I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, November 21, 2014

November Quilt : Sunshine and Shadow

Log Cabin crazy quilt
''Barn Raising'' or ''Sunshine and Shadow''.

Hi guys! Today I want to show you one of my best ''rescue'' quilts. In November, when autumn really gets its grip on the beach, I like to put away my Halloween cheddar quilts and replace them with my few softer brown-tones quilts. No big deal or effort to rotate my collection of antique quilts---they have to be aired and refolded regularly anyway. And all I do is fold them over the arm of the sofa or drape on one on my Shaker blanket chests.

Unlike my city loft with its 20 foot ceilings, where I had large quilts hung high on the old brick walls, my cottage doesn't lend itself to vertical quilt display.

I put my Porch quilt on my bed! Now if only I could find the flannel sheets.

And I use this antique/ vintage Log Cabin Quilt in my living room.

It is perhaps really a Barn Raising Log Cabin, but I like to call it Sunshine and Shadow because of its wonderfully graphic light and dark color placement.

If you look closely you'll see that the dark areas are set out in shaded order. The center is very colorful, darkly bright, the next round of darks is lighter or medium tones, then the outermost band is the lightest, just enough depth of color to make a contrast with the pales.

I lugged it out to the beach in a gale wind, so you could see the colors in the sunlight.

and its almost-hooked rug texture.....

The blocks fascinate me. I love the colors, so modern, yet rustic and autumnal: the green and brown of acorns, the dusty red of maples, the rich deep brown of oak leaves, the yellow of beech trees and golden rod.
I love the pretty faggoting or bird track stitch that is neatly though not gorgeously done in pink, sage, tan, and faded goldenrod yellow pearl cotton.
It is not quilted but tied with pink pearl cotton knots. Those that survive have formed tiny pink pompoms in each block's center.



I like that the ''logs'' or strips vary in width. It's not all equal and perfect. As I recall the few bald spots, like where you now see the gingham base fabric, were beautiful crumbling velveteen.

And the other fabrics are interesting, too: cotton damask, a few calicos, dark tartan plaid shirting, textured faille and bengaline [here]---interspersed with many cotton sateens. No silk or wool, which is probably why it survived such a long and hard life.

I found it at the flea a few years ago. I bought it and another beautiful quilt [cheddar and turkey red; Irish Chain?] that is made with a hand-woven linen ground and has the finest quilting you can imagine . These two quilts were the dirtiest textiles I have ever seen. They were literally both solid tan with what seemed to be mud. (I hoped it was mud, lol.) Had they been used in a barn? In a pig pen? The dealer didn't remember, he was just using them to wrap his larger wares. I wouldn't even touch them, just held open a black trash bag from my car and told the guy, 'Toss 'em in.'
I think they cost 10.oo.
Back then I had a kinda junky black Jeep and even so I cringed to put the quilts into its cargo space.
Home to soak in a bucket!

What even made me consider them?
Well I could see the fine quilting on the cheddar and red quilt...and this Log Cabin had a beautiful, not quite as dirty backing fabric which I thought I could re-use.

Mo is demonstrating scale here. Gorgeous grey ground roses print! How I wish we could buy this now. It's what makes me date this quilt as possibly 1940s, when grey was oh so stylish.

Once soaked and rinsed, I thought I could use the quilt for Christmas lavender hearts and stockings. But when I washed it again ---more than once, so gently, so carefully--- its true beauty emerged.

I treasure it.
I could never cut this beauty into ornaments or ''bears''. I'm so glad it called my name, oh so silently---that hot autumn day, under the bright rose red maple trees. And that it now lives in comfort, loved and valued ---despite some tatters--- in my collection.

What do you think? A keeper, right?



gone to the beach


Mo, snuggled on my shoulder.

 PS Or is this Barn Raising? No, this is Courthouse Steps? Log Cabin is, I think, the only pattern with all these secondary names?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Sweeping Out the Cobwebs in my Mind

Hi! Time to get away from the sewing machine and the fall cleaning.Time to blow away the cobwebs in my mind instead. We're expecting rain and gale winds this week, so today is the day for a November beach walk.

In the crisp calm sunshine the tiny bird tracks beckon. What are they? What are they looking for?


Do the tiny migrating birds eat seeds hidden in these fluffy weeds?


It seems one of the wild cats/ feral cats is tracking the bird!

These are rather big tracks, maybe a rock dove or mouring dove. They're common in the dunes this time of year.

And what is this odd thing?

It looks like a manhole cover! It's huge, maybe two or three feet across. Imagine that washing up on the beach! I'd hate to meet up with it while swimming. Clonk!

Or maybe it washed off this second odd ring?

An old cistern or septic tank? Or a Nike missile tunnel!? Once upon a time this area was a Nike missile base, or so our local legends tell us.

It seems to be dated 196[9]?...(on right section)


The ripening dune grass makes me think of moors in Scotland.

These are the weird manmade dunes that were built last spring. This project cost millions of dollars and involved tons of sand. They are filling holes in the dune complex, holes created by H Sandy, two years ago now.

We are told not to climb on them (looking for treasure! The sand was siphoned out of the ocean bed offshore!)...because they are perhaps less stable than natural dunes. So intriguing though as each windstorm rounds their tops and exposes more shells and junk.

This is an ancient treasure, a giant tree trunk, squared and flattened for use as ---something. A ship's keel, a wharf flat?

This is a quarter section of the tree. See how small my hat looks?

This section is at least 24" thick, imagine what a giant tree this once was! This driftwood has been here as long as I have lived here, sometimes buried, sometimes exposed.

In front of the driftwood log is an old dump or midden. When the wind blows the sand aside, seaglass and odd metal bits appear. It's ugly but potentially a good place for ''finds''.

If I need some rusty wire or weathered rope for a project, I know I'll find it here, along with big old nails and bolts the size of cigars, and giant rings like washers, as big as bangle bracelets. Whole, intact seaglass bottles too. Strange.....

This is my favorite beach path.

It's so hidden and silent, only I know it's here.

But this year someone official found it and blocked it off. The fences make beautiful patterns, but the climb is soft and, again, not too stable. Some days I can't resist and I sneak over the dunes on explore.

Here I am, in my shorts. I usually wear shorts til December. But this year, who knows?


Coning home for a well-deserved cup of tea, I see Mr. Mockingbird in the ugly locust tree! I am thrilled to see him again. I'll add dried blueberries to this week's shopping list, just for him.

Back to work! Today's projects are sorting family paperwork and sewing the Sawtooth stars for Flags. Have a great week! Stay warm!



gone to the beach...