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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Block 35 Granny's Choice - "Im an Anti"

The story behind the block for the Grandmothers choice project this week was about the ladies who opposed -in a very discreet and ladylike way of course - the entire concept of giving women the vote.

The block we have is Granny's Choice which shows as a large X mark such as might have been used to mark a ballot paper perhaps.  The project began in week 1 (last September) with the Grandmother's Choice block which is quite different.

With 14 more blocks to go I better use some more of the fabrics in my pile. This is the first time for either of those green fabrics.
I did not have a Granny - my two were called Nana but I really only have memories of one of these Nanas. My Nana was the wife of a farmer but once they retired and sold the farm they seemed to move house every few years. In each new house Nana planted a lavender bush in her garden and so, over the years as I have moved house, I have tried to do the same thing as a way to remember her. As we are only just into spring my lavender bushes are looking a little straggly but this is the best of them.
 I wandered around my garden wondering what other Granny style flowers I could pose my block with. This Bleeding Heart (dicentra) is in full bloom right now. This is the third one of these I have tried in my garden here and I have not previously had any success but this one seems to like this location.
Pansies are also an old favorite. My Granny's Bonnets (aquilegia or Columbine) are only just beginning to develop buds altho the wild violets that grow around them are in bloom currently - again both old fashioned flowers.

These photos are a bit of a mystery however. The day is very overcast and there was light rain for several hours which has only just stopped. But yet the photos, and in particular my block, look as though they are bleached out by strong sunlight. Earlier in the afternoon I posted a new discussion thread on the Grandmothers choice flickr page asking others to comment on how they take photos of their blocks. I will be very keen to read any responses.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Block 34 Coffee Cup - Not My Job Description

This week Ms Brackman gave us a fun block to create; a coffee cup. The history story was about women traditionally being designated the coffee maker in the office environment.  While I have no recollection at all of the Chicago Coffee Cup Protest of 1977 I do have my own experience to remember.

My first job (in 1971) was in the architectural office of a city council. I was the only female in the office and I did make the morning tea - one week out of three. On the other two weeks two of the young men also took their turn.

But I suspect you'd really rather see my block this week than hear about my beverage making history in the office environment.

I had a good looking fabric choice made and was all set to create a polka dot cup and saucer when my eyes fell on this purple fabric. It was the one I used in block 27 Grandmother's Dream and I thought it needed to appear again in the block collection so as not to stand out too much. To me this looked much more like a fine bone china cup from one of the great French or British china manufacturers. And since I seldom drink coffee I decided mine would be a tea cup.

I went rummaging in the china cabinets to create my photo. The Country Roses teacup on the left rear is from my mother's much prized collection while the one on the rear right (Lady Carlyle pattern) is from my own - both sets are by Royal Albert.  The balance are coffee cups. I'm wondering about the Cafe de Colombia one - are they all left handed there?

This was a fun block to make even with the addition of the applique. If you look at all the cups here none of them have that small round handle that was in the pattern for this cup so I decided to elongate my handle to be more accurate a depiction.

Only fifteen more blocks to go with this project. I wonder what blocks are still to come? Judging by a comment Ms Brackman made not too many more will have applique.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Block 33 - Contrary Husband

The story for this week's block was another reminder of how often women were regarded as second class citizens before they achieved the right to the vote and associated equal rights.

 This was a block that needed a big center square. For week 20 we also needed a (cut) 4 1/2" square and I had used this large motif then. Experience has shown that if you use something dominant once it will jump out but if you use it at least one more time it will settle happily into the set. With that in mind I decided to use this big, formal motif again. It was in formal settings like a court of law where men were seen to have more rights than women prior to the success of the women's suffrage movement so it seems right to use a formal motif.

For my fun photo I decided to be the contrary photographer...and record that I made this block when the cherry trees were in full bloom. The front lawn display on the cherry trees is so fleeting I like to make the most of it.
 Such a simple block could have been sewn and posted this morning. But instead I was out and about and spent a few hours at the garden centers (along with some new plants I also got my first sunburn of the season on the back of my neck!) so here I'm showing the block with my newly acquired hardy gardenia, flowering almond and Marshall's Delight Bee Balm.

I was hoping to come home with a white camellia which was the symbol for the New Zealand Women's Suffrage Movement. Alas, no luck today as the one I found was going to grow to 12' high and that is too large for the spot in the garden I had planned to put one.  More thought will be applied and I will have another trip to the garden center to see if I can achieve my goal of getting this plant. It would be a fitting way to memorialize this quilt project.
And, humor me, one more garden shot. At last my bluebells are starting to have real blooms which are all too shortlived so I wanted to record this moment as well.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dixie Diary - Month Four

This block is for the Dixie Diary block of the month that Barabara Brackman is posting on her Civil War blog each month.

Although the block directions are given to make the block in either a 12" or 8" size I am scaling them down and working on making them a 6" finished block.  Each block is meant to be completed by the addition of an appliqued heart or star in the center of the block. So far I have not added the applique as I am not yet decided on how to set my blocks (straight or on point). But for this block, adding that center applique seems to take out whatever fabric square was put at the center.

In looking on the flickr site at what others are doing I note that some are like me and still undecided. But today I had an idea that, while following the heart/star concept, would not block out portions of the block. Before I say any more I think I might try the idea out on one of my "extra" blocks - you know, the ones that you make and think "bleh, that doesn't look as good as I thought it would" and consign to the bottom of the pile and then go back and select different fabrics for "take two".

Watch this space as they say.

Block 32 - Mr Roosevelt's Necktie

Oops, sorry. I went out for the day yesterday and did not get my post up before the end of the weekend.

 The tulips fabric was a gift to me from RCCheryl and I have been waiting and waiting to use it. This felt like it was finally a good time.

The block seems a little oddball to me.  Is the center square the knot in the bowtie? How many bowties do you see in my block - one or two?

Since Teddy Roosevelt was a big and bold fellow I felt like making a block that was bold while also having a feminine angle to it (use of the flowers) to portray that he was a supporter of giving women the right to vote.
My fun part each week is my posed photo. For sure this was going to be an obvious one to find props for. But although I have the tie collection from both my husband and my father-in-law to draw from it was clear that neither of them favored green or purple with florals being even more difficult to find! But a rummage through my own drawer resulted in several bowties dating back to the late 1970's/early 80's when I must have worn a lot of crisp blouses finished with a bowtie to my office job.

I really did not try to make a left handed photo when most everyone else went with the right tilt - there was a reason at the time.

The photo taking is sometimes more difficult than the block making!