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.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Quilts Civil War Pinterest Page

Quilt by the Woodstock, Illinois, Woman's Relief Corps (WRC)
Collection of the McHenry County Museum

This was probably a fundraising quilt, made to make money for the WRC's charities in the early 20th century.  

The detail shows the fading of the blue fabric
used in the dots, a good clue to a date after 1880.

The pattern is unusual. If you look at it as a block
you can see that it's a Maltese Cross
The official image of the Woman's Relief Corps.

If I had all the money in the world I'd have a giant exhibit of actual Civil War quilts (in the armory in New York City) and I'd certainly include this one in the large area devoted to quilts made by the WRC about 1900.

Since I don't have the funds to do the show we will have to settle for a virtual exhibit, which is on a Pinterest page I've been working on for several years.
Check it out here:

I ignored it for a few years but I have recently figured out how to update it.
You can look at it as a virtual quilt exhibit with dozens of quilts made during the war to celebrate the cause or to warm a soldier or a patient. There are theme quilts made before the war, particularly advocating the abolition of slavery, and many mourning and commemorative quilts made after the war.

On the Pinterest page: Click on the pictures (twice I think) and it will link you to a post at this blog,
which will have links to the sources and more information about the quilt and its maker.

Someday some museum with all the money in the world might like to do a show on Civil War quilts and this page could provide many leads to examples for exhibit.

Crazy quilt with border of commemorative ribbons
including many from Oregon GAR reunions.
Early 20th century.
Collection of the High Desert Museum.

See Anna Lena Land's post here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Modern Day Soldiers' Aid Society

Snowball or Flagstones by the Country School Quilters

The Country School Quilters in Montpelier, Virginia, have been making quilts for veterans from my Union Blues reproduction prints.

This is NOT them but they are following in the tradition.
This photo from the Chicago History Museum
is of the Springfield Ladies' Aid Society in 1863.

 The Country School Quilters have staged a few Sew-a-thons to make small quilts in simple patterns.

The pattern is BlockBase #1001

It's two different blocks alternated - a nine patch and a square with the corners cut off.

Here's the January 2016 block
A double four patch they call Country Crosses

Country Lanes is BlockBase #1829
Same block

See more pictures at their blog:

Nine Patch with a Four Patch set.

I think they planned borders for all of these but ran out of time.

See more about the Country School Quilters at this post:

Betsy pieced the HourGlass to raise funds for batting and backings.

I'm pleased to see my left-over fabrics go to such a good use.

If you had a female ancestor living in Sangamon County, Illinois in 1863 she might have belonged to the Springfield Ladies Aid Society (auxiliary to the Sangamon County Illinois Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society). See a history and a list of the members here in the 1914 issue of the Publications of the Illinois State Historical Library (Volume 17) at Google Books.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Clamshell with a Peterson's Magazine border

Quilt made by Ellen Lucinda  Bennett Welch (1842-1918), 
 Connecticut, 1861.

I found this quilt on the internet, shown years ago at a quilt show at the Senior Center in Ashford, Connecticut. The caption:
"Clam Shell, made by Ellen Bennett Welch, pieced in 1861. Ellen was married in 1862 to Merritt Welch. Her brother died in the Civil War 2 years later. Perhaps this was a patriotic dowry quilt, reflecting the concerns of the times."

Ellen's inspiration for the border was the Peterson's Magazine pattern for a "Stars and Stripes Bedquilt" published in July, 1861. Her red, white and blue clamshell idea is an unusual take on a traditional pattern.

Here's a review of the July issue of Peterson's.
"It contains Two Splendid Colored patterns, one of which is a Stars and Stripes Bed-Quilt. Every lady ought to have a number so as to work one of these Quilts."

Ellen is easy to find in genealogical sites. She married Merritt Manning Welch (1838-1907) in 1862. They had six children.

See more about clamshell designs in this post:

And more about the Peterson's pattern here:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Way West Set for Westering Women Block of the Month

Way West
72 x 84"
Here's an idea for an innovative set for the twelve blocks in  
the Westering Women Block of the Month.
I've called it Way West.

The twelve pieced blocks are in the west.
Arrows from the east point the way west.

A feedsack with a covered wagon on it.

I drew the quilt up in EQ7 with some random pieced blocks
and two simple setting blocks plus 8 plain, unpieced squares.

It's a grid of 6 x 7 blocks, each finishing to 12".
There are 12 Pieced blocks
8 Plain Blocks (Cut 12-1/2" square)
5 Arrow Blocks
and 17 Strip Blocks

The arrows could be done as flag stripes
in reds and the left side could be a sort of a blue field.

Or whatever suits your fancy.

Cutting 12” Finished Arrow Blocks
You Need 5.

A– Cut 1 square 6-7/8”. Cut in half diagonally with a single cut. You need 2 triangles for each block.

B– Cut 3 rectangles 6-1/2” x 4-1/2”.

C—Cut 1 triangle 13-1/4” . Cut into 4 triangles with two diagonal cuts. You need one large triangle per block.

Cutting 12” Finished Strip Blocks 

You Need 17.
For each cut 3 strips 12-1/2” x 4-1/2”.

YARDAGE for the set.
For the light background for arrows & strips—3-1/2 Yards
For the dark plain blocks and arrow point backgrounds—1-1/2 Yards
For the arrow strips & points - 1/2 Yard

More of the feedsack with cowboys and cactus too.