A few years ago, my father gave me a copy of his mother's 1916 daily diary, written the year she turned 21. The diary is 402 pages long. 1916 was an eventful year for my grandmother. She began dating the man who would become her husband (and my grandfather). She learned how to drive, and she voted for the first time. She wrote about all these events as well as the ordinary daily activities of a farmer daughter's life in Kansas. More importantly, she wrote about these events in detail as well as her thoughts about them.
My grandmother valued education and desperately wanted to attend college and become a writer. She never went to college (but you can bet her 4 children and 15 grandchildren did). However, she did write. She wrote for her high school newspaper under the nom-de-plume "Would-be-witty." She wrote long, long letters to friends and family. And she wrote in diaries for much of her life. When she passed away, her diaries were divided among her children and grandchildren. The earliest diary I have is from 1912 when she was in high school. The latest diary is from 1979 when she was 84.
I knew I wanted to do something with this diary, but what? After much thought, I decided to create a quilt to go along with her diary. Each appropriately-named quilt block would be paired with one or more diary entries. Each blog post would include a photo of the quilt block as well as entries from my grandmother's diary. I ended up with 140 blocks in my Farmer's Daughter Quilt. I began the quilt in June of 2011 and completed the last stitch in December of 2012.
People in more than 123 countries have visited my blog and read my grandmother's writing. I think she would be pleased.
This Whirlwind block is the center block. My long-armer (and friend) did meandering on most of the quilt, so the large quilt (114" x 123") would not be too heavy. But she did do custom quilting on some blocks, like this one.