Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Stacy Nash Cherry Hollow Farm
Limited Edition Kit released through Norden Nashville Needlework Market 2015
Linen is Weeks 36 count Beige
Threads Weeks Overdyed
I have taken liberties with Stacy's design.  Stacy stitched her vine with Cocoa, mine is stitched with Weeks Kudzu.
When Grandmother Bessie and her family moved to the farm (Flowing Water) in 1949, the farm had been neglected and needed work and diligent attention.  With hard work, sacrifice and good management the family turned an overgrown neglected piece of land into a sustainable farm.  Grandmother would often talk about the vine which was growing wildly and her family (men, women and children) spent many hours removing this vine.  I don't remember that Grandmother called this vine by name she just always referred to it as "the vine." 

Kudzu also called Japanese arrowroot and is referred to "as the vine that ate the South." It grows up to one foot per day and covers a quarter million acres in Alabama and seven million acres across the Southeastern United States.  Kudzu was first introduced to the United States in 1896 as an ornamental bush.  In the 1940's and 1950's, Kudzu was rebranded as a way for farmers to stop soil erosion.  Kudzu blossoms are used to make jellies and jams and the vine is used for grazing animals, fiber art and basketry.  Engineers at the University of Alabama are studying the possibility of turning the vine into ethanol.

Grandmother Bessie never called the vine Kudzu, she just knew there was an invasive vine growing on the farm which had to be eradicated.

One of the many things which attract me to Stacy Nash's design are the borders.  The vine on this border is a delight to stitch and is making the design come alive. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Red and White

There was a special collection of quilts at the AQS called red and white.

An Irish chain

Ocean Wave

This was a quilt for the Red Cross

the quilting was beautiful.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

AQS Quilt Week in Chattanooga

Civil War Bride Quilt aka The Bird of Paradise
The story behind this quilt is thought to be an unfinished marriage or
wedding quilt.  The vertical rows of appliqu├ęd blocks which feature pairs of birds or animals.  In addition to these animal pairs, other symbols of union and fertility can be found on the bedcover, they include birds tending nests of eggs, flowers and fruits.  A single female appears in one block and the block next to her appears almost empty.  Newspaper templates, including a template of a single male, were found with this quilt suggesting the quilt was never finished and the marriage never took place.

Yes, this was one of my favorite quilts at the show--a traditional quilt with a story.

A great twist/addition to a log cabin quilt.  With the different motifs in the houses, this quilt becomes a log cabin sampler

The white on the black background made this quilt look like lace

The photo does not begin to do this quilt justice.  The colors were stunning and the quilting was over the top. 

Wool Alphabet Sampler
Primitive Gatherings
This is more my style and skill level.

Thank you AppleJack for indulging me in a mental health day.  The quilts were beautiful and had fun shopping in the Primitive Gatherings booth.  Come back to Nashville AQS week!  We have a brand new convention center ready to meet your needs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Life at Miss Callie Mae's Cat Cottage is in a state of transition.

The daylight hours are getting shorter, the temps are getting a bit cooler.

Pumpkins are beginning to make an appearance in garden centers, cookies and Starbucks coffee.  Heck, they have even made an appearance in front of the old dry sink.

It's time to bring out the quilts,

and to start planning for fall parties and Halloween costumes.

Shhhh don't tell anyone but I think if he weren't for changing the decorations my house would never get dusted.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flowing Water Farm

Cherry Hollow Farm, Stacy Nash
Kit released at Nashville Needlework Market 2015
36 count Weeks Dye Works Beige
Weeks Fibers
In 1949 Grandmother Bessie and her family moved to a 250 acre farm which Grandfather Isaac named Flowing Water.  Having water on a farm is vital to livestock and crops thriving.  Depending on the season, the creek on the farm ranged anywhere from being wide enough to jump or overflowing its banks and flooding.  Parts of the creek were deep enough for a swimming hole.
When the family moved to the farm, there was an antebellum farmhouse.  Because I was a young child my memories of this house are limited.  Upstairs in Grandmother's farmhouse were iron beds with springs.  Not box springs but real springs.  Jumping on these beds was pure delight.  Jumping on a bed with springs is something like jumping on a trampoline.  My cousins and I had great times jumping on these beds until we caused such a commotion an adult family member would come upstairs to admonish us.

My other memory of the farmhouse is when it burned.  It burned during the night and the next morning, I remember seeing the smoking remains and the stone chimneys which were still standing.  My father had been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.  He had run into the burning house to save Great Grandmother Sarah Miranda's trunk which she had used when the family moved from Spring Creek, North Carolina to Emert's Cove, Tennessee.  The trunk contained family photos, papers and memorabilia. 
While a new house was being build for Grandmother Bessie, she lived with us.  It was wonderful!  She was there each morning helping Mother prepare breakfast and she was there each evening to help Mother and her rowdy bunch with homework, laundry, and the thousand other things which a young growing family needed. 

When Grandmother's new house was finished, the neighbors gave her a house warming party:  new dishes, linens, towels, silverware, etc. were generously gifted to my Grandparents.  While seeing Grandmother open these gifts,  I was sad because it meant Grandmother would no longer be living with us and would be moving. 

Grandmother loved her new home.  She was a fastidious housekeeper and her home was always impeccably clean (unlike my own).  The family always gathered at Grandmothers for holiday celebrations.  Sleepovers were common and Grandmother and I would bake, read and work on sewing projects during sleepovers. 
So. . .the next piece of needlework which will be added to the Grandmother Bessie Wall will be Flowing Water Farm 1949.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Mecklenburg 1775
Little by Little, Cynthia Bradford
Needlepoint Silks
Stash Linen (Birds of a Feather, Sparrow, I think)

When I began doing research on Grandmother Bessie's family, one of my challenges was the spelling of their name.  Grandmother Bessie spelled her maiden name Shults.  When Grandfather, Johan Velten "Valentine"  immigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania he spelled his last name Shultz.  Here are some of the reasons for changes in name spellings:
  1. Immigration agents and census takers could not correctly spell the last name
  2. The last name could not be correctly pronounced and was spelled the way it sounded
  3. Improve employment opportunities
  4. Fit better into the American Culture
The last name Shultz has been spelled forty different ways!  Forty different spellings--yes, it has made research challenging.  Here are some of the more common spellings I have found:  Schultz, Schulz, Shulz, Schulze, Shults, Shoults.

Another sampler to add to the Grandmother Bessie needlework wall.  There are several pieces in contention for the next project.  One is Family Record by Kathy Barrick modified to show Grandmother Bessie's family.  Lancaster County Coverlet by Threadwork Primitives a quick stitch to give me some instant gratification,  Garden Maiden by La D Da a housewife for Sister Bonnie, and PA Sampler by Carriage House are also contenders.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

She's Back

Look who's back from the long armed quilter--Grandmother Bessie's Heritage quilt. 

The label will say:
Grandmother Bessie's Heritage Quilt
Pieced by Betty, her Granddaughter, Nashville, TN
Machine quilted by Susan Shay, Smyrna, TN
Binding by Dorothy, her daughter in law Sevierville, TN

The names on the quilt represent, Mothers, Daughters, Granddaughters, Sisters, Nieces, Daughters-in-law, Sisters-in-law, Aunts, Friends and Neighbors

Susan, the long armed quilter did a fabulous job with the machine quilting.  The quilt is as pretty on the back as it is on the front.
Grandmother Bessie died in 1995.  I miss her:  her laughter, her steel blue eyes, the smell of baking biscuits coming from her kitchen, her stories about family.   I think about her life experiences and her wisdom.  Her birthday is September 29.