probably too many hands went up because then she asked who had been a member more than 15 years.  I kept my hand up and was surprised when every other hand fell. See what came out of the basket for me -

There are actually five one yard pieces, neatly wrapped in that cellophane (there is no manufacturer's name printed in the selvedge).  They appear to be high quality, densely woven cottons.  Prizes were donated by show vendors - mine came from Accent on Quilting in Florida.  Here I have taken them out of the wrapper so you can see the variety of prints.

I'm pretty sure I can find a use for them.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Austen Family Album - Block 24, Wheel of Change

I've seen this block and think it a little awkward - and it reminds me of a swastika.

.... so I repeated my trick of using a busy print where I wish to de-emphasize the piecing. The shibori from Vicki Welsh for the rectangles makes all the statement I was interested in.

It's not the lighting that makes the block shade from top to bottom - I have a Daiwabo fabric that was printed in a gradation.  The lighter shades between the triangles at the top and the square in the center didn't make it into this block.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

End of Summer

Following up on my Start of Summer post I have finished turning the Carolina Lily block into a little quilt for the seasons challenge. As I looked at the colors in the original block and the colors that came up when I searched for summer images, I found watermelons.

There are lots of watermelon quilts out there if you do an image search. I chose not to portray the seeds as literally as most but the dotted black and white print in the binding is a nod to them. The black and white flower pot was the jumping off point for the large-scale checkered background to the blocks made in an original Drunkards Path style.

There was a permanent stain next to the flower on the right side of the original block that didn't bother me, but stood out to Norris. A little butterfly appliqued on, Broderie Perse style after the quilting was finished, hides that issue.

My quilting was a little more whimsical than usual for me, with the casual loops on the rinds of the slices and in a ring on the outer part of the pink watermelon flesh.

 The back is the pretty daisy print from Sherrye's mother's stash.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Austen Family Album Blocks 22 and 23

I never updated the blog with this photo from last week of my Friendship block -

The swirly stars fabric in the corner was one I had for patriotic quilts. We cut the triangles for Joyce's quilt in exactly the right size for this block.  And this this week, we have Old Maid's Puzzle, which used up all the precut triangles in that fabric -

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Threads of Memory - August 1864 - Jacksonville Star

A traditional star with many variations for the background gets a new one for our Underground Railroad theme -

The new element is the square on point behind the star. I have always liked this star and really like this design.

August 1864 brings sad news from the 52nd Indiana Volunteers  to Shep and Billy's family back in Indiana.  Shep died of disease in the hospital in Memphis.  He was buried with thousands of his comrades in the National Military Cemetery in Memphis.

The Department of Veterans Affairs website tells me which section of the cemetery he is in, but I would need more help to find him there.

Shepherd was 31 when he died. I miss his older-soldier measured view of the war.  You can revisit his portrait in uniform in my February 2013 post at this link.

At 18, the much younger Eli wrote a long letter to his cousin on September 1st.
I take this opportunity of disclosing to you my whereabouts I am well and the others also we got back here day before yesterday, now I will tell you where we went and what we done, (as near as I can) well we went away down in Miss – to a little town called Oxford and knocked around until Forest came into Memphis and had a good time and gone and then we came back here double quick, and now where we will go to from here is more than I can tell, some says that we are going to Sherman and some that we are going to come home and enforce the draft and then stay and vote, but it is uncertain what we will do, I would like to know what they done at the Chicago convention the other day...

Eli wrote an entire page relating a political argument with others in his command (Eli was a fierce Democrat), and speculating on the Democratic convention that took place on August 29-31.  He wound up needing an extra sheet of paper in order to write about anything else.

... if we make another raid out from here I do not think that I will go with them I shall get unwell and go to the fort and there try and get a discharge or furlough if I can, I think that we will get paid off before we leave here we mustered yesterday ... well Cal how does Uncle Hiram's folks take Shepherds death pretty hard blow on Company K sure.
"Uncle" is a term of endearment as Hiram, Shep and Billy's father, was not related to Eli and Calvin.  This was the longest letter Eli wrote to Calvin during the war, but to fill out the last part of the extra sheet, he did a bit of artwork.  In spite of what Eli wrote about getting out of duty with Army, he seems resigned to his life there since he asked about the wheat crop back home concerned with what they will be eating in another year.

