Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Attic Windows Quilt Block

     This 9" Attic Windows quilt block was a quick one to make.  I used this free on-line pattern: http://www.quilterscache.com/A/AtticWindowBlock.html.  I won the center fabric in a drawing at my Modern Quilt Guild monthly meeting, as part of a basket of goodies. 
     In this diary entry, Mrs. Hile is a neighbor who helps with housework. 
     Below the diary entry, I have included a more complete description of the third floor, later written by Hattie's niece, Ann Woodbury Lusk.  (Ann's father, Howard, is Hattie's younger brother.)  Ann grew up in this same home, so she is well acquainted with all its nooks and crannies.   

Thursday, April 6, 1916 -
"Papa is planning on shipping his cattle to Chicago tomorrow.  He received a message today saying he got $9.15 for the five steers he shipped last night and $9.60 for the hogs.  I hope he does as well with the remainder - those were the poorest he sent last night.  I told him he could bring me a new suit from Chicago. 

"Mrs. Hile cleaned the third floor today, but tonight has turned so cold, it doesn't look much like housecleaning weather." 

     "The third floor was two long north/south rooms - and a tiny north room - exactly like an oven in the summer. . .
     "Mostly the third floor was the west room for storage and the east room for parties.  The closet doors here were only child high, which made them delightful playhouses, and sometimes such intriguing things were discovered in far corner boxes.  Also, here was where Mother cured her homemade lye soap.  Bars and bars laid out on wooden slats - couldn't lay it right on the floor or the lye would eat it up.  That soap certainly made things white.  When my daughter was learning to crawl, I used to send her petticoats to Mother to wash in the homemade soap."  by Ann Woodbury Lusk 

Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
Receipt for Lye Soap
5 cups water
1 (13 ounce) can lye
6 pounds lard

CAUTION:  Lye is highly caustic and should be washed off immediately with cold water!  Wear rubber globes.  Turn face away from lye when pouring into water to avoid inhaling the fumes.  Always pour the lye into the water rather than the water into the lye!  NEVER mix lye in an aluminum container, as the lye will react with it.

1.  Prepare the lye solution first, so it can cool to between 95 and 98 degrees.  Pour cold water into an enamelware pot, and then add the lye slowly while stirring the solution steadily with a wooden spoon.  The reaction between lye and water will generate temperatures over 200 degrees F.  Place the enamel pot in a basin of cold water to hasten cooling.  Once cooled, pour it carefully into a 2-quart glass container.
2.  Melt the lard and bring to a temperature of between 95 and 98 degrees F.  To ensure thorough mixing, stir the lard before the lye is added.  Pour in the lye solution in a steady stream while continuing to stir with an even circular motion.  The mixture will turn opaque and brownish, then lighten.
3.  Soap is ready when its surface can support a drop of mixture for a moment; the consistency should be like sour cream.
4.  You may add colorants, scents, or other special ingredients.
5.  Pour liquid into molds lined with brown paper or coated with Vaseline and place in a warm location.  Cover molds with cardboard or blankets.  After 24-48 hours, cut into bars and separate the bars so that they can completely air-dry or cure.  Wait at least 3 weeks before using the soap. 

You might enjoy reading my previous blog post:


  1. when i was a young girl, we made lye soap all the time, especially when we killed hogs, mom would build a fire under the black iorn pot in the yard and fill the pot with lard we had made from making cracklings. this would take all day , but we had soap to wash cloths on the rub board. oh all those memories

  2. Betty, I loved hearing your story. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Hi
    I left you a comment, now you add in my list, http://patchworkmadeinargentina.blogspot.com/
    Wonderful what you're doing.
    Silvia V, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  4. I pin so many of your quilt blocks on Pinterest. They send me a weekly post of my most pinned items and so many are your blocks! So it isn't just me who likes them. :)


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