Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spool Quilt Block

     I changed the pattern a bit because I wanted some thread on my spool!  I had seen others use a stripe to imitate thread so wanted to do that.
     I have included another diary entry of my grandmother's.  Ted is her younger brother, who's 14 years old.  Nora is a hired girl who helps with the cooking and housework.

Thursday, January 13, 1916 -
"Ted tells me it's twenty-three and one-third minutes until eleven, so it is high time I was in slumber.  We didn't get up until rather late this morning, but it seems like it has been a dreadfully long day.  If it would only warm up a little so I could at least stick my nose out the door, maybe I wouldn't think the days were so long.  It was 15 degrees below this A.M., and the temperature has hung around zero all day.  It is hard to keep the house comfortably warm, but I had a very welcome job this A.M. - ironing the table linens.

"This afternoon I sewed - finished my blue gown.  As Mother wasn't feeling well, I got supper (with Nora's assistance).  Papa and Mother and I have been sitting around the grate fire talking; we discussed everything from fashion plates to quitting the farm."

I also wanted to include the story of when my grandmother received her gold thimble.  Her father would travel on the train with his cattle or hogs when he shipped them to Kansas City or Chicago.  He often shopped for his family in these big cities.  Can you imagine your father being the one to choose your clothes and fabric?

from A Kansas Yankee by Harriet Woodbury George -

"We children and Mother, too, were always delighted when Dad would select clothes for us, when he shipped stock to Kansas City or Chicago.  He more often bought lovely yard goods for our dresses and jackets, and sometimes ready-made coats of good style and quality.  And, always, some good food from wholesale houses in large quantities for our large family and the hired men we had at our table - one hundred pounds each of sugar, flour and beans, wooden boxes of dried fruits, etc.  When he was shipping to Chicago, we usually asked him to buy something 'special' for us girls - in the jewelry line, perhaps!  I remember silver thimbles he brought for the older girls when each were twelve years old.  One time when I was a little past twelve and had no silver thimble as yet, I reminded him.  The others gave their choices of a ring, a bracelet, a necklace, a watch.  When he gave me my thimble, it was a gold one.  Was I ever so proud!"

You might enjoy my previous post:


  1. I love these diary entries! Thank you so much for sharing them with us -- please keep it up!

    (Nice block, too!)

  2. That's sweet. "Was I ever so proud." Love that father-daughter relationship. :)

  3. Where did your grandmother grow up? It seems awfully cold at 15 below, and staying at 0 all day, at least where I come from. :)

  4. Your block is pretty - I love the 'thread'! And it is wonderful to get a glimpse of life from almost 100 years ago. It is amazing how much has changed. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Love the thread on your 'spool'. What a neat thing to have the diary entries. Very neat.

  6. Great fabric choice! It does look like thread!!

  7. What a nice present. A gold thimble. She sounded so excited.

  8. There has been an interesting discussion going on about this spool block on the Yahoo Farmer's Wife Group. One person wondered (politely) why I had the "thread" going up and down on the spool. I could not understand what she was talking about and put it out to the group. It seemed to me that my thread was going around the spool. Is this how other people saw it? Finally, someone solved the problem. She said, "It would seem there are 2 spools, one vertical with the brown wooden spool and stripe for thread, the other is horizontal with pale spool and the stripe running from end to end. Its like the drawing of the Old hag and young woman. Some people find it impossible to see both images." The minute I read that, I looked at my picture again and could see the horizontal pale spool. I had only noticed the vertical brown spool with the striped thread!

  9. It took me a while to see it. It should be obvious, since it's symmetrical, but with your orientation my brain really only wants to see the one.

    I can't comment on every one, but this one is extra special.

  10. Maybe it's the idea of seeing a wooden spool vs. a plastic spool. Spools today are not brown!

  11. I so did not see the other spool until I read more of the comments it is funny what the brain will only see until someone else explains what they see

  12. Loved the story of the golden thimble! Also, what a good idea to use a stripe like that for the thread in your spool block!

  13. The brown spool is so very prominent in this block. I see it clearly and also see the other..but..have to turn sideways to see the other. LOL! Oh my what some people worried you about. Love the brown spool with the blue variegated thread...Great job!!

    Love the story too!

  14. This is the spool block I have been looking for! Do you have the instructions for how you made it. I would love to have them if you do.

    Just found your blog also and I am loving it!

    My best,


  15. I am interested in the thimble tradition because in my family, one received a silver thimble on her 21st birthday. Mine was so beautiful with a band of cloisonne and the date and my initials engraved inside. It was stolen from my sewing box at a basketball game about 25 years ago but I will never forget it and the tradition carried on for my own four daughters.


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