Waiting In The Wings

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Memory Quilt Series No 1 - Dale Head Farm

Computer problems have held me up from posting until
today, but here is No 1 in my series.
You have had glimpses of this one some time ago but now I have a
finished quilt, with a story,  those who like to know the story behind
a quilt then please read on.

Dale Head Farm
High Peak

As a youngster between the ages of 4yrs and 10 years, I spent
many happy holidays with Mum on a relative's farm in Derbyshire, England.
Dad's cousin (known as Aunty Alice to me) and her husband had the farm with a herd of
dairy cows - Friesians - and a decent sized flock of sheep.

These holidays were some of the happiest times of my younger years.
The marriage of my Mum and Dad was difficult and
time spent on the farm were balm for the soul of a little girl. 
The journey involved a train ride from our village in Lancashire, another 
train from Manchester to Buxton followed by a ride on  the one bus of the day
which would take us up on to the High Peak and drop us off at the
top of the long lane to the farm, then a long walk!

I would be up in the morning at 5.00am to help with milking, no machines
then just a three legged milking stool, a pretty large pail clasped between the knees - a bit
tricky for a little girl - and knowing how
to get the milk going! How I loved that part of the day. Anyone who
hasn't had the chance to perch on a stool in the shippen (cowshed), pail between knees and
head resting up against the flank of a warm, steaming cow doesn't know what they are missing.
I also learnt how to miss the odd forward back leg kick, mostly anyway but there was
the odd accident with the pail of milk.

Arriving at lambing time was equally enjoyable, I would do the rounds with
Uncle Bob when necessary to check if any sheep were in trouble, if that was the case,
especially if twins were on the way, I would keep the sheep steady and
comforted on the ground while he delivered. What an amazing experience.

I learnt how to drive the tractor - an old photo below from about 1954

not very clear but thanks to good old iPhone it's a reasonable
copy from one in the photograph album.

The old black iron stove in the kitchen/living room warmed us, fed us
and had a copper kettle nearly always boiling hot ready for a drink.
The kettle had been used in my Dad's younger days by his Mum. I never knew my
grandma, she died when Dad was 15 yrs old. That old kettle, which by then was
almost totally black, sits now on a cupboard in our hallway, cleaned by my Aunt
when they left the farm. I like that I have something from my Grandma.

There were a couple of cosy chairs and two lovely oak carved settles - similar to
a church pew - along the walls. Luckily a few cushions were available for use, sitting without that padding
was pretty hard!
The huge wooden table in the centre of the room was permanently
covered in a homely cotton cloth, letters were written, freshly picked garden peas
shelled into a bowl, dough mixed for bread, butter made, batter for baking, all were
carried out on this table. And always a fresh jug of milk. sitting there - no refrigerator,
no electricity.

There was another smaller  room which had a piano sitting there, I spent hours
on that old thing, I couldn't read music then but I could play one or two tunes
by ear. For some reason The Minstrel Boy was constantly being hammered
out on the keys.

How I loved my Aunty Alice, she had a permanent sinus problem, very curly and
wiry hair and a wonderful happy smile. She always wore lovely old flowered wrap around aprons
which covered front and back, I wonder if that's where my love
of bright fabric comes from, hence the use of the bright flowered
KF Collective fabrics in the quilt, reminiscent also of the lovely
wild flowers in the meadows of the farm.

I close my eyes and I am back there again.
Happy Days

Now,  a couple more quilt photos.
Here is my favourite piece of fabric in this quilt, my last little bit of
an old KF.

You can see the lovely wavy quilting by
and the psychedelic backing fabric! 

I used another KF fabric for the binding, I thought it blended in with
the main fabric pretty well.

Cotton batting from Leeanne, also the backing fabric.
Original pattern by Judy Newman using pastel fabric - of course 
I had to go bright!
Measuring 66" x 78"

Needless to say this is a keeper!!!

Two more quilts should be bound by my next post, not memory quilts so
the post will be considerably shorter!

Enjoy the rest of your week and happy quilting.



Leeanne said...

Maureen, thank you for sharing this wonderful story of your life! I didn't have to close my eyes to be there, I was there with you in the cowshed & sitting around the big wooden table. I hope everyone can have similar experiences through their life which fill the soul and make one complete somehow.

Nancy J said...

One special piece of KF fabric, and memories galore stitched into every block. Childhood times, life was peaceful, safe, and with love and a welcoming aunt and uncle, those days will always be a part of your life.As always, love those colours.

Louise said...

You have a gift for story telling! I really enjoyed this one of your lovely farm visits. I felt like a little girl again myself, thinking about how it feels to be surrounded by beloved relatives now gone. Gone from the world, but never from our hearts! Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories that linger in your gorgeous quilt :)

Debbie said...

What a priceless picture you have created with your words and then told in fabric of this quilt! When we create these memory quilts we stitch parts of our heart into them. Your fabric selection it so you and just right for this story. It is beautiful.

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I really love this quilt with its perfect assortment of fabric. The memories you have woven into the quilt make it so much more special. I hope your grandchildren will listen to that story and treasure the quilt some day in the future.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

wonderful memories of farm life!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Priceless memories . . . so special to have them recorded on your blog. I have memories of my grandparents farm too as most of my family on both sides were farmers. Some still farm. Thanks for sharing. Your description of milking the cows made me think of my dad who milked the cows and delivered milk before he went off to school every morning. What a time!

O'Quilts said...

wonderful post...let me know how you are doing.xoxo

Quiltdivajulie said...

A lovely story beautifully shared -- and the quilt is gorgeous. Thanks for taking the time to share your memories and the story of this quilt.

Janie said...

Yes, thanks for sharing your wonderful Dale Head Farm story.
Your quilt is beautiful and I have the same KF fabric in one of my quilts that's in the diamond in your first photo of closeups!
I love it!

Sue said...

What a lovely memory story Maureen. I think as we get older we start reminiscing on our past. I know I often think of my childhood and grandparents. Your quilts are lovely Maureen, so different from mine. I am about to try and make some lovely bright ones, and have just bought some KF fabrics. I'd better get to Guild early in August and have alook at your sale!
Now here's a question for you.....Do you remember where in Auckland the FIRST Quilt Symposium was held and what year? Trying to track down the story.

Kate said...

What a wonderful set of memories to carry with you. The quilt is gorgeous! Congrats on another beautiful finish.

audrey said...

Wonderful to have the good memories and what a great quilt! I always admire your brave use of bright and cheerful fabrics!

Ann said...

You have woven beautiful childhood memories into this quilt. Definitely a keeper. I know you’ll smile every time you see it. Congratulations.

Linda said...

I loved reading your story about holidays on the farm. Wonderful memories! Lovely quilt too. I’m also a fan of KF fabrics and have been fortunate enough to meet him a few times and attend a couple of his lectures. Great guy!

Sally Trude said...

What a beautiful quilt to go along with such wonderful memories.

Kaja said...

Wonderful memories, and I think the quilt feels extra special because of the story you were expressing. It is really beautiful, Maureen.

Kaja said...

Wonderful memories, and I think the quilt feels extra special because of the story you were expressing. It is really beautiful, Maureen.