Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Farmhouse Quilt Bordered

The blue and white quilt didn't look finished so I auditioned two simple navy blue fabrics for a narrow border.

A navy print and a navy ikat are tested as a border.
Possible borders for Ohio Star
and Log Cabin farmhouse quilt top

The stripe was the hands down winner. I will probably cut it down a bit further when binding.

Alternating blue and white Ohio Star and Log Cabin blocks with a navy ikat border
Ohio Star and Log Cabin
farmhouse quilt top

Although our vacation is over, I'm including these photos because they are giving me ideas for quilting.

The final stop on our Gold Country tour was Sutter's Mill, aka Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, original site of the '49 gold rush. We stopped at the Marshall monument (the man who actually discovered the first gold) to soak in the scenery from the top of the hill. It looks so peaceful it's difficult to imagine the crowded conditions when thousands of miners displaced the natives.

A panoramic view of the site from a nearby hillside.
Sutter's Mill/Marshall Gold Discovery site,
Coloma, CA

A few years ago Stephie at Dawn Chorus Studio and Kaja at Sew Slowly discussed walls and Stephie mentioned the two-toned walls in her area (Cornwall?) so imagine my surprise at the wall here. The words are made of lighter-colored river rock embedded in the darker and larger stones. They both made quilts based on the idea but I can only find Kaja's now.

We don't have much hard rock in Texas so while there are a few retaining walls, fencing is used more frequently. What skill it takes to build this wall and embed the contrasting stones so precisely.

This chest-high stone monument marks the location on the American River.
Original site of Sutter's Mill

The original lumber mill washed away years ago and was rebuilt nearby on slightly higher ground. But the monument struck me. How do we notice and then translate ideas from the real world into fabric? Literally? Figuratively? What sparks our ideas if they don't come from another quilt or quilter? And how did that person come up with the idea that strikes us all so strongly?

Slightly uphill was this outcrop where for millennia, Nisenan women ground acorns as evidenced by the chaw-se (mortar holes.) Look at the grouping? Most are close together but a few are further away. Of course, the rock itself created some boundaries but I wonder who sat where? Were the smaller holes used by young children learning the work? Did higher status women sit further away or in the middle of the tightest group? How would this translate into art?

Two collaged photos show indentations in the granite outcrop where generations of Native Americans ground acorns for food.
Grandmother Rock with
chaw-se for grinding acorns

Of course, you know I'll include some geology. Although the Man Lee building originally housed Chinese bank and hardware stores it currently displays an excellent exhibit of the progression of mining. From placer to water wheel to hardrock mines and later highly mechanized operations requiring huge capital outlays.

Walking through this museum visitors walk through the history of California gold mining, including a sharp turn in an "underground" mine tunnel. Excellent!
Two collaged photos show the outside of the building and the entrance to a mockup of an underground mine inside.
Gold mining history exhibit
in Man Lee building

California published Geologic Gems about the geologic features and history of their state parks - an excellent resource before visiting any of them. The final line in the pamphlet on MGDHP says, "The park provides a sociological case study of how the distribution of earth’s mineral resources has influenced the establishment and demographics of societies."

Miners from every country in the world rushed to California in the 1850s, displacing the few natives who survived the onslaught of disease that began in the 16th century. They in turn were displaced as mining operations required larger capital inputs. So individual claims amalgamated into large companies with few {distant} owners while the miners became hourly wage earners with little to no opportunity for that huge payoff.

Even more important gold claims were the water rights. In fact, water is so valuable that the rights throughout the west are generally established by precedence of arrival rather than closeness to the source. Mining required lots of water, causing downstream flooding and legislative action to hold companies responsible for their actions. Those economic consequences closed many of the mines, turning the area into a ghost town.

When the Museum opened we visited to see the films and enjoy the exhibits. My favorite was this small one of dolls used by children of different cultures. The china doll overpowers some of the unique examples behind it, including the duck head and the baby with corn husk clothing.

A Native American duck head on a stick and another of a stone with corn husk skirt bound around it are placed next to a porcelain doll with a painted face and cotton dress.
Dolls from various cultures
in Coloma, CA

Not only is this area is rich in history, they have thoughtfully preserved and explained both the positive and negative aspects.  I plan to visit again next year and hope you will sometime, too.

Enjoy the day, Ann


LA Paylor said...

I love your travelogues. Your thoughtful comments lead me to see beyond a picture. The farmhouse quilt is so good, I want to make one. I do have more blue scraps. The border comparison is so interesting to me, how pattern changes the look of a piece. The stripe is perfectly accenting the top, and both fabrics go with it. Both go with, both would be okay but the stripe somehow makes the top stand out more... my analytical side wants to know why, lol.
As to the creativity discussion... kaja's link didn't work for me sadly. The very reason why I like to look at challenge quilts is the way individuals interpret an idea. I just painted a wall piece in watercolor and someone wrote to say I should print it onto fabric. There are people content to follow an established pattern, and people who make up new patterns that become established, and the same person can go back and forth between creating new ones and using old ones. People can be fascinating! Your posts always make me think. LeeAnna

patty a. said...

