Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Thursday, December 29, 2011

AotH Bonus Block - Part One

I've completed the final bonus block of the Anniversaries of the Heart series.  But, of course, as usual, I have to complicate things a bit.  First of all, I have two stories to tell about this final block.  Then, I have to stitch a border piece to go around the perimeter of the whole thing because I messed up when I was starting out and didn't allow for the extra linen we need on the sides for framing.  Too focused on getting started!

I have chosen another neutral linen and juiced it up with fray preventer and am just about to start stitching that border - I've even decided on the pattern I'm going to use.  But, right now I'm focused on stitching on the birth sampler and won't move to work on the border until I've reached a certain point on that.

Doesn't mean I can't show you a bit of the final block and tell you about Miss Willie Fairfax.  Don't you just love that name?  Miss Willie was my Godmother.  I have no idea how my parents knew her; whether she attended church with us in Alexandria, or she worked with my mother, or what.  But, we saw her a lot when I was little.  I can remember back to when I was three.  I have many vivid memories of that year and I know it was when I was three because we moved to Oakton, Virginia when I turned 4.

I remember riding the bus with Miss Willie down in Del Ray.  We went to Mr. Pasquallie's.  He was the shoemaker.  Really.  He actually made the shoes.  Of course, he repaired them as well.  Remember those times, when we wore shoes forever, having them repaired so that we could keep wearing them?  Now they're made to fall apart in six month - forget about repairing them.  I can still smell the air of Mr. Pasquallie's - all leather and shoe polish.  I also remember visiting Miss Willie at her house.  It was a craftsman-style bungalo and she had a veranda that was shady and wide and went around at least two sides of the house.  We sat there and sipped lemonade in the summer.

Miss Willie was a diminutive, blue haired, lady who smelled like lavendar.  I've done a little research on her.  I gather she was born about 1898; which would have made her in her 60's when I knew her.  The census information I can find on her is intriguing and I think that she and her sisters may have shared a family tragedy that changed their lives forever.  First of all, in researching, I was only able to find Miss Willie in the Census records three times; once in 1910, then 1920, then 1930.  Oddly, In 1910, she is with her sisters, Nannie L., Huldah V. and Fannie R., living with Nannie Sar??? and (perhaps) her husband Upton Sar??? with Emily ???? their grandmother.  Now, whether she is the grandmother of Nannie who is married to Upton or the girls, that is unclear.  In 1920 and 1930 the girls are living with their Aunt, Nannie Davis.  At all times, they are living in Alexandria, Virginia.  Then, I found a transcription of a Manassas Journal dated April 5, 1907.  It's one of those little society entries that says Misses Nannie and Huldah Fairfax, of Alexandria, were visiting Miss Lillian Hixson of Manassas for Easter that year.  So, I looked up Lillian Hixson and sure enough, she lived with her family in Manassas.  Then I found only two birth records for Fairfaxes, but both of them were at Wolf Run Shoals, Fairfax, Virginia.

Well, I grew up in Fairfax and never hear of Wolf Run Shoals.  Where was that?  Googled it and found that it was, interestingly enough, on the Occoquan River at the boundary between Prince William and Fairfax Counties.  Huh.  Did some more checking and found a blog about Civil War (River) Fords.  The guy was talking about Wolf Run Shoals, even had a picture of a Civil War era map on his blog.  When I blew up the map, it was noted with the names of property owners - namely DAVISes.  Well, that was just a little too co-inky-dinky if ya know what I mean.

Then I found someone's research on Rootsweb where the Fairfaxes and Davises of Fairfax/Prince William Counties are linked (one of those family alliances so to speak).  And I found a fella named George Caleb Fairfax who was married to Emma J. Fairfax in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 1891.  I actually found that marriage record.

And it got more interesting.  George had some sisters named Fannie, Huldah, Winnifred and Anna.  "Nannie" is a nickname for the names Nancy and Anna.  The researcher had written down that George had five children.  Didn't even put in his wife's name.  But, Emma was his 1st cousin,  daughter of his father's brother.  Maybe that's why they were married in Washington.

But wait, it gets worse.  There was a notation about him committing suicide while in jail, but that was it, no further explanation.  I was able to find lots of queries on Google about him shooting some guy, but again, no details.  So I dug deeper.  And then I found it.

George Caleb Fairfax was a mail carrier; delivered mail from Fairfax Courthouse (now Fairfax City) to the post office in Farr, Virginia (near Clifton).  According to newspaper accounts, George was insane.  He'd already attempted suicide by hanging himself.  His wife had discovered him and cut him down.  Well, this particular day, June 5, 1907, he went into the Woodyard Store in Farr, Virginia and, it is reported,  had a disagreement with Isaac F. Woodyard who worked in the store.  The disagreement was over where the Democratic primary polling place should be.  Even the papers remarked on the triviality of the disagreement.  Incensed, Fairfax went home, got his gun and went back to the store where he shot Woodyard at point blank range with a double barreled shotgun.  Woodyard died instantly.  Witnesses were in the store, one of them was Fairfax's own brother in law who attempted to stop him, but George Fairfax shot at him too.  Missed.  Then he ran off into the woods.

