Earning Farmgirl Sisterhood Merit Badges
The seven sections in my Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook cover, I think, most aspects of a farmgirl’s life: Cleaning Up, Each Other, Farm Kitchen, Garden Gate, Make It Easy, Outpost, and Stitching Room. Our Merit Badge structure grew from those seven sections.
To the right, you’ll find those sections with categories in each for which you can earn Merit Badges for things like crocheting, community service, going green, etc. Note that each category has three different levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. Everyone has to start from “scratch”; no hens get their previous accomplishments “grandmothered in.” Badges need to be earned in order (Beginner, then Intermediate, then Expert).
Say you want to earn a Merit Badge in knitting. Once you’ve completed ALL the Beginner level tasks under “Stitching & Crafting/Knitting,” you may apply for a Merit Badge. Here at “Henquarters,” we’ll look over your entry, and once it’s approved, your entry information will be shouted from the rooftops (cooptops?) on our Farmgirl Connection chatroom and you’ll be e-mailed privileged links to the design for your new badge and a link to your achievement certificate that says something like, “I, MaryJane Butters, am proud to present so-and-so with this certificate of achievement, etc.” You can print out the certificate (we’re going to use lots of cool old photos for these) and frame it.
You'll also either print out the badge design onto fabric (some printers have an option for this) or print it onto paper and transfer it to a fabric piece. For example, the Knitting Merit Badge will have a drawing of a skein of yarn and knitting needles inside a hexagon shape. (These badges will all be hexagonal like our membership badges; however, they will be slightly smaller.) After you have your badge design on fabric, you can then embroider the central design and the dashed line around it. You'll also notice a very faint line on the badge outside of the dashed line. Use this faint line as a guide to the outside edge of your badge. If you want an unfinished edge to your badge, which will fray in true farmgirl style, you'll simply cut along the faint line. If you want to turn under the edge of your badge and hem it for a finished look, just cut it out 1/4″ outside the faint line, then turn under the edge along the faint line and stitch the hem. (You'll also want to cut it out 1/4″ outside the faint line if you're putting multiple badges together for a pillow top or quilt top.) Then, as your skill level progresses and you complete the tasks in the Intermediate Level of the Knitting category, you’ll apply again, and when approved, you’ll denote your increased prowess by adding another line of embroidery or stitching on your badge in the color of your choice 1/8″ outside your first line of embroidery or stitching. When you complete all the tasks in the Expert Level, you’ll apply again, and when approved, you’ll add a third line of embroidery or stitching in the color of your choice about 1/8″ out from your Intermediate Level line of stitching. (If our original instructions weren't clear enough and you've done your badges another way, don't worry—it all works!)
When you see a Sister wearing a Knitting Merit Badge with just one outline stitch, you’ll know she’s accomplished the Beginner Level in Knitting; if it has two outlines, you’ll know she’s accomplished the Intermediate Level; three outlines, and she’s a Knitting Expert!
If you aren’t an embroiderer, you can take the badge you printed from the link we provided to your local print shop and have them create an ink badge for you or you can tape the design in your window (make-do farmgirl light box), then tape your piece of badge fabric on top of that (lightweight muslin is best), and then carefully trace the design using a common ultra-fine-point permanent marker. Or you can experiment with one of the many types of fabric permanent marking pens now available. The designs themselves are a collection of our finest artwork — emblems we knew you’d be proud to wear — so for that reason, the only time you’ll be able to view them is when you earn a particular badge. The designs are so classy, you’ll want to earn them all! There will be no charge for the Merit Badges. However, the progressive outlines will have to be “threaded” somehow, so at the very least, every Sister has to own a needle and thread.
Merit Badge Categories for
(Simply click on a category below to see a detailed list of tasks for that category.)
Make It Easy
Stitching & Crafting