Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pieces From The Past - The Owl Quilt

Today's letter is short and sweet...

Oberseifersdorf uber Zittau 2
January 12, 1947

Worthy Mr. Schleich!

As the father of Gotthart Hauswold, who worked for you two years ago, I would like to inform you that he has arrived back in Germany.  Unfortunately, he did not reach his homeplace, since he is away again in a Russian prison camp. On account of that, it seems that he is unable to get any messages to you either.  I would like to hear if you were happy with my son’s work effort, and how his health and general mood were.

You are sure to know from the newspapers how things look in Germany.

With best regards and in the expectation of hearing from you sometime, I remain, 
Mase Hauswold,
Postal Inspector a.D.

Mase Hauswold, a father desperate to know of the well being of his son.  He had obviously been in touch with his son, and perhaps aware that his physical health may have been poor, but seeking some sort of comfort in knowing his son's mental health, his spirit, was not in the same state - at least while he was held at Camp Trinidad.

As I researched the Russian POW camps I was deeply saddened, once again...  this bit of info is from The Vintage News.

By the end of 1946, a significant number of German POWs had been released; the Soviet Union prisoner of war number was less than Britain and France combined. With the creation of a pro-communist state in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany – the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) – in October 1949, all but 85,000 prisoners of war had been released from the Soviet camps and repatriated to Germany. Most of the remaining German prisoners had been convicted as war criminals; given long sentences – usually 25 years – and sent to forced labor camps. In 1956, following the intervention of West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in Moscow, the last of these war convicts (Kriegsverurteilte) were repatriated.

An estimate by one British historian is that 356,000 prisoners of war died in Soviet labor camps from a total of 2,880,000 captured German soldiers.

It seems very intentional to me that Mase Hauswald, a Postal Inspector, was hoping to have some sort of influence, or make an impression with his position. 

Do you think there is a deeper meaning to this detail?   

As I reviewed the patterns to partner with this letter the Owl Quilt block, published May 5, 1937 seemed appropriate.  I personally thought of Winnie the Pooh's friend, The Wise Old Owl.  I found these personality characteristics associated with an assessment test...

I have slightly modified the Owl Quilt block to make it a 12" block rather than the original 11" block and I eliminated the necessity of any "Y seams".  The only tip I have to share is that you will want to pay close attention the placement and direction of the corner four-patch blocks as shown in the pattern diagram... better attention than myself.  Ooops! (this error of mine was not noticed until AFTER the quilting was complete... so it stays. 😔)

Now is the time for you to download your pattern (link above) and piece your block.  Be sure sure to come back to link up for the opportunity to win a fat-quarter.  If you are sharing on social media, be sure to tag me, (Instagram is @MelvaLovesScraps and facebook is Melva Loves Scraps) and use the hashtag #PiecesFromThePastSewAlong.  It is such fun seeing the variety of fabrics and colors chosen for each block.  

With the completion of your Owl Quilt block you can gather up these additional blocks -  #1 (Signature Block), #10 (Russian Sunflower), #9 (Dragon Fly) - and assemble Row 1.

After the completion of Block #12 (Pine Burr Block) I gave cutting instructions for sashing strips.  

For Row 1 you will need three 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips.  Join the sashing strips between the blocks to complete the row.  While you are at it, you can add a horizontal sashing strip - 2-1/2" x 54" long - to the bottom of Row 1 and to the top and bottom of Row 4.

You are making progress!  Way to go!  My excitement to see the completed quilts is growing with the release of each pattern and letter.  Thanks for joining me in this journey through history.

Piece on,


Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along
that features vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!

Linking with:
BOMs Away at What A Hoot Quilts
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Creative Compulsions at Bijou Bead Boutique
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Colour & Inspiration at Clever Chameleon Quilting


  1. Wow, this one was a heartbreaking one. It's sad to think that there's a good chance that Mr. Hauswold never saw his son alive again. I like the new block and the thought behind it. Thank you.

  2. You can hear the father's heartbreak in this letter. War is such a terrible thing. Thank you for sharing these letters.

  3. It's sad that the son went from being a POW in the US, where it seems they were treated kindly, to being in a Russian POW Camp. I'm sure the father was concerned and wanted to hear something about his time here in the States. I love the owl block!!

  4. It's hard but necessary to learn this history, and it's more real knowing that Mr. Hauswald probably didn't see his son again.
    I made that same mistake with a four patch on another QAL this week!!

  5. I collect owls and this block is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Such an interesting project, Melva! Thank you for linking up with me.

  7. This letter is rather heart wrenching. :( The owl was a great choice for the block pattern.

  8. Lovely block! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  9. Hi Melva! Oh, that letter is just heartbreaking. I can only imagine the angst that parent feels. I wonder if they were ever able to reunite. Thank you for the Owl block, and it is so exciting that another row can be completed. I still need to figure out a sashing fabric. ~smile~ Roseanne

  10. Interesting block - and the letter is so sad. I can't imagine not knowing where my son is. War is terrible. Thanks for linking with Design Wall Monday, Judy

  11. Great block - I like how the quilt is coming together. Can you imagine getting home only to be put in another camp? my stars.....

  12. I have read through this posting 3 times and cannot locate the link for the block. Can someone help me out. I think I must be going

    1. So sorry about that Joanne. The link is now bolded and italicized so that it is easier to locate. I have done the same on the current post for The Corner Star Block. Thanks for pointing out the evasiveness of the link. Blessings, Melva