Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Farmer's Wife 1930s ~ Mrs Morgan

I really, really love hand-stitching. But yesterday, when I suddenly remembered today was my turn for the Farmer's Wife Sew-Along, (AH!) my big, red machine started calling! Now, I love my big, red machine too, but I'd already cut out the printed template, chosen the colours and started to cut out fabric for basting, so I decided to run with what I had.

Using the 'Block' printable from the CD enclosed with the Farmer's Wife book, I quickly coloured in some of the shapes so I'd remember which prints to match them with, and then cut them all out. Then I used plain, old, regular glue stick to fold and fix the fabric over the papers.

Then, starting with those two little pointy half-house-like shapes, I pressed them right sides together, stitched a few, quick staying stitches, and then hand- stitched along the seam.

I then added a large, coloured triangle to the upper right side, and a small low-volume triangle to the left. I now had a half-square triangle. Then I stitched the white triangles around the square to make a second half-square triangle.

I pressed the two triangles together, careful to match up the seams, and stitched along the seam.
Hmm. It was now time to make dinner, and Mrs Morgan was turning out to be a day-long visitor.
After dinner and a story, Tim and I put the kids to bed and I went back to giving Mrs M. some attention when we heard a knock at the door. A young friend with her Chilean mother and aunt had called in to meet us. Suddenly the house was a buzz of tea making, conversation and laughter. Our guests asked if they could help with my block, and I willingly obliged, passing out glue and scissors and thread.

Over stitches, we talked about their old life in Chile, our travels, embarrassing stories about learning a new language, fabric, quilting, fashion design... Mrs Morgan wasn't finished until after midnight, a block that might have only taken me 20 minutes if I'd let myself change course earlier in the day. And now that I'm here, still typing even later after midnight, I wonder if that would have been best. I'd really love to be in bed right now! But paper piecing for me has the uncanny knack of drawing people together. Visitors never offer to help with my machine sewing, but I'll often get asked how they can help if I'm stitching on the sofa. People ask me to teach them, ask me why I did it this way, and then like a good wine, hand-stitching opens up the conversation. I've listened to people talk about their hopes and their grief while I teach them to stitch. So I'm trusting that maybe Mrs Morgan knew this was the way to go. She's one I would have preferred just to check off the list and keep going, but she helped me play host instead.

After we'd made the four little identical squares, I lay them out to match up my seams. I then sewed the top two and the bottom two together, and then I sewed those rectangles to each other. And voila! A tiny 6" block made by four chatting woman and a kind husband who kept refilling tea cups.

You've reach the next stop of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along hosted by Angie of Gnome Angel, Marti Michell, and the Fat Quarter Shop. Thanks for stopping by!

05/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
06/01/2016: Melissa @ Oh How Sweet & Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat
07/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
08/01/2016: Lucy @ Charm About You
12/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
13/01/2016:  Jodi @ Tales of Cloth
14/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
15/01/2016: Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts & Tonya @ The Crafty Mummy
19/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
20/01/2016: Jess @ The Elven Garden
21/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
22/01/2016: Melissa @ Ms Midge
26/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
28/01/2016: Erin @ Why Not Sew & Rachel @ Family Ever After & Renee @ Sewn With Grace

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Each time I've made one of these blocks, I've toyed with the idea of machine piecing. And each time, hand-stitching has made me more available, more inclusive, and a whole lot slower. They're all things I'd love to embrace more this year. How about you?


  1. What a lovely story to go with the stitching ... I hope you got a bit of a sleep in this morning ... well as much as one can with kiddos in the house :)

  2. I see how quickly people are making these blocks and I've thought about machine sewing but I LOVE the whole process of hand sewing. English Paper Piecing and hand piecing are definitely more enjoyable and relaxing for me!

  3. I have found the same thing as you with hand sewing; what a warm and lovely story. I am more accessible to my children, more able to be interrupted and participate in what's going on with them, more approachable to others. Bringing my stitching places is like taking a baby or a pet -- people stop and talk to me. I asked God to let me use my gift of sewing to bless people and hand sewing is by far what I end up using the most. I've gotten to mend, help children learn sewing, make gifts of all sorts, teach people, but more importantly to listen, like you said about your Chilean visitors. There's something about hand stitching that says, "I'm not going anywhere, I don't have anything else to do but sit here with you and talk." I think a needle and thread just seems like something anyone can do. My favorite by far is when one of my children help me hand quilt something with their big, wobbly, wonky stitches.

  4. I love your blog and I love the way you write. I always like to drop by and see what is going in with you. And your block is very lovely too :)

  5. What a wonderful post! Love this little block! I never thought about taking a block and making it into an EPP project...I must try that!

  6. That is a pretty block - love the purple. I don't have much practice with EPP, but maybe I'd like it better than PP.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx