Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Threads of Memory - Month 4 - Canada Star for Lucie Blackburn

This month we have a pretty star that looks like a traditional quilt block design but is not -

I changed the piecing to make continuous strips so I would not have to line up the stripes I wanted to frame a light colored star.  I didn't have any Maple Leaf fabric for Canada, so the red and white combination has to stand in.

Shep would still be at home on furlough for most of April, leaving Indiana to go back to the field on the 26th. Meanwhile, Eli Hause, a new recruit, showed up on the roster with a mustering-in date of April 21st. The new recruits and non-veterans numbered 127 and were temporarily assigned to the 89th Indiana, According to the official record they, "marched to the relief of Banks' army on the Red river, being engaged at Fort De Russy, Pleasant Hill, Moore's plantation and Yellow bayou." Eli was a close friend of Calvin's, another of my great-grandfathers. I will quote portions of Eli's letters starting in May, the date of the first correspondence we have from Eli to Calvin.

Great Grandfather John and Great-Great Uncle Billy were with the 82nd in the Chattanooga area. Billy wrote to his family on April 7th from Ringgold Georgia. He had had the mumps and was not quite well yet, but could see the Division out on review about a mile from where he was. He wrote, "I wish you could see them, you would say it was the prettiest sight you ever saw." He complained he had had no letters from home, and was aware that Shep was at home on furlough while he is counting the remaining time he is to serve - not quite 17 months provided the war lasts.

Ten days later 17th, Billy wrote to his sisters, having received a letter at last. He was well and hearty, and grateful for the attentions of Lt. Brown while he had the mumps, taking him into his house - something he didn't believe every officer would do. He tried to console his sister Carrie whose beau Jesse was not at home with some of the others in his, Indiana's 26th regiment, "as he is not at Richmond, guess he will not get blown up." (It seems Jesse may be a prisoner). Billy also passes word from John, my great-grandfather, "John W. accepts your compliment with much pleasure and also returns the compliment by sending his love and best wishes to you. Now to settle the matter all up straight, I send my love and respects to Caroline [John's sister]."

Allen Brown wrote to his sister on the 23rd of April, describing some of the activities in camp, washing clothes and "taking some care of ourselves the same as though we was at home." Later he says, "I cannot see why I am spared for I have been where the bullets flew the thickest, in two very hard fought battles and several skermishes and have never been hit yet. But my companions have been shot down by my side ...." He reports that the ground there dries faster than at home, the roads are good and he assumes they will try to go to Atlanta. He predicts the "hardest fighting that has ever been done" is yet to come. They are facing thousands of Rebels in their front when they advance, and he believes the enemy will fight, notwithstanding the newspapers' reporters saying they will not.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WWI Block of the Month Block Four - Ladies Delight

I have been spending a lot of hours on the Shindig quilt this week but managed to piece the block for this project.

Only the stem of the applique is actually sewn in place - the star is just placed there for photography and the leaves and blue circle are just fused. I'll finish the sewing when the quilting is done.

The Ladies Delight block is another one I have never made. I toyed with the idea of swapping some of the white and blue pieces, but then realized it was done this way so the leaves cover only the background and none of the colored areas. Almost entirely Vicki Welsh's hand dyes (the streaked dark blue is actually a print), I think this makes a pretty block!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dyed eggs and other creations

I spent a couple of very pleasant hours at friend Judi's house with a group of creative women who came up from Florida for a week at one member's cabin in nearby Maggie Valley.  Judi hosted a lovely brunch for all eight of us, then we headed to her studio to tie-dye Easter eggs.  We actually tied them up with men's silk ties that had been purchased at thrift stores and deconstructed.

It was really amazing to unwrap the egg and see the tie printed on the eggshell.  All we did was tie them up with rubber bands then wrap again in other fabric and secured that with more rubber bands. The eggs were pre-washed with vinegar, then boiled as you would for hard-boiled eggs.

