Sunday, August 28, 2011

Churn Dash Quilt Block

     I found the pattern for this 6" Churn Dash block in The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. 
     In this diary entry, the annual hog butchering job is underway.  Dutch is a neighboring farmer who helps them and other families with the butchering.  Orvel is a hired man who lives on the farm.  Howard is my grandmother's younger brother who is going to pre-college in Manhattan, Kansas, 95 miles away.  (The nearest town, Olivet, only has a two-year high school.)
     My grandmother writes about President and Mrs. Wilson visiting Topeka.  World War I has been going on in Europe since August 1914.  Wilson tours throughout the Midwest in February of 1916, speaking on his preparedness campaign.  (He asks Congress for a declaration of war in April 1917.)  Topeka is one of his stops.  While he is there, a delegation of Kansas women, led by Lila Day Monroe, waits outside the governor's home in snow and 0 degree weather for an hour to meet the president.  Lila gives a short speech, urging the president to support the women's suffrage amendment.  The 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote, doesn't pass until August 26, 1920. 

Wednesday, February 2, 1916 -
"The ground hog saw his shadow almost before daylight and continued so until sunset.  But it has not been warm enough to melt any snow away today.

"This was butchering day - Dutch was here, and he and Orvel did most of it.  I am tired as I was 'hafting to churn' this A.M. and sewed and did all sorts of things this P.M.  I got a letter from Howard begging me to come up.  He says a boy there at the house is anxious that I shall come up before he goes home in March.  I think I'll go up this month.

"Well, this has been a big day for Topeka - with entertaining President and Mrs. Wilson."


     In this blog, I usually write of Harriet as a young woman, but here's a related Churn Dash story about her as a grandma.  She always churned her own butter and even made her own cottage cheese.  Every Thanksgiving, she would form her butter in the shape of a turkey and place it in the center of the table.  And every year, immediately after the "amen" of the prayer, my cousin Jay would reach across the table and chop off the head of the turkey butter with his knife.  And every year my grandma would say, "Now, Jay."
     I have made cornbread in the shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving, but my sister Laura has actually made turkey butter (shown above) like our grandma did.

You might enjoy reading my previous post:


  1. I love that fabric in the background. I just bought a bunch of fat quarters from that line--I think it's called Milk Shake or Rock Candy. It is beautiful! The block looks great.

  2. I love your turkey butter story!! Your block looks great, too--Ellie has a dress from the floral background fabric! :)

  3. Enjoyed your story as usual. They certainly did not have the conveniences that we have. The turkey butter is creative. I love the big polka dots in your block.

  4. A friend and I actually made lamb butter this Easter from directions we found on the internet.

  5. Muchas gracias por tu visita en mi blog!!!
    Me hace mucho bien que alguien aprecie lo que hago, y por supuesto, me gustó mucho tu blog también...muy interesantes tus historias!!!

  6. my.sewingroom@hotmail.comNovember 2, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I love all the fabrics being used in the different blocks! Thank you for sharing your ancestor's diary. It's very interesting to hear about life in the early 1900's.


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