Wowzer, the end of the year is flying by. I can’t believe it’s mid-month already. Do I say that every month? I think so. I’ve been manically Christmas shopping. We still buy gifts for everyone in our family as well as partners and in-laws, it amounts to well over 20 gifts for me which I am kind of struggling with this year! Some people are easy, but I refuse to buy crappy filler presents for people who are harder. If all else fails food is always my back-up. Everyone loves a treat that doesn’t take up much space (aside from in the stomach!)
I sewed a few more Farmers Wife blocks because after I lay them all out a couple weeks ago I realised that I only had about 10 more to make. Out of 100 that is such an awesome relief. Much as I love making them, I am ready to move on!
It snowed almost 2 feet (half a meter) here last night and today! Snow is marvellous! I can take the cold if there is beautiful sparkling pillowy brightness everywhere. The sound changes, everything is quieter because the snow absorbs the sound, so the usual traffic I hear outside is pleasantly muffled. You should see Mitch go crazy out there too – dogs LOVE the snow. Seems odd that in a week I will be sipping cocktails by the pool for a real Aussie Christmas.
I made a bunch of my Farmer’s wife quilt blocks over the weekend and in the evenings this week. I did all the easiest ones first, so now that I have about 30 to go – they’re getting more and more fiddly! HA. I should have thought of that in the beginning and mixed it up when I started. Anyway. The best thing about all that is, sadly, I got a new unpicker/ripper last week, which is coming in really handy. Gah, these blocks were super annoying, but I enjoyed them at the same time. Nuts.
I’ve been really craving cookies lately, so I made a batch of Anzacs to nosh on while I worked. It’s OK, I ran this morning. I don’t know how the amazing quilting people in blogland finish quilts so quickly. I’m one of the only one without kids and I’m still the slowest!
Country path and Century of progress
Wild goose chase and Corn and beans
Postage stamp and Prairie queen
Wild rose & square and Cut glass dish
Corn and beans really drove me loopy, but it’s a nice one after all. Same with cut glass dish, you can see the fabric puckered, so I might have to redo that one. I’m hoping another month or two and I’ll be done the blocks. Wishful thinking? My blood type is B positive after all : )
Because I wasn’t well this weekend, I spent time with my farmer’s wife. Old comfort that it is. I’m not sure how many blocks I’ve done now, but I’m guessing around 60. Getting to the fiddley ones now. Most people are well and truly finished theirs, so I can get lots of good tips for the tricky blocks, but I really love sewing this quilt, I swear it helped make me well.
I know they’re a mish mash of colours here, but when all 60 are together they’ll be awesome! Do you do anything to make yourself feel better when you’re sick? Aside from chicken soup and movies!
I have always crafted as much as I’ve arted. Initially I was going to question the difference between the two, but after discussing it at length with Ange, I realised it’s pointless. He says even having a conversation about the difference between them is twee and for the over-educated, because the two are equally creative. But if you are interested I just read the book “The culture of craft” by Peter Dormer, who really delves into the cross-overs and historical differences between craft, design, art and technology very thoroughly.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I often feel as though my craft is not as ‘valid’ as my artwork. Which is ridiculous. Craft and art are both wonderful and I’m learning to feel as accomplished when I finish a new quilt as when I have an exhibition opening. So with that, let me tell you about my new project!
It’s called The farmers’ wife quilt, which I initially found out about because of many hundreds of quilters doing a quilt-along, but specifically from this wonderful blog. I am over a year late, but have joined along with other latecomers and decided to attempt it over winter. It was started by Amanda and Angela who are now finished/close to finishing, but I find their completed quilt blocks good motivation, if you buy the book you can join too! I can see much frustration in my future, but I’m going to embrace it whole-heartedly. I feel equal parts enjoyment and anger at sewing. We’ll see which emotion wins.
The farmers’ wife quilt is a compilation or ‘sampler’ quilt made up of over 100 different quilt blocks. It comes from a lovely book compiled by Laurie Aaron Hird and is a remarkable collection of letters from farmers wives from the United States in the early 1920′s. A popular magazine at the time – The farmers wife, held a country wide competition asking women to write in and tell people whether or not – in all honesty, knowing what they did about the life – they would want their daughters to marry a farmer.
Over 7000 farmers’ wives wrote back, and a resounding 94% were for their daughters doing the same. Their letters are beautifully written and their answers are so dear and heartfelt, I really enjoyed reading them. Then I set about cutting out the roughly 110 tiny templates…
With Mitch’s help.
Had a mini panic thinking that I’d printed them all too small and spent the entire weekend cutting out tiny pieces of useless paper. But some careful measuring and I was OK. Although a later thought was that I should have printed the templates out bigger.
I also took the time to colour code each of the lots of 15 that I divided them up into. That way I can grab the template I need and know it’s #1 of the lot if it’s red and #12 if it’s blue etc. Plus I always work better when I arrange things into colour.
Any quilter knows the best part about a new quilt is choosing fabrics. It could literally take days or weeks or months. A color theme? Certain patterns? All one fabric designer? Scraps? Seeing as my stash is divided over a few of continents, I went for scraps. That way I can use whatever I can find, although I did spend the better part of a Sunday in one Montreal fabric store. My stash in Canada is partly provided by lovely Mere, who in fact, I couldn’t sew without, it’s also her machine!
And as I am known to do – I chose all colours! I decided to go for lights, pastel and greys, but we’ll see. A quilt with over 100 blocks will definitely evolve.
So that’s it for today. This week I am going to start cutting fabric (I know, the excitement) and begin sewing. Wish me luck (because I’m going to need it).