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1930's Farmer's Wife: Grandmother

The Grandmother block can be found on page 144 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 199 for template instructions.)

The Grandmother block can be found on page 144 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 199 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Granddaughter in Idaho can be found on page 6.

June 1937

Scandal rocked the British Empire when the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson, an American two-time divorcee. Because the British Monarch is head of the Church of England, it is prohibited for the monarch to marry a divorcee. As a result, King Edward VIII chose to abdicate his throne in favor of his wife, making his younger brother, George VI the new king. Interestingly, the Duke of Windsor is a peerage title that was created for Edward after his abdication.

The marriage and scandal between Edward and Wallis Simpson hounded the royal family that had only just begun recovering from the death of George V, was facing a very real threat of war on the continent, and stood against whispers of personal connections between Nazi higher-ups and Edward himself. But George VI stepped into his brothers role admirably, albeit unwillingly, and lead his empire through the Second World War. The King’s Speech is a wonderful movie from George’s perspective on this particular time in British history, it’s one of my favorite movies and I highly recommend it.

The corpse flower blooming in 1937 at New York Botanical Garden. Courtesy of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and the New York Botanical Garden

The corpse flower blooming in 1937 at New York Botanical Garden. Courtesy of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and the New York Botanical Garden

In the United States, things were a little less scandalous. The world's largest flower bloomed at the NY Botanical Gardens. A 12’ corpse flower bloomed and interested Americans lined up to see and smell this botanical oddity.

While I personally have a fondness for plants and botany, (Handsomepants has barred me from anymore additions to my plant collection) I would not appreciate a 12’, bright yellow column of plant tissue that smells like rotten meat gracing my living room window sills. I do think this plant is interesting, but I doubt I’ll be visiting the next time it blooms. Corpse flowers are capable of blooming every 3 to 10 years.

On a more pleasant note, Granddaughter’s letter to the editor is a touching one. When she describes how the whole family comes together to take care of “the grandmother problem” of a single, elderly woman living alone and feeling isolated from her family, is endearing. It’s really a new, American idea that families are nuclear and not inter-generational. With the proliferation of the old-people’s-homes, I wonder about how much relationship is lost between grandparents and their grandchildren, and what kinds of impact that has on society at large.


The Block

The Grandmother block is so cute! I've secretly always admired basket blocks, I think it's the tradition behind them that I'm drawn too.  A classic design that's survived the centuries and through the generations, basket blocks were popular in the early 1800's and saw a revival in popularity in the 1920-30's.

  I'm debating about adding a handle to this block or keeping it original to the book, I haven't decided yet. Adding a handle through applique wouldn't be too difficult, if my machine is up to the task, the dog feeders have been finicky lately.

Since I’ve been focusing on moving house lately I have lost my notebook with all of the pre-cut measurements. I’m sorry you’ll have to suffer though estimating or self-measuring the squares and rectangles your self! The only tricky part is a single y-seam needed to complete the bottom right corner.


Happy Quilting!

  • Rita