While the kiddies are in their final count down to the end of school, I got to do something I haven't done in a very long time. . . . . head off to a classroom!!! Yes last Saturday was my first meeting of The Farmer's Wife Club. With great anticipation I loaded up my tote bag with goodies and made my way over to Candlelite Quilts.
While not officially a "class" there were plenty of new techniques for me to discover. Making templates from which to cut each piece individually was definitely an eye opener and has given me a far greater appreciation for all the patchwork done prior to the days of the rotary cutter! I'm sure they didn't have the pleasure of using a sandboard back then either and that's too bad because now that I've been introduced to it I can't imagine trying to trace onto fabric without one. The most surprising tidbit, however, was the concept that one shouldn't do more than to lightly press straight down on a piece of patchwork when using an iron. Shocking! Or at least for me, a huge fan of working my iron into all the little nooks and crannies of my patchwork blocks in order to make them lie flat as a pancake. Apparently, by doing so I am stretching the fabrics out of the proportions so carefully created by sticking to the seam allowances. Unfortunately, I do believe it's going to be very hard for me to kick the ironing habit. I've already cheated a teeny bit . . . . . but at least I know now why I can never seem to have precise piecing when it comes time to assemble my blocks all together!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Inspired by Lily Red's new quilt I've decided I want one for my bed as well. One small problem. . . . . the scale at which I tend to work is far from conducive to creating a queen sized patchwork piece. The idea of working in such a large scale, in fact, terrifies me. I'm not quite sure how to begin, am uncertain about maintaining my motivation, and find it difficult to even imagine being able to complete such a feat. So I've enlisted some help by joining The "Farmer's Wife" Club over at Candlelite Quilts. Based on the book by Laurie Aaron Hird, in which excerpts from real letters written by farm wives in the 1920's are paired up with inspired patchwork blocks, the group will meet once a month for the next year. At the end we will each have a minimum of 24 completed blocks and some new tips and tricks up our sleeves. I'll still have a ways to go in order to complete the 111 blocks needed for the queen sized version but hopefully I'll have developed the confidence to charge on to the end by myself. The very first meeting is next weekend and I can hardly wait to get started. In the meantime I'm gathering up fabrics, reading the letters, and imagining life as a farmer's wife.
Now considering our property consists of a mere 1700 square yards, the chances of cultivating such a lifestyle would seem quite slim but there is still plenty of outdoor work to occupy our time. In the short ten minutes it took me to survey our entire lot I found enough projects to last us the entire summer. The front dooryard for instance is in serious need of some tweaking. Bushes, flowers, and herbs that were planted several years ago have outgrown their locations and need to be either thinned or transplanted.
The walkways and cobblestone pathways are in desperate need of some weeding.
Pots everywhere are lacking a new selection of annuals and I'm thinking a few patchwork pillows would really cheer the bench up (and make it a bit more comfortable!)
Out back the shed stands as the keystone to a multitude of tasks. The very first thing I see every time I look at it is the lack of a curtain in the window. Lack of red gingham to make one is not, however, an issue so its time I buckled down and did it. The clematis on the corner has really thrived these past two years. Although originally a withered stick of a thing rescued from Walmart's clearance section, I now have visions of training it's vines to climb along the left hand wall of the shed. A small crop of sunflowers on the other side would be lovely as well.
Here a proper trash area made out of brick would hopefully make it a bit more difficult for the raccoons to topple the barrels over and wreak havoc with the contents.
Behold a mess of another sort, and one for which I can't blame on the raccoons. This definitely needs to reckoned with!
The removal of our yard debris remains to be dealt with. Times were that it could be bagged and delivered to a local tree nursery for use in their giant compost pile. Now, out of business, the moment has come for us to maintain a compost bin of our own. And the black gold we hope to mine from such and endeavor?
Why it will head directly into our raised garden beds. Actually we only have one this year. . . the square foot gardening concept was recommended to us by a friend so we figured we'd give it a trial run. If all goes well we hope to add two more beds next year and be able to have a full blown harvest.
And what is a farmer's wife to wear when she's out in the back 40. . . . .why a wrap dress of course! I've wanted one of these for ages, ever since discovering the romantic creations of MALPHIE. This version from Target doesn't have near the charm that her creations do but I thought replacing those jeans with a proper pair of bloomers might improve the look which led me directly to one of my favorite farmers of all times. . . . .
Mary Jane Butters! Her magazine is one of the prettiest around and I save each and every issue to reread over and over again. That must be how I remembered she once featured and article on pantaloons. And so it was that a brief respite spent poking through their pages provided not only the desired pattern but also a wonderful reminder that "farmgirl" is a condition of the heart and that no matter where you find yourself it is always best to "bloom where your planted."