Wednesday, July 08, 2020

An Octagon House Drive By

I’ve posted about this place before.

But I think it’s been more than a year or more since I’ve driven past it – and yesterday’s errand run toward Marion, VA showed me that even in these times of slow down, things are happening at Abijah Thomas’s Octagon House!

Info board is up!

The information is really interesting.

And seeing the house with its porch – softens the whole feeling.

The plan is to restore the house to its original condition, as closely as possible and use it for educational purposes and community events.

There was text at the BACK side of the board that I should have photographed to remember.  It included a determination to honor the lives of enslaved people – that every fingerprint in each handmade brick bear witness of the lives that lived here during that time.  It touched my heart.  It was honest and sincere.

There will be an education center sharing the many stories of people held in bondage during that time.

While some may say “Built by slaves? No thank you!” and walk away in disgust, I think this is an important educational tool to recognize and feel the impact that slavery had on those lives.  Each and every one. They need a chance to tell their story. 

Education brings change, so this will never happen again. 

I have linked to the website of the Octagon House.  Feel free to visit and read up on what they are doing.

It was a nice little stop on my way to do necessary things.

And while that was going on, this was also going down at the QPO:

My space has been taken over by the Hubster!

Usually he works from the cabin – where we live by cell data as we don’t have internet.

It’s not possible to have it where we are, it’s just not available and even the mountainside prevents us from having working satellite wifi if that even was an option.

Something has happened over the past week that has killed our upload speeds on our cell data which is usually really good – 5 bars of 4G. We still have 5 bars of 4G, but no upload speed.

He was unable to get his work uploaded, and it’s been month end crunch for his job – the only option was to clear off my Snails Trail block making station and let him move in!

Is it a tower being worked on in the surrounding area?  We have no idea.  And of course getting through to Verizon is a no go.

So for now we are sharing space.

Even Zoey feels the close quarters!

There is some SewPad love coming in!

Several of you have sent emails saying how much you are enjoying your SewPad.  How you can sit comfortably for hours without back or hip pain while you sew.  How you have found yourself grabbing it to go on long car drives, or sitting at the dinner table, or out on the deck in the evening with some hand stitching, or even while watching TV.

Some have ordered TWO so they don’t have to share it with their spouse anymore! LOL!

One reader sent a CARD she loves it so much!

When I shared this info with the folks at Sew Pad, they were thrilled. 

Gary & Laura, owners of SewPad came a couple of weeks ago and made a special delivery to Quiltville Inn.

The dining chairs – all 12 of them – now are cushioned by SewPads and retreaters are welcome to use them in the dining room – to move them to their sewing seats, to carry them back out to the porch for extended outdoor sitting time, and then back to the dining room again.

Once you’ve experienced the comfort of a SewPad, it’s hard to go back to sewing without one.

What is a SewPad?

SewPad™ is filled with a thick cushion of proprietary viscoelastic polymer gel– the same stuff used in surgical mats and wheelchair pads.

Unlike foam (memory foam or otherwise) gel doesn’t bottom-out and it provides comfort and support by diffusing and distributing pressure.

Upholstered in a plush layer of AirFlex™ fabric, SewPad™ helps your backside stay cool while the no-slip bottom keeps it from sliding around in your chair.

SewPad™ was designed for quilters and crafters, but we think you’ll find other uses as well.

Church. Stadium seats, in the car and anywhere else that you might expect to be sitting for a good while.

Being comfortable is a wonderful thing!

For more info, visit my Original SewPad Post. That gift-away is over, but we may have another in the future!

And on the stitchy side -

3 more ready for the wall -

Which now boasts 14 blocks!

Finding the time to keep up with the string block making so I have blocks to applique to in the evening is my challenge.

Things are about to get extremely busy here as Yadkin Valley Quilts hosts their retreat at Quiltville Inn this weekend.  The shop owners are coming to stock the fridges are start in on the food prep before their group arrives tomorrow.  They are catering their own event!

I am sure their retreaters are looking forward to being out of 14 days self-quarantine so they can safely be together and stitch the weekend away.

So into Wednesday we go.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

What you do today will have a direct effect on your tomorrow.

Which direction are you going?

Make it a great Wednesday!


  1. Hi Bonnie! Your blocks are great! Along with the Thomas House, the White House, Congress, and much of Georgetown University was also built by slaves, along with many other landmarks. People would have to walk away from a lot of American life to walk completely away from the legacy of slavery. Happy Wednesday to you, too!

    1. Fact Checking: Immigrants were also part of the crews that built the White House.

      "The slaves joined a workforce that included local white laborers and artisans from Maryland and Virginia, as well as immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and other European nations," the association website states.

    2. These facts can live side by side, both being true. The important difference is that the immigrant workers came here by choice and found work to support themselves in this new life they were building. The slaves that "joined" the workforce were kidnapped from their home countries or born into slavery and had no say over their lives or futures. In the past we did not have to acknowledge this when seeing what their labor wrought. Today that is changing. One can no longer tour Monticello and ask not to see the the slave quarters or hear what it took to maintain those beautiful gardens. The onsite historian requires that visitors learn actual history while they are there, not simply comforting stories. I think that is what Bonnie was saying. We need to be able to live with real history, and be able to let all the stories live side by side, and deal with what that means.

  2. Hi Bonnie! We have had Verizon cell phone issues in Missouri also. I hope it gets fixed soon! I enjoy your posts and will be checking out the information on that house!

