Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Civil War Quilt Block Five—Kansas Troubles

The next block, number five, in Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilt a-long is called Kansas Troubles. She links this design with the tensions in Kansas when it was admitted to the Union; the voters there had a choice to pick whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state (they chose to be a free state). Though the design goes back to before the Civil War, she points out that the name itself is only found in print from about 1890.

I stitched the first of these two a few days ago. But when I got it done I didn't like it:

The thing with sawtooth borders is that the two fabrics have to have sufficient contrast to work. In theory the dark brown should have shown up against the reddish medium brown just fine, but with the little paramecium spots on the dark brown it looks like little bites have been taken out of the teeth and it just doesn't read well. So I made another.

The second one I cut out by the fading daylight on Sunday, during the hurricane when we had no power. There isn't anything wrong with my handwork, and in fact I rather like sewing by hand, but since I'd done the rest of them on the machine I waited till the next day when the power was back to sew it, as I want them to all look consistent.

Here's the second version, which I like much better:

Contemplating this pattern it reminded me rather uncannily of another pattern I'd been seeing around the last couple of days:

So I wondered if maybe the original 'Kansas Troubles' referred to a tornado? The sawtooth border looks rather like the little flags meteorologists use to indicate a cold front, don't you think? They're even blue. Which I guess means my little quilted tornado is rotating counterclockwise, just like the real things.

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