Sunday, June 29, 2014

Austen Family Album - Week 13 Crosses and Losses

This week's Crosses and Losses is a simple traditional block - quick to put together.

The big triangles were good for that Hawaiian print. I chose two other fabrics I had not yet used for the smaller triangles. We are more than 1/3 of the way through this 36 block series.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Threads of Memory - June - Salem Star

This was a fun block to make - I finally had a good use for that stylized floral stripe of which I had only about a 10 x 10 inch piece.  Then I just had to pick fabrics to go with it and show off the star in the center.

On June 12th, Billy wrote to his Parents, Brothers and Sisters from "Camp on Altoony Creek" (actually Allatoona), "After so long a silence, I am seated for the purpose of penning you a few lines to inform you that I am still alive and well, have stood up to this campaign of ours bully. I didn't think that I could stand so much although we have been having a very good time of it. our Brig[ade] has been back with and guarding supply trains ever since we left Kingstrom and I guess we are to still continue the same occupation. We are 1 and one half miles south of Acworth, but I don't know how far it is to Atlanta."  He reports that "the Rebs have fell back from several strong positions lately. Our Army appears to be halted here for some purpose. I suppose to find the movements of the enemy and to get up supplies. We will say so anyhow, I am not commanding this Army at present, however, I am expecting every minute when I will."  They received mail for the first time in three weeks last night. He reports they are all in fine spirits, expecting every day to hear of the fall of Richmond and Atlanta. He closes saying it is dinner time and his company has picket duty afterwards.

Acworth Georgia is about 3/4 of the way between Chattanooga and Atlanga. Three days after Billy wrote his letter, the 82nd finished their train guard duty and became involved in the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain. From the Regimental History,

 ... On the llth we again moved on 
the enemy, who was in a strong fortified position, 
some five miles from Kennesaw Mountain. They 
soon gave way and we continued to drive them 
from one position to another until the 18th, when 
they again occupied strong works. Here the 
Eighty-second fortified in a very exposed and dan- 
gerous position. But such was our extreme care 
that we had but one man wounded, to wit: Private 
John Linen weber, of Company G. When once 
fixed we made the rebel works so uncomfortable 
that they were compelled to abandon them under 
cover of the night. On the 19th we pressed them 
until they entered strong works previously pre- 
pared, at Kennesaw Mountain, where they again 
made a stubborn resistance. Here for twelve days 
we were exposed to a heavy fire from shell and 
musketry. We fortified with such care that we 
were protected from direct shots, and only suffered 
from stray shots as we passed from one point to 
another in rear of our works. Lieut. Joe Morris 
was on top the works during this time while the 
enemy was shelling us. He would say, " Look 
out, boys; here comes another darned scalp 
seeker." He kept this up until a twelve pound 
shell made straight for him, and as he threw him 
self forward to get out of its way he said, "Here 
I come." He was a little late, as it stripped his 
blouse clean from his back. The Lieutenant con- 
cluded after that if the boys wanted to know when 
to dodge they could find out for themselves. 
While here our loss was five in killed and wounded. 

Eli Hause with the 52nd Indiana wrote to my grandfather Calvin back home on June 12th from the hospital in Memphis. He tells his cousin not to be scared, he is not bad off nor does he intend to be. He got there on the 10th but is feeling "tolerable well" when he writes.  He was happy to have received a letter from Calvin which arrived when he was on the boat coming up from Vicksburg. He complains that not one of the boys have been in to see him in the hospital,"not even "Lieut Wm Hause" -  his older brother, also with the 52nd.

Eli comments on some of his friends and acquaintences back home that Calvin has evidently updated him on, including one who has recently married, about which he says, "how much better a man is after his wife is dead. I would like to of seen Horace before he was married again and see if he looked any better, he may have looked better to her but I doubt whether I could have seen it or not but upon the whole I will wish them much joy and say no more about it untill I come home....Well the Babies come next I believe. America believes in raising soldiers..."

Eli finishes his letter displaying more of this humor, "I would like to be there to go to Mollies with you but I can't be there and here both and I am here So I am not there .... there is three of the boys from Co. K. here in the Hospital besides me so it is not like being in here alone among strangers, well I will stop and rest before I finish this up for dinner will soon be ready. Well dinner is over and as I have got a pass to go out on the street this afternoon I will close by asking you to write soon and give me all the news."

