To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
When I started working on this quilt in 2011, it was a chance to dip my toes into making a quilt for show and a way to embrace my love of history and research. The possibility that it would be accepted as one of 26 to travel after the initial show was never in my thoughts. The idea that the show would continue traveling across the country and internationally for four years was beyond my imagining.
Now that it’s home, I finally had the chance to take photos of the finished quilt!
Here’s the statement that I submitted with it, which gives you a better idea of why there are three distinct sections.
One fact about the War of 1812 that sticks with me is that the last living survivor of the War was only fourteen years old when he enlisted. Surely, he was not the only man to enlist that young—though we now call a fourteen-year-old a boy, not a man. Fourteen—even eighteen—years is not so many years at all to a mother. So my inspiration of cradle–to–cot–to–coffin was born.
My premise is that the center section originated as a cradle or crib quilt, sewn sometime post-1795 (when the 15th state was admitted, represented by 15 stars in the medallion) for the birth of a son. Sixteen or so years later, a mother extended the quilt to its final dimensions, and sent it off to war with that same son—now a soldier—to warm him once again.
I constructed the quilt in three separate parts, almost finishing them completely before putting everything together as one quilt. Although it is machine pieced and mostly machine-quilted, I did a lot of handwork: the medallion is hand-quilted, the edges were all done by hand, and actually connecting the three pieces was also by hand. If I recall correctly, I liked the wool batting I used in this quilt far better than the type I used more recently. It came from a bolt at Joann Fabrics, but I haven’t seen it since.
The edges are knife-edge finished. To connect the sections together, I pressed the edges of the center section edges in like I would if I were finishing them with a knife-edge, slid the other section into that resulting pocket, and stitched the center to the other section on the front and back.
The center medallion was a stock photo woodcut engraving that I printed via Spoonflower. Although the majority of the quilting is machine quilting, I hand quilted the center. I had no idea what I was doing or how to hand quilt, as evidenced by the back.
The back looks very make-do, as I tried to use up as much of the leftover fabric as possible rather than let it fill up my scrap bin. Don’t mind the selvages showing at that very top—that is the hanging sleeve. There’s a custom label pieced directly into the back, inspired by one memorializing Princess Charlotte of Britain c. 1817 (scroll midway down).
It’s been three years since I finished the War of 1812 challenge quilt, and it’s still traveling around as part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail 1812 Quilt Challenge traveling show! This winter, it spent time in Baton Rouge, and is now on display in the Classroom Gallery at the New England Quilt Museum through June 28.
I never would have guessed I’d be saying “one of my quilts is hanging at NEQM!” when I first started working on this one in 2011.
It’s been a while since we’ve been in Lowell, but if we make it back there to see the 1812 quilts hanging, I hope to stop at the American Textile History Museum as well. I visited Shelburne Museum multiple times when it was hosting the ATHM’s traveling Homefront & Battlefield exhibit. I don’t buy a lot of quilting books, because I rarely want to make the patterns they contain (although inspiration is nice), but Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War made it into my library because of the history.
The book is dense but interesting, and has highlighted a few other museums I’d like to visit due to objects from their collection being involved in the show, including the Rokeby Museum that is just down the road from home. While the quilts in the show were wonderful to see, I was facinated by a shaker-style dress that belonged to Rachel Rokeby. The construction details were very interesting, including the obvious use of selvage along the skirt side seams (and pocket openings), and a very-tightly blanket-stitched hem.
We spent 10 days in April traveling from VT down to SC and back, with a chunk of time in Virginia. Between stops at Ashlawn-Highland, Montecello, and Colonial Williamsburg, I think I’m inspired to make another more traditional quilt in the coming months. I was focused more on experiences than photographs, but even floor-coverings were inspiring.
For now, though, I have a few more modern projects to muddle through. I haven’t sewn much this year, but I managed to put a dent in my current work in progress at the guild’s sew-in this weekend!
(which is not going to become a regular thing, but I can’t seem to get any projects to the point of being post-worthy on their own)
Last Sunday, we traveled to Sackets Harbor for the 1812 Reprise show that displayed the 26 quilts comprising the traveling show (which is booked through 2014, wow! My quilt is really getting around). As much as I enjoyed seeing the ~150 or so at the original show, I liked this one more. It gave me a chance to take in details that I’d missed before, and I saw a few quilts that I didn’t remember seeing the first time around (not including the few additional quilts entered just for the reprise show).
I met Diane Shink, a certified quilt appraiser and author. She has a quilt in the show that used antique linen to great effect, and I enjoyed getting a closer look at her quilt. We had a great discussion of knife edge techniques (which I used on my own quilt, in a sort of cobbled way considering that I had no idea what I was doing when I was doing it [an ongoing theme for me, I think]). We even made the Watertown paper. (In other news, I’m extremely jealous that Watertown has a Buffalo Wild Wings and a Chipotle and Utica has neither.)
