Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Cassandra's Circle #2: Mulberry Wreath for Mary Boykin Chesnut

Cassandra's Circle Block #2 
Mulberry Wreath by Denniele Bohannon
Denniele changed the proportions of leaf to rose, which
meant she could fit only 5 leaves in her wreath.
You get the idea.

Painting of Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut (1823-1886)

Mary Chesnut is the Cassandra of our Circle, cast as a figure in a Greek tragedy, a woman who could predict the future only to be ignored by those around her in the Confederate court.

Five of the women in Cassandra's Circle

I had fun Photoshopping dresses and color into a silly background. Mary is in the green dress to the
right of the central figure Varina Howell Davis.

Mary spent a good deal of her life at her husband’s family’s plantation Mulberry in Kershaw County near Camden, South Carolina. The block recalls the place, home to one of the South’s richest families before the war and to hundreds of slaves (including Molly on the right above).  

The Chesnut's house at Mulberry, built by Mary's father-in-law about 1820.
When Mary lived there the plantation occupied 5 square miles,
one of the state's largest.

Mulberry Wreath by Becky Brown
There's a lot of variation possible here---longer stems to fill the corners.
Notice Becky's pieced background.

South Carolina Historic Properties photo of
the entrance hall at Mulberry house

As it was never really her home, Mary did not care to live there. Other houses in more lively places beckoned.
Mulberry about 1900. Broken shutters indicate 
post-Civil-War poverty continued at Mulberry for many
decades. The house stood empty for years in the late 19th-century.

Mary and James Chesnut, 1840
Read more about Mary's youth here:

Mary Boykin Miller married James Chesnut II in April, 1840 when she was just 17 years old. His family was one of the wealthiest in the United States. He became a United States Senator in 1858 but walked out after South Carolina seceded to become an aide to General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard and then to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mary and James were at the center of the Confederate government throughout the war.

The Block
Mulberry Wreath

A simple wreath with six repeats and the classic rose in the center

Mulberry leaf & fruit

I couldn't find a mulberry wreath in traditional applique.

Here's a sassafras and clover (?) that was the inspiration.

The Pattern

How to print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11".
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". Note the inch square block for reference.
Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
Add seams.

The rose in the center is the same 6" rose from
Block #1 Washington's Plume.

Mulberry fruit appears in three colors, purplish black, red and white.

Mulberry Wreath by Pat Styring
Pat changed the fruit to dots and made the leaf edges more complex.

Becky is working on her border. She's setting the blocks
with aqua strips. That darker background triangle in the Mulberry Wreath goes in the lower corner.

Mulberry about 1910
Mary & James had a second-story corner bedroom at his parents' home.
"My sleeping apartment is large and airy--has windows opening on the lawn east and south; in those deep window seats, idly looking out, I spend much time. A part of the yard which was a deer park once has the appearance of the primeval forest--the forest trees having been unmolested...are now of immense size. In the spring the air is laden with opopanaz (myrrh), violets, jasmine, crab apple blossoms, roses....And yet there hangs here as in every Southern landscape the saddest pall."
The front porch, no date. 
Mulberry, a private home, is on the National Register of Historic Properties.

Mulberry Today


Denniele said...

I always love reading the information behind the block. Pat and Becky made some truly beautiful blocks.

Kerry said...

Beautiful house, sad seeing it so dilapidated, but look at it now - happy ending for it. Took ages to see Becky's pieced background - very subtle.

kupton52 said...

I am not a computer illiterate but does anyone else have trouble saving these patterns to a Word document? I've never been able to figure out how to save and print these patterns...and they are always among my favorites.

Beth French said...

kupton52, I have trouble with the instructions, too. What I do is to right click on the image. Copy image. Then open up a blank Word document and paste. Enlarge the image by pulling on a right hand corner. Usually that is close enough when printed. Hope that helps you. If anyone knows a better method, I would be interested.

Sandy said...

I have trouble with the patterns being so blurry. Don't think that happened with the other one. As far as advice? I just don't know. I sometimes have to reprint to get it right. I haven't even started this one. Still looking for a good background! Since Mary Jo's closed, all we have is Hobby Lobby.