Saturday, December 12, 2009

A trip down quilt memory lane

I wrote this up for my friend Trina and then I decided I should blog it. This is history, and having searched high and low, there doesn't appear to be much of anything left that was made in Michigan, whether clothing or quilts. So enjoy!

This is likely the oldest of the family quilts. My Grandma said that this quilt "was around as long as I can remember. It was always on Grandma Saal's bed." The back was pieced together, and old clothes were used to make this. In the closeup you can see the seam on the navy blue square.

Grandma Saal (Mary Ahrens Saal, 1881-1959, number 4 in the picture, half hidden by the girl) was the maker, and this one was tied. It was purely for practical use. Grandma doesn't ever remember Grandma Saal quilting proper, because she didn't have the time. She lived in Sterling Township (now Sterling Heights), MI, and a picture of the house is found here (11 down) though more properly the house should be the Carl and Maria Saal house, since the house pre-dates Grandpa Saal. (Likely the house was built by Carl's brother John, even.)
This next quilt has a definite date of 1921. This one was made by Maria Harder Saal (1841-1922, lady in the black dress in the picture), mother-in-law to Mary Ahrens Saal, for her first great-grandchild Leona Hurttgam Hummel (1921-2009, my Grandma). Grandma's parents were married in April 1921 and she was born in October 1921, so this was made sometime during that time. Likely the fabric was purchased special for this quilt as it all matches, and Maria machine-sewed and hand quilted this one (likely on a New Home sewing machine).

This third quilt dates to the mid to late 1920s, most likely before 1929. It was made by Elsie Saal Daus (1908-1975, number 6 in the picture). This was a doll quilt that Aunt Elsie made for her niece Leona, and it's all machine sewn (once again, on a New Home). It's a wonder that this one ever survived, as not only did Leona's kids use it but her granddaughters as well (which is how I got it).

This fourth quilt comes from the other side of the family. It was made by my grandpa's mother, Helene Rohrbeck Hummel (1886-1973). Due to Grandpa's excellent memory, we know that this quilt is ca 1927. Grandpa was sent out to find the perfect Tulip Tree leaf (aka yellow poplar) for this quilt and then had to trace it for his mother, and he is certain that it was in the first couple years he went to school, so that means 1927-1928. He's sure that it wasn't as late as 1929, because by then he wasn't in the house with his ma as much. This was hand-appliqu├ęd, machine pieced, and hand-quilted, made from cotten sateen. Thanks to Grandpa we know that Aunt Lillian, Aunt Emily, and Aunt Annie (her sisters) all came out to the farm and helped her quilt it. This is from the farm on Moravian Drive, at 15 Mile and Schoenherr.

So there's more than you'd probably ever want to know about my family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Of Triangles and seed catalogues

Today was quite productive. I cleaned the sewing room and I finished 3 more rows on Triangle Island, for a grand total of 5 rows. Of course as I'm sewing I got an idea for layout that's completely different, but we'll have to see what I decide to do once I've got all 20 rows finished.

Monday's mail brought an unexpected surprise -- the brand new Seed Savers catalogue! Woo-hoo! So yours truly has already got a list ready of what I want to order, but I have to sit on it until December when the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange's catalogue comes. I mean, what if they have something that Seed Savers doesn't, and I run out of garden room? Which is entirely possible in my garden. Seed starting is only 2, 2-1/2 months away.

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it's good to remember to be thankful -- and I'm thankful that there is a Spring coming, D.V. In these days as our country is taken over by political correctness and the Constititution is despised, it's good to be thankful and to think about the little things in life. You know, those good things like treadle sewing machines, quilted petticoats and long johns (you know, Michigan winters), and gardens. Well, and I have the best husband in the whole world. I might have tagged him on at the end, but he's no second thought. I'd have a miserable life without him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I leave you with this thought from Abraham Lincoln from his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863:

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. "

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Triangle Island

Yes, I know it's been awhile since I posted, but, well, let's just say you haven't missed much. Frost killed my seed beans, the boys have been in full swing, etc., and I've gotten myself into another project. Yes, I'm still working on Christmas presents, but I needed the side trip to Triangle Island.

