Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Westering Women Block 3: Sweet Gum Leaf

Block 3 Sweet Gum Leaf by Becky Brown
Becky's used prints from my Old Cambridge Pike line for Moda.

This map of the trails was drawn about 1907 after most native tribes were moved elsewhere and states and cities were established. You can see the red road loops south of Independence as it starts northwest up to the Platte River.

Why go south to travel north and ultimately west?

One reason was to find the easiest crossing. Real mountains lay far ahead but rivers and creeks offered serious obstacles early in the voyage. Following long-established trails avoided steep banks and unstable river beds. 

"She didn't Get Her Feet Wet"
following Wadsworth's Guide, 1858

How did travelers know where to turn?
They hired guides (some more reliable than others.)
And they bought guide books and maps.

Wadsworth's National Wagon Road Guide from 
St. Joseph and Council Bluffs, 1858

1849 guide to California and
"The Various Overland Routes"

Differing advice mapped different routes. In 1850 Anna Maria Morris's trip south to Santa Fe took a trail north of the Kansas River, where they had to cross Stranger Creek and then Grasshopper Creek. On May 22nd they waited from 8:30 a.m. until 1 to cross the Stranger. She wrote a letter to her father:
 "In crossing the creek the wagons stalled…altho' we were stationary three whole hours we did not get very much out of patience---The Dr. had two parlor chairs left in the mud broken all to pieces---I fear mine will go next---We crossed the Stranger in safety tho' the banks are very steep indeed." 
"They Take a Cut Off"
Wadsworth's guide included humorous drawings
of the consequences of ignoring their advice.

Small towns and trading posts evolved along these established trails. One was Gum Springs, a day out of Westport, Missouri. Gum Springs was an old settlement in the Shawnee's reserve, near several Christian missions to the tribe that had been removed from Ohio.

Sweet Gum Leaf by Denniele Bohannon
Denniele's pink and red are from my
Alice's Scrapbag line for Moda.

The town was named for a grove of gum trees, probably sweet gums. Decades later its name was changed to Shawnee. The Grasshopper River mentioned above became the Delaware (named for the tribe and not the state or the English Lord.) One problem in tracing the trail through diaries, letters and guidebooks is that many of the place names have changed from the rather earthy vernacular names. I live on Hogback Ridge along the California Trail, but the name was changed to Mount Oread in the 1850s.

See Jim Tompkins's list of Kansas Mileposts Along the Oregon Trail here:

The pattern is BlockBase #857.032

Remember Gum Springs and the old names along the trails with a Sweet Gum Leaf, a traditional design given this name by Clara Stone who sold quilt patterns from her New England home about 1910.

Cutting a 12 inch block
A - Cut 2 squares 4" x 4"
B - Cut 1 square 6-3/16" x 6-3/16". Cut into four triangles with 2 cuts. You need all 4 triangles.

C - Use the templates to cut 6 diamonds.
D - Cut 1 rectangle 4" x 12-1/2".
E - Use the template to cut 1 stem. Add seams.


How to Print
  • Right click on the image above and save it to a JPG file.
  • Print that file out 8" by 8". 
  • There's a line in there that should measure 8" end to end.
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.
Here's how to rotary cut the parallelogram for C
and below is another template to print out at 8-1/2" x 11".
Add seams if you are using the template.
The sewing line on the side of that shape should measure 3-5/8".
The cutting line 4-1/4".

And see this tutorial on cutting and sewing a 12" star.

And BJ sent a template too. It's 8" square.

Sewing the Block

Sweet Gum Leaf by Marclyn Woolsey

Anna Maria Morris's journal "A Military Wife on the Santa Fe Trail" was published in Kenneth Holmes's Volume 2 of Covered Wagon Women. Read a preview in a Google Books preview here:

Guide books were translated into French and German
to encourage Europeans to take a chance on the Western U.S.

Three blocks done!

Linda Mooney's Block 3.
No pattern for her view of the Sweet Gum Leaf.


Jeanne said...

Happy March! Those river crossings were only the beginning of the obstacles ahead!

Danice G said...

As always, wonderful historical information. Plus, this QAL is really fun. Got to get busy sewing this beautiful Sweet Gum Leaf block :)

Sandal said...

Love doing these blocks. However, with a Mac you cannot right click and save the image as a jpg file. Any other suggestions for printing this on a Mac? Thanks!

Barbara Brackman said...

Anybody with a Mac can tell her???

Ruth said...

I have a Mac and am having trouble as well. I increased it to 175% after clicking on print, but even though the line is 8", the leaf is much to large. I'm not sure how to get the correct size now. What is the length of one of the sides of the leaf? Maybe from there I can figure it out.

Lizzy D said...

I don t have a Mac but I too am having problems. I cannot get the image to print exactly 8 " square, plus there s a lot of distortion in the shapes/ sizes. I am going to try to draft it by hand now....

Anonymous said...

I don't have a MAC either but am going to have to draft it myself to get the diamonds to fit correctly, but love the block and the journey!

Shelley said...

Not diamonds but parallelograms. I used a different pattern that has triangles because I couldn't get this to print out.

Glorian Sipman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glorian said...

Shelley, thanks for the link to the other pattern for this block. I would also be interested in the directions for Linda Mooney's version. I'm not experienced with either templates or set in seams.

Barbara Brackman said...

I'm sorry everyone is having so much trouble printing. Let me add another template sheet.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barbara! That should help a lot!

Sandal said...

Thank you, Barbara. I also found a Lemoyne star tutorial on that demonstrates how to construct an 8 point star without set in seams. I think I can figure out the sizes for the rectangle and square from your information as I don't have the October 2015 McCalls quilting issue referenced in the tutorial.

BJ Cox said...

For those who can crop photos... copy Barbara's first outline of the block (not the second template). After copying: Crop it by starting on the bottom right corner up to the bottom left point of the top middle background triangle. Re-size it if needed to 8 inches square. Be sure to add seam allowances on all sides before cutting. Wish I could find a way to post a picture of mine so you could use it. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying Westering Women. The history is interesting and I like making the blocks...but block 3 sure gave me a run for my money!!!! Wow. I did get it done but the size was off and so will have chopped off points when I put it in the quilt.

Judy said...

I will be passing on this block. I didn't try it but I don't feel like stressing myself out with it. I will repeat another block. I do hope there are not too many more applique blocks.

Unknown said...

Flattery is like chewing gum.
Enjoy it but don't swallow it. See the link below for more info.