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1930's Farmer's Wife: Joy


The Joy block can be found on page 94 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 206 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Cutting Coupons in North Dakota can be found on page 12.

January 1935

January 1935 opened the New Year with a somber mood.  Bruno Hauptmann's trial for the murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. began on January 2, 1935. For several years the country had followed the reports of how Charles Lindbergh's 20 month old son had been kidnapped from his second story nursery in March 1932, how his parents received a series of ransom demands and paid those demands in April 1932.  Unfortunately, shortly after the Lindbergh's paid their son's ransom, his remains were found in a wooded area, badly decomposed and partially consumed by scavengers.   

For the next several years, the investigation focused largely on those close to the Lindbergh house hold, including an intermediary between the Lindbergh family and the kidnappers, and a servant who later committed suicide.  Finally the only clues left to authorities were the random discoveries of gold bonds (the manner in which the ransom was paid) that had been spent all over the Midwest.  The individuals who spent those bonds were not discovered.  Even when in March 1933 by presidential order, gold bonds where to be discontinued and exchanged for new bills, no identification was made for nearly $3,000 in ransomed gold bonds that had been exchanged.  

It was not until September 1934 when a gold bond was submitted to a bank teller with a licence plate written in the margins.  The plate numbers were registered to Bruno Hauptmann, a German immigrant with a criminal history in both Germany and the US.  Police and the FBI arrested Hauptmann and discovered around $14,000 of ransom bonds in his house.  He was charged with capitol murder and after a quick trial was sentenced to death in February 1935.  Both of his appeals were rejected despite the only evidence against him where a quarter of the total ransom amount found in his possession and handwriting comparisons.  On April 3, 1936, at 8:47 p.m., Bruno Hauptmann was executed via electrocution.  He maintained his innocence through the entire ordeal, even when offered the opportunity for a commuted sentence in exchange for a confession

I find this tragic familial event, so publicly displayed is such an antithesis to the message that Cutting Coupons writes about in The Farmer's Wife, but perhaps Cutting Coupons' message was exactly what the country needed to hear.  Even when there are sad and difficult circumstances in our life, there is still joy to be found the comforts of everyday little things.  There is joy in household harmony and the comfort of a cup of coffee with a friend.  

That's not to say the Coupons' inconvenience of missing canning rings can compare to the Lindbergh's loss of a child.  But it is important to remember that joy nor comfort can be found when we take for granted those dearest to us, the simple things we enjoy in life, and when we take life too seriously.

The Block

Joy 1.png

I really enjoyed this block.  So much so that I jumped right into piecing it without taking a picture of the fabric pieces I pre-cut.  Sorry about that!

I used a template for the B1 and C1 pieces, the green diamond shapes.  Also, remember to cut the B2 and C2 pre-cuts diagonally into half square triangles.



A1 (9) 2x2"        B1 template        C1 template

A2 (4) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"        B2 (4) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"        C2 (4)1 3/4 x 1 3/4"

No matter where you are in life, remember that there are always things to be thankful for and relationships to find joy in.  I for one and very thankful, and incredibly joyful over the future state of our house!  I know I've mentioned before, but back in November the first floor and basement of our house flooded and we have been living in a construction zone ever since.  Well insurance FINALLY got its butt in gear and we can now move forward with reconstruction! WooHoo! Our new wood flooring should be arriving next week, Handsomepants and I are still debating new paint, and drywall work begins soon!

I can't wait to have my house back!


Happy Quilting!

- Rita

1930's Farmer's Wife: Tirzah

The Tirzah block can be found on page 86 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 255 for template instructions.)

The Tirzah block can be found on page 86 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 255 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Reast & Joy in Iowa can be found on page 10.

January 1934

January 1934 was rather uneventful for Americans.  The Flash Gordon comic debuted and would become one of the most popular comics of the 1930's.  FDR gave his State of the Union address, focusing on America's preference for isolation regarding European affairs, the anticipated end of moon-shining and gangsters with the end of Prohibition, and future plans for the New Deal.  He emphasized the importance of "self-help and self-control," in matters of rebuilding personal and commercial finances.  

I find it a little ironic that Rest & Joy's prided herself on the disorganized state of her home at the same time that the president noted that "Disorder is not an American habit." (source)  But both have a point, a certain level of both organization and the flexibility to relinquish control of you life are necessary for success. 

I know I'm not the only one who squeezed back some tears while reading this letter to the editor.  Rest & Joy's admission of failing health and a fear of leaving her family can maybe help us all reevaluate our lives, just as she did hers.  While it is important to meet the material need of our families, life is short and unexpected and we should find joy in those we love and who love us, rather than being distracted with keeping up with the Jones'.

