Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Westering Women 8: Chimney Rock

Westering Women 8: Chimney Rock by Denniele Bohannon

Westering Women 8: Chimney Rock by Becky Brown

Becky used some browns and blues from my fall line Baltimore Blues.
"The stripe was perfect to represent the spire on Chimney Rock. Using Google Earth it was interesting to look down on this part of the land and see other strange looking rock formations in that area - a change-over from the prairie lands and a sign of the approaching mountains. There are some beautiful pictures on Flickr - looking at it through the eye of an artist."

Chimney Rock was another distinctive geological landmark on the overland trails.
The illustration by Frederick Piercy is from 1853.
June 17, 1853
"At night we came to Chimney rock which had been visible to us for 15 miles. It is a pillar of rock & sand…Martha & I went to see it by moonlight. The sight was awfully sublime. The sides of the base on which the pillar rests are so steep that it was with the utmost difficulty we could climb up it at all…We found it covered with names."
Celinda Hines

This map shows Oregon/Mormon Trail sites in what is now the state of Nebraska.
The red star is Chimney Rock.

Ezra Meeker retraced the trail in the early 20th century and sold postcards.
This one shows erosion that continues to change the landmark. It is
no longer the square chimney the westering women saw.

July 3, 1852
"Today we came to the river opposite Chimney Rock which has been visible most of the way for the last 35 miles…It consists of a large square column of clay and sand mixed together with a base of conical form apparently composed of sand….We see a great many strange looking rocks that look like old ruins but I could not describe them accurately had I time."
Cecelia Adams

BlockBase #3123

Chimney is a block pictured in Topeka’s Capper’s Weekly quilt column about 1930. It was also called California by Hearth and Home magazine about 1910. The block can represent Chimney Rock and symbolize a destination at trail's end.
Cutting a 12" Block

Print the templates for A and B or use the rotary cutting.
A - Cut 4 squares 4-1/2". Trim the corner off before sewing or after.
B - Cut 4 squares 4-1/2". Trim to a point before or after adding C.
C - Cut 5 squares 3-3/8" x 3=3/8".

To Print the Templates:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file. 
  • Check to be sure the top line of piece B (the cutting line) measures 4-1/2".
Piecing the Block

Now, if you hate the Y Seam you could
draw in more lines and cut the C square into
4 triangles.

More pieces, perhaps less frustration.

If you want to do that cut 8 squares 2-7/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with one cut.
Then you can make the block as a nine-patch.

Another remarkable sight in the west: Prairie Dog Towns.

Illustration from Josiah Gregg's 1839 book

Prairie dogs are a type of ground squirrel that build conical burrows above ground.
Early European explorers thought they barked like a dog.

Snakes and prairie dog holes. 
Walk carefully and keep your eye on the ground.

 "The prairie for hundreds of miles is covered with [prairie dog] holes," wrote Ellen Tootle in 1862. She described the first one she saw in western Nebraska.
"about the size of a Gray Squirrel... yellowish gray color. Its ears are so small as scarcely to be perceptible. Its head is perhaps more like a rabbit....What is called their bark is nothing like the bark of a dog. More like the noise a squirrel makes, indeed I thought at first it proceeded from a bird, and frequently mistook it for the noise of the creaking of the wagon wheels."
Westering Women

Read Ellen Tootle's diary in a preview of Kenneth L. Holmes book, Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1862-1865, Volume 8:

Chimney Rock, south of Bayard, Nebraska, has a visitors’ interpretive center open daily.


Rina Spina said...

Here in Catania is 3:50 pm, and since I wake up this morning, I checked for the new block, and finally I found it! Wow it's fantastic but at the same time a difficult one! I'll try to do my best.
The history is so captivating I'm fascinated about it.
Thank you very much, Mrs. Barbara, I really enjoying doing this quilt along.
Rina, in Italy.

Barbara Brackman said...

So glad to hear from you. I post at 6 in the morning my time. 3 I'd guess in Catania. Wish I was there.

Gypsy Quilter said...

This is a very interesting block. The history is fascinating. I can only wonder how in the world they estimated miles. After all, there were no little green signs back then. Hmmm.

Unknown said...

Your printing instructions do not work if you copy and paste or save as to Word, or JPEG file. The scaling does not stay true.

Unknown said...

I agree about the printing size, not true to size. If anyone has figured this out and transferred to a PDF with real size, please send to me,, and all the other blocks if you have them! I am not computer literate. Thanx!

Barbara Brackman said...

Paste this into your browser. It's a page on how to adjust the printing sizes.