February 29, 2012

Farmer's Wife QAL - Barns and New Blocks...

My Wisconsin Barn Mosaic
In October of 2009, I wrote a blog post with this mosaic I created from all the barns I photographed on a trip to Wisconsin. (You can read that post here.) When I see barns, I feel something inside that's difficult to explain.

On more than one occasion, I've found myself spellbound by light coming into a barn between the boards. The last time it happened, I looked at Handsome with tears in my eyes. I don't know how I feel about reincarnation, but it's like I was meant to be there. It felt like home. Like I'd been there before. Like I knew that place.
Stock Photo from web
These deep feelings prompted me to want to create the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt...and the desire to share my project with some of you. Imagine my pure joy to find that twenty four other women wanted to join me in a quiltalong.
 We started in February with a list of quilt blocks from the book. I blogged and emailed the list to the participants, with a promise that this would be a no-pressure endeavor. We've been uploading our block photos to a special Flickr album, and we've also shared comments and questions among the group. It reminds me of the old-time barn raising, where everyone worked together to create something beautiful...the barn.

We're all working from the same book...The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. We're also using either the templates from the cd inside the book, or plastic templates from Marti Mitchell's website.
This is how I'm using my book to chronicle my Farmer's quilt journey. I start by taking colored sticky notes and bookmarking the blocks chosen for the month. (I used pink stickies for February and yellow for March.)

You'll notice that there are still pink stickies in there. I haven't sewn those blocks yet (but will this month). Remember, I said that the group is "no pressure", and I'm proving it by showing how I'm working at my own pace.
As I stitch each block, I write the date that I created it, along with my initials. I'm also writing notes on the pages so that whoever sees my finished quilt years and years from now, they'll know what I was thinking as I created the quilt.
I keep all of my supplies (except the fabric I have on bolts) in one of those plastic organizers (like this) so that everything is in one convenient place when I sit down to work on my blocks.

I know farming folk who keep daily records of the weather, along with other information that serves as a diary of their farming life. They keep track of all the grains, seeds and supplies they purchase toward running their farm. Women keep detailed budgets to enable them to purchase the supplies used to run their households, but in days past, they also wrote down their inventories of precious possessions. In some cases, they cataloged their linens and fabrics needed to clothe and comfort their families.

I just added a new app to my iPad that I can use to inventory my fabrics, patterns and threads. How much easier it might have been for the farmer's wives of yesteryear had they been able to use technology as we do.

Before I end my thoughts for today, I'll leave you with the list of blocks that our group will create for March. There are ten this month.

These are the blocks:
  • Block # 2 - Autumn Tints
  • Block # 6 - Big Dipper
  • Block #10 - Bowtie
  • Block #15 - Buzzard's Roost
  • Block #29 - Economy
  • Block #31 - Evening Star
  • Block #34 - Flock
  • Block #51 - Hovering Birds
  • Block #52 - Hovering Hawks
  • Block $103 - Whirlwind
These block names make me smile, and some of them hold special meaning.
 I think back on the Autumn tints seen in crisp Wisconsin twilights when I could hear the last of the flocks of geese heading out to the marsh to settle in for the night. Gazing up at the evening stars in the sky with the Big Dipper the most prominent - the first constellation I learned to identify as a child. 

We built our home there and called it "Hawk Hill" for the red-tailed hawks that lived on our property year-round. I can still envision lying in the grass and watching the hawks hover, lift and soar on the breeze.

We have many new memories in the eleven years we've been in Florida. Days seem to pass so quickly, like a whirlwind in time. (No, I'm not going to mention the hurricanes.)

One frequently sees the buzzards that patrol for "opportunities" (meals usually provided when automobiles and wildlife collide), as they roost in the trees along the roads, or even perched on the street lights lining the main roads into town (makes me laugh out loud. "Welcome to North Port, my pretties!").

Better to focus instead on the afternoon and evening musical performances when Handsome dons his tuxedo and black bowtie. I think of a friend's favorite quote "Music softens life's hard edges."