The Block


I really like this block and I had lots of fun piecing it, there are so many possibilities with it too!  I'm kicking around the idea of making a quilt based on this block that would weave and intertwine the pattern.  We'll see if it actually happens though, I seem to have plenty on my plate right now as it is.

This shows a yellow and a blue A3 piece.

This shows a yellow and a blue A3 piece.

I will admit that I could have been a little more careful with piecing the outer corners.  Not all of them are perfect, but the seam allowances shouldn't be compromised when I sew them onto sashing when piecing the quilt top.



A1 (1) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2     B1 (4) 3 1/2 x 1 1/4

A2 (4) 2 1/2 x 1 1/2    B2 (8) 1 1/2 x 1 1/4

A3 (8) 2 1/2 x 1         B3 (16) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4

After looking over all of the pictures I've taken of the blocks I've made so far, I think I also need to pay better attention to my pressing. I feel like major seems are too puffy.  Perfection is a habit, and apparently I'm still working on it!


Happy Quilting!

- Rita


1930's Farmer's Wife: Dinah

The Dinah block can be found on page 120 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 186 for template instructions.)

The Dinah block can be found on page 120 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 186 for template instructions.)

January 1934

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Homebody of South Dakota can be found on page 10.

January introduced 1934 in a rather benign manner.  Internationally, a non-aggression treaty between Germany and Poland eased fears of war.  Relations between Germany and the United States, though not friendly, where at least warm.  Flattering comparisons between FDR and Hitler where not unheard of.  

“Two statesmen, who between them run a large part of the world, both are self made. Roosevelt made himself by conquering an infirmity of the body, Hitler by conquering the infirmity of the German people.” (source)  Interestingly enough, Germany would break the non-aggression treaty within five years, and FDR would declare war on Germany withing eight years.  He would not survive to see the end of WW2. But for now, in 1934, the world was largely at peace.

Loch NEss.jpg

The US and Europe was in a rush over the first "verified" sighting of the Loch Ness Monster when this iconic picture was published in London's Daily Mail.  Unfortunately the Daily Mail later confirmed the image to be a hoax;  Nessy was nothing more than a cut out head mounted on a toy submarine.  Despite the forgery belief in Nessy persisted, she was first reported in the fifth century after all and sighting continue to this day.  Scotland's Sectratary of State even issued Nessy with an order of protection from hunting and poaching.

In America, the legends of the gangster folk hero, both loved and feared by the public, would soon come to an end.  Alcatraz was declared a federal prison, John Dillinger survived a shoot out in a Chicago bank thanks to a bullet proof vest, and Bonnie and Clyde only had another five months left to live.  

On a whole things were starting to look up in America.  The unemployment rate fell to only 22% and the average American annual salary had risen to just over $1,300.  That's less than my mortgage payment, I can only imagine what consumer prices were like!

The Block


For some reason this block took me forever and a day to complete and I still haven't quite figured out why.  The kids where watching a movie and Handsomepants was hiding in his mancave (aka the basement), so it's not like I was constantly interrupted.  I just couldn't concentrate on quilting which is weird.  I usually go on quilting binges for a few days at a time, but I just had a hard time with Dinah for some reason.


A1 (4) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4       B1 (4) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2       C1 (2) 2 3/4 x 2 3/4

A2 (2) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4     B2 (8) template         C2 (2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2

A3 (4) 2 1/4 x 2 1/4    B3 (16) template


Happy Quilting!

- Rita


1930's Farmer's Wife: Mother

The Mother block can be found on page 156 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 224 for template instructions.)

The Mother block can be found on page 156 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 224 for template instructions.)

January 1933

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Wiser of North Dakota can be found on page 9.

While international events were setting the ground work for World War II, America was feeling the affects of the Great Depression but the foundations of great American icons were being laid.  Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco and the "Lone Ranger" debuted on the radio station WXYZ Detroit.  Political changes were also taking place with Congress granting independence to American territories in the Philippines. 

The 20th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, which changed the start and end dates of a presidential term from March 4 to January 20.  While this doesn't sound too exciting, it decreased the amount of time an exiting president spent as a lame duck.  The first president to take office on January 20 was Franklin D. Roosevelt after his second election in 1936.

The letter "Her Secret To Happiness"  only demonstrates the state of some Americans.  A family of seven living in a dig out house, relying on the land and a single part time labor job.  Money was tight.  But one has to admire the determination and pride in self reliance and responsibility demonstrated in the mother.  I think we can all learn a little something about the happiness that comes with disconnecting a bit from society and being content with what we have rather than focused on what we want.

The recipe I tried was the Southern Rice on page 16.