  3. That Octagonal building will be an awesome history center. (And for the people who freak out about buildings built by slaves, why has no one freaked out about the pyramids being built by Jewish slaves?)

  4. Great post. We have to remember that it is just as important to learn "from" our history as it is to learn "about" it. We have an historic brick octagon house in Wiscasset, Maine. My grandmother lived next door to it for 50 years. It is a private home now. Thanks for posting this.

  5. It is good to honor people's hard work. I have quilt blocks bought at estate sales that I want to finish. Most are hand sewn and I hate to think about those women's work not being finished. The blocks do not deserve to be put in the trash.

  6. Strings as a background was an unexpected move. You've certainly have made some progress. Those blocks are looking SEW good, Bonnie!!

  7. Happy to hear you are still making scrappy snails...I have picked up the habit of making one a day and now have 10 up on my design wall. I had to refresh myself on pp techniques and now with receiving my felt iron pad I am getting nice crispy flat blocks but what a mess I am making digging thru various size scrap colors.

  8. The Speed of the Internet or Not, is a mystery always!
    Love the string blocks with applique.
    I looked up the SewPad for me and my husband. It's not cheap but that's what quality costs.
    I made my first few 6" blocks in the new Leader Ender project. Sew. damn. cute. I will probably set this with hourglass blocks like Chunky Churndash.

    1. That's a brilliant idea! Chunky Churndash is one of my favorites. It fools the eye into thinking you have set it all on point. Do you mind if I copy your idea?

  9. I just bought one. Thanks for the recommendation! I read your blog every day and find inspiration for life as well as quilts. After 120 in sequestration I've found sewing soothes my lonely soul. I appreciate your efforts to educate and inspire. Carol Amos

  10. Love your string star blocks.

  11. I can't wait to make enough heroes to do this!

  12. Hexies.... not heroes....stupid autocorrect!

  13. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your stringy star blocks. What an interesting, unique way to set those 2 block types. Can't wait to see what you do with the cut outs of the string blocks.
    Dianne Gillin

  14. If you want to get through to Verizon you will need to social media. My hotspot quit on me in the middle of a job while on a jobsite, the only way I got a response was through Facebook Messenger. If you have to share the space, perhaps give him the kitchette area. Uploading is more important to some of us than downloading. How's Lola?

  15. Love your blocks. I agree, it is ridiculous to tear down history. So sad Its part of the past that we learn from . My
    father and his family were put in internment camps during WWII. I wouldn't think of asking/demanding that the camps be torn down. It is part of history and we learn not to repeat history.

    I just ordered a SewPad. Hope I love it :)

  16. A very interesting read - I love octagon houses, just so different! The porch adds beauty. I wonder if that will be on the restoration future plans.
    Our internet and mobile signals are poor. My mobile doesn't work at all unless it's Whatsapp. I gather some big company are in the process of sending satellites up to bounce signals off to help rural areas worldwide. Hopefully that will bring internet speed up worldwide too - I wonder how expensive it will be though. Your husband looks like he's settled in your spot very nicely! LOL!

  17. I just ordered my "sew pad" and am hoping that it is as good as it is said to be, I need some relief from back and leg aches.

  18. Thanks Bonnie for sharing the octagon house history lesson. So very interesting! And your string blocks and appliqued stars is beginning to look awesome. Such a good idea! And I know just where I can use that sew pad!

  19. So nice that the work endured by those slaves will now be honoured as the octagon house is restored and turned into a historical learning centre. Many things occurred during the past which we today just would no condone. I feel it’s very important that these things are not just brushed under the carpet an forgotten. Thank you for sharing this with us and I look forward to future updated you will show us.
    I’m really loving you star blocks on the sting blocks, a really fun way to use them I look forward to seeing your progress in this too.
    Stay safe
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xx

  20. The Octagon House looks like an interesting place, I hope all the work that's going into its' restoration pays off and is appreciated. It might be a fun venue for weddings.

  21. Your string & star blocks are beautiful. The more you get up on the wall the better I like them. As for Verizon, way out here in NE something is going on too. Last night and this morning I had absolutely no hint of service. Usually I get at least one bar. It's good you have Internet at the QPO so your hubby can finish his work.

  22. Seeing the 9 patch quilt brought back memories for me. I have 5 children, all grown and with families of their own. Before I knew anything about quilting I decided I wanted to make quilts for my children. A couple of them were already married and had started families at that time. I bought a lot of fabric in different colors for each of my children. I tore the fabrics in strips to make the 9 patches and in larger squares to make alternate squares. I didn't know about strip piecing at the time so I sew each square together into a 9 patch and sew the larger squared to the 9 patches and into rows. The quilts were queen size except for my 5th child who was still at home and had a twin sz. bed. I thought I had made the design of the moment when I made all those 9 patches. I had no idea that the 9 patch block had already been invented. LOL I was so proud of myself. All my children loved their quilts. I tied them with yarn. Their quilts were loved and used till there was hardly anything left off them. When I was little I used to spend weekends with my grandma and slept with her in her bed under a wool quilt that was tied in red wool yarn. The quilt looks like it was made from menswear suit fabric with the bottom of the legs cut off probably to the length needed for the slacks. So all the patches are rectangles. I love that quilt and I am the proud owner of it. It was such an inspiration for me. I've been making quilts for over 40 years now and at 85 am still going strong.

  23. My husband also came home from the office with 2 huge monitors which he set up in my sewing room, for 2 months.
    But he is back at work now......at least at the moment.


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