Pursued by witnesses and the sheriff, George Fairfax was found and taken to the jail in Fairfax City to be detained and await a preliminary hearing.  On the 7th of June the jailer discovered him collapsed on the floor where he confessed later to the doctors who were summoned to tend to him, he had taken strychnine tablets.  George Caleb Fairfax died when he was 38 years old.

I found George and Emma in the Census records only in 1900.  They were married with two children - Clarence and Maggie.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that Maggie could actually be Nannie.  I don't know.  But, that's my guess.  I also am not so sure that George killed Woodyard over a polling place dispute.  The reason I say that is because in the 1920 Census records, I found Emma (a widow) living with her son, Walter E. who was born in 1908.  So maybe there was more to the dispute between George and Woodyard?

I really think I'm onto something.  I think that the family were devastated by the press - this story ran in all the D.C. and Virginia papers - even down in southern Virginia.  I think that the girls ended up with an aunt - whose relationship I haven't been able to work out yet - and that their mother may have been cast out on her own.  If my guesses are right, they had a hard, sad life.  It would not have been easy at that time to overcome a scandal of that sort.  Clearly further research will have to commence.

Miss Willie made me a quilt, probably when I was a baby.  I remember always having it.  It was an Irish Chain quilt made with little squares of white and mint green and a 1930's fabric with white and mint and little tiny red tulips.  My brother was always sneaking off with my quilt.  Often he was allowed to do this because he was the spoiled brat, baby, only boy, of the family.  One day too many I caught him with my quilt - I guess I was about ten or so - and I grabbed it away from him and he grabbed it back.  There commenced a tug of war and the quilt split in the middle.  Typical of my mother (for she often punished me to punish him) she took the quilt away from me (as my brother had lost interest as soon as it was torn) and threw it away.  I have missed that quilt ever since.   I've even looked for a little 1930's print that would be close to the tulips, etc. so I could re-make it for myself.  Alas, no luck yet.

Sadly, Miss Willie died in 1988.  I have not yet been able to determine where she is buried and even more sadly, I have no photographs of her.  We lost contact with her after my family moved out to Oakton.  I would have liked to have visited her and wish I'd pursued it more then.  All I have left of her is up in my head.  And that's why she takes a spot on the bonus block of AotH.

Note that I changed the color used on the house to GA Banker's Grey.  I wanted a blue gray like was shown in the picture on the chart.  I have shifted some things around to accommodate names and wording, but stayed true to the charted design.  Hope you enjoyed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All !!!

I am finally feeling a little bit better.  I haven't taken any cough syrup today.  YAY!  Finally got Teresa's winnings off to her, so hopefully she'll have the Ellen Chester chart for New Year's.  And, today I notified Chris of Tot Hill Farm Stitches that she's the winner of the most recent giveaway.

Since I was sick, I missed out on the second weekend of activities at the historical society.  Everything was in place to run - and I hear ran well - I just missed it all.  Like the Civil War Santa that we had come to talk about Santa's history and Santa in the Civil War.  But, my wonderful, super-duper husband went in and filmed him on our Flip Video cam.  When I have time, I'll sit and watch the movie - It'll be just like being there, right?

Peek at my Christmas tree

I've also been doing some catch up on chores.  Managed to get all the laundry done.  Got the tree set up, painted the mantel, and did the grocery shopping - that required a nap when I got home.  Dusted and swept (just can't seem to work up enough steam to push the vacuum around).  And I am near to finishing the research project I was commissioned to do.  That is due no later than Tuesday.

Tree in the Front Parlor

So I thought I'd share a few pics of the decor at the museum.  We had two trees - and these are trees like they would have had back in the early Victorian era, when "modern" Christmas celebrations in the home were just beginning . . .

Tree in the Ballroom
We had a lot of wonderful living historians come on both weekends.  Here is just one; he's portraying a member of the Union Cavalry.  His sword is long because he needs to use it while mounted.  I was a little confused by the orange trim on his uniform (when I was trying to figure out if he represented the north or the south).  Ken kindly explained to me that it wasn't until late in the war the the trim on the cavalry uniforms became gold.

living historian

I did something a little different with our outdoor decorations at the museum this year.  Usually we hang wreaths on every window, but that's just very labor intensive.  So, this idea just came to me this year.  I digitally drew six silhouettes, each representing the Civil War or Christmas.  Then I took them to one of our local printers - Sir Speedy in Martinsburg.  We'd had them print the invitations to our members tea, so they did this job for me as a sponsor - they printed the silhouettes on the largest paper they had.  I did a little touch up with black marker and we hung them in the windows.  You can see from the pictures that they're easily seen during the daytime and at night, the light from inside glows out of them - like luminaries.  We had a lot of positive comments on this idea.  A bunch of people thought it was really cool.

