Friday, March 28, 2014

My Jacob's Ladder Project # 2

Yesterday spent time with my bee and took along the Jacob's Ladder project.  When my guild had it's quilt show, I had purchased a number fat quarters of different calicos from vendors there, enough to work on the 3 quilt tops that were already started. Then my brainstorm of marking the fabric in the last post.

It worked! though I wasn't so sure after marking the first one (probably because I was using the wrong marking tool).  I switched to a pencil for the 2nd one.  Thought I probably wouldn't continue that way but after sewing up the pieces for the first one, decided it was worth the time to mark the fabric and sew before cutting apart.  It was so easy to do though it took me two hours to get that first one marked, sewn, and cut.   The second one took half that time but I did have to take out some stitches because I was over enthused by the process and didn't watch closely where to stop and turn.

I did run into one problem when sewing on the diagonal.  The fabric appeared puffed up after the sewing was done.  At least I had over-sized the half square triangle units by 1/8 inch. I'll have to try the walking foot for the next one I mark up or change directions of the diagonals when I mark.  BTW, the colored fabric was layered with the background fabric in case you're wondering what's going on.  In this case I just used plain muslin.

Here's what it looked like after it was sewn and before I did the cutting.
Did decide that I didn't need to mark the cutting lines for the individual 2 1/2" squares as I can easily do that part when I'm cutting those 2 1/2" squares from the strips... after the strips have been sewn.

Looks like I might have to make another just so you can see the markings better and make the sewing more visible.

It was really nice though to be able to have most of the sewing done while uncut.  Next step will be to iron then sew the 4-patches together then build the block.  Oh, and the 1/2 square units will have to be slightly trimmed to correct size of 4 1/2" inches sq.

I haven't described the Jacob's ladder project that I'm doing.  The picture of the original old quilt is on the first part.

The first quilt will use one color blocks, probably without sashing but I might change my mind on that..  Then there will be two quilts with 2-color blocks similar to the old quilt, and the 4th quilt will be scrappy, mixing up all the colors that I've cut from these fat quarters.  The 2nd and 3rd will have sashing like the old quilt as will the scrappy one.

 I had to split up the 2-color blocks as I noticed that the light/dark ones didn't look good with the dark/light blocks so that is why there are two quilts being made with these.

These are some of the blocks I had finished up last year though in that picture, I was just playing around with the colors.

continued in # 3

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A couple of museum quilts from the Civil War.

Looks like I'll be missing the Dallas Quilt show this weekend but I did view a couple of old Civil War quilts at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth today.  You may click on the pics to view larger.

One was an impressive log cabin style quilt (Barn Raising pattern) with embroidery done along  the logs of the log cabins.  Every log seemed to have the same embroidery stitch called the Herringbone stitch, a stitch usually used to decoratively sew two patches together but in this case used as a lovely edging stitch.  The embroidery thread color of the dark "logs" varied with green, yellow, or red which highlights the embroidery.  White appeared to be the primary embroidery thread used in the white "logs."  The logs are in colors of red. green, or white as shown.

The other was in wool with triangular pieces, pre-stuffed and sewn in what looks like a quilt as you go.  The blocks are  4  triangles sewn together with 3 other like  units to form a pin wheel.  Then those blocks sewn together to form the quilt.  Since these quilts were behind glass, I couldn't quite see exactly how those triangle units were made.  It appears that the quilter  started with squares, folded diagonally, filled then pieced together with the next triangle unit.  The edges of the quilt look like this is exactly how they were formed.  It would have been a warm quilt.  The original recipient of this quilt was a young soldier in a Texas Calvary unit who survived the war.

If you ever visit Fort Worth, this museum is great and worth the visit.  It's on the  east side frontage road of  Interstate 820 on the west side of Fort Worth.  There is plenty to interest the males and the females of a family along with great descriptions of each item displayed.

I was particularly intrigued because part of the exhibit was about the "Sanitary Commission" organized by private citizens of the North to provide nursing care for the wounded.  A number of years ago, at the Dallas Quilt show, I happened to be walking past the area set aside for appraising peoples quilts.  A lady had brought in a particularly old family quilt that turned out to be made by women of the town of Skowhegan, Maine.  The quilt was a Civil War quilt.

 Each person adding blocks to the quilt had embroidered or hand-written their names on their blocks.  As I recall, somewhere on the quilt it mentioned the Sanitary Commission. I think it was being donated to the Commission to use.  I had wondered at the time what the Sanitary Commission was. Now I know.  I do not know what became of the quilt but the quilt owner had been looking for a museum back East to donate the quilt to as she  had no one to pass it on to and felt it was of historical significance.  It had been in her family for generations.

That quilt really intrigued me because I have relatives that have lived in or near Skowhegan, ME for my whole life, including one who had been the town clerk for many years.  I took some photos of that quilt but my skills with that camera at the time were not that great but I was able to make out names and sent several of the photos to my relative who recalled seeing many of those same names while she worked for the town.  If I can find those pictures again, I'll look them over again and post them here.  As I recall, it was a signature type block.  Each block had been made individually, layered and then bound, then all sewn together to make the quilt; another "quilt as you go."

update:  Since writing the above an hour ago, found a site via facebook of another blog that is about Civil War Quilts that may interest readers of this post.