Tag Archives: Appliqué

Feeling A Wee Bit White Rabbit-ish

Lately, I find that I’m often running behind myself, but this is my big chance to play a little catch up.  Here are blocks thirty-four through thirty seven in the Grandmother’s Choice quilt project, in clockwise order: Coffee Cup, Granny’s Choice, (Not A) Sunbonnet Baby, and Nameless Star.

mosaic

I wasn’t crazy-happy with two of the suggested blocks in the last four weeks – first up, there was the Coffee Cup block, which was a pieced cup and saucer with an appliqued cup handle.  It seemed more mug than cup, so I opted to draft my own applique block instead – a fairly easy fix.

Then there was the Sunbonnet Baby (groan).  My godmother’s mother was either a close friend or perhaps simply a pen pal of Bertha Corbett, creator of the Sunbonnet Baby.  For whatever reason, the two women corresponded, and several of Corbett’s letters were carefully preserved, framed, and proudly displayed on the ‘wall of shame’ in their family room.  Here’s an example of what the letters looked like, the only difference being the content.

Owing to my early, and unavoidable exposure, I managed to develop an overwhelming sense of twee with all things connected with a Sunbonnet Baby (seriously, there was no way to get around seeing the Corbett letters, when all I really wanted to do was watch the Wallace and Ladmo Show on television).  Imagine my dismay when I saw that block thirty-six was an homage to those very same little darlings.  I simply could not go along with that plan.  In the words of Frank Morgan who played the palace guard in The Wizard of Oz, “Not no way!  Not no how!”  Blasphemous as it may seem, I have fairly strong feelings on this subject, as you may have guessed.

The theme of week thirty-six was Testament of Youth, and instead of a Sunbonnet Baby (shudder), I opted for a block designed by Aileen Bullard and published in the Kansas City Star in 1932.  The original block called for yarn ringlets (probably à la Shirley Temple), but yeah, I had to fix that, too.  The block is very cute any way you look at it, but it’s a cuteness that I can live with.

Granny’s Choice was a breeze, and I think that it made up into a really interesting finished block.  I enjoy looking at blocks that suggest a whirly-twirly kind of movement, and the blades in this block certainly do that – I can easily imagine using the Granny’s Choice pattern for an entire quilt.

Nameless Star was a fun block to plan and piece as well.  But… there I was, face-to-face yet again with a large, plain center patch – and so help me, I cannot resist tweaking those large expanses of fabric.  A pinwheel center seemed the proper way to go.

Backtracking for a minute

So who, exactly, were Wallace and Ladmo?  Oh my, what you missed not growing up with that wacky duo.  It was kid TV at it’s best, a program that ran for 35 years (April 1, 1954 to December 29, 1989) on KPHO-TV Channel 5, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The name morphed over the years, beginning with It’s Wallace?, updated later to Wallace & Company, and finally finishing up as The Wallace and Ladmo Show.  No matter which title ran in the opening credits, it became one of the longest running, locally produced children’s television shows earning nine Emmy awards in the process.

I think, perhaps, that I’ll save the full story of Bill Thompson (Wallace) and Ladimir Kwiatkowski (Ladmo) for another day.

Wallace and Ladmo

Block Twenty-One: Parasol

A guilty pleasure this business of blogging.  All of the things that I could and should be doing – oh well, this is so much more pleasant.  Today is a bank holiday, and in my case, that translates into One Free Play Day.

I could be doing some housework: dusting, vacuuming (meh).  The sun is shining brightly, so I suppose I could even wash a window or two.  Somehow that doesn’t quite fit the definition of a play day either.

I could do a little quilting… but alas, I’m out of thread.  I live in the wilds of southwest Oklahoma, so this is an event of major proportions, nearly epic.  Obtaining an item as simple as a spool of quilting thread may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is.  The nearest spool of thread is 38 miles away (61.155 km for my friends who use the metric system).

Lucky for me I had just enough thread to complete the latest block in the Grandmother’s Choice project.  The block is called Parasol, and it refers to the way that the suffragists turned a completely feminine fashion accessory into a public relations vehicle.

Chrome Yellow And Ivory Accented With Black.

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, parasols or sunshades were still an item very much in use.  The suffragists took advantage of the opportunity to put slogans, invites to suffrage teas, and other announcements on their parasols.  How could you not notice these mobile billboards bobbing down a street or gliding along in an open carriage or car?

Barbara’s block is a very pretty little block, and enough of a challenge to keep me entertained.  I look forward to using this pattern in my second quilt with the Liberty of London fabrics.  The Liberty fabrics are so feminine, and they will be perfect for a dainty parasol.

