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

Friday, February 2, 2018

Westering Women Top ~ A Finish

Hi! What are your feelings about deadlines? I like them, I do well with plans and deadlines and enjoy the self imposed pressure to get things done. I finished Westering Women [top only] this past Wednesday, January 31 , just in time for Barbara Brackman, quilt historian and author, to begin her 2018 block of the month sew along.

 Westering Women was her 2016 project, a free block each month; I skipped 2017. My winter plan was to get WW done by February first and I am so happy to be finished!

I enjoy Brackman's sewalongs because they are pressure free. There is no competition, no one who gets it done quicker and better, no progress reports, no show and tell. She puts the blocks out there, the rest is up to you [me]. I also very much enjoy learning each month. I am interested in social history, the lives and interests of regular people in the past. I think school "History 101" does itself a disservice by focusing only on politics, kings/ queens/ presidents' shenanigans, wars and battles. Treaties! The lives of real folks are mostly ignored, which is too bad. Because back then, as now, we all know that what goes on in DC has very little to do with our daily lives, right?
And of course social history is the story of women, their lives and contributions. And for us quilt lovers, we find their stories in the quilts.

Westering Women is the story of pioneers travelling west. My own story was a young woman, Annabelle "Annie" Smith, newly wed, adventurous and strong. I added a few blocks representing more of her life.

Prairie Queen: "You must be tough to survive on the plains."

Log Cabin: The home she and her husband, Will Smith, built:

Basket: Their first harvest, when they knew they would survive and prosper.

The blue sashing is from a line called Baltimore Blues, by Barbara Brackman, a nod to her fabric design work. The gorgeous blue stripe [in my make believe story] was from a bolt of Prussian Blue fabric sent to my young woman by her dear sister who stayed in the East, married a prominent Baltimore ship builder. Annie made herself a Sunday best dress with the stripe and  and pinafores for Emmeline and Eustacia Rae; she used the leftover bits in this quilt.

I added random red, ''scrap bag'' cornerstones and in the borders a stack of red squares that symbolize the mileage cairns left along the westward trail.

(Sadly these rock piles, or cairns, were often left for a loved one who died on the journey, but I do not put death images on my quilts, so I choose to  call them milestones.)

I chose this Covered Wagon, "Prairie Schooner"  print for the backing.

Like some of my other snuck in bits of fabric:

this is not at all correct for the period of the story or the quilt. But nevermind, who could resist wagon trail wagons! They are quite large 2"?, too big to pass of as amid-1800s conversational print. The print is from the Little House on the Prairie line, artist Garth Williams endpaper illustrations, from the books I so loved as a child.

The quilting will be Fans probably. The binding red, or if I relax my death image rule, perhaps black, as Annie, now old and frail, finishes her  journal/ journey  quilt and adds the final black edge for her beloved husband Will who returned east and fought and died for the Union in the  terrible battle at Gettysburg, in 1863.

A side note---oddly this square, Gum Leaf, is the most pinned block from my project and blog.

But Corn and Beans is still my own favorite.

Final thoughts: I would like to design/make an applique quilt that is Prairie Weeds and Wildflowers of the Trail  West. And I'd love it if Brackman branched out and did the history and blocks of the 20th century. Maybe WW2?
Brackman's new projects is Antebellum Schoolgirl Letters and Diaries. HERE   and here  I'll be back next week to show you the choices for design and colorways for that quilt.

Mo supervised of course!

But it has gotten cold, very cold again. Mo retreated to the bed with his new favorite chenille and faux fur throw.

Zzzzz. Pugs snore. A lot.

Menu tonight- leftover roast beef turned into Stroganoff, steamed green veggies. And I may bake a pound cake to heat up the oven, freeze for my friend's visit in a few weeks. If it stays so cold we'll need a hot cup of tea and a bit of cake after thrifting all day.

Have a great weekend.



gone to the beach...

link to more of Annie's story. Scroll down. here


  1. Nice job getting that top together! It looks like it is pretty large. It is very pretty and I love the fabrics you used.

  2. Looks so nice all together! I think the gum leaf block is popular because it catches the eye and is just a bit unusual. The corn and beans block looks too hard!!

    Maybe YOU should design the wildflowers quilt! You can do it, I know you can! I have books of wildflowers, and can send you pictures from them for you to use, and there are usually hundreds of good pictures online, too.

    LOL Mo, that's what I want to do today, too - pile up somewhere and snooze!

    1. Yes I'd want to design the blocks myself. Thanks for offer of books, yours would be more prairie than my bookshelf has. I did tho order the book mentioned below, used on Amazon. Just bec I am intersted. Also the bird sanctuary here has an area of all native tall grass and tall grass flowers that I love to visit; some flowers and weeds---name even, seem universal across the US.

      Peony or gum leaf is MUCH harder than Corn and Beans. It is second or third hardest block in the project.

  3. Your top is fabulous, and I love that corn and beans block for the rich warm colors! Have you seen Brackman's book "Prairie Flower, a Year on the Plains"? I think that might be just what you're looking for. It's available on amazon and if you don't mind buying used, there are copies available for less than $2 plus shipping right now.

    1. Thanks for kind words about my quilt! And suggestion of the book! I immediately purchased used, $3.oo, that guaranteed any attached materials such as patterns are intact. I'm thrilled. I do think I would want to design my own blocks, I'm not so fond of a bunch of wreaths and too stylized but this will definitely give me a lot of good information and ideas, so fun! Thank you!

      What esp sold me was the bittersweet block! I thought bittersweet was an Asian intruder plant, yet here it is on the untamed, unexplored prairie. Can't wait to learn more.

  4. It's a beautiful quilt. I agree with you on the history lessons. Jingles will be 14 in April and she really started snoring a lot and making all kinds of noises she never made before.

  5. I love it! I too am a huge fan of Little House and was tickled to find on TV the pilot fot the Little House series. There went my plans for the day. I happily watched. :) Kit

  6. You tell the story of your quilt so well! Loved reading through it and knowing more about the details of such a lovely quilt. Your Gum Leaf block is just perfect. Makes me want to make an entire quilt of just those blocks! Must be the perfect blend of colors/fabrics. lol

  7. WW has turned out beautifully. I admire how you "tweak" the patterns in such an ingenious way. I am in awe of your accomplishments.

  8. Well, look at you! I'm impressed, as always. I don't really care for deadlines, however, as I am a life long procrastinator, they are necessary for me.

    Love the 'Baltimore Blues', very clever.

    Look forward to hearing about thrifting with your friend.

    Keep warm my friend. Cuddle with Mo :)


  9. Your quilt came together beautifully - the cairn border is a wonderful inclusion that adds so much. You put me to shame as my WW blocks are looking questioningly at me! I'm joining you in the Antebellum blocks which will be a lovely project this year. Penny

  10. I live in Australia born in North Island New Zealand. Both fairly new countries compared to yours or Europe! So we did not have covered wagons. I'm fascinated with them. I have a huge favour to ask? Are there any scraps left over of that particular fabric? would you be willing to part with them and post to me? I'm happy to reimburse you in money, goods or both. Hoping you can oblige Denise Smith

    1. Denno You are a no reply blogger! You need to send me your real email address before I can do anything for you at all.

    2. However: Here is a US seller who will ship it to you in AU for $13. They have the brown and the red, wonderful shop, great customer service, set up for international shipping which I am not. The fabric is on sale for about 9.oo USD per yard. Check it out.

  11. The top is gorgeous! You do such incredible work!


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