The striped fabric was a great choice for the border. It has enough variation in it that pulls in the lights and darks of the pieced blocks.

Thanks for posting more about your trip. It makes me think of the Amazon and the struggles going on right now with the same issues - the wealth of the land with resources and the non-indigenous people wanting to displace the indigenous people to get to those resources.

Nann said...

It's been such fun to read your travelog. I'd like to take an extended driving trip in California. And the striped fabric makes a great border. (And so much easier than piecing piano keys to get the variegated effect.)

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Love your quilt--makes me want to pull out my blue and white fabrics right now! The stripe is perfect too!

Ann said...

Thanks for the heads-up, LeeAnna. I fixed that link.
I prefer pieced or appliqued {which I rarely do) borders to plain strips but sometimes this is the right choice. It seemed to need both the rich dark blue and the striping of this fabric. And we're so fortunate to have digital cameras that make comparison so easy.
I saw some art printed onto fabric at the LQS recently. First time I'd seen it for sale in person. If you do want to print your work you should read and follow the Pixeladies who do that so well. They used to print at home but now send all their stuff out. Ah, the changes time bring.
Occasonally I make up something new {or at least new to me} but most of the time I think I use a traditional block. Or at least use it as a starting point. I think in math so I like the geometry of them. It's fascinating to see how other people's minds work. And always seems more creative because I don't think like that.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Another wonderful post about a place I may never visit in person but know more about now than before.

Ann said...

I'm glad you agree with me about the border choice. It always feels a bit like cheating when I use something so simple. Ha.
The history of expansion of Western civilization is almost always about resource extraction. People moved to these lands to get something and send it back to the mother country. Or the eastern US.
It's too bad our thinking and economics haven't advanced any further even today. Anything in a pristine state seems to call to be "developed." And then we cry about what we tore down ourselves. I've read that when America was first being settled you could smell the trees miles offshore. So not happening now.

Ann said...

Because of geology and geography, California is immensely wealthy in scenery. We enjoy every trip we take and know we will never see it all. I deeply admire the curators and docents who do so much to preserve and enrich their parks.
And yes, I got off easy with the border. It happens sometimes. ;-)

Ann said...

Thanks, Karen. I want to make a blue and white one for myself, too. Always restful.

Ann said...

How kind of you, Julie. It is interesting to read about where people actually went. I wish I was a better writer, though.

Janie said...

Good border choice and fun historical touring.
Love your Split Ohio Stars.

Ann said...

Thanks, Janie. I'm glad to have the top done and hope to start quilting soon.

Helen L said...

I like the striped border too. And so fun to see the rest of your adventures from your trip. I've seen the acorn grinding holes too, I think somewhere around Yosemite, just enough years ago that I don't remember the exact location. :-) I've been up in Arnold, somewhere in the area near to where you took your trip: such a beautiful area. Hugs, H

Mystic Quilter said...

The border stripe fabric is perfect, what a great choice here! I would surely enjoy a holiday in the area you've shown us here - doubt that will happen though but thank you for sharing the photos.

Ann said...

These artifacts remind me how long people lived in an area. When I read about the complex process (about ten steps) to make acorn meal, I'm surprised anyone ever figured it out. Same goes with flax although I can almost imagine someone finding rotting flax in a swamp and noticing it made thread-like structures. It's a good thing the world didn't depend on me to invent it.

Ann said...

How kind of you. These are not the places foreign visitors might choose first. I see busloads at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc. It's probably the same in NZ. There are places that are stellar natural sites and then more intimate spots like these. Still I'm very impressed with the efforts Californians put into preserving their history and archeology.

Kaja said...

I too like your border stripe and am drawn to the blue and white combination, though normally I would be chucking more colours in. I think it's the variety of fabrics you have within that limited colour scheme that keeps in interesting. I would love to visit some of the places you show in your posts.

Ann said...

When I make a quilt for someone else it's so much more difficult. They have such different color ideas. SIL wants blue and white only. I would have added more colors, too, but it's interesting to see how well this worked out. You're right; I think the fabric range helps.
Welcome home. Enjoy getting back into the quilting groove.

Preeti said...

You have a beautiful top. The colors are so lovely. I am sure that the finished quilt will be gorgeous.
There is something about striped fabric that lends itself beautifully to borders and bindings.

Ann said...

Isn’t it curious how we forget to utilize the print on our fabrics? There’s so much we can do with it if we’d remember.