Monday, September 13, 2010

Woman's Work: Broom Block

My grannie used to say, 'A woman's work is never done when it never gets started!' –G. Gaunt

Housework is a funny thing. It looks deceptively simple. It can be parceled out into jobs that can easily be completed 10 minute increments, but it can also expand to fill any available amount of time. You can spend hours and hours scrubbing the house spotless and washing every stitch of clothing in the house, but can you ever really call it done? I've been wrestling with a feeling of inadequacy in my housework for years and wondering how good is good enough? I go between being overly obsessive about how my house looks to devil-may-care. For the most part, it's been more devil-may-care. I've discovered that the world doesn't end if the vacuuming isn't done and nobody really complains if the end tables and book shelves are dusty as long as they have clean undies and something to eat.

Finding a better balance between obsessing with and settling for how the house looks has been on my mind a lot lately.

I have fallen completely in love with Lori Holt's Woman's Work appliqué quilt. It is a quilt about housework – the chores that traditionally fall to women. It was originally a year-long appliqué club. I'm hoping that I can finish each of the twelve sections in two weeks and be able to finish it in six months instead. I started with the roll of paper towels because that block is just my favorite! Then I had to go back to the back to the beginning of the pattern and start with section one; this super cute broom and the embroidery above it. After that, I spent a little time with a real broom and did a few other chores around the house.

I loved what Lori had to say about housework in her pattern liner notes: The things we do as women everyday to take care of our homes and try to keep them in order is a constant struggle {for me anyway} and oftentimes taken for granted by our families – but work always has great value even if it does come without praise or notice.

As I have designed this quilt, I have had a desire to appreciate housework more. Instead of feeling 'overloaded' with laundry or becoming frustrated with small handprints all over the glass on my front door 'again' – I've tried to have just a bit more patience as I have come to realize what it would mean to have no tiny hands in my home leaving 'evidence' of where they have been or even no 'large' hands to leave whiskers in the bathroom sink! Considering the alternative, I'm happy just to keep cleaning and HOPING that my work never will be done.

It helps to put things into the right perspective. Thanks Lori!


Regina said...

I swear you make the cutest quilts. I love this!

Barb said...

This is going to be a lovely quilt.

QuiltNut Creations said...

such a great quilt!

Betsy said...

It looks great! I love your choice of fabrics for the broom

Shay said...

I'd still rather be making a quilt about housework than actually DOING housework!

Lovely job E. (as usual)

Jennifer Lovell said...

Just the fact that you made a post about housework makes me happy, because I find a lot of satisfaction in keeping a home (a.k.a. being a housekeeper). Good luck with your quilt, I look forward to seeing the other fun blocks--these first two are great!

Michelle said...

Another lovely block, Elizabeth!

I like what Lori says about housework too. As for me, mostly I'm obsessive about the dishes--I like a clean kitchen. And I try to avoid clutter. But dusting, washing windows, etc., not so much. I've found if I'm obsessive about dusting and do it often, then it doesn't make a big splash when I'm done. So I let things get dusty so that when I do dust, I get a big since of accomplishment. LOL!

Michelle said...

Sheesh! That was supposed to be "sense of accomplishment" instead of "since of accomplishment".

Elizabeth said...

LOL, Michelle. Blogger totally needs a 'comment editing' option.

Oh, and I know what you mean about the dusting!

xo -E

Paulette said...

Very nice broom block, Elizabeth. The broom fabric is perfect, and your embroidery looks great.

My housekeeping has gone downhill over the years. I blame the computer/internet! More specifically, myself for spending so much time on the computer/internet. Hubby helps some, but it's still mostly my job to keep things in order, and in perspective.

Lori Holt said...

Hi Elizabeth...
Wow!...I think that your blocks really look fantastic and it makes me soooo happy to know that you "get" why I would make a quilt strictly about housework.
It's about celebrating something that we as women do for our families every day...not only out of duty...but out of love!
Your blog is beautiful.
Keep up the great work on your quilt...and keep me informed of your progress:)