Quilting Like Farming: Week #11 – Aug. 19, 2020
Farmer Mike has a lot a in common with his dad. They have both dedicated their lives to agriculture. Both can drive tractors and have tempers. Both have the faces of humans who work in the sunlight – and I mean this is the most beautiful and complimentary way. Both are complete workaholics who are called by farmland and the tasks it offers.
Meanwhile, Mike’s mother works in an office building – also as part of a farm operation. The sun has not marked her face, and a tractor is not something she drives. She’s an absolute whiz with numbers and has been an integral part of building the farm operation that her brothers and sister have co-owned and operated for over 40 years.
At first glance, one might think Mike has more in common with his father. But over the course of the last 14 years, I’ve come to see that Mike really takes after his mother.
They are both quieter and more reserved. She too is a workaholic. (After all, Mike’s dad retired several years back, but she keeps on going in to the office.) But it’s in his mother’s hobby that I most see their shared affinity.
Mike’s mother is a quilter. When she is not working in the office or spending time with her family, she is usually quilting. She has an enormous work space that I can imagine seems a place of sheer wonderment to her grandchildren. There are drawers upon drawers of fabrics – all different colors and shapes. She has two sewing machines, shelves of pattern and designs books, and uses an old ping pong table from when her own kids with teens as a massive work space to lay out her designs and cuttings.
While I am not a quilter, I understand that the process involves much forethought and planning. What will the design be? Which blocks will go where? What colors will be used? After the planning is done, then the execution. This is execution is done in stages, bit by bit. Incredible work and attention to detail is required. Each block is cut, designed, and sewn. And then once the blocks are designed, the whole quilt is stitched together square by square.
Organic vegetable farming shares so much in common with quilting, only that the scales are different. Planning a farm season also requires forethought. Which crops will go where? What rotation will be followed? Which varieties chosen? After the planning, then the execution. Bed by bed, field by field we plant our design. Incredible work and attention to detail is required. Each field block is prepped, planted, and cultivated. Bit by bit our farm fields are stitched together with designs of mother nature’s makings.
There is a joy in this type of creation. And this is what Mike and his mother share in most. The careful creation of something beautiful stitched together, again and again and again.
Cheers and enjoy your veggies!