Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) and join in the generous sharing of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Do add to the conversations by leaving your links and thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
I must confess the cover has remained on my sewing machine for most of this week. We’ve had a couple of days out – a real treat in these times of limited travel and social distancing. My husband fulfilled my birthday wish and took us on a woodland walk. It turned out to be the last day of a run of of warm, sunny weather. Walking (or sitting!) in dappled shade in the peaceful Hampshire countryside was such a treat.
Our walk ended at the flint walled Ellisfield Church which is a typical of old buildings in this part of the country where
It has been a special, memorable day. Unlike the people who took part in the exuberant celebrations of VE Day seventy-five years ago we have had to celebrate under the restraints of lock-down.
This necessarily quiet day of commemoration has given time for reflection. Many of the scheduled programmes on the TV have been dominated by interviews with ordinary people sharing their experiences of WW2. There has been an opportunity to take part in a two minute silence of remembrance, to hear Winston Churchill’s speech made at 3pm on 8th May, and to close the day with a short, poignant VE Day address by HM Queen Elizabeth II broadcast at 9pm – the same time her father, George VI, spoke to the nation 75 years ago.
The 2nd World War lasted six long years. Ordinary people had to take on responsibilities and roles they would not have chosen, often living away from loved ones, enduring shortages and heartbreaking losses. Thinking about such a lengthy time of severe hardship certainly gives perspective to our seven weeks of lock-down!
My parents were very young at the outbreak of war. My father was born in 1937, he was seven years old on VE Day 1945, my mother was six years old. Their families lived in London. They both have very clear memories of the air raids, running to air raid shelters or hiding under their kitchen tables as bombs exploded in the streets around them. With an adults perspective they can imagine the fear and hardship that their parents went through as they sought to provide for and protect their young children. But my parents memories of WW2 are not saturated with fear. My Dad can think of only one incident when his Mother betrayed her fear to her young family: As they hid in the little dug out air raid shelter at the end of their garden a ‘Doodlebug’ flew overhead, the engine noise stopped and my Dad remembers his Mother throwing herself across the three children in a desperate attempt to protect them from the coming explosion.
With hindsight my Dad is sure his Mum must have shared her food and clothing rations to supplement her childrens’ rations. The children also benefited from kindly Aunts and Uncles who made regular visits bringing their own rations of sweets for the youngsters to enjoy. My Mum remembers her family having to move out of their house when a bomb blast blew out all the glass from the windows. In hindsight she realises some of the difficulties her Mother endured while her husband was away serving as RAF ground crew. A while after VE Day my Mum recalls there was great excitement when the local greengrocer announced a shipment of bananas was on the way. At six years old Mum had never seen a banana let alone tasted one. Everyone told her how good bananas were to eat and she was caught up in the excitement. Oh! The disappointment on tasting the fruit – it was not to her liking at all and yet she couldn’t show her true reaction to her parents and felt compelled to finish it with a smile on her face! To this day she avoids getting close enough even to smell a banana let alone eat one!
While we have not had to endure even a small percentage of the hardships experienced by the wartime generations we are going through a shared time of tragedy the like of which few of us have encountered before. Today it was a great morale booster to hear directly from those who acted with such courage and fortitude during the War and to take part in a local celebration honouring them and those who paid for our freedom with their lives. The neighbours on our street came together (well no nearer than 2 metres together!), decorating houses with bunting and flags and sharing in a front garden/doorstep tea party. It was a lovely opportunity to see one another, to stand at a distance sharing our news and remember the people and events of WW2.
My bedtime reading had me puzzling over this question: So what is a Churn Dash? I know it is the name of a much used and much loved patchwork block but actually what is a churn dash?
Little House in Big Woods is the first in a wonderful series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder telling of her childhood in the 1860s and 70s. The books tell of the adventures encountered and everyday activities lived out by her family as they followed the Pioneer trail for ten years from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to the Prairies of Kansas onto Minnesota until finally settling – at Ma’s insistence – in De Smet, South Dakota.
The recollections of everyday life for Laura and her family include a description of the weekly task of making butter. Laura describes how Ma poured cream into the tall crockery churn and then lowered the ‘churn dash’ attached to a long pole into the cream, dropping a lid with a central hole over the pole to stop the cream splashing out of the container before the lengthy task of churning got underway. Laura was too small to move the dash up and down but her ‘big’ sister Mary was able to take over every-now-and-again while Ma had a break from the heavy work.
Having read this description of butter making I wanted to know what a churn dash looks like. I tried ‘images of churn dash’ in my computer search engine and received links to lots of very lovely variations of churn dash blocks used in patchwork quilts! I was in danger of disappearing down a rabbit hole …. But managed to resist and instead tried a more specific search, ‘images of butter churn dash’.
This second search provided the answer I was looking for. Seeing this image and others showing the churn dash at the end of the pole has helped me to see how the patchwork block got it’s name. The dashers vary from simple ‘X’ shapes through to circles with several round holes. Wisemen Trading have a variety of replica churns and dashers on their website.
The Churn Dash patchwork block is simple but very versatile. Here it is in a straight layout and then turned on end in an on-point layout.
PS. If the photo of my Puffin book has made you nostalgic then have a little smile at the price on the back cover 🙂
Welcome to Saturday Sunday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) to this virtual sewing day and share in the conversations and inspiration to be found in our Worldwide Quilting Community 🙂 Please do leave your contributions to the conversations in the comments box at the end of this post. Thank you!
We have had a few days holiday in the seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset. We have enjoyed walking through the town centre and onto the seafront which is dominated by Georgian architecture. There is a statue of King George III, erected to celebrate his Golden Jubilee and in grateful thanks for his patronage of the town – the King’s summer residence still forms part of Weymouth’s sea front.
All this by way of explanation for the fact my current project remains hand stitching the binding to the back of one of the Square-in-a-Square quilts… Just got to carry on carrying on… 😀 I did pack the quilt and my sewing kit into my suitcase so there is a chance it will be finished before we travel home…
I hope you find something of interest and maybe something to inspire you through the following links into the Worldwide Quilting Community:
Karen’s series of blog posts recalling each day of her and her husband’s quilt shop hop around Minnesota continues to entertain. I still can’t get over the distances traveled each day and the number of shops visited! I’m sure it just wouldn’t be possible on the winding roads and crowded motorways here in the UK.
If you are a quilter who loves to travel then you will want to check out a new group on Facebook. Rona has created the ‘Traveling Quilters‘ group. Here is her intro: “Not all Quilters like to sit still. Some of us love to travel! Shop Hops, Row by Row, Quilt shows, Quilt retreats, you name it, we’re on our way. The Traveling Quilters group is for all the quilters out there that also love to travel. Share your tips, photos, projects and, of course, your travels!”
Marking a quilt design on beautiful fabrics is always a bit daunting: will the chosen marker brush or wash away without a trace or permanently stain the quilt? Nancy describes her experience of using Prismacolor pencils to mark a design on her quilt.