Saturday, October 21, 2017

Quilting Baseball

We're one game away from the World Series so today's the day to start quilting the Phillies! First things first. Some stitch-in-the-ditch along the sashing just to keep areas a bit more enclosed. For about one-millisecond I considered quilting individual areas: the uniform, glove, background, etc. Nope. Too crazy. This is not a wall- or art-quilt. It will get heavy use by someone who will love it but perhaps not take perfect care of it. Let's go for sturdy instead.

QuiltDivaJulie made Zinderella recently with Baptist Fans. Oh, how beautiful. I've tried them before, not very successfully. She kindly sent me some pointers and I gave it another try.

On this first ballplayer I kept forgetting the design and made headbands instead of fans. Oh, well. There are eight more players.

Quilting the first baseball player
The second block worked out much better. Neither the lighting nor my eyesight is perfect so I overshot the eighth-inch gap I imagined before each fan blade. Mine go right up to the fan and travel over to the next spot. Sometimes I miscounted the number of blades in the fan but overall, it looks good. Thanks so much for the advice, Julie!

Phillies ballplayers in their home pinstripe uniforms stand of fields of green, ready to play ball.
Better Baptist Fan quilting on the second baseball player

I chose Presencia grey cotton thread for all the free motion and am very pleased with the thread and the color. Grey blends well with all these colors. Presencia is truly a long-staple Egyptian cotton: strong and low-lint. Over the years I've found that if thread does not explicitly state long-staple Egyptian, it creates more lint than I want.

Last week DH and I visited Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. We deliberately planned the ferry crossing. Interestingly both captain and crew were women. There was a basket of local apples for sale on the honor system so we both enjoyed one. New England apples are a treat to all the senses. Tart, crispy, aromatic. Nothing tops locally grown.

Larabees-Ticonderoga ferry landing

Hotels and taverns formerly existed at the landing but have been burned or destroyed over the years. This building still stands, made from stones taken from Fort Ticonderoga across the lake. It may be a home now but still has the pulley to lift cargo to the top floor.

Larabee's Point Lakehouse

Originally built by the French, Fort Ticonderoga's star-shaped walls are typical defensive structures.  Due to the north-south mountain ranges and lakes, the fort occupies the strategic location between Canada and Boston/NYC. It's at the three-mile portage between Lakes Champlain and George. Unfortunately it could be bombarded from several mountains, a fact which the British used to capture it twice - once during the French and Indian Wars (aka the Seven Years War) and again in 1777.

Fort Ticonderoga appears as a small white line on the left peninsula in this panoramic view from the top of Mount Defiance

Panoramic view of Lake Champlain and Ft. Ticonderoga from Mount Defiance
Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys captured the fort in a surprise attack in May 1775. The cannon were shipped overland to break the siege of Boston forcing a British retreat - an early and major American victory.

While Americans hoped to encourage or coerce Canadians to join the Revolution, they used the fort as a staging point. British also used this passage to transport soldiers and materiel until General Burgoyne, trying to end the war by splitting the American forces, was surrounded at Saratoga when his troops from the south and west didn't arrive. His surrender, later commemorated in the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt pattern, marked the fort's decline as there were no more British troops to ferry south.

In 1820, the property was acquired by William Pell. His great-grandson, Stephen Pell, restored it and founded the non-profit association that runs it today.

Outside view of enlisted barracks at Ft. Ticonderoga

Each year the Fort highlights a different year from history down to the clothing, food, armaments, and occupants. Once past the gates, it became 1758 when the French held off a far superior British attack. The staff cast a four-pound cannon, built the carriage, and set it off daily - in French with an docent adding explanations in English.

Every guide seemed to hold a Master's degree in history or languages. Details flowed. As we walked around the Fort, they expounded on the socio-political realities and ramifications of events here and in France. I spent half an hour with the soldier guide above this barracks (four men to each mattress) while he made a new pair of breeches for a comrade. He used white thread to sew the blue and red boiled wool uniform. No matching thread in this era. The uniforms must have been hot in summer although he said the linen underclothes helped wick away sweat. {Hmm. Not sure that would be enough for me.}

Bunks in the enlisted barracks, Ft. Ticonderoga, NY
The 2018 season opens in May with a two-day reenactment of Ethan Allen's attack. Visitors can watch from Mount Defiance and other strategic points. I'd love to be there, wouldn't you?