Close-up of windows
Front of the house where you can see silhouettes in lower windows

And then there were the ornaments.  For the tree in the ballroom we made cornucopias (paper cones), and gold and silver painted nuts.  The cornucopias were filled with candy.  You can't see them in the picture above, but later we had candle clips and my friend Thornton was able to find me candles to fit into the clips.  We did not light the candles.  Oh, and we had paper chains.  The paper items were made from scrapbooking paper that looked like old wallpaper (cause that's what they used back then).  One of our awesome volunteers put all the paper chains together for me - she's a former 1st grade teacher.

The tree in the front parlor was a little more casual.  On it we had strung popcorn and cranberries.  I tied strips of tartan wool around the branches here and there and we hung home-made applesauce/cinnamon ornaments that had been painted to resemble red ware pottery.  We also had gold and silver painted pine cones on this tree as well as gingerbread cookies that were made by one of our local culinary schools.   One volunteer did all the cranberry stringing - she said she poked cranberries until her fingers bled.  Another volunteer took home a whole box (shipping box) of popcorn that I had air-popped and strung all those popcorn chains for me. 

Decoration Closeup

The simplicity of the trees just about drove some of my volunteers nuts - it is not how many of us decorate our trees now, but I kept them focused.  There were so many naysayers that I was a little worried about how the trees would be scrutinized by the public.  Check out the piece that was on the front page of the local paper that answers my question.  Yee Hah!

In all the event was not well attended, although they tell me that the last Saturday was pretty steady.  The dollars and man hours that went into preparing for this tell me that it is something we should curtail in the future.  Lack of local interest, or the economy, whatever is the cause, we can't keep spending good money (and time) after bad.

Well, I've been working away on the final bonus block of Anniversaries of the Heart and should have something wonderful to show you toward the end of the week.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.  Ours is going to be small, frugal, and quiet; well, until we talk to son in Washington on the video phone and our granddaughter entertains us for an hour or so.  Whatever you're doing, I hope you have a wonderful time.  Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1st Giveaway Winner and AotH Update

I set aside the birth sampler so I could work on the December block for AotH.  I can't believe that it's been nearly a year and I'm almost finished with the blocks.

Those who have worked the blocks ahead of me will note some significant changes.  This being a December block, I thought that a little Decemberishness should be displayed.  So, I changed the lower border into holly instead of flowers.  I used WDW "Holly" and GA "Cherry Wine".  Then I changed the birds into Cardinals - the lower one using GA "Apple Cider" plus the house color and the upper one repeating the "Cherry Wine".  Decided not to pretend that my ancestor had made this "sampler" and just put in REMEMBER instead of REMEMBER ME and threw in some extra snowflakes.  I alternated the snowflakes between "Antique Lace" (I used the GA version) and GA "Oatmeal".  Oh, I also was not going to do a green star on the tree with "Mustard Seed".  At least, my mustard seed was green, not gold or yellow.  So, I used "Apple Cider on that too.

The highlighted ancestress is Christina Trapp who was born on December 31, 1783.  She was born in Bullskin Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  Back then, it was the frontier.  The Revolution was only just over.  The Whiskey Rebellion yet to begin.  I've been reading up on early county history and from what I read, families were really self-sufficient.  They had to be their own blacksmiths, tanners, farriers, etc.  Christina's father, Andrew, was born in Salt Like Township in 1760 according to researchers.  I think that's just a little too early.  In 1760 they were still fighting the French & Indian War.  Things were bad with the natives in southwestern PA, so I'm not sure that her father would have been born there.  Andrew was the first Justice of the Peace in Fayette County (which was formed the same year Christina was born).  He also operated a mill.

Christina's mother was Catherine.  She died between 1783 and 1789.  In 1789 Andrew remarried and this second wife bore him 10 children.  As an older sister to all those babies, Christina learned how to care for children, and I guess love them - lots of them!  She was married to a neighbor, Michael Senff, on February 12, 1804.  She and Michael migrated on to Ross County, Ohio where they would eventually settle in Green Township.  Christina was the mother of 13 children.  She would lose 7 of those children either at birth, in infancy or childhood.  Can you imagine, having half of your children die?

I am sure that Christina was a needleworker.  She may not have done much for pleasure, but as much as they were pioneers in Pennsylvania and later, in Ohio, there was probably much utilitarian sewing that she had to do.  Christina died on November 17, 1839 and is buried at the White Churches Cemetery in Colerain Township, Ross County, Ohio. I only just found this tombstone picture posted on Find-A-Grave and am disappointed to see that her name was Christi -ANA - Not Christi-na.  I'm pretty sure that her husband knew the proper spelling of her name.  The info I have on her was mostly from my mother's research 30 years ago, so I'm not surprised that new information has now come to light.  I don't think I can change the name on the sampler - not enough room!  Boo Hoo!

I had a lovely lunch with my friend last week and she brought this needlepoint that she'd picked up at an auction.  She was asking me what colors I would use to fill it in.  I suggested a very light green for the bottom and a pale-ish blue for the top.  Then I told her how much I liked it and if she ever saw one like it at the auctions again, pick it up for me.

