Saturday, March 30, 2013

31. Tinted Chains: Click

Tinted Chains by Becky Brown

"The fact is women are in chains and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it." Susan B. Anthony, 1872

Anthony realized that the fight for women's rights required a change in women's attitudes before there would be any social change. A century later Ms. Magazine created the code words "The Click," to define that flash when a woman realizes the psychological chains that have governed her self-image, role, and behavior. In Ms.'s first issue Jane O'Reilly wrote about "The Housewife's Moment of Truth," when the traditional husband/wife roles finally catch up with the reality of two working parents. 

The first issue of Ms. 
Spring 1972

That article's success led publishers Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebrin to create a section where women described their self-defining "clicks." Susan B. Anthony would probably have been pleased.

Cartoon by Merle DeVore Johnson

Tinted Chains is a way of shading a familiar pattern of squares to create a directional design, given that name in the Chicago Tribune's Nancy Cabot quilt column of the 1930s 

(BlockBase # 2815c)

Here I've taken the basic repeat and given you measurements for the 8" block. That BlockBase number is #2775b; the pattern is Unnamed.

Tinted Chains by Georgann Eglinski

Shade the fabrics to get the vertical effect.

 Cutting an 8" Finished Block

The red measurements are slightly larger when the BlockBase default is set to 1/16".
A - Cut 2 squares 2-7/8".

 Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 4 triangles.

B - Cut 1 square 5-1/4". (5-3/16")

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.

C -- Cut 5 squares 3-3/8".  (3-5/16")

Tinted Chains by Becky Brown
Becky emphasized the verticality of the design with a  directional pillar print.

Twisted Chains by Dustin Cecil
Dustin shaded it in a whole different manner.

Woman, the light of the home, generates a reading light 
and a breeze for her relaxing husband with her activity
in  this 1879 Punch cartoon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

30. Broad Arrow: Prison Garb

Broad Arrows by Becky Brown

Emmeline Pankhurst arrested in 1914

The British WSPU made good use of the idea of repeated arrests for civil disobedience. Prison was not a deterrent to women who used images of jailed ladies for shock value, hoping to wear down  Parliament's anti-suffrage stance.

Women's Social and Political Union founders
Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst in prison garb

Prison was a horrible experience for well-bred women: the food, confinement, hygiene, abuse and---to hear it from some---the wardrobe. British prisoners were identified (not by stripes as in the U.S.) but by "broad arrows" a triple line stitched or painted on their coarse clothing.

A photo of a prisoner in a cell in Holloway Women's Prison?
---most of the photos of prison garb were made outside jail. 
Jailers knew the value of propaganda photographs. 
Cameras were not permitted inside.

The Broad Arrow became a badge of honor worn by women who'd endured imprisonment.

 Pankhursts and the WSPU 
marching with Broad Arrows on staffs

Artist Sylvia Pankhurst designed a brooch, a literal badge of honor for ex-prisoners, by backing a broad arrow enameled in purple, green and white with a portcullis, the medieval gate that is the traditional symbol of Parliament.

 That symbol became important enough that she featured it on the cover of her history of the movement The Suffragette.

It remains a symbol of the WSPU, here on the historical marker for the London offices.

Broad Arrows by Becky Brown

You can see a similar Broad Arrow in a patchwork design first published in Farm Journal about 1940.

 The magazine showed four blocks together creating a tessellated all-over design.

 BlockBase #1439
shows four blocks rotated.
#1392 Double T is close to the block here, as is #1394 Cactus Flower.
If you want to re-size look at both of those so you get all three patches.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 3 squares 3-1/8" (3-3/16" if you use BlockBase's 1/16" inch default).
B - Cut 2 squares 3-1/2".

Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 4 triangles.
C - Cut 1 square 5-7/8" (5-13/16").

Broad Arrows by Georgann Eglinski

Broad Arrows by Dustin Cecil

Saturday, March 16, 2013

29. Seven-Pointed Star For Australia

Australia's Star
by Becky Brown

Australia's  representative in the 1913 march in Washington
 at Woodrow Wilson's inauguration.

Between 1894 and 1908  women won the vote in all six of Australia's states. Proud to be an example of success, Australian suffragists traveled to the United States and England to march and speak.

Women's rights leaders in London marching at King George VI's 
coronation in 1911 with a banner featuring the 
Australian Coat of Arms behind them. 
In the center: Margaret Fisher,
 To her right Emily Magowan, both wives of Australian politicians. 
In white on our right suffragist Vida Goldstein.

Here's another banner carried in that London parade, painted by Dora Meeson Coates in 1908, now in the collection of the Parliament House Art Collection. The younger woman wearing the coat of arms represents trend-setting Australia who is advising her mother Britannia to adopt women's suffrage:  "Trust the Women Mother As I Have Done."

Some Australian suffragists adopted the colors of England's Women's Freedom League, green, gold and white. This invitation to a 1911 London procession gives detailed instructions about what to wear to "harmonize with the general scheme."

Australia's first Coat of Arms (1908-1912) featured a kangaroo, an emu and, above them, a seven-pointed star with points representing the Commonwealth's six states plus one point for the  territories. 

The "Trust the Women" banner holds an important place in Australia's  history. It was found in an English library in 1988, recognized from the old photos and purchased by the Australian Bicentennial Authority.

