Saturday, August 17, 2013

Block 51 - Indiana Farmer

I may have some kind of masochistic streak to pick the Indiana Farmer block to represent Faye. This was an exceptionally difficult block to piece in an 8 inch size.

I made it with machine piecing with some hand applique of the ends of the little yellow tab shapes.  I think when I quilt it, I can straighten it out a bit.  The green and yellow print fabrics in the star shape (perhaps it is a cogged wheel?) reminded me of Faye's Elburn living room. 

Difficult as this block was to put together, it seemed like the right block to represent Faye who was born and raised in Indiana.  She and Fielding left for Illinois only when their farm failed in 1928, when my mother was a baby.  They remained farmers all their working lives, raising dairy cows, pigs and chickens as well as feed crops. Before Fielding's heart attack, they had a farm near Waterman, Illinois which sat on a bed of gravel. The proceeds from the gravel operating lease allowed them to retire and move back to Elburn where my mother had grown up.  Fielding continued to work into his 80's, gardening for hire, selling Watkins products, and as a watchman at the Kaneville High School.  Faye was the quintessential farmer's wife, as evidenced by the letters she wrote to my mother when she was a freshman in college.  Happily, my mother saved these letters and I have transcribed them for future generations to read of Faye's  work on the farm and love for her children in her own words.

One more reason to choose the Indiana Farmer block was this photograph from Aunt Alice's collection of Faye on a Farmall tractor.  I believe most of the time, Faye worked in the house and in the chicken yard. Someone probably thought it was worth taking a photo of her in her house dress at the wheel.  This tractor would be bright red.


Sherrye said...

Wow, I'm impressed at the precision with which you had to work in order to get this block to be symmetrical, but, as usual, you did it to perfection. This may now be my favorite block, simply because, 1) I love star designs, and 2) the curves (instead of points) shows how talented you are at your art!!

pinkdeenster said...

So beautiful. I love how your blocks and stories tie together. What a wonderful and artistic way to capture memories and family stories.