Calvin saved Eli's letters in the envelopes. He wrote on them the date he received and the date he answered them. These first two letters from Eli took 8 days to get from the 52nd to Calvin in southern Indiana. It's hard to tell how long it took Calvin's answer to get to Eli, as the regimental history says only that they moved from Yellow Bayou to Vicksburg and then to Memphis May 20-June 10.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 12 - Waves of the Sea

I thought I would do the more complicated original version of this block and that I would paper piece it for precision. 

Great idea except the block above (with the last three seams basted and not pressed) was 12 inches and I'm making mine 9.  I just didn't look at that setting when I printed the paper foundations.  

I took it apart down to all the sets of triangles - that is, I didn't not have to separate the two triangles that form squares, cut each square to the correct size for my quilt, and voila -

I left the paper attached but still lost some of the precision I had. In my photos, the only way to see the difference is in the scale of the blue and white print.  I didn't place them in exactly the same way the second time.

So this block was more than twice the work it should have been - all the unsewing costs about as much as recutting, but I didn't want to waste my precious periwinkle and yellow handdyes from Vicki Welsh!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Austen Family Album Week 10 - Good Fortune

(oops!) While trying to find my week 5 post, I realized, I never posted the week 10 block -

That striped fabric, purchased recently just for this quilt, seems like it was made for this block at this scale. I used it once before, for Week 6's odd Empire Star. You might not recognize it as the same fabric because I centered the piecing on the yellow stripe.  Here's the small thumbnail of that block.

Austen Family Album Block 11 Friendship Square

This block looks a lot like week 5's Village Square - well, it is the same, with an added frame around the square on point.

I selected a large-scale print for the center, then concentrated on making the color value distribution different from that block - seen at this link.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

There is a Season - Spring: "Trillium"

This year, the "new from old" challenges Dorry is issuing have a new theme, the four seasons.  I posted a photo of the starting block back at the beginning of Spring - it looked like this -

Since I am not especially fond of boats, I used the block as a source of fabric. You will notice that my long-ago collaborator had no special respect for grain. The background fabric really shows this well.  This is why her block is not square and there are serious issues with the points of the triangles.  I took her hand-sewn block completely apart and starched the pieces thoroughly, over and over, until they were as stiff as paper.  See how they can stand up and hold each other up.

I've read that starch can only do so much to help with grain problems, and I certainly found that to be true. The boat fabric was a feedsack, and the background pale pink was also a very loose weave, and neither one stayed straight as I pieced the background of my little 24 x 24 inch quilt. I had a lot of difficulty with the points matching up. But no matter, I had more plans for this piece.

When I wrote about this challenge in April, I was pondering my color scheme. All the quilts in this series will incorporate green. I studied a lot of images on Design Seeds and came up with a sort of hybrid of several of the spring-flower inspired palettes that combined green and a pink somewhat  close to that of the boat block.

I think all my previous quilts for these challenges (except elements of the Dresden Plate), were pieced, so, with the Design Seeds photos' fresh in mind, felt it was time to do some more applique.

I wanted to design my own flower, and settled on the simplicity of the trillium, which is a native in the woods here. The smaller pink flower with the green center is straight out of the Electric Quilt library and serves as filler in my leaf wreath.  The bunny also comes from Electric quilt. Including a bunny was highly influenced by our Challenge Master herself, as she had chosen Easter as the theme of her most recent Round Robin quilt, and started us off with some very cute bunnies on a pastel block.

We are supposed to use 100% of the starting block on the front of the quilt if possible.  I designed the background to use the the fabric from the boat hull, visible in the larger pink piece top right. I then sewed the sail pieces together to make the piece I used on the bottom left so it would not be covered by the applique.  After that, I took the background pale pink and cut it for the small corner triangles in the blocks but had some leftover pieces.  I placed them on a too-bright pink fabric and held them in place with sheer iron-on interfacing, which you can see in the lower part of the larger piece in the corner block.

But I still had some little slivers of fabric I trimmed off when I got done cutting out the pieces for the face - so I used them in an extra block on the back of the quilt.

