Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Sunday, March 30, 2014

TOM 3 New Garden Star for Catherine White Coffin

Here we are with the March block for the Threads of Memory Project.
 I have taken the photo full on although you might recall I intend to set my blocks on point so that is why the bird looks a little unsure of itself here - I cut the fabric so the bird will look correct when the block is turned on point.

I'm not sure if it is the power of suggestion or not but two of my friends who are doing this spoke of having difficulty selecting their fabrics. I auditioned quite a few before my technical advisor and I could find a combination we agreed on.

Pleasant but nothing exciting about that quite plain spiky point.
 Too many stripes perhaps?
My technical adviser just did not like that grey and white stripe - it looks like pyjamas he said!

So I had another dig through the project bin and found this very satisfying fabric which gives me a feathered feeling to compliment the bird in the center.

I was at first held up by needing to redraft the block pattern. I was out at a quilt show yesterday and when I came home I noticed many people (on the discussion page for Threads of Memory) had been having difficulty with the pattern as provided. My decision was made to hand draft it and draw it up for paper foundation piecing - this did add to my completion time but I was rewarded with a very accurately sized block that I only had to stitch one time with no need for the seam ripper to make an appearance.

 The title for the block this month is New Garden Star and it is named after the town of New Garden, North Carolina that Catherine White Coffin and her husband Levi along with their baby son Jesse left behind to relocate to Newport, Indiana. There they established a Quaker Meeting House that they named New Garden and from which they assisted many runaway slaves on their way to a new and free life.

I will be in need of a new garden very soon as the moles have taken over mine by digging their own version of an underground railway. Grand Central Station is to the right of the tree with the Green Man. To add to the woes in my garden we have had unrelenting sleet most all day long despite having passed into Spring ten days ago.
This is a more pleasant New Garden scene with 33% of my indoor garden (I have very few potplants because this house is not really very suitable for them. However, this African Violet is growing very enthusiastically).

The project so far has given us intriguing new stars and I look forward to seeing all twelve together.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Where Poppies Grow

Yes, it's been a while since I posted but I have had a boatload of things going on keeping me away from blogging.

Back in January I decided to work on a second Block of the Month project, "Where Poppies Grow" which is being presented by the Kansas City Star Quilts in conjunction with Pickle Dish. The following is taken directly from the Pickle Dish site:
"Denniele O’Kell Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design in Harrisonville, Mo., and Janice Britz of Bee Merry Farms in Peculiar, Mo., designed this year’s quilt as a remembrance of Almo Ebenezer O’Kell, Bohannon’s great-grandfather.
Angela Walters of Quilting Is My Therapy in Kearney, Mo., did the free-motion quilting."

The project is a tribute to those who served in World War I. Each month there is a story based on letters home written by Almo Ebenezer O'Kell who was the Great-Grandfather of designer Denniele Bohannon.

My Grandfather, James Patrick Coughlan, served in World War I with the New Zealand Army 1st Battalion (Otago) which was stationed in a variety of locations in Belgium from 1916 to 1918 and thus I have a particular family connection to the spirit of this project. Flanders Fields Where Poppies Grow is in Belgium and my Grandfather spent much of his time in service there.

 This is the January block Father's Choice. Grandpop's battalion completed a tour of duty on the Cordonnerie line (SW of Armentieres) on January 24, 1917. Many Australian troops had also seen service in that area.

The blocks are a combination of piecing with an applique Laurel Wreath surrounding each block. I have gotten the piecing portion done but I want to do the applique by hand and have not made a start on that yet. My official reason is because I am waiting until I have a few months of blocks made to better judge whether my applique will use a scrappy approach or stick with just one color of leaf. (More on that later in this post). But the real truth is that I have just been too busy to get to it yet.

 The February block Love Entangled. In February 1917 Grandpop was in Bois Grenier a very frosty and foggy area in Flanders.

The original quilt for this project is done in red, white and blue but I have chosen to make mine based on the dress uniform colors of the NZ Army from that era. For color and topic I will also use a poppy fabric in each block. As well as being the name of the quilt project the poppy is a well known emblem of remembrance in New Zealand for those who served in World Wars.

 The March block Dog Tooth Violet - this is a very pleasing block to my eye. On March 14, 1917 Grandpop's battalion marched out of Nieppe and into Messines which was to become the site of one of the most famous battles of WWI.

The three blocks together along with an authentic hat albeit from the Australian Army - the two countries were very close in service and colors. The color is very difficult to find in fabric - if you are in the brown section you say, no, I need to go look in the green section but when you get there it's apparent you are still not in the right color family. Sometimes the Japanese taupe fabrics are a good match. You might have seen a crazed shopper in many area quilt shops as well as hitting up all the vendor booths at a recent large quilt show - I carry along the hat and use it to select fabrics. Of course, as is typical for me, I now have enough fabric to make several quilts in this colorway.

My main background fabric is from the P & B Textiles Suede collection. I will make the blocks as given but I will be doing a border of my own design. My younger sister is soon to visit from New Zealand and I have charged her (a non-quilter) with bringing me some yardage of a New Zealand icon fabric  which I hope to use in the appliqued laurel wreath (there, another reason I can't start the applique yet!)

If you would like to know more about this project - and maybe even make one for yourself - then go here.
A new block is posted each third Sunday of the month.

I must also mention my great admiration of the research done by my older sister, Kerry, who was working on a history of the service years of Grandpop when she passed away in October 2013.

My work on this project is dedicated to the memory of both my Grandpop, James Patrick Coughlan and my sister, Kerry (Coughlan) Payne.