Tuesday, May 27, 2014

School Girl's Puzzle Quilt Block and the Evolution of Sarah Prine

School Girl's Puzzle Quilt Block Pattern

Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.

Our book to read and discuss during May 2014 is THESE IS MY WORDS: THE DIARY OF SARAH AGNES PRINE by Nancy E. Turner.  It's historical fiction, but the author based the book on the life of her great-grandmother.

Hopefully, you have had time to complete the book by now.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on one or both of the following questions.

Trace Sarah's evolution from a young, unschooled girl with rough, homespun grammar to a polished and literate writer.  Where in her diary writings do you begin to notice the change?

Sarah is relentless in her quest to educate herself.  Why do you think this is so?  How does it change her relationships with her family and friends?

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Mexican Star Quilt Block and Settling in Arizona Territory.


  1. Without a doubt, it was that cart of books! First of all, the dictionary. The most used book in my own home is a 1941 edition of "Webster's Elementary Dictionary" purchased upon my entry to elementary school.Upon returning home on holiday from my first year in college, my father pulled out my letters home at the dinner table and asked how to spell this or that or how to use such and such word ... to which my younger siblings gave the correct answer. From then on, I looked up every word in that dictionary ... even ones I was pretty sure of ... each time I wrote home. Letters took a long time ...sometimes several days .. so I wrote less, I completely understood Sarah. Because the desire was there, she didn't give up. Maybe my desire was different in that I wanted to prove I was not as stupid as my family said, but taking ownership of one's own learning can overcome many obstacles. The changes may have been respect... both self-respect and the respect of those she shared her knowledge with.

  2. Julie, I am so impressed with your determination and success! Good for you!

  3. Me too, Julie. A lesser person than your wonderful self could have been destroyed by those dinner table ordeals and decided they were a stupid person and there was nothing to be done about it. Hoorah for you.

    Sarah Prine's self education struck me as phenomenal, especially her mastery of Latin. She was determined and rewarded by her successes by the encouragement of others. It reminded me not to judge a book by its cover (no pun intended), Sarah might not have been expected to have much intelligence, she was "only" the tomboy daughter of a horse rancher, but she was a very bright and self-driven girl. With all that faced and challenged her she still made time to educate herself. Stories like this should be compulsory reading for those disenchanted with their education and having to attend school, they don't know how fortunate they are.

  4. I think Sarah's thirst for knowledge got its start in her early family life. Her parents were described as being open to new experiences and fresh starts. Perhaps that translated into Sarah's interest in seeking to improve herself and move ahead in life. It seems that her father especially was supportive and encouraging about her abilities, and that her brothers considered her as an equal.

  5. P.S. Anyone know anything about the "pilgrim's progress" quilt mentioned early in the book? It's not a block/pattern I'm familiar with.

    1. When I googled it, I found out that the Delectable Mountains quilt block has long been associated with Pilgrim's Progress.

  6. Sarah believes that a real education comes from a schoolroom. She never really believes that she is educated, even after the teacher has her take the test, and she passes with flying colors. To Sarah, an education is one of the most important things in life. She believes that with an education, you can become whatever you want to be.

  7. Her entire world just seemed to open up when she found that deserted wagon full of books. She coveted and treasured each one of them. Her own family believed in bettering themselves, but for Sarah being educated into a life of survival was not enough. She read as often as she could yet never felt she was really educated because she lacked the formal education offered by attending school. She was an amazing woman. There just are not many of us who can read Latin and be a dead shot. Sarah was a mixture of the early rancher, the hard working mother and housewife, and the teacher for her family. She could fight to save her family in the morning and bake an apple pie for supper. Sarah was far more special that she ever thought.

    I got all three books and enjoyed them tremendously.

  8. Here's a link to some Delectable Mountains quilt info


  9. I haven't heard anything for awhile. I realized that I must have been lost. I just started reading the second book. She does know that education is important.

  10. Missing your posts on Stashbusters! Hope all is well

  11. Susan, we miss you! Where are you?

  12. Just finished reading Sarah's Quilt and I'm exhausted, boy did that woman get a lot of stuff in her life!
    Susan, come back to us, please. Xx

  13. Susan, noticed that you haven't posted in a while - hope all is well. I've been awol from blog land so am just now noticing!

    I wanted you to know that I finished a quilt top for 12 of the first 13 books. I posted about it here:


    Looking forward to hearing from you!


  14. I just saw Doniene's quilt and was reminded of the book club. Thinking of you today.

  15. I'm missing your blog posts. Are you still blogging?

  16. Barbara, I'm not. It started taking an extremely long time to download photos and to post. But I am still quilting and reading as much as ever! Thank you for your very kind comment. Susan


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