Barbara Brackman’s Parasol Block

But this week I needed a little more of a challenge, so I started playing ‘what if’ and nearly ended up with more of a challenge than I could handle.

I know that you’ve read how much I abhor handwork, I’ve said it over and over and over.  But yesterday I was completely revved up over an idea that had occurred to me – an idea to use the photo of the suffrage parasol for my block, and a deftly wielded blowtorch couldn’t have kept me from doing this block the way I envisioned it.

I used just a smidgeon of artistic license in converting the photo to a workable block, and now my quilt makes so much more sense.  I think that I’d like to add a bit of Seminole patchwork – one of my favorite piecing techniques – to the outside of this block.  Soon enough, I’ll have a medallion block ready to set into the center of the quilt.

Parasol Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's Choice

Techniques used: Curved paper piecing, hand applique, hand lettering and one french knot.

Block Seven: Alice’s Flag

I really enjoy fussy cutting, but I may have pushed the envelope a little far today – the pattern was too irregular for cutting five repeated segments.

A couple of the motifs turned out well, others have a squashed look.  The points aren’t exactly sharp and it does wobble a bit, but lucky for me, little flaws like these will quilt out.

No matter how long you’ve been quilting, it continues to be a learning process – and I’m happy enough with the block that I won’t cry “do-over”.

Alice Stokes Paul (Or – Where Did I Hide That Soapbox?)

Today, Barbara Brackman reintroduced me to Alice Paul (b. January 11, 1885 – d. July 9, 1977).  Intrigued, I started exploring further and discovered that Alice Paul was an extremely well educated woman: a BA in Biology at Swarthmore College, an MA in Sociology and a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania – not stopping there, she earned an LLB from the Washington College of Law at the American University, Washington, DC – zowie!

Alice Stokes Paul, circa 1901

Alice Paul got her chops in activism working alongside Emmeline Pankhurst and other women that caused controversy up, down, and across England, using militant tactics to further awareness of the suffrage movement and secure the vote for women.

Oh yeah, we’re talking seriously dedicated suffragettes here.

Returning to the US, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association, but when her tactics started to create tension among the leaders, she and that organization parted ways.  With the help of a few of her colleagues and funding from Alva Belmont – a multi-millionaire and socialite – the National Women’s Party was formed.

Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?

The NWP began an active campaign of non-violent protest, and on January 10, 1917 they moved the action to the White House.  Alice Paul and a dozen other protesters simply held banners stating their demand to the right to vote – these women became known as Silent Sentinels.  The picketing lasted until June 4, 1919 when a joint resolution of Congress passed the 19th Amendment.

They picketed for two and a half years.  In all weather.  All day.  All night.  Every day except for Sunday.

Silent Sentinels – National Women’s Party picketers outside the White House

During that time Alice Paul and other Silent Sentinels were assaulted, arrested, convicted and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.  Alice Paul was sentenced to seven months, and for two weeks she was held in solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water.  When too weak to walk, she was removed to the prison hospital where she began a hunger strike.  Others joined her.

By her refusal to eat, and afraid she might die, doctors prescribed a program of mandatory feedings – three times a day for three weeks a tube was forced down her throat.  I suppose a diet of raw eggs and milk would keep a person alive.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… the assault on the Silent Sentinels continued inside the Occoquan Workhouse.  Guards brutalized the women – they were dragged, beaten, kicked and choked.  Newspapers began to report the treatment of the protesters which helped to create more support for the suffrage movement.

Wasn’t this an ugly piece of American history that we were never taught in school?

Alice Paul survived imprisonment – she served her sentence, and on release resumed the fight for women’s rights.

It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun. There is hardly a field, economic or political, in which the natural and unaccustomed policy is not to ignore women…Unless women are prepared to fight politically they must be content to be ignored politically. — Alice Paul, 1920

Alice Paul celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment – August 18, 1920.

Here are some sources that I found interesting:

The Alice Paul Institute

The Sewall-Belmont House Museum

Jailed For Freedom by Doris Stevens

Block Four: Sunflower

Sheesh… this one was just a bit of a challenge for someone that hasn’t done hand applique in over 10 years – and now week four is under my belt.  I don’t have a lot to say, just awfully glad that I don’t have to hold my breath any longer.  It’s done, it’s done, it’s done!

Okay, so I have one thing to say about it; while I greatly admire hand applique, I think that I’d just as soon somebody hold a blowtorch to my feet and force feed me raw pig intestines while Lawrence Welk golden moldies play on a continuous loop rather than do hand work.

That does sound a little harsh – but… have I mentioned that it’s done?