See, our Benevolent Despot at Treadle On did a "Rectangle Island" mystery quilt back in Feb-March. Since it was a blast with appearances by the Evil Twin (not the one that looks like Tom Selleck, the other one) and clues to hunt down on the site, when "Triangle Island" was proposed, I jumped right on ship. I needed something to think about besides the holidays coming up, our first round with Grandma gone. Little did I know I was going to get marooned on the Isle and the cruise company would go bankrupt. Full story here:

To make a long story short, I finished Row 1 tonight. Well, OK, there's that little matter of squaring the row up, which I can't do until the Corner is open on Monday and I get fabric. It's as done as it will be until then, so here's what it looks like:

I don't think it looks too bad, but the true test will be what happens when I join the rows........

For those of you wondering, I obsessed over the color placement until I listened to Mr. C. and did the olde "52 card pick up in a paper bag". My only rule is that no color repeats next to each other.

And so I'm off to work on Row 2......... assuming I can find a plug for my boom box so I can jam to Nickelback (there you go, now I'm dated.....)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

You were warned...

...that this blog could be a bit of a roller coaster.

So, I should be sleeping right now. Normal people --unlike Mr. Claraspet who works midnights -- are sleeping. On any given day I can't stay awake much past 11, 10 if school is in session. I made one big mistake tonight. When I picked up my nightly book for reading, I passed up my normal fluff, i.e., "A Right To Be Merry" by Mother Mary Francis PCC, the auction catalog from the Tasha Tudor clothing collection sale, or "The Rosary" by Florence Barclay (a beautiful novel from ca. 1909 which is anything but light reading and based on the song "The Rosary" by Ethelbert Nevin.) OK, so I've been reading "The Mistress of Shenstone" by Florence Barclay as well, but you get the idea of what I consider "light" reading. So, tired out, I head for bed, do my nightly reading in Herzberger's "Family Altar", and end up looking at "Be All They Graces Now Outpoured" by Rodney Lensch. Big mistake.

I found the book several years ago through the Renewal in Missouri (RIM) website, which I found through Daystar's site. At that time there was a lot of complaining that those people weren't being fair towards Daystar and RIM, so I tracked down a copy of the book just to see what this charismatic renewal was all about. I was rather disturbed by what I found in that book. He used Walther to prove he was right, but he took Walther out of context. He made a point that there was only one place in the Book of Concord (BoC) where the gifts of the Spirit are mentioned, but when I looked up the quote in the Apology, I found that it was in the section on Monastic Vows (XXVII). Read the whole section, not just the first few sentences, and his use of that as proof doesn't make sense. Oddly enough, however, what is keeping me up is some of the questions he asks later in the book (page 119-120). Keep in mind this was published in 1998. (All of the questions are worth looking at, but tonight I'm only dealing with the ones keeping me awake.)

2. Why is it that less than 40% of the baptized membership of many congregations attend Sunday services and that less than 10% of the communicant members participate in the Sunday morning Bible class?

My answer: I once calculated out percentages of church attendance, based on the numbers at the Synod's website. I found that the smaller churches had better attendance, and that the more faithful to the historic liturgy the church is, the better the percentage as well. (I will supply numbers upon request). The only oddball I found is Shepherd's Gate, but while they claim synodical affiliation, there is no resemblance to Missouri teaching or practice. (Interestingly enough, there is no link to their website from the Synod's, but the site is out there.)

If the Synod is reporting the numbers correctly, then it appears that the current push "the bigger the church the better" and "the liturgy doesn't sell" is not true. In a smaller congregation it is much harder to hide, skip church without being noticed, etc. Even in my congregation, about 1000 baptized members, around 500 in church weekly, it is very easy to go missing. My mom once quit going to church for 2 months without either pastor or an elder making a call to see why, and she never missed a Sunday before that.

3. Why is it that Synod barely holds its own when other evangelical denominations are thriving?

In John 6, Jesus explains the Lord's Supper, and after that we read that many left and "walked with Him no more" (John 6:66, NKJV).

