Thursday, 10 June 2010

1920's farmers' wives...


I have just bought this fantastic book. As you might already guess I am passionate about quilts and quilting at the moment and as I am also a farmer's wife this book was perfect.All the blocks were similar to quilting the farmers' wives completed at this time.
As well as 111 quilting blocks , named and templates numbered it also contains a CD with all the piecing templates. Receiving it yesterday I eagerly started my first block , namely 'Peace and Plenty'. If this turns out well I will include it in
this tablecloth.
Quilting, however is only part of the book's appeal. As a farmer's wife myself the title intrigued me. On the cover was written' letters from 1920's farm wives...'
On close examination it contained letters written to an American magazine ' The Farmer's Wife'. This was published in the 1920's (perhaps in other decades too) and in one edition it asked it's readers the following question, 'If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in the light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?'
There were over 7,000 replies to this question and obviously not all are included in the book but there are abridged samples of their responses.
One reply listed the pros and cons of farming life ---
Working in the healthy outdoors.
Eating your own produce
No travelling to work.

The cons included
Mud.
Little money
Early rising.

Although many people(including myself) thought that farmers in those days would be far behind the times, one lady chronicled the number of farmers in Wisconsin who owned cars(80%) , many had oil, gas or electric stoves, power washers, running water and even pianos. The latter must surely have been an essential form of entertainment, in fact probably the only form.

I have barely started to read the letters but I am struck by their commitment and resolution and pure hard work these ladies took on. Here I am happily living on a hill farm with sheep and all the mod cons of modern living. Would I have been so contented living on their farms in 1920's I wonder?

By the way all the letters I have read so far encouraged their daughters to find farmer husbands. Now with 3 daughters myself, two unmarried --- will they walk down the aisle with a local farmer --- I don't think so , at least they will one way if you count their father as one!

1 comment:

Pat said...

This looks a beautiful and fascinating book - I will look forward to seeing the quilt when you make it!