In western Turkey, villagers have been engaged in a self-constructed modernization programme since the early 1980s, which includes founding and running a women’s carpet-weaving cooperative and selecting aspects of the state’s modernization project for their own use. Recently many have been losing hope, and young women in particular are abandoning rural life by marrying men employed in the city. This structural move allows them to stop weaving and become urban housewives, while also achieving adulthood. These individual efforts reveal collective female desires to achieve a ‘modern’ world. ‘Traditional’ marriage practices, which conceive of women as migrants and involve an intergenerational transfer of wealth to finance marriage, facilitate young women’s ambitions, while problematizing ties to rural kin networks.