Here two politicians, Margaret Reynolds and
 Ros Kelly pose with the banner in 1988, 
the year it was donated to Australia by Edith Hall.

A seven-pointed star is a feat of geometry, something not found in the published quilt pattern literature or BlockBase. However, one can draw an Australian star in Electric Quilt. (I found a picture of a 7-pointed star and imported it to trace.) 

See the PDF here for a pieced 8" block.

Or click on this picture and print it out the size you want it.

For piecing I'd cut one copy of each template.

I'd applique it as Becky did. That requires only one template for the diamonds and an 8-1/2" background square. If you want to re-size it---shrink or enlarge the  picture.

Australia's Star
By Becky Brown

You may notice that Becky's star is smaller than the one I drafted.
Here's what she says:
"I took the chicken way out, as I was fearful of star points landing all over the place. So I kept away from the edges and drafted my star based on a 6" block.

A single star---7 points or not---is too dull for Dustin so he added a little something. I think he traced the  star outline onto a piece of patchwork he already had and appliqued the whole thing down.

It will be fun to see what everybody comes up with.

Read a newspaper account of the 1988 gift of the Banner here:

Read about Australia-born Muriel Matters who was active in England's Women's Freedom League:

And hear an interview with Matters here:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

28 Ocean Wave: My Friend Erma

Ocean Wave by Becky Brown
Becky put a little seaweed in the corners of the Ocean Wave.

Ensign Erma Hughes

Each generation fights for rights the next generation takes for granted. My friend Erma Hughes Kirkpatrick was a generation older than I. She enlisted in the armed services during World War II. The concept of women as support troops was an idea my generation took for granted during the Viet Nam years, but Erma was a pioneer in the Navy.

In 1943 she was one of 27,000 women who joined the WAVES, a pretty acronym for "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service." The E for emergency meant that women in the Navy were there only for the duration, although post-war attitudes changed and the women's divisions became permanent in 1948.

Erma found the perfect spot for her bright mind and degree in psychology as a cryptanalyst in Washington D.C., reconstructing coded communications from the enemy. About ten years ago an interviewer from the Women Veterans Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina Greensboro talked to her. From that transcript:

"[I] ended up in the unit that was reconstructing Japanese codes. It was a naval intelligence unit that was largely responsible for our winning the Battle of Coral Sea, because we were reading the naval traffic and knew what ships were going to be there. So that unit was very proud of that work....But what we were doing—and they would hang me if I'd told all this earlier, but when messages are sent from ship to ship, from naval unit to naval unit, they must be encoded. One job, if you're a cryptographer, is to decode from the codebooks you have. If you're a cryptanalyst, you try to reconstruct the code they're using, which they change occasionally. You try to build it up and reconstruct the code so that future intercepted messages can be read.

"One of the things I did at one time was to do research at the Library of Congress, because a message would come through, and it would refer to a ruler of a certain country or a certain world event involving a person, and they couldn't tell what the word was. So I'd look up like whom they might be referring to, what official, and find that in the Library of Congress or New York Times or in some other records book. So you sort of do it backwards. You figure out what the codes were.

"There was a group who did the brainwork.... They worked in what we call the 'booby hatch,' the big minds, and the people who really could do the figuring out. I didn't do any of that. What I did was very routine....there were just a very few women in this unit....Definitely a minority. But I made some really good friends, and they'd have stag parties, and I was included, and they never thought anything of it. They had stag parties, and I came, too. So I had a good time. I made warm friends, and wartime Washington was very friendly to an unattached young woman. It was a very rich experience."

A WAVE and a code-breaking proto-computer in 1943.

While we sewed Erma used to tell us the stories about her days in Washington. We wanted to hear about how she battled for respect and her rights, but like many women of that generation whom I've interviewed she didn't see the battle as we did. She accepted more, as she told the interviewer:

"I haven't felt a lot of discrimination. I recognize that there is discrimination. Partly, it's because I accepted the role of women. There were six girls in my family. My two brothers, who were the youngest, didn't understand why women were clamoring to be equal. They thought they had grown up under sort of a little suppression themselves. They didn't see why women wanted equality—they already had it. My husband never treated me as anything but an equal, so I've not felt keenly discriminated against."


Ocean Wave by Georgann Eglinski

We can remember the first women who joined the Navy in 1943 with Ocean Wave. The pattern was very popular in the late 19th-century, published as Waves of the Ocean in Hearth & Home magazine about 100 years ago and as Ocean Wave by Ruby McKim about 1930. 

A quilt from about 1910

The basic unit is the six-sided shape of triangles---an elongated hexagon, similar in structure to last week's Grandmother's Dream. Above the hexagon alternates with squares. In the pattern here it's set with larger triangles to fit it inside a square block.

See BlockBase #1323
If you want to re-size the pattern use #1323. This block is similar. Use 1323 to calculate the sizes for A & B, and then shade and cut the triangles to match the pictures here.

Ocean Wave
By Becky Brown

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

A - Cut 1 square 4-7/8".

B - Cut 12 squares 2-7/8". 

Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 24 smaller triangles.

Ocean Wave By Dustin Cecil

Read the interview with Erma Kirkpatrick from The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro here:

Most of the images here are from that website:

Another website on women in the Navy: Naval History & Heritage: Diversity: Women:

It took another generation or two for women to go beyond support troops. This photo from television's China Beach (thirty years ago) shows actresses portraying nurses and entertainers in the Viet Nam war.