Monthly Archives: February 2020

Civil War Sampler Block #16: Tennessee

My Civil War Sampler Block 16 is Tennessee:

Tennessee, completed July 1, 2019

Tennessee, completed July 1, 2019

I confess that this is one of my least favorite of all the blocks I’ve completed thus far. (And I’ve actually done 28+ at this point, but I haven’t written about them all yet…)

The color that I associate with Tennessee is, again (like Louisiana), related to the school colors of a large state university there: orange.

And, I had really been jonesing to use that rather strange berry-leafy print. The purple square in the middle is just a color that I thought coordinated with some of the berries, as did the orange.

But all in all, I’m not too thrilled with how this came out. Usually — thankfully — I have the pleasant surprise of the opposite occurrence: choosing the colors, getting halfway through, thinking I’m not sure about it, and then being pretty happy with the results after all.

(This was the case with a pink, green, and brown quilt Mom and I made in 2013 – the cuts of cloth looked fine together on the table, then it looked pretty dicey mid-way through, but in the end we liked it after all.)

Relating to history, the story in the book (I can’t actually find it on the blog)  happens to mention that Tennessee hosted more Civil War battles than any other state, save Virginia.

If you had asked me this question in trivia — “after Virginia, what state had the most Civil War battles?” — I would have had a hard time coming up with the answer (if I did at all). But it makes sense, with Tennessee being near the “middle” of things (north/south-wise) and also being quite “elongated” east/west. No wonder armies were marching around through Tennessee (and inevitably meeting up with each other) so much!

You’ve no doubt heard of the Battle of Shiloh, which took place in April 1862 at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, along the west bank of the Tennessee River. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

It’s a stretch to relate this, but I can hardly think of Tennessee in connection with the Civil War and not think of Shiloh and consequently of one particular soldier I researched several years ago and who died as a result of his injuries from that battle. If you’re interested, here’s the first part of my A Tale of Two Howards, which follows two Ohio cousins – both named Howard (their mothers’ maiden name) – who fought in the Civil War.

Come to think of it, though, I guess I could tie both of these thoughts together – the quilt square and the “Howard” boys – by saying that nothing ever turns out quite the way you think it will (for good or bad).


Civil War Sampler #15: Apple Tree

My Civil War Sampler Block 15 is Apple Tree:

Apple Tree, completed June 29, 2019

Apple Tree, completed June 29, 2019

This was another block where I took the name pretty literally – after all, it does look like an apple tree, right? (More or less.)

And I knew I had some apple-print fabric somewhere in one of my dresser drawers…

(And, would you believe I am just this very moment as I write this, realizing that it is the EXACT same apple fabric as was used in one of the examples in both Brackman’s blog and the book???)

But beyond that, coordinating prints had to be chosen.

Since my Mom was in town visiting, I asked her to help me pick out the colors. Didn’t we do a nice job selecting them? 🙂

Here’s Mom with the finished square:

Apple Tree was completed with help from my mom, seen here

Apple Tree was completed with help from my mom, seen here

The original story that goes with this block is about hanging Confederate President Jefferson Davis “on a sour apple tree” — but the (proposed) hanging really didn’t inspire me as much as the apple tree itself…


Civil War Sampler #14: Rosebud

My Civil War Sampler Block 14 is Rosebud:

Rosebud, completed June 29, 2019

Rosebud, completed June 29, 2019

This block was completed with no less than two regrets and one lesson.

The first regret was that I had already used my “best” pink rosebud prints in #10 Yankee Puzzle. You can see that I actually used one of the same ones again in this one. No big deal; I’ve used some prints more than once in various blocks.

One might suggest that perhaps I should (have) read the entire book first and plan better…but, oh my, what fun would that be? I’d get completely overwhelmed and shut down entirely on the project! No, I’m taking it one block at a time. Read the story, pick some cloth, make the square.

My second regret (and also the lesson) is, however, that I did not at least read the entire page and all its instructions before diving in. Apparently, this block called for a “scant” seam when joining all the tiny triangles. I did not do this, and so I ended up with something like the block below (shown after I tried to remedy my too-small finished square by letting out only the seams joining the 4 quadrants – which, as you can see, did not work).

A reminder to read all instructions before proceeding

A reminder to read all instructions before proceeding

I had to ask my Mom, “What does that even mean, a ‘scant’ seam?”

“It’s something a little less than a quarter inch seam.”

“What, like an eighth? Why don’t they just say that?”

Who knows.

I could not bring myself to rip out ALL of those seams, so instead, I just cut all of the pieces out again and made a completely brand new block. But I’ve kept the “mistake” block as a reminder to read all the instructions before you start! I now make sure to look out especially for the blue “Hint” boxes. (I may even tack this block up to my wall, like a warning…)

(While I took the name of this block pretty literally with roses, roses, everywhere, the original history tale for Rosebud, which you can read on Brackman’s blog, pertains to Confederate spy Rose Greenhow.)