The backing fabric is a small part of a very large piece that Sherrye gave me for Dana's green and yellow Grandmother's Choice quilt. I'm trying not to buy fabric for any of these New from Old challenges, and that fabric seemed like a perfect late spring choice.

The bunny's eye was fun - they always tell you not to make the eyes just black - they need a catch light. I would have used a dot of white fabric paint, but a circle cut from the batik we used in  Judi's Healing Cloak served my purposes even better.

My quilting was pretty simple with a lot of parallel straight lines. I really love the effect it has combined with the triangles printed on the teal fabric just behind the bunny's nose.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Breezy Blue Summer Sweaters

Joyce picked out some patterns a while back for me to make for her - I just finished this quick knit -

 With lace straps instead of sleeves, it was a really quick project. It's a very interesting consruction with the bias panels on the sides. The back was knitted exactly the same as the front, but the seams attaching the bias pieces to the lace straps was completed, whereas they were left mostly unstitched in the front.

Back in April I made this summer top for Tanya.  This is the back. The front is pretty plain - just the dart shaping to break up the rows of knitting.  I have been waiting to write about it until I had a photo of Tanya in the sweater.  It doesn't really show well on my dress form which is my size, while Tanya and the sweater are not. But it may be awhile before I ever get my photos, since Tanya and her husband are buying a house.

 The back of the sweater is macrame, something new I thought would be fun to try. This photo shows some of the tools and techniques used to get the knots evenly spaced.

I thought that open back would make this sweater really fast to knit but since the macrame was all new to me, I think I might have finished it just as quickly if I had knitted that bulky yarn.  I gave the sweater to Tanya when I was in Chicago in late April, but she decided she'd get more use out of it without the fringe, so I had to cut it off and weave in the ends.  

Here's that plain front, too small for my dress form.  The color is a beautiful periwinkle and you can tell by the photos, the camera sensor is confused about whether it is blue or purple.

Both sweaters are from Vogue Knitting.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Shindig 2014

Today, the Mountain Jam Circle met with Linda Smathers of the Folk Heritage Committee for the official handover of the 2014 Raffle Quilt.  Linda's expression tells you how happy she was with it, passing on the thanks of other committee members.

Alice hands our donation quilt to Linda Smathers at lunch in Asheville
This is the photo of the quilt we supplied they can use for publicity - obviously not a professional photo shoot, but you get an idea of the Delectable Mountains design -

Alice also provided this closeup that shows the variety of fabrics and the quilting - she did a good job on this photo, but Linda said it still doesn't adequately convey the pretty colors that fade from dark to light, like our mountain vistas.

For most people, the Mountain Jam Circle is an anonymous group of nice ladies who have provided the last three raffle quilts.  Of course, in reality we are real people, pictured below hand-sewing the binding edge on the back of the quilt a couple of weeks ago.  This photo, unlike most of what I post here, is actual size and will not get any larger if you click on it so we nice ladies can remain somewhat anonymous.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Threads of Memory- May - Madison Star

This was an difficult block to pick fabrics for, trying to use stripes or plaids.

Our block came on the last day of May when we were out of town, and I was not as interested in making it as reviewing the Civil War History this month. I have a lot of detail, but it is one soldier's first letter, another's last, and my Great Grandfather and Great Great Great Uncle were just beginning their part in the important campaign for Atlanta, which history reports beginning on May 7th..

On the 26th, Billy wrote to his sister Carrie, heading his letter "In the woods, 40 miles from no place".  He described their activities, following the main action the first few days. On the 14th, the regiment went to the front at 5 a.m. and their company was in the skirmish line, holding that job until noon when "there was a charge made by our men, but repulsed and fell back on the first hill where we built works and bought our artillery up and knocked the devil out of the Rebel works." (According to the regimental history, the 82nd lost 23 killed and wounded in action at Buzzard Roost Gap.)  They had a couple of days camping in the rear of the line until "morning of the 16th, the morning of the Reb's retreat. On the 17th we moved out after the scamps, went through the works which were very strong, found lots of artillery and small arms. Also, their dead were on the field, which looked to me as though the Johnny Rebs had got a nice licking. Saw 5 or 6 hundred Rebel prisoners. 17th, crossed the river at Ressacca and followed the Rebs. On the 18th, we moved a few miles farther, stopped in a beautiful grove and got dinner, then moved on again, passed through some nice country today. On the 19th, we passed through Kingstrom, a very nice town but had been deserted by principally all of its inhabitants. Prisoners going to the rear every day. On the 23rd we waded a pretty good sized river which I have forgotten the name. On the 24th, we moved about 1 mile, then marched and went into camp where we are now and good prospects of staying here today. Had a nice shower last night which was what I have been wishing for every day since we started. Carrie I suppose I might make my history some larger if I had paper, but I will write when the campaign is over." The regimental history has the 82nd on duty guarding the train from May 24th to June 11th, though the historian himself was not there, as he was wounded in the head in the action on the 14th, and relied on reports by his superior officers for this time until his return to the Regiment in early July.   The river Billy couldn't remember was likely the Etowah.

