Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time to Quilt

   I had a free weekend at last. Nothing to do but quilt! Just the way I like it. I've had a request for a couple sample quilts of Reap the Whirlwind and Winds of War for the May meeting of the Florrisant, MO, Flower Valley Quilt Guild. I'm doing a 3 day presentation and workshops there in July. The original quilts are large and I can't send them as I need them for other presentations in the mean time. I spent the weekend piecing the tops in crib size for an timely finish and because they will be easier to ship and store. I got Reap the Whirlwind done and am about a third of the way finished quilting it.

Here's the top, in 30's fabric to show the versatility of the pattern...
A closeup...

The backing fabric...
  It only takes 9 blocks to make a 45" square baby quilt. You can add a 4-6" wide border if you prefer a larger baby quilt. I usually make mine 52-54" square. That way the quilt can be a lap quilt through the toddler years too.

   I love this photo of Bertha Staffinger Coburn with her husband, Glenn, taken in front of their Peoria, Iillinois home in the early 1900's. She wrote on the back," Notice Glenn has on his derby (hat). He wore that on our wedding day too." Doesn't he look dapper?

    I'm a bachelorette tonight and tomorrow. Randy's mother is having open heart surgery tomorrow at 7 AM in Springfield, Illinois. He would have had to be up and gone by 3 AM to get there from Mt. Pleasant in time to see her before they took her to surgery. It just made sense to go tonight and get a little more sleep. It will be a long day for him and his sisters.

  I'm off to get some quilting done before bedtime. I hope you've had time to quilt today. Keep stitching!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As Paul Harvey said, This is the Rest of the Story...

   Saturday, February 11th, I once again met with the Staffinger descendants at the Robert Johnson farm near Carthage, Illinois.  They had invited me to see the newly acquired photos and documents a lady gave them that now owns the Christopher Staffinger home. I'm not sure where they were in the house that they were missed the day of the sale, attic maybe. I wasn't prepared for what I saw. The "few" items I expected to see turned out to be a boxful, about 12" x18" x24", I'd guess. It was amazing. When Amanda handed me the first couple of pictures of Christopher as an elderly man, I couldn't even see them at first, because my eyes filled with tears. Oh, what a treasure it was!

Christopher with one of his grandchildren...

Christopher leaning on his hand plow (he died while plowing his garden)...
  These were the tip of the iceberg. I scanned as much as I thought I had time to prepare for my presentation at the German American Heritage Center, Davenport, IA, on Sunday afternoon. Nine members of the family traveled to Davenport to attend my presentation. It really made the event special having them there.I know the audience  enjoyed seeing them there.
   I'll need to make a couple more trips to the farm to get the rest of the material scanned. There were so many letters to and from the Army Pension Board and all kinds of legal documents. I don't think the family even has had a chance to thoroughly study them all. It really is going to fill in almost all the gaps in the story for me.

  This is a testimonial letter a friend wrote to vouch for Christopher's injury and right to claim a pension...
   It's really so sad to read the extent of his injuries. He suffered so terribly his entire adult life and yet remained so upbeat and lived life to his full capacity.

  Here is his injury in his own words...
  His fellow soldiers told of his laying on the battlefield for 3 days, Chris only remembered being there overnight. I'm sure in his condition, he was probably unconscious most of that time and had no sense of the time. Regardless how long, it was too long to be that seriously injured and lay unattended.

 Here is his family in the 1880's or early 90's (Henry, his only son died as an infant) Bertha is the youngest in the center. Isn't her hair beautiful?
  Keep checking in as I'll be sharing lots more, but it's now past my bedtime! Keep stitching...


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


   Have you noticed I've been absent for a couple of weeks? The last time I posted, I told you that I was selling Civil War toile and pictorial charm packs gleaned from my collection. That's when my world went crazy. Boy, did a lot of you like my charm packs! I was cutting charms every waking minute I wasn't at work just to fill orders and try to get a little inventory built up. After a  long weekend, I finally can relax a little. I have a nice tote filled with charm packs ready to go. I've heard back from some of the quilters who purchased packs and I'm thrilled to hear how pleased they are with them. I can't wait to see pictures of the quilts they make using my charms. If they send me pictures, I'll share them here.

   Since my son only comes home every 3-4 weeks for a weekend, I've pretty much turned his bedroom into another workroom for my Orphans of War business. Here are pictures of charms ready to go into packs. I still have lots of yardage I haven't cut from. A few days ago  I dove into the stash in the basement storage room and discovered more yardage I forgot I had, dating to the early 80's. I was excited to see these because they will be great additions to the charm packs.

I use Isaah's bed to stack charms sorted by type. I stand at the side and randomly draw charms from the stacks and place a penny on the stack so there are no duplicate charms in a pack.

These 2 are favorites of mine. The red and cream is an early repro.(1980's)

  I've also been quilting like crazy to get the quilt off the frame and bound in time to take to my next presentation in Davenport, Iowa at the German American Heritage Center. It is an encore presentation to present the new information on the Christopher Staffinger quilt story. I'm meeting with the descendants again this weekend to acquire even more photos and info the family recently acquired from a lady who found it in the Staffinger house when she bought it. She had read the articles about my meeting with the family last June and after much thought decided to get in touch with them and give them photos and Christopher's documents! They were delighted to get these and once again, gracious enough to contact me and offer to share them with me. I can't wait to see these treasures and add all of this to my new improved presentation on the Christopher Staffinger Quilt. If you're in the Quad City area, stop by the GAHC on Sunday, Feb.19th at 1PM to hear the story in person. I'm not sure what they are charging at the door. The last time it was $10.

Here are pictures of my just quilted Fields of Blue and Gray in a smaller size than the pattern for easier use in my traveling display.

Closeup of Union block...
I don't usually wash my quilts after hand-quilting, but I did this time to remove the blue marking. After drying, it looks a little puffy, not a look I like!

                                                           Closeup of Confederate block...

A corner of the quilt. I used a navy with stars print for the binding and backed the quilt with the same "cannonballs" gray print used in the pieced border  ....

  This quilt was inspired by my visit to the Stones River National Battlefield in Tennessee a couple years ago. I was very moved by the experience as this was the battle that Christopher Staffinger was so horribly wounded in. It felt like especially hallowed ground to me.

  I'll try to keep in better touch now that I'm caught up. Thanks for checking in. Keep stitching!