Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yankee Diary Block 2: Susan B.'s Star

Block 2 Susan B.'s Star by Barbara Brackman

From Carrie's Diary: December 20, 1855.
"Susan B. Anthony is in town and spoke in Bemis Hall this afternoon. She made a special request that all the seminary girls should come to hear her as well as all the women and girls in town. She had a large audience and she talked very plainly about our rights and how we ought to stand up for them, and said the world would never go right until the women had just as much right to vote and rule as the men.

 "She asked us all to come up and sign our names who would promise to do all in our power to bring about that glad day when equal rights should be the law of the land. A whole lot of us went up and signed the paper. "

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) at 28 years old, 
a few years before she
began her New York speaking campaign.

Susan B.'s Star by Becky Brown

Susan B. Anthony stopped in Carrie's town of Canandaigua on her second New York tour in 1855. She'd determined to speak in every county in the state of New York, traveling by railroad, sleigh and carriage to gather signatures for a petition demanding that the state legislature grant women child custody in divorce cases, control over personal earnings and the right to vote. 

Bemis Hall was in the top floor over the bookstore 
in the tallest building in the photograph here taken by 
Augustus Coleman in 1858. 

Anthony crossed the state from Long Island to Lake Ontario, speaking every other day. She used a gift of $50 from activist Wendell Phillips to print handbills and newspaper advertisements announcing her arrival and sold small publications to support herself. She often attracted a good-sized crowd. People came just to see the novelty of a woman addressing an audience, a rather alarming breach of propriety.

An Ulster County newspaper described a speech:
"At the appointed hour a lady, unattended and unheralded, quietly glided in [and] ascended the platform.. under 600 curious eyes...put her decorous shawl on one chair and a very exemplary bonnet on another, sat a moment, smoothed her hair discreetly, and then deliberately walked to the table and addressed the audience. She wore a becoming black silk dress [the reporter then goes on to describe her looks and hairstyle.] Her voice well modulated and musical, her enunciation distinct, her style earnest and impressive, her language pure and unexaggerated."

Petitions were a means of changing laws. 
This one from the Library of Congress collection
concerns Anthony's right to vote. 
Officials rarely acted no matter how many women signed.

Carrie was impressed enough by Anthony's afternoon speech to sign her petition and tell Grandmother Beals about it, who...
 "said she guessed Susan B. Anthony had forgotten that St. Paul said the women should keep silence. I told her, no, she didn't for she spoke particularly about St. Paul and said if he had lived in these times, instead of 1800 years ago, he would have been as anxious to have the women at the head of the government as she was. I could not make Grandmother agree with her at all and she said we might better all of us stayed at home."
Anthony's brazenness must have inspired another Canandaigua woman to speak in public that night. 
"We went to prayer meeting this evening and a woman got up and talked. Her name was Mrs. Sands. We hurried home and told Grandmother and she said she probably meant all right and she hoped we did not laugh."

Susan B.'s Star by Denniele Bohannon

The following year Susan B. Anthony began directing her attention to the abolitionist cause, signing on as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society, a cause Grandmother may have had more sympathy for.

Woman with a fabric flag pinned to her dress.
Cased photo from Swann Gallery auction.

Friendship Quilt (detail)  attributed to Susan B Rogers, Brooklyn, 
New York, NMAH Smithsonian Institution

Susan B.'s Star
The star with flags was inspired by a block in an 1867 quilt by/or for New Yorker Susan B. Rogers. See the quilt in the collection of the Smithsonian by clicking here:

Block signed H. M. ? in Susan B. Rogers quilt.

Becky's in gray tones

The Block
Star and two flags appliqued to a 15" finished block.

For the background cut a square of fabric 15-1/2" x 15-1/2". Fold it in quarters and press to mark the center point.

For the flagstaffs holding up the flags.  Cut 2 strips that finish to 1/2" wide (cut 1" wide). Cut each 5-1/2" long.

The Star
The templates:
Print the template for an 8-1/2" finished star. Add seams.
Piece the five points together, join them and applique the star.

Denniele pieced each of her split star points from two templates. Cut 5 of those going one way and 5 going the other.

Note: she appliqued a second star over the point where 10 seams meet in the center, a good solution to a possible problem.

To Print:
  • 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 so the star is 8-1/2" wide, which extends beyond the page. You'll lose two points but if you need them you can add them.
  • Add seam allowances when you cut the fabric.

Becky & I used a wide stripe and fussy cut it to shade the points. I cut 5 points with seams added, pieced them into a star and appliqued it.

Place the star so the central point in the block is slightly below the top star point.
Baste or glue it in place leaving room for the flagstaffs at the top.

The Flags

Make 4 flags this month, two waving left and two waving right. You'll use two in Block 2 and save two for later blocks. I appliqued mine. Below are piecing instructions too.

Fabric--- Flags are so iconic you can really push the imagery in the fabric and it will still read as a flag.

Mine are zigzags and polkadots but they look like a flag.

Appliqueing 4 x 5" Finished Flags

Pieced flags
This diagram is for the flag on the left above.
Reverse it for the flag on the right.

B is the starry field. Cut 4 squares 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"
A and C are the stripes.
For the bottom C cut 4 rectangles 2-1/2" x 5-1/2"
For the side A cut 4 rectangles 2-1/2" x 3-1/2"

Tuck the flag staffs under the star's top point and then tuck the flags under the staffs. Baste or glue and applique.

Block 2 will be set on the left top corner of the sampler.

Woman in a pageant costume, perhaps, with appliqued stars.

You can buy the paper patterns for the first four months of Yankee Diary from me at my Etsy Store:
Or a downloadable PDF


Suzanne A said...

I love the sense of depth in your stars with the two tone or striped points! I've got to copy that. It will be fun to see what effects are produced by different fabric choices.

Jeanne said...

Can't wait to work on this but grandson's crib is in my sewing room -- family here this week! I can't even pull out fabric to plan and play, aargh, but I adore that baby so it's OK :)

Jeanne said...

P.S. Hooray for Susan B. Anthony!

Dorry said...

This looks like another fun block to make. Susan B. Anthony was everywhere it seems - popping up in more than one Barbara Brackman project!Some special fabrics will really make this block a standout and give me something to look for in the merchants mall at the big quilt show (MAQF) I'm off to tomorrow.Thanks so much for this project and it's stories.

Becky in VA said...

I see Dorry will be at the MAQF - me, too! Barbara has brought so many of us together, and we have been sewing together for several years. Who from Barbara's Civil War Quilt blog will be going to MAQF? Maybe we can meet up and make a toast to Susan B. Anthony.

Barbara Brackman said...

Wish I were.

Becky in VA said...

Yes, Barbara, I wish you were coming! Thanks for giving my email address to Dorry, we hope to meet up!

pinkdeenster said...

I will be at MAQF on Saturday...coming down on a bus with a local guild.

Rina Spina said...

Very interesting story and another great block! I'm going to choose the fabrics for this one.
I don't know what is MAQF, but for sure I would like to be there and meet other Quilters that are involved in this QAL.
Greetings from Italy!

Judy said...

Nice block. I admire Susan B. Anthony for the way she got signatures instead of setting fires to cars after jumping on them, throwing rocks into store windows, and rioting, for her cause. I know women had protests back then and carried signs for their rights, I just hope they didn't invite riots or threaten to blow up the White House like they do today. I wonder what would have happened, in that time, to her cause, had they acted like they do today.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I never realized she campaigned for things besides the vote. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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