Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to home base!

I'm back from a relaxing week at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York.  Most of today will be devoted to unpacking and putting everything away, doing the laundry and catching up on business.

I'll miss the lovely surroundings and the friendly people but most of all I will miss my class!  Each afternoon, I spent 2 hours working with a lovely group of fifteen women from all over the United States.  My class was titled Women and Quilts Moving Westward.  
During the class sessions we hand stitched a set of Album (or Chimney Sweep) blocks which were commonly used as signature blocks in Friendship Quilts during the mid-1800's.  In addition, I shared experiences gleaned from reading women's diaries and journals of that period which invariable led to discussions about what it must have been like to be a woman and a wife during an era when men's opinions and goals dominated American domestic life.  
We also tried our hands at creating an applique motif without someone else's pattern to copy.  These are my six blocks and my two attempts at freehand cutting.  It's easy to tell the lower one is a leaf (oak, perhaps), but not so easy to tell the upper one is a "tulip" tree leaf -- I'm thinking it looks more like a turtle?   Or a reject?
I also shared an antique top I own from the fourth quarter of the 1800's using the same block design.
I can't recall how I acquired it -- did someone give it to me or did I purchase it?  I should quilt it because it looks wonderful spread out on a bed.
It is completely hand-pieced -- even the borders were added by hand though it does seem to be two or three batches of muslin and two different women's work.
And there are some terrific fabrics in this quilt top.  Just look!!

But this one was everyone's favorite without exception!

Last evening, we had the BIG SIREN alert for a tornado watch.  That was a new experience for me.  I don't recall ever hearing the sirens for anything other than the monthly test.  Tornados are rare in this region of Ohio.  Fortunately, we didn't experience more than wind and rain but it was truly unsettling.  I did find myself wondering if there was anything I should take to the basement with me other than my cat.  In the end I just took the cat, but this week I'll be packing up two quilts to send off to Quilts of Compassion for their trip to the Nebraska , 8/12 through 8/18 -- they still need 750 quilts!  If you have a UFO top that could be finished and sent off to them, they will be so grateful.  The easiest way to find all the pertinent information is their FACEBOOK page, Quilts of Compassion!  Remember, there's nothing like a deadline!!


  1. Sounds like you had a great time teaching. I love the album blocks and the first red block in particular. I see the maker must have run out of red and she had to add a second; blocks like that add so much interest to a quilt!

  2. It's an interesting quilt because all the reds look like "a collection" which I would not expect from that era.

  3. Western PA here / tornado watch the other day ...I at least took my purse down to the cellar just in case. Then the next day I couldn't find my purse as I had forgotten all about that :) Lovely blocks!

    1. My purse -- well, that's a very sensible suggestion!! Thanks!

  4. Coming from the tornado alley of the South, I can tell you to take sturdy shoes, rain gear, purse, car keys, cell phone, flashlight and radio (or fully-charged digital TV if you have one). The rest is just stuff.

    1. Thanks for the advice, Libby! I did have the cell phone and my daughter (who lived in the south for 16 years) had a radio and flashlight come to think of it. But the shoes and the rain gear are excellent suggestions!! I hope never to need it again, but better to be ready!