farmers wife book

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along

I’m excited to share another behind-the-scenes project for which I’ve been preparing: The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell, which kicks off on September 28th, only 2 weeks away!

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along: Learn to sew the 99 Blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird's book The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt" with Angie Wilson of, Fat Quarter Shop and From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates. Find out more here:
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along: Learn to sew the 99 Blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt” with Angie Wilson of, Fat Quarter Shop and From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates. Find out more here:

The Farmer’s Wife quilt is one that while straight-up traditional, I’ve been itching to make for a while now. I’m not technically a farmer’s wife, but I certainly live in farm country and some of my closest friends are farmers (I’ll call mine the Programmer’s Wife in Farm Country quilt). There was just something about the idea of reading “inspiring letters from farm women of the Great Depression” and then making the respective quilt blocks that really appealed to me. Inspiration plus quilting: what’s not to like? When Angie asked if I would join the official bloggers team for the sew along, I knew that this was my chance–how could I say no?

farmer's wife 1930s sampler quilt
The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

This sew along is going to be super cool. All you need to participate is a copy of Laurie Aaron Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt and your fabric of choice. I’m going to try to make mine almost entirely from stash, since frugality is part of the farmer’s wife experience.

Over the course of the year, Angie and the blogger team (including me!) will share tips and tricks to help you create all 99 blocks from the book, 2 per week in a non-chronological, easy to more difficult, order. Blocks finish at only 6″ square, and can be paper pieced, hand pieced, you can use templates, do English paper piecing, use a rotary cutter and sewing machine, or try all methods. I will most likely use a variety of methods, heavily favoring the rotary cutter-machine piecing and foundation paper piecing options.

fermers wife meets my chickensI have my book, took it for a little photography tour of our homestead, introduced it to our chickens, and have been thinking about how I want to make my quilt. I really lean heavily toward the modern aesthetic, so I want to try to make this uber traditional quilt “night quilter style”. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

warm vs cool color palette fabric pullThe fabric pull is pretty predictable, but this time instead of a simple rainbow gradient, I want to play with warm vs. cool colors. I’m planning on making the warm colored blocks with a black background and the cool colored blocks with a low volume/white background.

warm colors with blackI really like how fiery the warm colors look paired with black.

cool color with white fabricConversely, the cool colors look almost icy paired with the low volume/whites. I’m really hoping I can find a layout that emphasizes these visual characteristics!

Now that I have EQ7, it makes playing with layout options *really* quick and easy. Knowing that I am a busy, busy mama of three and that there is a decent chance I won’t be able to make ALL 99 blocks, I’ve opted for a layout that includes whole cloth background squares between the blocks, as well as sashing. I plan to use Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal for the whole cloth background squares, or *maybe* (with the last layout) a gradient from even lighter to darker. Here are some of the layouts I’ve played with. I haven’t landed on one I LOVE yet. What do you think?

Note that rather than buy the entire Farmer’s Wife block file for EQ7, I just used some of the free quilt blocks included in the program. I made them the colors I wanted and then used them in duplicate to get the general aesthetic of the quilt.

Farmer's Wife Layout 1: Warm Cool Converge
Farmer’s Wife Layout 1: Warm Cool Converge

Layout 1. This one feels too stark to me.

Farmer's Wife Layout 2: ROYGBIV blend
Farmer’s Wife Layout 2: ROYGBIV blend

Layout 2. Note that I’ve pretty much decided I’m not going to use this layout. It’s easy, sure, and looks great, but I want to try to stretch my color play muscles a little bit.

Farmer's Wife Layout 3: cool warm
Farmer’s Wife Layout 3: cool warm

Layout 3. I like this one, with consistently colored sashing and background/filler squares. But I’m still not sure it’s exactly what I want. I want to create the effect of the fiery warms rising to meet the cool colors, which are dripping to meet and mingle with the warm.

Layout 4: Cool Warm Converge Blended Background
Layout 4: Cool Warm Converge Blended Background

Layout 4. I like this one more than Layout 1, but I’m still not sold completely.

For now I will plan to start making my cool/warm blocks when the Sew Along begins in two weeks, and will continue to play with layout until I find one I love. Will you be joining in on the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along? If you do, be sure to join the super active Facebook group, too. It will be a fun journey!

13 thoughts on “The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along”

  1. I enjoyed this post and your thought process as you’re planning this one out. I’m not an EQ7 guru and know I would probably be slower, but about how long does it take you to set this up? And once it’s set up to go in and change your color placement?? Thanks so much!


    1. Hi! I’m very new at EQ, too. It probably took me about 20-30 minutes to set up the overall layout – 6″ squares, on point, with sashing and no border, then maybe another 5-10 minutes saving each quilt block in my desired color scheme. Then once all of that was done and saved in my library, switching up the layouts took only 5ish minutes since it was just a matter of clicking each block to change color placement. Let me know if you have any other, more specific questions since I’d be happy to share my limited knowledge of EQ! Hope this helps 🙂


  2. I started last year and got about 25% done before taking a break. Have you looked at the templates yet? Have you started cutting them out? Tat alone took a week… It,s a fascinating book, but my year-long goal was completely unrealistic. I wish you better luck! I look forward to seeing what you think of the process. Layout 2 is my fave as well.


  3. Ordered my book today and was thinking about fabric, mainly whether to purchase the bundle or try to do it from my stash. When I was focused on my stash and what to use – my very large Alison Glass stash popped up. I thought maybe that was going too far but after seeing your ‘pull’ I may have to rethink that decision. I’ve just started using EQ7 so I’m really inspired by how you are using it to help plan – guess I’ll be following you real close for the next year – OK?


  4. I really like layout 2 and 3. I am thinking, though, that if you want the “fire” to meet the “ice” perhaps you should try the layout without so much of a diagonal. Fire isn’t so predictable. Does that make since?
    Either way – love the fabrics and can’t wait to see what you end up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love these ideas – and breaking the rainbow mould is a good think to stretch your creative legs. I love the idea of fire and ice. I wonder if examples #1 and #4 are too different in value – I see the colour variations working better if you keep them a similar value. Interesting how more modern colours can completely change the look of a traditional quilt.


  6. Hello! These look fabulous – I’m such a suck for a good use of black and white and then paired with a rainbow – be still my beating heart! I’m not sure if you’ve spent any real time sitting down and digesting the book yet, but there’s actually no “background” colour in any of the blocks. You could choose to just swap out a colour for background though without a problem. But I thought I’d just let you know in case (like me) you’d made the assumption about background and then had your heart broken and had to revisit your plan. Whoops! (That’ll teach me not to read the book before ordering fabrics!)


    1. I’m planning on choosing a color and making it “background” for most if not all of the blocks. I figure since my “background” colors are good contrast creators anyway, it will just add to the pop of each block. I’ve been trying to digest the book, but there is just SO much to it–between stories and layouts and piecing options! I think (hope) I have my head mostly wrapped around it, and I’m planning on taking it much like I take life: one block at a time!


  7. Oh, I love seeing a modern twist on traditional blocks, and you can never go wrong with lots of color! This should be a fun follow along project. I have to admit that my two favorite layouts are the ones without the black, and my favorite layout is the one you said that you had pretty much decided not to use. Whichever one you decide on, great fabric pull – keep the color coming!


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