Friday, February 14, 2014

Grandmother's Choice Project Continues

I started doing this Block of the week quilt in the fall, after buying many pretty purple, green and gold fabric in Philadelphia. Now that Christmas and winter projects are over for another year, I'm back at it! Here the link to my original post in November. As you will soon notice, I'm not doing these blocks in any particular order. Most of the background info is taken from Barbara Brackman's amazing blog, Grandmother's Choice. I only want to give you a glimpse of her stories. You should check out the link to her blog if you're at all interested. It's full of stories, pictures etc. Whenever possible, I've added some Canadian content.

Block 6. Aunt Eliza's Star: Child Custody

Block 6 Aunt Eliza's Star
Block 6 Aunt Eliza's Star
This block commemorates child custody rights for women. The story is about Eliza Custis, Martha Washington's eldest granddaughter. At the time, Eliza was seen as an American princess, heir to a fortune and bride of the richest man in Washington.

Her husband, Thomas Law, was a "developer" and had a mistress. Mrs Eliza Law left her husband but wasn't allowed to take her daughter. Mr. Law was also supposed to pay her a yearly annuity, as per a prenuptial agreement, but rarely did. Eliza paid a very dear price for her freedom. If this could happen to an American princess, think of all the other women it probably happened to! Child custody rights were very slow in coming for women.

Block 9 Brick Pavement
Block 9 Brick Pavement
Block 9. Brick Pavement: March on Washington

On  March 3, 1913, five thousand women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington. They were led by Inez Milholland Boissevain who was astride a white horse - it must have been quite the sight.

The march wasn't without incident. They met a blockade of men. The police refused to clear the path and as a result, some of the women were verbally and physically abused. It's estimated that 300 women were injured.

Block 13. Everybody's Favorite: Universal Suffrage

Universal suffrage was an ideal in Canada until recently. In 1920, Canada (excluding Quebec until 1940) enacted suffrage for both sexes. However, First Nations (of either sex) were not allowed to vote until 1960. (Wikipedia)

Section 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Block 9 Everyone's Favorite
Block 9 Everyone's Favorite
Universal suffrage is still not universal.
Here's Section 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.

Bride's Know: Invisible Women
Block 14. Bride's Knot: Invisible Women

Barbara Leigh Bodichon was one of the women who fought to change English law. In 1870, The Married Women's Property Act permitted women to maintain rights to their inheritance, wages, investments, real estate and personal property through marriage, widowhood, divorce and death. Before this, generally everything they had when they married went to their husband. Since this was British law, it also applied to Canada. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Block 18. Cheyenne: Wyoming Firsts

Wyoming was the first U.S. territory and subsequently the first state to legislate women full rights to vote and hold office in 1869. Cheyenne is Wyoming's capitol.

Women's suffrage was adopted in the west first. It's thought that since they were pioneers, people may have been more  are more open to change. There were also fewer women so it's possible that their voting was seen less less as a threat. Wyoming also hoped to attract more female settlers.
Cheyenne: Wyoming Firsts
Cheyenne: Wyoming Firsts
The story in Canada is similar, with the west adopting women's suffrage on a provincial level first. It did, however occur much later than in Wyoming. "Prairie women gained provincial rights largely on their record in helping to settle and build the country.On 28 January 1916, Manitoba women became the first in Canada to win the rights to vote and to hold provincial office. They were followed by Saskatchewan on 14 March and Alberta on 19 April. British Columbia approved women's suffrage on 5 April 1917, and Ontario suffragists, after many years of struggle, celebrated their hard-won victory one week later on 12 April."  In Canada, women got the right to vote in federal elections in 1918. Canadian Encyclopedia

What I learned:
  • As I took this project back up, I was very pleased to see that I had left it with some pretty good notes and had cut these blocks. I was very happy with myself! It made taking up the project much easier.
  • Since it worked so well, I'm following the same process for the next batch of blocks. I print out or write out notes for the next batch of blocks I want to do next; decide on the fabrics to use for each block and attach these to my notes. When I'm in the mood, like last night, I spend some time cutting the fabric for each block. I've improved my process by assembling the block on my cutting table and taking a picture so that I know where everything goes.  I'll post one of my pre-picture next time. 
  • I've also improved the pictures of my blocks by using "perspective" when cropping the photos in Photoshop. Wow - what a great feature!

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