And then she hands it to me, just like that.  She said it was actually supposed to be one of my Christmas presents.  So, if anyone is out there who does needlepoint, I'm looking to get my hands on some Paternayan needlepoint wool.  Let me know if you have any resources - I know the supply is dwindling like crazy, but . . . It would be just wonderful if that company could pick itself up by its hindquarters and figure out how to do business again!  But, I LOVE this piece and can't wait to see it on the leather sofa I have imagined I'm buying soon. 

Finally, the winner of the giveaway is Theresa S. (aka KiddLady) of Kent, WA.  She's been notified by Email.  Sorry I was late posting the winner - I seem to have come down with the creeping crud after the busy weekend, so I was really under the weather and the covers yesterday.  The second giveaway of the Holiday season is this:

What we have here are two gently used charts - One is Polly the Witch from Brooke's Books and a little Christmasy piece called Sweet Nothings.  Charts only on these.  PLUS some nice little petite needles.  My fingers are too big and fumbly for petites, so it's your lucky day!  This time, you'll need to post a comment here and post about the giveaway on your blogs (for an extra chance).

 Oh, and I have lots of pictures of the Civil War extravaganza, but they're on my other camera that I (DUH!) left in a friend's car.  I hope to get it back tomorrow so I'll fiddle with the pics and get something posted later in the week.  Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Giveaway of the Holiday Season

I worked a bit more on the birth sampler; am very happy with the results. I have set the sampler aside so I can work on the December block for AotH. I can't believe how close I am to finishing both samplers.

Each week I plan to do a giveaway. Rules are simple. Comment on this post and be a follower and you'll get a chance.

Here's the first giveaway - it's an Ellen Chester design (With My Needle) called Alphabet Samplings Book.  I really love it, but I have had to come to the conclusion that I will never do it.  There's just not enough time.  Chart is brand new, never been used.  Be sure to tell others about this giveaway.  Remember - the more the merrier!  Drawing the name on Monday, December 12.

Funny pictures - I was coming out of the farm market, saw these pigs.  Decided to have a look.  When I stepped out of the car I cautiously walked up to the pen because I wasn't too sure what mama was going to do and I understand pigs can be really, really mean.  So there I was standing next to the pen and this little piglet came running up to me -

 I suddenly felt like I was in the movie Babe.  Then the piglet realized that all its brothers and sisters were eating and it squealed and ran back to its mother.

But then it couldn't get in.  This piglet squealed and squealed.  I laughed and laughed.  It was a great stress reliever.  I should spend more time at the farm market. 

Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Birth Sampler Progress

As a reminder - this is the source
Despite all the craziness in my life right now, I've been stitching away on the Birth Sampler like mad.  In fact, maybe it's the stitching that is keeping me sane.  My stitching time has been significantly curtailed, but I still manage to make progress.

 Somehow I managed to be in charge of the Christmas doings at the historical society.  This year we're doing two weekends - the theme is Christmas in the Civil War.  We're decorating two live trees with the types of ornaments they'd have on  them during the 1860's.  Those are not exactly falling off the shelf at Walmart, so we have to make a bunch of stuff.  The committee's been meeting once a week and doing that.  Also, I've researched music of the period, literature (specifically Christmas literature), food (had lots of help with that) and of course, how to entertain people in Civil War style.  We will have costumed interpreters (none of whom can be pinned down to an exact day or time) as well as a fiddler, a harp and flute group, and a Civil War era Santa.  Two speakers will talk about the war in Berkeley County and we're sure to have a partridge in a pear tree somewhere!  Whew!  And somehow we still have to take care of advertising.

In addition, we've been commissioned at the historical society to produce a research package based on a piece of property.  It's like one I did in 2009 for a house I was working on for our annual house tour.  The lady of the house was so impressed with the package that she's asked us to do one for a family member who also owns a property in the county.  It involves researching the history of the property and all the people who ever owned it.  Sometimes there is precious little you can find out about some people.  But, I've made steady progress on this project and know I will be able to complete it by Christmas Week.  Mind you, I am not complaining because I find this kind of work absolutely fascinating.

I've also been helping a client organize his genealogy.  He hopes we'll finish up before Christmas and he'll be able to give copies to his family members.

And I have several irons in the fire sewing client-wise, but I've been stuck on this curtain job I've been working on off and on for a couple of months.  I really don't like making curtains.  I find it unutterably boring.  I'd rather do anything but make curtains.  Suffice it to say, I've drug my feet on this project.  My client has been really understanding, but I know it's not fair.  So, I spent yesterday working on them and I found I was actually closer to being done than I thought.  One more measurement for hems and I'll be finis!  And after this - NO MORE CURTAINS.  Heck, I don't even sew curtains for myself.

But, on to the Birth Sampler -   Here's what I've done so far . . . As you last saw, it was the center block.  I've added the two birds . . .

