Friday, September 28, 2012

Farming, Quilting, and Family




Wednesday night I finished setting together the blocks for my Farmer's Wife quilt. Honestly, I  just wasn't prepared for the emotions I felt as I was sewing the final seams. My first Farmer's Wife post (here) was June 8, 2011, so this quilt took nearly 16 months to get to this stage.



I loved making this quilt...more than I think I can express with simple words. It's not perfect, but it is complete. And I learned. And I loved this journey. And I am going to use this quilt! I can't wait!



My quilt actually looks a little different than this now. I had to take off the bottom row, separate the blocks, and add them all to the right side of the quilt so it will work for a king-sized bed (I did that Thursday afternoon after taking the photos). All I have left to do is pick out border and binding fabrics and try to find 10 yards of Fig Tree fabric on sale for the backing!

One of the reasons this quilt is so near and dear to my heart is that I actually do come from a long line of farmer's wives. As a girl, I grew up hearing my Mom tell of the wonderful days of her youth spent in Iowa surrounded by grandparents and family and farms.



This is my maternal great-grandmother, Virginia Lee Fitzgarrald Bice (photo taken on her wedding day). She was a farmer's wife; my great-grandfather raised Brown Swiss dairy cows. I remember visiting their home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a young girl. My great-grandmother was the first person to teach me how to do dishes. I still remember how grown-up I felt standing on a stool next to her in her kitchen as she told me how important it was to clean and rinse the dishes well. I have her sewing machine and one of her quilts in my home today and am reminded of her every time I walk into my family room.



And this is her mother, Emma Acelia Wakefield Fitzgarrald (all of my Mayflower ancestors come through her lineage). Emma, my great-great grandmother, was also a farmer's wife. She made many, many quilts. Much of the fabric she used in her quilts was paid for with her "egg-money" and picked out by her husband from the Dry Goods store when he went to town each week. I happen to have several of her quilts in my home now that are on loan from my Grandmother. Emma made many of the same types of quilts that I appreciate and also left dozens of beautiful Dresden plate blocks that have since been made into lovely generational quilts.



And finally, this is my other maternal great-great grandmother (my grandmother's father's mother), Mary Gilchrist Bice. Mary was a farmer's wife and was also a prolific quilter. Not only do we have her quilts in our family today, but we also have some of her journals which occasionally mention her quilts!

Thanks so much for coming along with me on my Farmer's Wife journey! I so appreciate all of the encouragement and comments along the way! I'll be sure to share again after this quilt is quilted and bound.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!


58 comments:

Mona said...

The quilt is beautiful......I love the color and fabrics.

Sunnybec said...

Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous I love the colours you have used. Thanks for sharing your family history, I love researching my family tree (when time permits!). I am the first quilter in my family so it was lovely to read about your long line of family quilters. Hugs

Anne said...

Your quilt is beautiful. How fascinating to read about your quilting ancestors. I can imagine that your future family will be showing off your quilts too. :o)

LindseyAnne said...

I love the reasons why this quilt means so much to you. That sense of connection with family members from the past is wonderful. Despite life being so different now, when it comes down to it people haven't really changed that much. It's the small pleasures that still mean so much.

And the quilt is lovely!

Carol said...

Oh Sherri it is absolutely amazing! What an accomplishment!

Lesley said...

Your quilt is so beautiful. Congrats for the finish, and thanks so much for sharing your stories. What a great history to be a part of!

Angie Burrett said...

Your quilt is so very beautiful, you must be thrilled. And quilting is obviously in your genes! - wonderful to have the quilts from your ancestors. Good luck with finding the backing on sale!!

Gertie Pye said...

This quilt is incredible Sherri. An absolute masterpiece! I hope you will be entering it into a show? It is all the more special with your family history of all those great women, quilters and farmers' wives!

Baskets Of Quilts said...

What a beautiful post! First because your quilt is a beautiful one! I'm very jealous and I wish I could make one exactly like it! Second because you honor your family! I love the maternal poictures and how much they meant to you and this project. Now your farmer's wife quilt will be a part of that lineage and years from now your family will be happy to have your quilt as mu h as you enjoy the quilts from your ancestors!

Stephanie said...

I'm sure there was relief it was done and satisfaction as well. A beautiful tribute to the farming women in your family.

trish said...