My own quilt was in good company, hanging next to the wonderfully embroidered quilt that took First Place.
After Monday night, you can count me as another quilter addicted to EPP. This is all I’ve accomplished so far, but it’s fun. I just need to get more fabric pieces cut out so that I can sew over lunches, while watching TV, and in the car when Carl’s driving… it may get out of hand. I also need a nice bag. And better small scissors that haven’t been chewed by Moof.
I joined a block swap that the LQS is doing. We’re doing puss in the corner blocks for this month, and we have to use repro fabrics, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone (a good thing, I think). Here are the fabrics I picked. I haven’t started the blocks yet (we have to make 20).
Last night, I swapped out the HST blocks that were predominately red for ones made with the leftover yellows in the Impressions Baby Quilt, and finished piecing the full top. I should be able to quilt it this weekend.
Finally, my experiment with DWR has reached its conclusion. I’m not finding myself interested in the project. Instead, I’m taking what I have done, doing some cobbled together trapunto-like technique that I’m making up as I go along to make some of the puffiness look intentional, and turning it into a medallion as part of another project. So far, I’ve sewn the rings to batting and turned half the edge under (you can see my basting stitches on the outer edge that hold the batting, and provide a guide for turning). It’s laying on top of the background fabric in preparation for applique. I haven’t decided on a size for the background, yet.
It’s not a total loss of a project; it’s a new direction. I like how the idea is shaping up in my head way more than how I liked what I thought the double wedding ring would look like finished. And, I think I’ll actually finish this one, as opposed to having another project boxed away because I don’t want to work on it.
The lesson: it’s okay to not finish a project the way you initially envisioned it. The world will not implode, your stash won’t suddenly disappear, nor are you promising your first born to the devil by not finishing.
I’m a bit jealous of my 1812 Quilt—it’s getting to do quite a bit of traveling over the course of the next year. It’s one of 25 of the ~130 quilts from the show that was chosen to go traveling to various shows and museums.
This coming weekend, it will be in Upper Canada Village for their Fantastic Fibres and Quilt Show weekend. I’m kicking myself for never renewing my passport/getting an enhanced license to go across the border, as UCV is a reasonable day trip for us (and I loved it when we went there before these pesky new requirements were in effect).
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail 1812 Quilt show was this weekend, and it seemed to be a resounding success. We went up today and enjoyed the quilts, the speaker, some of Sacket’s Harbor’s delicious food, and absolutely beautiful weather.
There were so many amazing quilts and talented quilters represented. I gave up voting in the viewer’s choice, because there were at least five quilts that I just couldn’t choose between. I hope they all end up in the selection that is traveling around the country in the next year so that more people will have a chance to see them.
I spent my National Sewing Day taking advantage of the lovely weather to do some much-needed leaf raking, then sat on the porch and made progress on my Tula quilt’s binding. I still haven’t photographed my underpinnings and gown (show is tomorrow), but here’s a few of my shoes.
After deciding against the American Duchess shoes, and Moof chewing my half-finished pink attempt, I still found myself in need of shoes for the show. Target no longer had the pink ones, so I couldn’t continue in that vein. I finally decided to go back to my original plan of gussying up a pair of black flats I purchased a few years ago and have practically worn out (I stopped wearing them a while ago, but never got around to throwing them out). Some of the wear will be hidden by the decoration anyway, so it’s a good compromise.
After making proper drawstring channels for my gown and sewing my petticoat straps on (they were pinned on TV), I decided that my outfit needs one more addition: a reticule. After all, I need a way to hide my very un-period keys and cell phone.
This morning, Lynette (Quilt Show Manager) and I appeared on the Bridge Street Show in Syracuse. I got a sneak peek at five of the quilts and am in awe of the talent and vision of the quilters (one has 5000 pieces in it, and the woman managed to finish it within 3 months!). I can’t wait to see the rest.
Shh, don’t tell anyone, but in the clip, my dress hems are seam-taped, my petticoat straps were pinned on, and my corset and chemise have lots of unfinished edges.
Now that I have the outfit complete, though (well, aside from the above-mentioned issues), I might actually have time to blog about the bits and pieces. I wasn’t very good about photographing as I made them, though, but I’ll try.
Before I do finish them, I need to clean up my sewing room a bit. It looks like a natural disaster hit. Totally messing up my chi.
Then it’ll be back to quilting! I have one that I want to finish by mid-April, if at all possible.
Although it doesn’t have the fun alliteration of “Finished it Friday” or “Work in Progress Wednesday”, today I’m showing you unfinished, in-progress views of what I’ve been working on this week, as I’ve been rather productive.