The 82nd has been moving with the rest of the Union Army to take Atlanta. They were involved in fighting almost every day from the first to the 11th, suffering casualties, and from the 27th until the end of August were in the rear protecting the Union supply trains.  By that time, the Union forces were on the brink of taking the city. The 82nd's biggest action was probably a fight with the Confederate forces while cutting a section of rails out of the Atlanta and Macon Railroad in the vicinity of Jonesboro on the 31st.  Confederate General Hood evacuated the city on the 1st of September, but Allen Brown with the 82nd, was not aware of it yet when he wrote a letter to his wife on the 3rd of September.  He says they are all tired of the four months campaign and hopes that they will be able to stay in Atlanta once it is taken. He does not seem to be in any doubt of the Union victory there.

Friday, August 29, 2014

All Kinds of Cards

A week ago, my friend Judi hosted a small gathering to teach us to make collage cards. Judi provided all the supplies and an amazing variety of materials we could use to make the cards.  I have found I don't enjoy working with sticky or wet media as much as I do nice dry fiber, but I had a good time.  I took lousy photos of the results with my cell phone.

 There were five of us and we all had different ways of approaching the work.

Judi planned to keep just one card from each of us to use as samples for a class she has been asked to teach.  I think she was very smart to do it this way, letting us experiment and ask questions, and then winding up with a larger variety of cards than she might have come up with on her own.  I think she should keep them all until the class takes place.

One more photo shows the same cards, but I climbed up on a chair to get a better angle so I can point my three completed cards out.

Mine are the dark blue/green one top row center (I started with a magazine photo of peacock feathers), the Chinese horse in the second row toward the right (another magazine photo I'd saved for years) and the strange one with feathers just below the horse.  Do I have a feather theme going here?  Well, after our first two collages, Judi suggested it was time to try some paint techniques.  I was not happy with what I had done, then I decided the s-hook shapes could be swans.  Sadly, the only feathers I found to help with the suggestion I accidentally created were green.... well, it was my first try! 

I think my cards reflect my quilting background.  I also tried leaf-printing, but I was not successful with that. Clearly it takes some practice to get the paint the right consistency and apply the right amount of pressure on the leaf.  After rejecting what I'd done, I started painting over the fabric I had printed on and had fun mixing colors and creating new effects.

But I'm no painter, so I didn't save that with a photo - however, I do think I might try some more work with the water color pencils after doing this, perhaps I can use it for a future challenge quilt.  And I just might collage a card. Time to start saving more magazine ads.

And Judi's cloak? Here's a photo I took of the back before the quilting and lining so you get a better idea of the finished garment - this shows the hand-woven panel of silk prints Judi created.

Judi sent me a couple of photos of the completed garment - this view shows a little of  her delicious low-immersion dyed lining on the sides of the hood.  This last photo is "original size" so clicking on it won't give you any more detail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Start of Summer

I know we are nearing the End of Summer - but I'm talking about a Challenge Quilt, the second in our Seasons Challenge series.

The block for Summer is a quirky Carolina Lily. I have rotated it so you can fully appreciate our by-gone quilter's original touches.

She has chosen that bold little black and white print for the vase or flower pot. I'm used to seeing baskets of flowers with little triangles at the sides for feet, with background to fill in the lower point and no little handles, but our version has been seen before, published in 1981, according to our favorite quilt block source, Barbara Brackman. Here's how it's colored in Blockbase, the software version of her catalog.

The block has also been cataloged as  Royal Dutch Tulip and Vase, and as Royal Japanese Vase - those names being older than Carolina Lily for this version, though the quilts I saw by searching the Quilt Index under all of these names have some version of the two smaller triangles at the sides of the vase rather than this one - is that maybe an unsupported triangle on a table?

What I thought was the most original innovation our quilter made, changing the base of the flower to pink and turn two of the petals into leaves, perhaps envisioning a tulip, has also been done before, I found in my searches for Lily quilts.  But a unique touch was her use of a deeper green for the stem (and handles) as she used for the leaves.

Her piecing is definitely quirky - there are some very interesting seam lines in those pieces she used for the background, I have decided to leave her block intact. 

You can see that it was probably intended to be a 12 inch block. It's going to take just a little trimming and an additional sliver of muslin or two to get it to quilt flat without putting pleats in the work someplace.

I'm going to celebrate summer and this block in my setting, which uses an original variation on a traditional block.  Nothing to do with Carolina Lilies, or Tulips, or any other flower.