*** *** ***

Last month, I mentioned Eli Hause, a new recruit to the Indiana 52nd in April 1864 and called him a friend of my great grandfather Calvin's. I forgot to say Eli was Calvin's first cousin, as their mothers were sisters. Calvin was born in 1845 and Eli in 1846. This first letter from then 18-year-old Eli to Calvin is dated 10 May.

Columbus Fort Halleck
                Kentucky  May 10th 64
Dear Cousin
                I seat myself to scribble you a few lines to let you know how I am getting a long by this time, I feel as well as could be expected of one in my circumstances I have not heard from home yet and then I have some very sore feet and now I will tell you how I got them, just take notice we went out on a scout and was gone a bout four days and a half now will tell you how far we marched we started last Thursday noon and marched sixteen miles that after noon, that was putting us through very fast what do you say eh. well we stopped at a little town called Clinton and stayed all night and the next day we marched 18 or so miles to a little town called Philisiann and staid there all night and the next day we marched from there to a little town called Mayfield 18 miles and staid there all night and about midnight we was waked up with the firing of guns and we were called up into line ready for action and then & there learned that a squad of guerrillas had come in on the rear of one of the picket posts and captured ten men and run so we pulled off and went back to and slept untill morning and then we harnessed up and marched twenty eight miles across to Clinton again that was Sunday you know well we staid there all night again and the next day we marched back here again sixteen miles and got here last night alwright except sore feet we marched some where near 100 miles in a little less than four days and a half and accomplished nothing at all only lost 10 men out of the 21 Mo I never got to shoot my gun until this morning we all shot into the river, I did not tell the folks whether Will was well or not but he is all wright, our dinner is pretty near ready so I will bring this to a close I would like to get one or two of them papers now to read if you have any thing very interesting Oh yes Cal you must tell me who enlists for one hundred days whether you enlist or not if you do command your Reg to come down here with the fifty twos. Well I have no more interesting news to write so I will bring this to a close by asking you to write soon and give me all the news when and what is going on in old Jennings.
                                                Direct to
                                                Eli W. Hause
                                                                Co K 52 Reg
                                                                                Ind Vols
                                                                Columbus Ky

Uncle Shep would have rejoined the 52nd Regiment in Columbus after his furlough in Indiana, On May 20th, he wrote to his sister Carrie from on board the boat Hannibal at Vicksburg, where they were to be stopped for a few hours. They left Columbus on the 16th and had just arrived in Vicksburg [that is about a 400 mile trip]. As far as Shep knows they are going on down to "Read River" [probably the Red River - that campaign ended just two days after Shep's letter was written], but beyond he did not know. He wrote "Don't care much about going down that way for folks say the Rebs down there are mighty careless about shooting at 'we all'. Perhaps you think this is no matter to joke about but we had as well laugh as  . ... I think the less trouble we borrow, the less we will have. The longer I live the more I think that no matter how hard our lot may seem, it is all for our good. You know if there was no bitter there would be no sweet. If we could truly say to our Heavenly Father under all circumstances, as did Christ when He was crucified - Thy will be done and not mine. It would be much better for us."  Shep reported the weather was very warm and his health was generally very good, he could not ask for better. He closes by saying they are bringing blackberries on the boat to sell, only 20 cents a pint. He guesses they would not be ripe yet at home.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Austen Family Album week 9 - London Roads

I didn't relate to this block at all. I played with the color/value placement because I didn't much like anything about the arrows. I hoped doing it my own way, it might balance one of the blocks we did a few weeks back that seems off-kilter.