Notes: Friendship Album, 1933: Episode 13

In Episode 13, Dorothy gets some much-needed alone time on her walk to work and comes up with a plan to lure Hannah back to Milton Falls.

Now that my children are older (19 and almost 16), I have plenty of alone time to dream, plan or simply hear myself think. But I remember those days with little ones, where a solo trip to the bathroom felt like a treat. So Dorothy’s decision to walk to work on the one morning a week she doesn’t take the children with her makes total sense to me. That twenty minutes can be quite therapeutic when the rest of your day is spent meeting the needs of others.

First Time Here?

If you haven't listened to the earlier episodes of Friendship Album, 1933, you should start from the beginning of the story!

In this episode, we learn that Dorothy has given up her Cornucopia quilt for the time being and turned her attention to making a Crown of Thorns quilt to enter into the Sears contest. Are you familiar with the Crown of Thorns block? It’s simple, but striking. Here’s a sample block I made earlier in the summer:

What I’ve discovered in my perusal of Crown of Thorns quilts is that there are many variations on the theme. For instance, I found this antique (circa 1890) Crown of Thorns quilt on an auction website:

Here’s another one, circa 1875:

It’s not unusual to find a Crown of Thorns quilts cross-referenced as a New York Beauty. Other names include Rocky Mountain Road, Rail through the Mountains, Rising Sun and The Great Divide (this according to quilt historian Barbara Brackman). There are variations in the designs you’ll find under each of these names, but you can see the genetic similarities.

(I’m working on a Crown of Thorns quilt as we speak, which I’ll be sharing with you soon.)

Dorothy has something to confess about her quilt when she gets to the bee: she’s been using a sewing machine — a Singer 128 — to piece it. Scandalous!

We learn in Episode 13 that Dorothy’s son-in-law Jasper is working in a Chicago meatpacking factory. I went looking for pictures to post here that would give you an idea of life as a meatpacker, but most of them would spoil your breakfast. This is a picture of the cattle pens at the Union Stockyard, circa 1920, taken by William T. Barnum. If you want to read more, go here.


Personal Notes

I just finished a big project (a creative writing book for kids), which will free me up to do more work on this blog, maybe even allow me to go back to posting twice a week. I’ve got lots of recipes to share!

As you may or may not know, I make my living as a children’s book author, and I recently started an Instragram account called francesdowellbooks. Feel free to follow me! And if you have a young reader in your life, I just published a chapter book called Sam the Man and the Secret Detective Club Plan, perfect for readers ages 7-10. Learn about all my books at