Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Farmers Wife Class

Yesterday was one of those wonderful whirls of a day in The Workroom. There's just so much amazing making going on around our classes. Every day brings a new excitement as someone shyly reveals their work in progress. The Farmers Wife class is one of my favourites and it's turning out some of the most amazing work. Yesterday a lady from my class bought her work in progress into the Workroom and we literally gasped it was so beautiful. She said that she'd never sewn a stitch 2 years ago, but Simple Sampler followed by Farmers Wife had opened up a whole new world for her. Someone else came in and asked about classes - where do you start she asked? How do you choose?

We're really proud of the array of classes that we offer. But scrolling through the classes for the autumn I can see why you might get overwhelmed!

I'm going to write a few blog posts over the next few weeks  talking about why you might choose different classes. I thought I'd start with Farmers Wife.....

Why would you choose this class?

This class is for people who love hand sewing. It's made completely by hand in little bite sized 6 inch block chunks.

This class is for people who like to chat while they sew! It is a class that runs for 9 months, meeting once a month to sew for 2 hours. However these classes become little friendship groups in themselves. Come to any Bee and there will be a chatty Farmers Wife table getting on with their blocks whilst have a good old natter. The beauty of hand sewing is that it is completely sociable, and portable. I can't promise that Farmers Wife won't take over your life because it's the sort of project that you wake up in the morning thinking about....but it will certainly fit into your life. You can take your blocks anywhere - there's lots of sewing on commuter trains, in the car while waiting for kids, in front of the TV in the winter. This year we are running an evening class (Tuesday evenings) as well as a morning one (Tuesday mornings) for those of you who work or have daytime commitments. This is the perfect project to do if you work full time as its only once a month, can be taken anywhere, it's commutable and lunch-breakable sewing!

Why is it called The Farmers Wife Quilt?

This famous traditional quilt is based on a book of the same name. The book is a compilation of letters written in to a women's magazine in the 1920's called The Farmers Wife. It ran a competition where it asked it's readers if they would recommend that their daughters marry a farmer. Each week a letter would be published alongside a quilt block. These have been compiled into this book. The quilt that this makes is a joy, no block is repeated, but the letters themselves are wonderful to read. If you're interested in social history this book is fascinating - but more than the differences of 90 years between us it shows how similar, timeless women's hopes and aspirations are for their daughters. If you are a daughter or have a daughter, you'll love it x

What sewing is involved?

This quilt is made up of small 6 inch blocks. No block is repeated ( although lots of people make multiple versions of different blocks as it's too irresistible to not repeat favourites!). In the class we make 64 or 72 blocks. The blocks are divided up into Fun, Fiddly or Fiendish and you can pick and mix depending on your mood or as your confidence grows.

You don't need lots of patchwork, or sewing experience. Although this quilt can look daunting, it comes together in small chunks so you can definitely 'learn on the job' as you progress through the quilt. If you've already completed Simple Sampler you'll love this class- it's the perfect follow on project. We're really proud that the last class is turning out 12 of these wonderful quilts, many made by women who were worried that they'd be unable to make it - but now so proud of their work!

It's all made by hand. This means hardly any equipment, it's not much more than just a needle and thread and a bit of beeswax. No need to haul the machine out on the kitchen table so no one can eat meals!It's simple, old fashioned sewing at it's best - but it makes a classic modern quilt.

My last class enjoyed the class so much we've had to invent a new one - The Farmers Second Wife (!) to run alongside our new entry of FWMers so that they can keep coming if their quilts not quite finished yet. It's definitely a quilt that gets under the skin......I love it x

 If you would like to enquire about joining this class drop me an e mail or use the Get In Touch box in the side bar. The class starts in Sept.