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