As I worked on these, I thought about my mother's thunderbird pin.  She had one that she'd gotten as a teen in Colorado.  She wore it often and was really upset when she lost it when I was a teenager.  Somewhere, she found another, but it wasn't nearly as nice as the one she'd had.  I have that one now, but always keep my eyes open for one like mom had originally.  I think that these two birds are thunderbirds. 

Many tribes apparently have a thunderbird mythology.  The one that I heard from my mom was that the thunderbird was the messenger god and was responsible for thunder (by beating its wings) and for rainfall.  Not surprising that a farmer's daughter would know that story best.

Once I had the central row complete, I moved on to begin the bottom row.

The next block to do is the one with the two animals (see image at top).  I think that those are coyotes.  Coyotes can be wiley creatures, so I'll have to be careful in my counting as I stitch.

Alot of the stuff I've learned about the Civil War Christmas decorating and traditions is pretty interesting, but I'm not sure if you're really interested in it.  If you are, leave me a comment and I'll do an entry about it - maybe two!  Hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birth Sampler

So it's going to be a boy (which I knew!) and I picked out this birth sampler about two months ago.  I ordered the book from Amazon.  It's called Splendid Samplers to Cross-Stitch by Chris Rankin.  While the designs are lovely, I find the charts difficult to work with.  They don't have the bold line at every tenth stitch that I find very useful and they are so small as to be unbelievably hard to read.  That said, this design is really lovely  it's the one from the cover of the book:
Book Available from
I got started on it last night.  I had to count the squares to get the stitch count so I could figure out what size fabric I needed.  Then I went through my stash to see what I had.  Finally I decided on a piece of Northern Cross Quaker - 30 count - in Antique White. The charts are mostly for DMC or Anchor, but this one happens to be for Anchor only.  So, I picked out DMC colors that I felt matched what was called for.  It's going to be very bright and colorful.

First of all, I had to copy and enlarge the chart because even with my magnifiers, I could not see the symbols.  I will burn the enlargements when I'm done!  It's hard to tell, but the stripes that form the boxes around the motifs are done in cross stitches.  Well, I'm not doing that!  I am doing the stripes in satin stitch instead.  The title of the design is Caribbean Sampler, but I think it looks more Peruvian or Ecuadorian. 

At any rate, I really like it for a little boy; very colorful and something that will grow with him.  In case you were wondering, I'm adding a border with name, birthdate and place around the outer border.

All the leaves are off the trees now; in a couple of weeks they'll harvest the corn.  I re-situated all my bird feeders this afternoon  so they're far away from anything the squirrels can climb on to get into them and I can see them just as well from inside the house.  It's time to snug up and do crafty stuff!  Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Busier Than a One-Armed Paper Hanger

I've always loved that euphemism!  It really describes what life's been like lately.  Remember I posted the design photo of the Christmas stocking for my DIL?  Well, I got a start on it.

Lisa's Christmas Stocking
And I wanted to show you what the others look like.

All together


My husband's

My youngest son's

This is a detail of the Mrs. Claus' Top Soil that I designed on mine to replace a stool in the garden shed.  It was my first foray into cross-stitch design. You can also see that I put a bunch of junk beads onto the tree as decoration.

So, that's what's up with that whole stocking thing.  I can't find my oldest son's stocking, so when I do, I'll put a pic of it up.

Got the call from my son yesterday after the sonogram - It's a BOY!!!  They will be receiving their little bundle of joy sometime in late winter - February/March???  But, I was right!  I've already picked out the Birth Announcement needlework I'm going to do and got a yard of fabric that is going to be the jumping off point for the quilt I'm going to make.  AND - last week when we had no power I started crocheting a little baby hat - in blue cotton!   Now you see where the Busier Than a . . . . comes in.  I've got more things to do than I know what to do with!  Yikes!

Now, I've checked with everyone in the family and they don't mind if I do this . . . I have this quilt that no longer goes with my decor.  It's a wall quilt - about 3 and a half feet by 2 feet.  It has a rod pocket on the back.  It is machine pieced and hand quilted.  It is called Roadtrip!, made by me.  Stitched in the open blocks are things that you'd see on a roadtrip along Route 66.  I am selling it for a $75 Nordic Needle online gift certificate.  Below is the overall picture of it.  Click on the tab at the top to go to the Windy Ridge Designs page and see detailed pictures of the block stitching and even a picture of the rod pocket on the back.  Email me if you're interested.  It would make a great guy gift for Christmas!  Shipping is on me!  Hope you enjoyed!


Addendum to Last AotH Update

Ugh - DUH!  I really have not been operating on all four wheels lately!  First, thanks to all of you who posted compliments on the block and commiseration on our car situation.  Husband is out right now shopping for a new car.  Son is still alive.  All good.

Now, to refresh your memories, I'd told you that at the bottom of the November block, I'd put my great grandfather's initials and that he'd served in the 116th Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War.

What I forgot to put in the post was the wonderful picture that we have of him and his wife, Cyntha Virginia Smith Cothren. 

Cornelius Piet Cothren was born May 27, 1845 in Ramsay township, Fayette County, Illinois.  His mother was Margaret D. Harris and his father was Calvin Cothran.  Margaret and Calvin were divorced when Cornelius was still a toddler.  Margaret later married George Washington Guthrie and they migrated to Cedar Vale, Chatauqua County, Kansas between 1860 and 1870.  In the meantime, the war was upon them and Cornelius signed up with the Illinois Infantry, mustering in on August 14, 1862 at Decatur, Illinois.  In this photo, he is wearing lapel pins that have his company number and another number.  I believe that he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic - a Union veteran's organization that formed after the war.   Because of the regalia he is wearing and the flag pin on Cyntha's shirtfront, I like to think that they had this picture made on the 4th of July.  Cornelius is buried at the Wadsworth Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas.  Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh, What A Week I've Had - and AotH Update!


First it was the OcSNOWber storm.  Our power was cut off for four days.  I've decided that while I CAN survive, I am not a pioneer woman.  I like my electronics way too much.  I LOVE my power company for getting us back up and running ahead of schedule!  In these pictures you can see my Windy Ridge walnut tree in the snow and the following day you can see how the snow was hanging onto the ridges and fall was back.

That got us to Tuesday.  Fast forward to Thursday, my son had an accident with probably the best made mailbox this side of the moon and sheared off the passenger mirror and both door handles on my mini van.  You cannot open the doors (from the outside) on that side of the car.  In orbit around the moon was about where I was five seconds after seeing my car.  Nuf said.

Then there was Friday morning - about 7 AM when my husband called.  You know it's going to be bad when the first words out of their mouth are "I'm O.K."  But, the car was totaled.  His car this time, not mine.  But, he's O.K.  and I really am very grateful for that.  His chest is still really sore from where the airbag deployed into it, apparently trying to make it out the other side, but he'll be fine.  The car, not-so-much.  Fortunately, we've got good insurance and I'll pick up the rental car tomorrow. We will have to get him a new-to-him car and we were already talking about getting a new car for me.  We'll have to spend quite a bit of time sorting it all out.

But, this morning I put the tahdah on the November piece of Anniversaries of the Heart.; so not everything is coming up crappy.

This month's featured female ancestor is Barbara Grove.  She is one of my oldest American born female ancestors, being one of my 4th great grandmothers.  She was born November 1, 1743 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  That's the Norristown/King of Prussia area.  Barbie's parents were Jacob Graf (alternatively spelled Groff) and Maria Ledrach Graf.  They were presumably from Germany, but I haven't worked those lines back far enough to know.  Barbara married Joseph Warner in the Old Goshenhoppen Church located in Upper Salford Township (Montgomery County) in 1774. I just love that name Goshenhoppen.  Joseph owned and operated a fulling mill in Cumru Township, Berks County, PA.  You can read about fulling mills and how they finished cloth here.  

If you read about the fulling process you'll read about TENTERING  and tenterhooks.  I think it's funny, being on tenterhooks was a phrase my mom used often.  I wonder if that phrase worked down through her family to her from Barbara's family.  I mean we use funny words that our parents used, right?  Joseph was from Chelsea which is a suburb of London, England.  Chelsea is on the shores of the Thames and if you look at old maps, you can see symbols that look like the Tentering Racks mentioned in the write up.  Joseph came to America in 1767/68 and learned the fulling process from his Graf/Grove in-laws.  Family tradition holds that Joseph produced linen cloth in his mill that was used to make uniforms for the Continental troops of George Washington.  One thing is for sure, if her husband operated a fulling mill, Barbara had access to cloth and was probably a heck of a seamstress and needleworker.  They had five children.  Barbara died in Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1831, probably living with one of her adult children.  But, she was buried with her husband in the Sinking Spring Cemetery near Mohnsville, PA

You'll also notice another line below Barbara's name - CPC 116th ILL. Vol. - represents Cornelius Piet Cothren, one of my great grandfather's.  "Corny" fought in the Civil War serving at Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Stone Mountain (among others) and finally Sherman's March to the Sea.  Only one third of his regiment survived to muster out in Washington on June 7, 1865 - 23 days after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  As a man from Illinois I'm sure that was a very sad time for Corny.  His wounds and diseases (he was stricken with typhoid, chronic diarrhea, and piles; he lost the use of his left thumb due to an improperly tended fracture and had an unhealing wound on his foot that was two toes wide.  Poor Corny died on November 20, 1925 at Fort Leavenworth.  No, he wasn't there for punishment - he was at the VA Hospital.

With regard to the November block, I decided to omit the trees that went up the side of the house.  It started off that I didn't like the color and then I decided I wanted more "white space".  I substituted for all the Crescent Colors flosses.  On the house I used all the called for flosses and ended up not being able to see the window surrounds.  I was disappointed by that.  I ran a backstitch in the door color all around the window surrounds to make them stand out a bit more.  Doing it all over again, I would do the window surrounds in the door color.  However, I am very happy with the final results of my block.