And then, there is the wonderful time we spend in the Airstream. There, our furnishings are more sparse, and our life is spent enjoying the economy of our mobile accommodations.

I think you can see why this group of blocks will be so meaningful to me. I hope that all the other participants are making notes and sharing their thoughts as they create their blocks.  You can click on the QAL link at the top of my blog to find a list of participants and links to their blogs. (No link, no blog - yet!)

You might also enjoy clicking on the Farmer's Quilt book image in my sidebar. That's how you can get to the Flickr album with all our block submissions. Everyone gets to see the blocks being created by their friends, and they can upload their own for an online "bring and brag". Feel free to leave comments on their blocks. They're all so wonderful!

I'll share my newest blocks here when I finish the March group (and those I haven't completed for February), as well as in the group album.

12 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Vickie said...

Oh Donna, I do know just how you feel and it has nothing to do with reincarnation. I was born and raised in West Allis, in Wisconsin, no where near the farms. But I will tell you when my husband and I were looking to purchase a home in the country a few years back, the homes with the barns made my heart flutter. I loved one barn so (I believe it was built in 1889), that I was trying to talk my husband into buying that home. The house was dumpy, just as old, but falling apart, more than we could handle. I get a very special feeling inside, such happiness, when I go into those old beauties. :)

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Mine is a tale of country boy/city girl. My husband never saw a barn he didn't like. Every painting he ever wanted to buy has a barn in it. I, however, do not share his love of barns. I admire them, but that's the limit. Our standing joke when traveling is for me to find a rundown, falling apart barn and tell Terry "THERE'S a barn for you".
xx, Carol

Anonymous said...

Donna you're doing a great job at a timeline documentation. Me not so much. I enjoy the process but didn't even think that I should write in my book. Very clever. I on the other hand would like to chronical all the THREAD and seam ripping I've encountered to get that perfect point and 6" square. In northern Illinois we have quilt barns where some families had decided to PAINT a quilt block on their barn. It's very cool.

So impressed by your due dilligence.
Mary Fioretti

Sherri said...

Donna, don't you just love barns!! I do!! They are so beautiful and every time I go back home I take pictures of barns. Unfortunately there are less and less of them still there. So that is another reason I click away with my camera to preserve in my mind what I grew up with!

Raewyn said...

What a lovely post. I had written dates in my book, but hadn't thought of those extra thoughts - great idea. I'm feeling happy that you mentioned no pressure - twice!! Striving to get a few more done this month! have a great day :-)

Minimiss said...

Nice post today Donna. {{{hugs}}}

Carol said...

OH Donna I just love the idea of documenting right in our book...thank you for sharing.

Queenie Believe said...

Having been raised in NW Ohio I can certainly relate to your love of barns and farms!! Had I not been up to my ears in a quilt project with a show deadline I would have loved to participate in this quilt-along. I definitely have this book on my wish list.
Have a great day!
Always, Queenie

Pat from Florida said...

Only thing better than a big barn is a barn with a quilt block painted on it. We see many in OH, where our oldest lives.

Great thoughts along the way with this quilt. I kept a journal as I made WOB blocks (women of the bible). Perhaps I should do that with this journey too.

Thanks for your lovely post. So glad to be part of the group.

Createology said...

Oh My I have always loved old barns. For a while our family lived in an old farmhouse with a water tower and a huge old barn. I loved it there. No matter where I roam I always enjoy seeing barns...old and now new. Your post is a wonderful tribute to barns and also to your love of the quilt blocks for March. Joyful cutting and sewing...

Deb said...

Reading about how you're going about sewing your blocks and making notations makes me wish that I had done that with mine. So many things have gone on over the past two years that it would be fun to look back on what was going on that day. Maybe I'll have to make another one so that I can do that!

Michelle May said...

Love old barns and all the critters in them. This is going to be such a beautiful quilt.


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