Reading each word and seeing your family photos creates such a feeling of kinship. So many years and quilts and hard work being a farmers wife are snippets of your heritage. Thank you so much for sharing. You are so blessed to have such a treasure! Are you able to see those quilts from the past on a regular basis? Your farmers wife quilt is absolutely gorgeous!! It too will not only be cherished today but will also be most dear for generations to come. :0)

Cindy said...

Your quilt is gorgeous and how great that it brought back so many memories!

Lisa said...

I have loved every one of your Farmer's Wife posts. In some ways I am sad they are over but so delighted for you - it is beautiful. You have created an heirloom, and inspired me to start my own Farmer's Wife (well, I have the book and the fabric so that's a start!).

aksherry said...

I love it! Makes me even more excited for mine since we are both using Fig Tree. I had better get to sewing!!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Sherri -- it's beautiful! What a wonderful accomplishment -- especially with all the fun ancestry ties. A great post!

Heather said...

Beautiful quilt and wonderful story. The farmers wives of your family would be proud!

ga447 said...

You did it and I can see why it is an emotional journey. Thank you for sharing your family heritage, they would be so proud of you.

mindingmomma said...

Your quilt is beautiful. How wonderful to have quilts from your family.

Wanda said...

What a wonderful quilting heritage you have. Quiltin' Country Quilt and sewing boutique has four of the Fig Tree lines still in their store, some on sale. Maybe you can find enough for your quilt back.

Kathy Gordon said...

WOW just WOW!

Brynwood Needleworks said...

I LOVE the colors you chose. I put up a post on my progress (so far) today, and have continuously second-guessed my color choices. I might have to make a second one when I'm finished with this one! Thanks for sharing. It's stunning!
xoxo
Donna

Karin said...

What a treasure your quilt will be and just imagine your grandmothers nodding their heads in approval as you stitched those gorgeous blocks!

Audrey said...

I have been on the fence about making this quilt. But after reading your post and seeing the pictures of your family, it has helped me make the decision to get started on this. This is simply beautiful in so many ways.

Maree: said...

Your quilt is Beautiful...loved the history lesson.
Cheers

Darlene said...

I've enjoyed following along as you made your own history. Thank you for sharing your family.

Bev said...

It is a gorgeous quilt, made even more so because of your history. I too have farmers wives in the family and a couple of their quilts too so I know how much this means. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Rebekah Gustafson said...

Just wanted to say how much I love this post! Not only is the quilt beautiful, but I love the story of farmer's wives. I too am the wife of a farmer, my husband and I both grew up on a dairy farms here in Wisconsin. My entire family has farmed for as long as I know. My family even farmed in Germany long before they came to America. I would love to make that quilt just to symbolize what we do as farmers wives. I love my life as a farmer's wife, it is not always easy, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

•stephanie• said...

this post made me teary. what wonderful stories of connection to the past. {it's like "the hearts of the children turn to their fathers" :) or something like that!} your grandmothers' lives were certainly very different from yours, and yet sort of the same, too. and at the end of the day you have a stunning quilt which will, of course, be a keepsake. just beautiful. congratulations!!

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

the quilt looks great Sherri, but how wonderful to have such a chronicle of your ancestors and their quilts!

Eliana Zerbinatti... said...

Oh, this is so beautiful. I do not know what excites me more, the story or your beautiful quilt. I recently purchased the book, enlivened by your posts and now I'm even more happy to accompany you. Thanks for the encouragement and for sharing a bit of your story with us.

Staci said...

Beautiful quilt and such an inspiring post. Thank you very much.

Mary said...

I understand why this quilt is so special to you. I have two family quilts but I think that's all there are.

I love the fabrics you used. It looks wonderful with the white - very cheerful!

Terri in BC said...

Your quilt is beautiful and I love the setting you chose. I still haven't decided how I'm going to finish mine, but since I only have 10 blocks done, I don't have to decide today! Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Your quilt is absolutely stunning! This will be a quilt treasured by your great-great grandchildren.

Mary Ann said...

What a great accomplishment! The quilt is just beautiful.

Jeanenne Nielsen said...

It is a beautiful quilt. I am glad I got to see it. I loved the story about your ancestors, also.

carol l said...

Really like your quilt, so fresh looking. I started piecing my Framers Wife quilt June of 09 and am now just attaching the binding. I also loved working on this quilt, I learned alot from doing this sampler, there was only one block that I never was able to piece. Enjoyed reading about your family, I also come from farming/ranching ancestors.
Carol L in Nebr.