Here you can see that November completes the first Anniversaries of the Heart panel.  December and the final Bonus Chart will complete panel two next month.  Then I'll have to work out the border in 2012. 

Now I'm moving on to Opus Magnusson, but I have been working on the Christmas Stocking for my daughter in law and hope to show you all the progress soon.  Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Virginia Quilt Talk Upcoming

At the historical society we received a press release from the Handley Library this week.  They're announcing that Paula Golden will be there at the Bowman Library Meeting Room in the Handley (Winchester, VA) on Tuesday evening, November 15 at 6:30PM.

Paula Golden is a co-author of the book Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899 The birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle.  She will give a presentation on the quilts in the book.  Interestingly it turns out that I purchased this book at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley when I went to see the Daughters of the Stars exhibit last week.  Many of the quilts that are in the exhibit are in the book - but there are so many more in the book!

Click on the title - available at Amazon
The state of Virginia is divided in the book into areas like North, East, Central, Highlands, etc.  And quilts from these areas are featured in those particular chapters.  But again, there is SO MUCH MORE.  I can't tell you what a delight it was to open and begin perusing this book.  For example - the Northern Region featured in Chapter Two features quilts made by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington as well as pincushions made by Dolly Todd Madison.  This chapter also has photographs of a staggeringly beautiful hexi-quilt and talks about how English paper piecing papers are from newspapers dating from 1790 in some of these quilts.  Fascinating!

Photos of old homes, sewing boxes, sewing tables, and needlework accessories and tools also dot through the book.  This chapter also held a surprise for me.  There is a section about Quaker quilts.  Most of these are applique quilts and the section talks about how some of the fabrics are featured in different quilts from different Quaker communities.  One quilt, from Abram's Delight from the Hollingsworth family has a block on each corner that is called the Apple Pie Ridge Star.  Well, it just so happens I live on Apple Pie Ridge and I thought, oh, my goodness, I HAVE to make that block!  The area was settled by Quakers from Pennsylvania who planted our apple orchards.  The apples grown in the orchards along the ridge (the elevation protects the blossoms from frost in the spring) made the best Apple Pie and that's how the ridge became known as Apple Pie Ridge.  It stretches from Martinsburg down south of Winchester; and where the ridge goes, our orchards go. 

Apple trees on Apple Pie Ridge - looking across to North Mountain
I don't know exactly what the presentation is going to comprise, but I'm hoping for a slideshow and Q&A session; cause I'd sure like to know more about that block.  Oh, there is a picture of a quilt in the back of the book called Farmer's Delight/Farmer's Fancy and they have provided traceable templates to make the block and appliqued border.  It is derived from a pattern thought to have originated in the Shenandoah Valley.   Just so you know, I'm not affiliated with the book publisher or authors in any way.  I just think it's a really nice book and thought you all would like to hear about it.  Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Quilt Exhibit

   Daughters of the Stars: Shenandoah Valley Star Quilts and Their Makers   opened last night at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA.  I was lucky enough that a friend of mine who is a member, called to ask if I'd like to be her plus-one.  I'd received an invitation myself, but it was much more fun to go with a friend!  The exhibit is beautiful.  I features about 15 quilts made in counties of the Shenandoah Valley.  I highly recommend going to see the exhibit.

I took a few pictures (using my museum/no flash setting) before an aide told me that photography was not allowed.  Sigh.  I got almost all the quilts.

I originally found out about this show this past summer when a message was left at the historical society by the curator of the exhibit.  The president called me at home and said - museum, curator, quilt - will you please call him, I know you know about these things.  So, I called.  Turned out he was putting the exhibit together and they had yet to find an example of a star quilt from Berkeley County; was I familiar with one?  I answered in the affirmative.  Told him that a couple of years ago in the exhibit I put together at our museum, we'd had a beautiful one made in 1860.  So, long story short, I hooked him up with the owner, they worked things out and this quilt (which you may remember from my post back then) was hanging in a place of prominence in the gallery.

Quilt by Mrs. Gwilliams, Berkeley Co., VA 1860
Here are some of the other pictures I took -

 I absolutely love this one and may try and reproduce it.  In the center of the four stars is a white block with a signature on it - that's in each of the four-star blocks.  I'd make it without the signature blocks.  The lighter arms of the stars are done in beiges that nearly match the background.
 This one the green fabric was really wearing thin.  It may have been made of some exotic dress fabric or the green dye may have eaten away at the fabric.  The feathers are quilted and stuffed (trapunto)
 This is a church quilt with signatures in the centers of the blocks.  It's from Newtown (now Stephens City) Virginia.
This one was made in 1870 or 1880, but the information with it said it could have been made earlier.  It thought it was an absolute stunner for its colors.  It was also quite detailed.  If you look at the block at the top of this post, you can see that there are lots of little pieces in this block.  It was all hand pieced and quilted as were most of the quilts.  Note that in the border there are half square triangles, but the quilter was very cleaver, making a half square triangle out of two triangles and a square.  It made the color variation very interesting.

