Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crazy Block No 1 - Revisited

After reading my post about Crazy Block No 1 "The Oakey" block, I thought I would journal it a bit more and explain how I came to do some of the motifs, stitches etc. Someone may find it interesting, but really, it is for my own records and for my family to look back on.

The little sheep in the top left hand corner were done in a bullion stitch workshop at quilting group with a lady called Cathy Sotiriou. I added some hay bales and grass. These little sheep set the block on the path to being the Oakey block. My dad had sheep, cattle and pigs and had the town's only butchery. There was another large abattoir just outside of town which was more of a wholesale and export abattoir. Our family, my dad and his brothers, operated a small slaughter-house which was situated adjacent to the pig sty. Dad was the "cattle, sheep, pig man" and did all the tending and buying and selling, his one brother was the "slaughter man" (don't envy this job) and his younger brother was the "butcher shop man". It was full on, and my dad started work at approx 4.30 am every day and returned home at dark (earlier in winter ). Sundays were done in shifts, approx 5.00am to feed the pigs, home for lunch and a nap, and back to the pigs in the late p.m.

My sister and I loved going to "the pigs" (apart from the atrocious smell), but we rarely ventured to the slaughter house. Only the once did I visit there when I was about 10 years old, and the memory is forever etched. It's a wonder I still eat meat - no choice really, we were served up red meat morning, noon and night.

At "the pigs" my sister and I loved going into the chook pen and checking for eggs. The chooks were the domain of my dad's younger brother and he collected the eggs and distributed them to family members. There is one of the little chooks, chickens, and old man rooster there on my block.

The grapes were done in a stitch shown to me by crazy patch guru, Robyn Ginn, and are a cable stitch surrounded by a lazy daisy stitch and worked in 6 strands of embroidery floss. Occasionally my sister and I were babysat by my dad's cousin and husband and they had a most wonderful orchard and vegetable garden. I can still taste the sweet, juicy grapes plucked straight from their vines. The pumpkin in the bottom right hand corner also came from memories of their garden, certainly not from ours, as dad was too busy working to be gardening, and Mum was more of an inside house person. Thus, we had a very low maintenance yard and employed a gardener to keep it all tidy. The pumpkin is outlined in stem stitch and filled in with closed herringbone stitch.

We had a lovely old stucco house with a little white picket fence at the front and along the front of the fence we had some miniature pink rose bushes. They were very hardy (needed to be) and tolerated the wicked frosts we had in that part of the country. There they are in the top right hand corner of the block, with bees hovering and the bluebird of happiness dropping by as well.

The bees and roses were also done in the bullion workshop and the bluebird of happiness is a representation of my first jewellry, a little bluebird brooch.

As a child I loved to collect feathers, and there was a plentiful supply of these at the pig sty and around the chook pen. My feathers are shown there in the left bottom block and adjacent is the sheaf of wheat. Apart from all the other things my Dad and his brothers did, they also inherited from their father and puchased for themselves a good deal of wheat farming land. During the 1960's wheat farming was very viable and the weather was very conducive to growing. A good deal of money was to be made from wheat, but the workload was excessive. During harvesting, my dad would come home, have his dinner, push his empty plate away and promptly go to sleep with his head down on his hands at the table!

The heart in the centre is my heart, it still belongs in my old home town.

This block has brought back so many very wonderful memories of childhood, and the process of creating it has brought me so much joy and given me the impetus to explore much more crazy patchwork and embroidery in the future.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Di - It was so interesting to read about the background to your block plus details of the stitches you used. I look forward to reading about your other blocks.