Thursday, February 27, 2014

Never too early ....

.... to start planning for summer. The Mountain Jam Circle quilters met several weeks ago and purchased the fabrics for this year's Shindig on the Green quilt. We are following an Eleanor Burns pattern that requires some assembly before the cutting is completed, but Alice got the first part of the cutting done.  We met for a yummy lunch at her house last week so that I could get some of the remnants to make a block for the center.

This block includes all the fabrics that will appear in the quilt.  I used the basic idea of the block Eleanor Burns used, but made it slightly more complex to incorporate all the shades of blue in what I hope looks like a transparent overlay of a light blue frame on point set over a Missouri Star.  I have found two related blocks "Noon and Light" and a version of "Royal Star"  - but surprisingly, no traditional pattern that is exactly this combination of squares and triangles.

This is a 12 inch block. Alice and Ann will be piecing the rest of a lap sized-quilt around it.  Should be a beauty!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A hat for Marvin

When Marvin saw the hat I knit for Norris, he said he wanted one just like it.  "Just like it," I wondered, "the same shape, the same texture, the same color?"  NO!  Not the same color!

Marvin needed a KU Blue hat. This blue was the closest I found in an easy-care worsted weight. Marvin's hat is a slight improvement on the earlier model, for which I was short of yarn. There's more room in the crown.

I mailed the hat off last week - it arrived on Friday when Marla and Marvin were getting ready to leave on vacation. They went to the beach in Florida. I don't think Marvin needs the hat there - and this winter is probably over in Chattanooga. But he'll have it for any chilly weather next year.  Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Threads of Memory - Civil War 2014 Block Two - Mercer Star

February's block is a combination of two traditional blocks, a large Ohio Star with a small North Star for the center.The Ohio Star is a reminder that the 82nd Indiana was the only one from that state in a brigade of Ohio regiments by the time of the Chattanooga campaign. 

I'm still trying make sure I put a stripe or a plaid - or both - in each block. The reverse toile print I used in the background of this block was purchased to back a wall quilt a few years ago. but I really like it here. The two red fabrics were recently purchased at a tiny quilt shop in Chickamauga.

I don't have any news from Shep with the 52nd in Tennessee, but Billy wrote to his brother Hiram from the camp at Chattanooga on February 9th, telling him he is well and cooking dinner of beans and "corn dodger." They are living fine with plenty of dried fruit, potatoes and onions. (Onions were prized by Civil War armies both for their flavor and the vitamins.) Billy reports that a depot full of quartermaster stores burned that morning, having caught fire from a cook shanty. His unit was ordered to carry out the goods. "We didn't get more than half of if carried out, the balance was burned. The fire broke out about 4 o'clock in the morning."

from the Library of Congress collection, a Federal Camp by the Tennessee River, Chattanooga

Billy continues, "I think that the Rebel Army is about used up. They have to keep 3 and 4 picket lines between their Army and ours, to keep their men from coming over in squads of hundreds, and they break through sometimes anyhow. The pickets are formed of those that are most hostile to the U.S." Billy has also just seen one of the largest bears of his life. The bear and his keeper were captured at Knoxville and are performing for the troops. Six mules pull the bear's cage on a wagon. Billy expects to get paid soon.  Since he has enough money to last until next pay day, he's going to send his earnings home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WWI Block of the Month - Block Two - Love Entangled

.... or is it "The War at Home" - the newspaper article about the block gave the latter name, while the pattern instructions call it Love Entangled.

I looked it up in the authoritative Brackman catalog of pieced blocks - she has it as Love Entangled from a source that would have provided that name in either the 1960's or 1970's.

I really love Vicki's hand-dyed shibori that I used for the larger pieces in the pieced block.  The pattern called for a large red square and blue triangles. My pieces all came from the same fat eighth I got as part of a group of multi-colored fat shibori fabrics I bought from her a while back. The little corner squares are also from Vicki, while the twelve little red triangles are from a hand-dyed fabric purchased at a quilt show years ago.

It is rather interesting to take so much time making all those little pointy triangles only to place appliqued leaves so that some of the points get covered up. I did make the stem and leaves a little more distant from the block so as to minimize that effect this time.  It took longer than usual to put this block together because I got my all the leaves, stems, circles, and stars prepared for the remaining blocks.  Let's see, twelve blocks, 34 leaves per block....  I don't really want to know how many leaves that is.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

WWI Block of the Month from Kansas City Star Quilts

The Kansas City Star is publishing a new Block of the Month series that started in January called "Where Poppies Grow" that commemorates the service of one of the designers' grandfathers. The quilt can be seen on the publisher's quilting blog here - Pickle Dish blog

Dorry and I exhanged an email or two about this project - did we really need to make another quilt from a series of blocks? But my WWI education is lacking, and this block series is very different from those I've done recently.  The combination of piecing and appliqué was appealing so, I have taken the plunge.

I decided to stick with the original patriotic color scheme, but went in a new direction from my other historial-reference block series quilts.  I featured hand-dyed fabrics with a few commercial prints for supporting roles.  My friend Diane dyed the bright blues - the circle under the star is a darker version of the one in the pieced area. (Both are more of a Cadet blue, not turquoise as they appear in my photo.) I'm not certain of the origin of the red. The three shades of green leaves and the gold star were my custom William and Mary fabrics from Vicki Welsh for the Grandmother's Choice" quilt.

I did the 34 leaves, circle and star with raw edge appliqué finished with a tiny machine buttonhole stitch in matching silk thread.  Hand-appliqué takes a toll on my hands and wrists and I'm very comfortable and happier doing it by machine

I don't have a direct ancestor who served in WWI, but there are at least three great-uncles who did. After I do just a little more research, I'll post information about their service.