Aliza said...

I am in love with your farmers wife quilt! A job well done!

foffmom said...

I "found" Farmer's Wife on your blog, ordered the book, ordered templates, picked out fabric, and got side tracked by other projects. Now I know why. My muse was waiting to see how you put yours together!! I love how you did this!
Now I need to start mine.

Sinta Renee said...

I love this post Sherri! Thank you for sharing! Now I really want to make a FW quilt!

Patty said...

You quilt is beautiful. I love that you are planning on using it and the connections you made to it. Well done.

maggie said...

Your quilt is just lovely and the family history of all of your very own "Farmer;s Wives Stories" really make it so special. It will be a beautiful legacy for your family members. Be sure to document those stories for future generations.
It has inspired me to work on my blocks. I have only started recently and have a mere 4 block completed.
cheers
maggie

Mama Pea said...

Your quilt turned out so beautiful. I can see why you feel emotional about it.

16 months. That's nothing. It takes me much longer to make a quilt. That's because they sit in a box a lot, though, while I get distracted somewhere else. LOL.

I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! Lived there most of my life! Wow! Small world.

Jan Marie said...

love the quilt but more important how could you be anything but an expert quilter with all of those quilters helpin you along.

Bari Jo said...

These pictures are priceless! I love that you have such family history recorded in these photographs and also in the quilts that have been handed down. Wow. I cannot imagine - what a gift! I totally get it how this journey with this quilt was so special for you - thank you for sharing it! That quilt sure is something else! I JUST LOVE IT! :O)

Janette said...

Your quilt is beautiful... and the family history so very interesting.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

Siobhán said...

Sherri, that is so neat!! The quilt is stunning--and I can't wait for the finished pictures--but the special significance that it has to you and how connected it makes you feel to your family--wow! That is so neat. I think it's fun that you have your blog that you've written about your quilts on, and in future generations they'll treasure what you've written about the quilts you make.

Teresa said...

Your Farmer's Wife turned out simply beautiful! Your color scheme is so fresh and takes it somewhere new...I was thinking that I wanted to start it in repro fabric, but now I wonder...yours looks so bright and happy. I hope you get to keep this when it is done!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Pat said...

Your quilt is beautiful. You also have a journal of your steps along the way in this quilt. Hopefully computers will not change so much that your children will not be able to read about it. You have wonderful pictures of your family. It is nice to have wonderful memories of your grandmother.

Jennifer said...

Absolutely stunning! :)

Gladys said...

Sherri, it is so beautiful! And have more love in those! Congrats! Enjoy! A hug!

Heartsdesire said...

Wow, Sherri. How wonderful to have all those multigenerational quilts in your home. And now your own beautiful Farmer's Wife quilt to add to the collection. Love all the fabrics you used, congrats on finishing it.

Ramona said...

Wow - my folks are both from farms in Iowa too. Madison County (as in the Bridges of...) That is where Fons and Porter have their shop - in Winterset - where John Wayne was born. How lucky you are to have that quilt history in your family - what treasures! My mom also has one my grandfather's old autograph books and it is full of great little verses that people signed to him back in 1930!

Polly said...

Sherri, your quilt is absolutely stunning and such an inspiration to me, as making a Farmer's wife quilt is on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing the stories of your relatives who were quilters, too! As a self-taught quilter, I am certainly jealous of your deep quilty roots!!

Jocelyn said...

This is gorgeous! How sweet that you have quilts that have been passed down through the generations. Now yours will get to be added to them. I love all things Fig Tree & can't wait to see your quilt once it has been quilted.

Thelma said...

Sherri, Congratulations, I've enjoyed watching your progress, it's been a wonderful journey. And what a perfect post to commemorate your finish. Well Done all around!

Josie McRazie said...

Beautiful! And how is the Christmas one coming along? Cant wait to see how you quilt and finish them! Thank you for inviting us along on this journey!

Elisabeth said...

My great grandmother was a farmer's wife from Iowa too! She made my mom a beautiful double wedding ring quilt when she got married. She lived on a farm near Iowa City where all my family on that side still lives. My great grandma died, when I was 6, and she left a pantry FULL of canned goods and a quilt for every grandchild that hadn't already married. Being a great grand child I don't have one, but I wish I did!