I'm left asking the question, "Why do numbers mean so much when it appears that Jesus didn't lay stock in them?"

(I split this last question up for ease of answering)
7.a. Why are personal testimonies rarely if ever given by the laity in the Sunday morning services?

Having witnessed many of these in my own congregation recently, after the service, not during, all but two were focused on self. Oh, they were proper testimonials. "The congregation did such and such for me, everyone stuck by me through the hard times..." People cried and felt good for having heard them. I kept track of how many times I heard congregation vs God one week: 22 mentions of congregation, and God was mentioned twice, Jesus once. The Bible reading which preceded the testimonial mentioned God once and Jesus once. Not once did that person mention Word and Sacrament, the very gifts received at the altar. According to some of the elders, though, it was a success, so I'm either going to get to listen to more or have to make up my mind to leave.

7.b.Why are there no altar calls following messages?

Altar calls began in the mid1800s with Charles Finney. An altar call asks an individual to commit to "giving up" sin and puts salvation upon the individual. If you drown yourself daily in your Baptism (through contrition and repentance), you don't need an altar call or the sinner's prayer.

7.c.Why is there no anointing the sick with oil as the Bible prescribes in James 5:14-16?

Good question, and I have a question (OK, two) to answer the question with. Which is it that heals? The oil, or the prayer? Or maybe God Himself? And why is it that the oil and anointing is so important, but the concept of confession is skimmed past????

I could probably go on for a long time yet, but it's 3:15 AM, and I should try to go to sleep now. However, there's one thing still bothering me that I often hear in conjuntion with these same questions. What about the pastor shortage? I keep hearing about this pastor shortage in the Synod, but if it really exists, why are there so many pastors without churches? Is it that the Missouri Synod wants pastors who believe Jesus-was-all-about-luv-man-not-sin? Forget about the Jesus who suffered and died, He-wants-us-all-to-get-along-because-there-is-no-absolute-truth-anyway?

Yeah. Time to call it a night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grandma's Quilt

I finished the last 38" of the binding on Grandma's quilt tonight. Grandma started this back in the early-mid 1990s, but she didn't quite get it done before her eyes started to give her problems. I cleaned a few things out the other day, and showed this to Grandpa. He didn't know she'd been working on it. He decided he wants it on the bed.
Sorry for the bad pic, but I'm tired and I ran out of room on the floor. I'll try to get a better pic at Grandpa's.
For those of you wondering, she made it on her 1972 e-Kenmore 158.1601, and yes, the fabrics are much older. Four of them are from feedsacks, and all of them were dresses my mom, aunts and Grandma had.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Diamond Fan quilt

Well, after much thinking and playing around, here it is:

Back in 2007 my husband took me to Greenfield Village for my birthday, and I came back with a picture of a fan quilt made out of diamonds. It took me a while, and with help from Kelly and Trina from Treadle On, I finally did it. I turned the fan block into a baby quilt for my niece who is due in September.

What I did, is I used the instructions from "Great Lakes, Great Quilts" for the Star of Bethlehem quilt, but one set of strips needs to be mirror image -- right to left slant, so that the top strip is at the far left instead of far right. It's really not hard, it's just confusing until you do it.

I did this on my ca 1915 Davis NVF treadle, and some of the piecing was done in the UP on my 1867 W&G that I made the hand crank stand for.

Anyway, my SIL loves it. And I'm taking a break from quilting for awhile to finish a couple drmls for my nieces in Iowa, my new nightgown, and a couple dresses from the early 1800s. If I'm really brave, I may take on the 1870s!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!!!!!!

On this great day -- for I am an American and proud of it!! -- two quotes from John Adams.
These quotes come from the book The Spirit of '76 edited by Peter Lowell Beilenson.

The second day of July of 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America; I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.


Sir, before God, I believe that the hour is come. My judgement approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready to stake upon it; and I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration.

Pray for America, and go read the Declaration!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Awake, My Heart, with Gladness"

Yesterday was one of those days......and it ended with Grandma in the hospital. She's not well, and that's about all I can say. So if you read this, say a prayer for her and for us.

So, while I'm getting ready for another busy day -- Thank God for the flu scare that means I don't have to worry about picking one of the kids up from school!! -- I keep thinking about last March 27th (2008) when I was able to attend the Easter Choral Vespers Service with the Kantorei (Fort Wayne Seminary ). There's one piece that I carry with me ever since that night, and since I don't have a sound bite of it you'll have to deal with the words, or listen to the msuic at Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) is one of my favorite hymn writers (ok, ok, he tops out the list) and you'll see why.

Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done,
Now after gloom and sadness
Comes forth the glorious Sun!
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.

The Foe in triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb,
But, lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed o'er the grave.

This is a sight that gladdens;
What peace it doth impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart;
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take,
The hope which God's own Son
In love for me hath won.

Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their power are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all his might
Cannot my soul affright;
He is a powerless form,
Howe'er he rave and storm.

The world against me rageth,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wageth,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.

Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate'er He passes through.
He rends Death's iron chain,
He breaks through sin and pain,
He shatters hell's dark thrall,
I follow through it all.

To halls of heavenly splendor
With Him I penetrate;
And trouble ne'er may hinder
Nor make me hesitate.
Let tempests rage at will,
My Savior shields me still;
He grants abiding peace
And bids all tumult cease.

He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold
Whereon this rime immortal
Is found in script of gold:
"Who there My cross hath shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with Me has died
Shall here be glorified."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meet Bertha

I meant to post this yesterday, but there's been so much going on that I chose sleep last night.

May I introduce you to Bertha?

Yes, that's right, Bertha is a sewing machine.

She's a 1916 New Home treadle, twiggy cabinet. This picture was taken before cleaning. My friend Elsie decided to give her to me now.

So, by now you're wondering how Bertha got her name. Well, Elsie was given this machine after a neighbor died, Bertha Fiebelkorn. Elsie has always referred to this machine as "Bertha's sewing machine", and so Bertha she is.

In one of those weird coincidences, Elsie's parents bought a farm down the road and around the corner from my grandparents years ago. Her father still owns it, and I drive past it to go to my grandparents' house. Fiebelkorns owned the farm across from Elsie's parents, and my great-grandparents knew Ray Fiebelkorn's parents from when they still lived in the south end of the county. Small world, isn't it?

Oh, and lest anyone think I forget to memorialize Elsie, she also was my lead to a Domestic Fiddlebase which now bears the name of "Elsie".

Bertha makes 28 machines in the house, not counting the one that Karen the firefighter is holding for me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary to my grandparents who were married 63 years ago!

Some of the cousins still talk about the wedding and how much fun it was. The reception was at the old Harrison Twp hall, food downstairs and dancing up stairs. They stayed the night at the old hotel in Mt. Clemens, around the corner from the old jail. The next morning, Grandpa's car broke down in front of the jail, and they ended up calling Grandma's father to come get them. 63 years later, and they've yet to live down getting picked up from the jail the day after they got married. And everyone thinks Missouri Synod Lutherans are boring!

If you would, I ask that you'd say a prayer for Grandma. She's not been well lately.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Well, here we go!

I guess the first post is the hardest. I just don't belong in the 21st century.

So, welcome to "The Secret Life of Clara's Pet!" I should warn you, lest you think that this is going to be like a James Bond movie, well, you'll be sadly disappointed. My secret life is made up of all my hobbies. I am a diverse individual. I have a BS in chemistry and I'm a housewife, besides sewing on treadles and hand crank machines, farming as much as half an acre allows, being an Austenite and sewing Regency style clothing. Oh, and just for fun, I study theology. Yeah. Real geek here. I haven't the faintest idea of what I'm doing blogging, but I figure I'll give it a shot.

Just keep in mind that you'll see some of everything here.

Oh, and Clara is my chicken who turned 6 this year. She's not my pet, I'm hers. I'll add a picture of her as soon as I find a good one.