The Block


When designing the Mother block, I moved away from the example Laurie Hird shows in the book.  Laurie uses the same fabric for the strips I labeled D1, D2, and C2.  This gives the block more of a Nine Patch feel.


I wanted to demonstrate the addition triangles she gives in the templates to change the look of the block.  This made for me being a little more particular with my piecing, but I think it was worth it.  I'll admit though that I messed up somewhere along the way.  Some of the corners of the center star are not even!  I'm not exactly sure how this happened, whether I miscopied the template or whether the template is like that already I'm not sure.  If you look at the pic at the top of the post, you'll see the A4 pieces don't add up.

Pre-Cut Sizes

A1 (1) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4"     B1 (2) 1 1/2 x 3 1/2"    C1 (2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"     D1 (4) 1 1/4 x 2 1/2"

A2 (1) 2 x2" cut 1/2   B2 (2) 1 1/2 x 3"        C2 (4) template        D2 (4) 1 1/4 x 2 1/2"

A3 (1) 2x2" cut 1/2                                                                  E1 (4) 2 1/4 x 2 1/4"

A4 (2) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4"

To make the C2 template I simple copied the shape on the paper piecing template, added 1/4" seam allowance, and individually cut out the pieces of fabric.  You can make your own at home.  


The one thing that might be off putting about the Mother block is the Y seams.  If you're familiar with Y seams in paper piecing, you can skip this part.  If you're not familiar read on, because they are not a scary as they seam.


All you need for accurate Y seams are two pins.  Line up the shortest seams of the two templates and pin in the "corners" (the top of C2/D2.) The other parts of the templates probably won't line up, but that's ok.  Using an anchor stitch on both ends of the seam, stitch along ONLY that short seam between the pins.

Remove the pins and manipulate the templates to line up the long seams and pin in the corners (the top of D1/E1.)  Pin the "corners."  This might require bending or folding other parts of the template, don't worry about that, the seams and fabrics will press flat and smooth as long as the fabrics along the seams are evenly placed.

To make sure the seam is smooth, start sewing from the "inside" of the template, at the corner of C2 and D1 and sew outwards towards the pin.  Remember to use an anchor stitch!   Starting from the inside out rather than starting at the edge of the template will prevent any puckering that might occur if the fabric and template are not evenly aligned.  Press the seams together to prevent them from pulling apart.  


Happy Quilting!

- Rita

1930's Farmer's Wife: Aunt

The Aunt block can be found on page 97 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 167 for piecing instructions.)

The Aunt block can be found on page 97 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 167 for piecing instructions.)

January 1933

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Aunt Maria of Indiana can be found on page 9.

In January 1933, the foundations for major events in the 20th century were being set.  Joseph Stalin began implementing his famous Five Year Plan which ultimately lead to the starvation of millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Turks, and Eastern Europeans.  Japan was invading China, and Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.

In America the Great Depression was in full swing. Bonnie and Clyde were becoming a household name. President Hoover signed into law the "Buy American Act," which required government purchases to favor American made products to foreign made.  Workers strikes resulted in Ford Motor Company to close it's American factories indefinitely, putting around 150,000 workers out of a job.

But the letters received by the editors of Farmer's Wife Magazine only seem to reflect a sense of steadfast calmness if not positivity.  Aunt Maria reminds us that life happens one day at a time, enjoy what you have today because it might not be here tomorrow.  But when things do get tough, there is no profit in wasting you energy by worrying about tomorrow.  Do what needs to be done today and take things one day at a time.  I can only imagine that's how most American's handled the Great Depression, one day at a time.

The recipe I tried was the Gold Cake on page 17.

The Block

When prepping for this quiltathon I had decided that I was going to paper piece all of the blocks.  Not only did I find all of the individual templates a little overwhelming, but the paper piecing templates conserve more paper.  Ultimately this hasn't made a difference for me when I found out that my printer doesn't work so I resorted to tracing the templates off of my computer screen!


After tracing the paper piecing templates I relabeled them into units that made more sense to me, and I colored in the units to plan out which fabrics go where.  Then I used my little quilting ruler to measure approximate sizes to pre-cut fabrics.  The sizes I pre-cut are listed below if you're interested.

Also, I changed the color of the center square from yellow to white, hope that doesn't confuse anyone.



Yellow/White Square: (1)

Light Pink Triangles: (2)

Blue Rectangles (4)

Pink Squares (4)

Piecing was nice and easy and I thought a nice easy start to the new year was needed.  I don't know about you, but I've found these last couple of months were hectic!  Hopefully 2018 will be kind to all of us.  But even if this turns out to be a hard year on any of us, just remember to take things one day at a time.


Happy Quilting!

- Rita