I tried to be a little more creative and put a smaller piece of one tie on an egg then wrapped it all in a second tie before finishing up with the mummy wrapping.  A careful selection of prints and placement could result in a patchwork effect.

I had seen onion-skin dying on a blog yesterday, so we tried that, too.  We used both red and yellow onions - here's a close up of one where I tried a resist technique with a flower cut out of plastic. My design is lost, but the effect is still interesting -
Here's my little carton of eggs all together- it shows the foulard print of the two-fabric egg you couldn't see much of in the first photo.

Aren't those fun?  And the technique couldn't be easier since there was no mixing of dye solutions. You don't know which colors will transfer from the silk ties. 

Back home after a walk, I made up my Austen Family Album block of the week, a Cross within a Cross block.

I seem to have a periwinkle and golden yellow theme going on today.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sister's Choice - Austen Family Album week 2

I have always liked this one -

Both the shibori stripe and the periwinkle are hand dyes from the fabulous Vicki Welsh.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mug-rugs for Cindy and a new block of the week

We had a birthday party for Cindy on Friday. It was suggested we could bring gag gifts, but I'm not good at those so I made her a pair of mug rugs in her black bird theme that go with the black and tan accents in her house -

The bird was an image labeled for non-commercial reuse with modifications. I printed it on a treated organza and used a low-contrast tan and white Japanese tree print to back it. The mug rugs are about 6x8 with minimal straight line quilting and a single fold binding to finish them off.

I started a new block of the week program by Barbara Brackman today that I won't be blogging about in detail. The theme of the weekly stories is Jane Austen. I'm not really an Austen fan - I read some of the books because they were available in recorded book format from the library but otherwise I probably would never have read them.

The block was called "Bright Star" on the blog, but I've always seen it as "Rosebud" - a block I don't care for. The two contrasting small triangles always just look awkward to me, so I disguised them with my choice of floral prints. The stripe doesn't go with the flower theme but I think gives the pinwheel a little energy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A new Challenge Series begins

Dorry is always the one to come up with these great ideas and organize groups of quilters to stretch and create quilts beyond our comfort zones! We finished the June Bride series when the Bride finally had her day, so now we're on to a one-year-long/four quilt project that will also have vintage quilt blocks as the starting point.  This series is based on the seasons, the first being Spring.  I got my block a week or two ago.

We are to include the color Green in these quilts. I thought I might be able to use some of the green and yellow fabrics I had for Dana's quilt, but that was before I saw this particular pink. Except for the fabrics than included black, most of the fabrics I had looked too toned compared to this coral sort of pink and I didn't want black for spring.

I looked at my floral prints that included bright pink. Since pink and green are a common combination, I get a feeling that for me, starting with these would take something away from the challenge. I've taken that approach before, with two of the fabrics in this group, actually. The roses on the left would be a challenge if I were to incorporate all the tonal browns, so I was leaning that way, but I'm not sure the combination would read 'spring' very loudly in a 24"x24" quilt.

You might rightly protest that the peony on the lower right is not a fabric.  It's a card Dorry sent on another recent occasion, a print of a watercolor by Great Falls Studio Artist Linda Jones. The bright pinks with the dark green is a winning combination. Linda's palette adds a touch of orange and a hint of purple to the mix -- but I used that in my Reston quilt based on the fabric just above it.  I haven't quite decided yet, but have spent some time on color-palette websites to get an interesting and challenging combination that might not be found in my fabric collection.

After the colors decision, the problem of how to incorporate the vintage block in a quilt remains. I have made no secret of the fact that I prefer geometric fabric shapes just make geometric patterns without trying to represent real objects like a boat. I cut up the last of the June Bride blocks to use it like fabric - but only because I hadn't done that before and wanted to try it.  I think for this quilt I will try to use the original shapes, if not all of the original piecing. We are as always supposed to use just about all of that vintage block for the challenge. Hmmm.... I wonder what kind of block uses that boat-bottom shape?