The next AHIQ linkup is this Tuesday. Kaja has a clever idea for year's end. Check it out and link up your utility/improv work.

Enjoy the day, Ann

20 comments:

  1. The baseball players are great! I have to remember those blocks if I ever get around to making my dh a baseball quilt. Your travel pix and history lesson are great! I love that kind of stuff. Never payed much attention in school but visiting a place really makes history come alive! cheers!

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    1. Don't let him see them until you're ready to start. There are so many ways to vary these blocks. Now that I've made one I have even more ideas.
      Visiting the sites certainly helps. And they had the best guides. I always loved history and, with the Burgoyne tie in, have wanted to see Ticonderoga for years. Yay. We made it.

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  2. Glad you gave the free form fans a try - I will be using them again and again. Great choices for your baseball quilt!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement, Julie. These look pretty good. Like you, I want to use them everywhere now.

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  3. That is a genius idea to have everything at the fort representing one specific year in history! It will keep people coming back, and it sounds a lot more immersive too. It must be fun for the guides as well.

    The quilt is looking awesome. It is a great idea, and I think it will be a real family treasure!

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    1. I agree, Monica. Representing a single year lets them tell a detailed story. That's the word: immersive. Although they weren't those obnoxious guides who only talk in that era. (What is this cell phone? Etc.) Personable. They related to each visitor individually rather than spouting a canned speech that could easily be on an audio tape.

      I think he will like the quilt. His name's on it so he can't give it away. :-)

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  4. Love your fan quilting! I think it adds to the quilt and like you say, probably just needs to be sturdy. Thankfully, you have the ability to make it look good too! Your visit to the fort looks so interesting. Love that they hightlight a specific year. Really great way to make a lasting impression!

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    1. The curved lines make a good design and they have a limited range. I find that makes stronger quilting. Sturdy is the way to go here. Thanks for the compliment.
      I hadn't considered but focusing on a single year does make a better impression and encourages people to return in the future since it's not a repeat. Look at me. I'd love to see the Green Mountain Boys attack the fort. Ha.

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  5. Practice makes perfect! Your fans are looking just fine. Cute quilt! Very interesting trip to the fort. I love history.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. They are getting better. My stitch lengths vary too much and always have. Now that I'm older, I'm trying to slow down. Amazing how that helps.
      Ticonderoga was a wonderful place to visit. We only spent half a day; I could have used the entire day.

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  6. your quilting looks just fine, my friend! You did a good job there. And hey, thanks for the history lesson. When Frank gets back from building cat condos at the shelter he wants to read it!

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    1. That's a compliment. I hope Frank reads the links, too. They tell the story much better than I did.

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  7. I love the fans, and the headbands too! The fort sounds like a fantastic place to visit and I like their approach - it means you could keep going back and never get bored.

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    1. Fans are my new crush. With Julie's help they've become much easier.
      I'm so impressed with the new approaches museums and historic sites use these years. Like the WWII museum in New Orleans. You are immersed in the stories, not just reading small print. When older museums add exhibits, I notice they are frequently in this style. Are they using these techniques in England? You have so much history there.

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  8. The quilting is coming along great! This is such a cool quilt.

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    1. Thanks, Patty. I want this one done soon. Need to get it in the mail. But DH keeps mentioning how he'd like one.

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  9. Your black and orange quilt is gorgeous and your quilting on this one is so good. I'm still trying to get the hang of free motion quilting.

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    1. How kind of you, Jocelyn. I learned decades ago when I was young and fearless. But I still get wobblies in my tummy and on my quilt when I start after any kind of break. Now I realize my stitches will always be uneven. However, quilting on printed fabric is much more forgiving; solids show every mistake.

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  10. Your pics and commentary about Fort Ticonderoga brought back memories of our visit this summer. Everyone was a wealth of information. Its funny to think that I spent 30 years living in NY state and never visited it. What a gem. We plan to go again next summer.

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    1. I've wanted to visit for years and only made it this year. The foundation that runs the fort has done such a great job. As you wrote, it's a gem. There setup and their knowledge encourage return visits. I wish more historic sites were managed in this fashion.

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