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Do You Want To See Where Quilts Really Come From?

Do You Want To See Where Quilts Really Come From?

Old 10-22-2011, 10:41 AM
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When we went to Texas earlier this month, we saw the fields of cotton, but didn't realize right away it was cotton. We saw some bales on the edge of the field and then we knew what it was. Very interesting.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:42 AM
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:46 AM
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This just re-inforces my thoughts that quilters do a huge part to keep the economy going, starting with the farmers. Thank you for sharing, I am going to show this to my husband so he can see for himself how vital quilting is to the economy. Maybe he will do his part by buying me some more fabric. (probably not)
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:46 AM
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Thank you so much! Our 6.5 year old has just had us LOL as he looked at the pictures very seriously and then said 'but do the sheep eat them then?' ...

Oh, dear! A quick lesson in the difference between cotton and wool! To which he then said 'but you get cotton wool ....'

I don't know whether to be ashamed of his lack of knowledge/confusion ... considering how much time this child has spent around craft projects, including knitting, knitting with thick cotton thread, and sewing with cloth, and the time spent experimenting with crafts himself ... or whether to just continue laughing at him!

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Old 10-22-2011, 10:51 AM
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Location: Bellville, Texas
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Yes I know what that is. I use to pick, first by pulling the cotton out of the cotton balls and then later we pulled the whole cotton ball. That was real hard work from sun up to sun down with maybe only Saturday afternoon off, if a bale did not have to be finished to take to the gin and we got Sunday's off. We went to chruch and after church you cleaned house, washed and ironed clothes for the next week. Also baked so we would have sweets for the week, which did not last too long. I do not miss the hard work but do miss living on a farm. and today Yes I do appreciate every quilt make and anyone else make. Hurts to see someone misuse a quilt.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:53 AM
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Someone asked what was done with the cotton left in the fields and another responded that it was plowed under. When cotton was hand picked, there were two pickings because it all didn't open at the same time and if you waited until it all opened, some would fall out of the bolls and get dirty or lost. The second time around was often "pulling bolls" because it was knotty and too hard to get the cotton out. Pulling bolls didn't pay as much because it was faster. It was, however, harder on the hands. We wore gloves, sometimes with the finger tips cut out.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by suzee
At first glance I thought it was a marshmallow farm ;') LOL
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:02 AM
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I grew up on a farm near Gilbert, Arizona...an experience I wouldn't trade for anything in the world! We grew cotton, among other crops. When I was about 8 years old, me dad began letting me ride on the tractors and equipment once in a while. I had to sit on the "floor" at the top of the steps (to climb onto the machine), and he always told me that if I started to fall, to JUMP out as far as I could! I saw all phases of growing cotton and went to the gin regularly. One day my cousins and I tried our hand at picking cotton by hand after the baler came through and people were picking by hand what was left on the stalks. My bag was longer than I was tall! At the end of quite a long afternoon, we turned in our bags and I had earned a whopping five cents! (I think they must have felt sorry for me and gave me something for my efforts although I probably didn't earn that much!!) A great life, but sadly, that farm land is now a development with large houses and lakes. Thank you for bringing wonderful memories by your photos! Debbie
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mollymct
I just came from a visit to my grandmother's town, where the cotton gin was hoppin' and the roads were lined with white fluff! I eyed the stuff with new interest as a quilter and wondered how many yards of quilting cotton might come from a bale of cotton (these bales were huge rectangles)!

I was wondering these days, too, what happens to the "scrap" cotton left after the pickers have picked? Anyone know? I know it wouldn't have been wasted in my Gran's time.
Your Gran's day was probably before mechanical harvesting. Cotton was picked by hand, by poor people who had no easier way to earn a living. And it was a miserable way to make a tiny amount of money. At least, I've been told by someone who picked cotton as a child that even walking soybeans is better than picking cotton. And walking soybeans used to be the most miserable summer job in Iowa.

Mechanical pickers are faster at harvesting and they are ultimately cheaper than paying hundreds of pickers. But like everything in modern life, there's a trade off: there's quite a bit of cotton left in the field.

It doesn't go to waste, though, because it gets plowed under and contributes organic matter to the soil. Not enough to adequately fertilise it (cotton is the heaviest feeding crop in the US), but enough to help improve the physical structure of the soil.
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:18 AM
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What are the different grades of cotton and how do you grade the different types?
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