Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fighting the Civil War (Quilt)

I had a lovely surprise a couple of weeks ago when a new customer called me to do some quilting. Wonderful long-arm quilter Joanne Mengwasser has referred several clients to me when she is too busy to get quilts done by a deadline, so I had a nice chat with Karen over the phone, found out we were both teachers, etc. When she showed up at my door, I did a double-take. This was Karen that I knew from North Carolina State University back in the late sixties-early seventies! (By the way, that was a very interesting time to be in college!) We had not seen each other in over thirty years, and I didn't know she was back in Raleigh. Anyway, she brought me two quilts made with Civil War reproduction fabrics. One is an Underground Railroad, and the other features an on-point diamond block design.

Yesterday I decided that with DSH (Dear Sweet Husband) out of town, I needed to do something useful or I would spend the day lolling around watching Violette videos and eating That Pumpkin Stuff right out of the pan. And I am really sick of painting, so I left the mess in the upstairs bathrooms and headed for my idle Gammill. I decided to start with the diamond quilt since it is smaller and might be a one-day project. I knew there were some bias issues from the diamond blocks and pointed this out to Karen, saying I would do my best to "quilt them out." (Ha ha, we've all come to love that term!)

All was going fabulously with an overall leafy meander, except that Mother Goose thread blends so well with these fabrics that I sometimes got lost in my designs. Then I got to the bottom row- OH OH! Those borders had so much fullness. I worked hard to baste and pin the borders to tame them into submission. Here is how they looked after pinning:

And here is the last border after quilting the H*## out of it! I was dodging pins and mashing down puckers while making all kinds of curly-Q's. I don't think it shows too bad in this dark print and after washing, will hardly be noticeable. (I hope.

Funny story about these two quilts. Karen's two sons-in-law both participate in Civil War re-enactments, where they dress in historical costumes and camp out at battle sites. But, one re-enacts for the Union and one for the Confederacy!

I may have mentioned that I was brought up in the New York City area and moved to North Carolina when I was in high school. At the time, there were not very many Nawtheners living in Cary. That is now changed drastically, and Cary is known by some as Containment Area for Relocated Yankees. When Charlie and I got engaged and told his North Carolina mountain grandparents that I was from New York and New Jersey, they sighed and told him that it was okay with them if he married a Yankee as long as I loved him. The Catholic part threw them a bit, but they were okay with that after I convinced them that all the wild stories Charlie teasingly told them about Catholics were a figment of his imagination.

Anyway, my parents were both from Washington, DC, and most of my relatives lived in Virginia, so I was not the typical IBM transplant from upstate New York who happened to be moving to North Carolina in droves at the time. In fact, one relative still lives on a family plantation in Virginia! But I did not know until I helped my father move out of his home two years ago that I have a real claim on being a Southerner. I cleaned out a closet that had all of my grandmother's scrapbooks and boxes of memorabilia. I found out that one of her relatives was the first Confederate general to die in the Civil War, in a prisoner of war camp. And I also found another document showing that one of Dad's relatives had paid thirty dollars to be free of his obligation to serve for the Union Army. I didn't know you could buy your way out of the draft way back then.

I've got the Underground Railroad quilt pinned and ready to go, but I am hearing the Call of the Shopper today- a fabulous craft fair at a local high school. Have a great Saturday!

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