Saturday, March 2, 2013

:: A farmer's wife

Have you ever heard of the Farmer's Wife Quilt-Along?  Awhile back it was all over some of my favorite blogs, so I requested the book from the library.  I was fascinated reading it.  The background on it:  In 1918 World War I ended;  1920 saw women with the right to vote; during these changing times:

Society was also beginning to see a change in young women's behavior, exemplified by the 'flapper'; and all were not pleased.  In 1922, The Pittsburgh Observer noted, "a change for the worse during the past year in feminine dress, dancing, manners, and general moral standards," and warned against any '
"failure to realize the serious consequences in immodesty in girl's dress."

City people believed the farm woman to be a drudge and slave - that she was miserable and would be anxious to leave, if given the chance for a new live.  However, The Farmer's Wife (popular women's magazine with approx 750,000 subscribers), believed this to be far from the truth. 

So the editors of the magazine asked their readers a question: "If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, want her to marry a farmer?" 

The editors asked participants to "consider this question in all its angles.  Talk it over with your husband, your children and your friends.  Consider not only the financial side of the question but the moral and physical viewpoint and the things that make for real happiness.  You wish the best things in the world for your children.  Would your daughter as a farmer's wife be better off - all things considered - then she would be in the city or town?"

The magazine offered cash prizes for the best 68 answers submitted.  By the end of the contest... the editors were overwhelmed with the response from over seven thousand readers.  When the opinions were tallied, it was found that the editors were correct: 94% of farm wives stated that they would, indeed, want their daughters to marry a farmer. (excerpts from The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt, by Laurie Aaron Hird)

The rest of the book contains the many letters submitted by these farmers wives, as well as the 111 quilt blocks they inspired.  You really should read these letters.  They are fabulous.  So many of these ladies re-affirming what is really important in life.  I found it amazing that women (even back then) felt the pull from the world, and the need to try to keep the important things...important.

These small 6" blocks are so fun to make!  I was inspired by Camille's beautiful Farmer's Wife Quilt, and followed her method, which was quite helpful.  It's so fun to pick through small scraps, and make these.  Here's my first 6 blocks.

Block 1- Attic Windows
Block 2 - Autumn Tints

Block 3 - Single Wedding Star (actually block 80)

Block 4 - Basket Weave

Block 5 - Bat Wing
Block 6 - Big Dipper

So... 6 down, and only 105 more to make!

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