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daughter in Law's Stocking

I've been working the last couple of weeks composing a Christmas stocking for my daughter in law.  Remember I mentioned that I'd done some of the Sandy Orton stockings from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts (and/or Better Homes & Gardens) - Donna Kooler Studio?  Well, DIL is a teacher so I wanted to do a teacher theme for her. 

I took several of the stocking designs and recompiled them.  Then I made the changes necessary to fit my idea.  For instance, the desk - that's from the Holiday Study stocking, I just added more bookshelves above it.  Because that's one thing my DIL does - read - ALOT.  Maybe even more than me!  On the desk I've got a slate, an apple, a hand bell, a pencil cup and a Teacher sign.  Below are the two cats that they have and a coloring book, crayons and crayon box.  Over by the chair, some graded papers and a pot of sunflowers - those are her favorite flowers.   Oh, and up on top of the bookcase - a model school bus!  I threw in some Christmas-y decorations and viola!  To me, the wallpaper makes it look dated.  I mean, we're not really into that 80's country kitsch style anymore, but I didn't know what else to do on the walls; and it will match with all the others that way.  Don't want to have to do solid x's to make it a painted wall.  I think it looks done.  What do you think? 

The BH&G Heirloom Christmas Stockings book is available through Nordic Needle.  It doesn't contain all the designs that were ever done.  I have a collection of my original CC&CC mags that I use to supplement the book.

Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doing What I Want to Do

I have taken a vacation from my obligations.  Sort of.  Still have a couple of meetings I have to attend, but other than that, I'm doing what I want to do for the next two weeks.  Not going anywhere, just staying home and doing stuff that I've been putting off.

Like this project:

I was watching an episode of Blue Bloods on CBS last year.  Nate Berkus had said once that when he watches T.V. shows, he's always looking at the set design.  Honestly, I think that's way too confusing, especially when you can look at Tom Selleck instead.  But, this particular scene didn't have Selleck in it, so I felt obligated to follow Nate's advice and check out the set design.  And I saw a framed piece hanging on the wall of this victim's apartment and went "Oh, Wow!  That's cool!"  Ever since, I've been gathering up all the old keys I can find around the house (my husband had quite a few) and picked up some at tag sales.  Then I had to look and look for the shadow box I wanted (a long narrow one).  I finally found this one at Joanne's this past weekend.  Regular price was $35 (which I thought was unreasonable), but it happened to be on sale and I had a coupon for an extra 10% off regular and sale price items.  So, I got it for under $20.  Which I thought was very reasonable.

To put it all together, I used my drill, with a fine bit.  I put the keys on the display board until I had a layout that I liked.  Then I transferred all the keys off to my work table.  Put a couple of keys back on the display board and drilled holes just above them.  Then I took some fine, vinyl coated wire (in black) that I'd had for a l-o-n-g time; a manageable size, like a foot in length.  I am pretty sure it is some sort of scrapbooking wire.  Keeping a tail of the wire in the back, I poked the wire through a drilled hole and pulled it all the way to the front (except the tail in back) then slid on a key and put the wire back in the same hole to the back.  Then moved on to the next hole.  I repeated with all the drilling and the keys until I had them all attached to the display board.  Used several lengths of wire in this process. The nice thing about the wire is that it doesn't have much of a profile on the back and when you put the display board back in the shadow box frame, and then put the backing on it, there's no difficulty getting it all closed back up.  One thing I made sure to do was if the keys had some cool writing or design on them, that went to the front side.  And I still have plenty of room to add more keys as we find them.

I also have a collection of Patriotic American jewelry due to my DAR membership.  I just love big sparkly flags and red-white-and-blue beads!  I had put it all into a shadow box because it's so pretty it needed to be treated better than just hanging out in a jewelry box.  The only problem with that was the shadow box I used was too small to leave room for expansion and the jewelry had to be put in more permanently so that it would stay in place.  The problem with that is that I wear my jewelry.  I think that I figured out a new way to do it so they can be on display and wearable; I'm going to work on that here during my stay-ca.

Second Thing I did (well, actually I did this before I did the keys, but . . . ) was to finish the blocks for my Julia's Ribbons quilt.  Remember, I began working on this last winter.  I'd really like to finish it before this coming winter ('cause I have other cool stuff that I want to get to!)  So, here are the blocks -

The block here on the left is my favorite one.  I just love the background fabric that is on this one.  Wanted to have more of it!  I went back to the store, but they didn't have anymore left in stock - and you know what that means . . . so, no, I decided I didn't want to spend all that time just to add to my already too-large stash.

Lastly, I've been stitching in the evening on Opus Magnusson.  I now have a complete width of the whole.  Two more rows to go!  That means nine more months of stitching on it!  Yippie!  It will remind me of maternity!

This one has quickly lost it's charm for me.  That tiger should be orange and it really bothers me.  Not enough to unstitch it and restitch it, but it really bothers me.  I'm sure I'll just love it when I'm done - right now I'm just boo-hooing.  Maybe I'll have a better outlook at the end of my vacation. Hope you enjoyed!