Tag Archives: Gnome Angel

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 35 Flora Tutorial

Welcome to the final–yes, the very last!!!–block tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. If you’ve made it this far and have completed all of the blocks, congratulations!! You have finished quite an amazing accomplishment! If you haven’t completed all of the blocks but are still following along, bravo to you as well! And welcome to the club 😀

farmers wife 1930 35 flora tutorialSince at this point in this Sew Along, I’m sure there are hardly any techniques or block approaches that need additional guidance, I decided, with the approval of Angie, to approach this tutorial a little differently. Today my tutorial will focus on “what next?” Now that this epic sew along is officially complete and you may or may not have all 99 of the blocks sewn, I will reflect on and share a few different approaches you might want to take.

Tips for Foundation Paper Piecing Flora

First, let’s get Flora’s construction covered. I foundation paper pieced my block, so for those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

foundation paper pieced flora farmers wifeSince this block is not symmetrical, I printed a mirror image of the templates to help ensure I matched the color placement to that in the book. I selected simple dark, medium, and light green fabrics and carefully marked each piece of the template with a D (dark), M (medium), or L (light) before sewing so that once I had my fabric bits cut, I could chain piece the templates without too much thought. Those two preparatory steps (printing mirror image templates & marking each section of the templates) helped make the actual stitching of this block quick and smooth.

farmers wife 1930 floraThe final block has been sewn! Congratulations! So now what….?

Farmers Wife final layout warm coolIf we reminisce back to October 2015 when we first began this sew along, I originally planned (hoped?) to make 72 blocks instead of the full 99. I planned to sew some with cool colors on a white/low volume background and warm colors on a grey/black background and set them with solid blocks between. It seemed like a solid plan at the time, back when I had in my head that I was making “just a little 6″ block every week”. As you all know at this point, though, these little 6″ blocks pack a punch, often with 30-60 pieces and taking hours to construct. I’ve accepted that the 72 block plan just isn’t in the cards for me at this point in my life. I’m totally ok with that. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some options.

Keep Plugging Away

all of my blocks sans flora
My full block inventory, not including Flora = 15 blocks

One option is to keep plugging away at the blocks with the goal of completing all of them eventually. If you want to be sure to complete them in a timely fashion, you may want to set a new goal for yourself and try to hold yourself to it.  Perhaps you could aim to make one block per week, at least 3 weeks out of every month.  Or you could plan to make 1 block every 2 weeks, where week 1 is spent selecting fabric and cutting and week 2 is spent sewing the blocks together. If this is your choice, make a plan, write it down, and forge ahead!

Change your Block Setting

Adjusting the way you set your blocks could also help you get a decent sized quilt from the blocks you’ve made. If you have made all 99 blocks, you could set your blocks with simple sashing and have a nice, huge quilt.

background fabric between each blockAdding solid blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block can help you get the most bang for your buck with however many (or few, in my case) blocks you’ve made. Add sashing and that will make your quilt even larger relative to the number of blocks you’ve made. My original mock-up includes both the blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block, and sashing, so you can reference that (included a few images up) for a visual.

negative space block setting - aria lane alyssa lichtnerOr you could think even further out of the box and arrange your blocks in a more modern, negative-space filled setting. I love the idea of arranging blocks similar to the design in Alyssa Lichner’s Concerto Quilt pattern for Aria Lane!

Make a Smaller Quilt

If you made less blocks than you initially had planned, you could always make a smaller quilt!  Lap quilts are all the rage these days, right!? Are any of your local farmer friends having a baby anytime soon? A good handful of these blocks could be beautifully worked into a “Farmer’s Baby Quilt”. With these intricate blocks, you don’t need many of them to make a gorgeous quilt.

Placemats & Pillows!

If, like me, these 6″ blocks showed you who’s boss (and it wasn’t you) and you only ended up successfully making a bit over a dozen of them, they sure would make beautiful placemats or pillows! Both placemats and pillows are handmade items that are often seen and appreciated daily, making sure your painstaking efforts will be appreciated to their fullest.

background fabric between each blockI’m actually thinking the blue unicorn block I made very well might have to become a pillow for one of my kiddos. It will surely be cherished that way.

With all of those options on your plate, your beautiful Farmer’s Wife blocks are sure to find their way into a finished work of beauty instead of floundering in a pile in your sewing space, right?!  Choose your own adventure, enjoy the journey, and thanks so much for joining in on this wild Farmer’s Wife Sew Along experience!

So which adventure will I choose?

Once I completed Flora, I pulled out all of my completed blocks and put them up on my design wall to take stock of my progress. As seen above, I finished a whopping 16 blocks. I am not counting the three blocks that have foundation paper piecing templates printed, cut out, and fabric pulled, since they are not yet sewn, but I do plan to make them eventually.

smaller quilt same layout planAt first I considered the “Make a Smaller Quilt” option, and thought perhaps I’ll make a few more blocks to fill out a lap sized quilt in my original layout. Note that these photos are from a purely planning phase–fabric slapped up onto my portable design wall simply for the benefit of playing with different arrangements visually. It’s wrinkled and wonky and that’s all part of the fun! 

warm on darkSince I made the warm colored blocks with a dark background and the cool colored blocks with a white background, I probably will stick with those for sashing and background blocks.

Once I began writing this post, though, the negative-space filled setting inspired by the Concerto Quilt is really calling to me. I may opt to plug away and make some more blocks, with the end goal of setting them in a fade out pattern similar to the blocks in the Concerto Quilt. Time will tell, and since I know that I want to make more blocks before settling on any of the options, it’s absolutely okay to choose later!

snail and low volumes worked into greenery
Do you see Flora?

Flora is going to go live in my Greenery 2017 quilt, though, since the block reminded me strongly of dappled light through the treetops and I thought adding a Farmer’s Wife block to my year’s Greenery project would be the perfect touch! The quilt is already a green melting pot of blocks from all of the sew alongs and bees I’m joining this year so it feels only right that a Farmer’s Wife 1930s block join the ranks.

The moral of this story is: There are no rules. This is your quilt. You can do anything you want to with these blocks!  Enjoy the adventure!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.


Sew Alongs and Bees: Community Sewing Across the Miles

After a longer than intended lull in blogging, I’m back and eager to share my reflections, process, and creative adventures with you! I’ve said it before, but beginning is the hardest step. I got stuck in a cycle of the longer I waited, the harder it was to simply jump back into blogging. Today, that ends. What better place to begin than with community and some of the fun sew alongs and bees taking place this year, as well as my grand plan for stress-free participation in them!? Soon I will share my goals, focus, and “one word” for 2017, as well as some of the other fun projects on which I’ve been working. For now, hello!! It’s great to be back, and I’m excited to share inspiration and creativity with you again!

The online quilting community is known for its welcoming vibe and almost endless opportunities to sew together virtually if not in person. There are so many fun Sew Alongs and Quilt Bees happening at any given moment across the quilting community, it’s often hard to decide which ones to join and which ones to pass on. I’ve joined a few Sew Alongs in the past, typically the block-at-a-time style–specifically the Farmer’s Wife led by Angie at Gnome Angel, #100days100blocks also lead by Angie on Instagram, and the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew Along led by yours truly on Instagram. I had a lovely time participating (and still participating) in them, but found that I often cannot keep up with the pace because of other obligations. For 2017, I think I’ve come up with a plan to address that and turn it into creative opportunity!

First, here are the Sew Alongs and Bees I’m currently committed to participating in:

52 weeks with the quilters planner gnome angel sew along52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner

by Angie of Gnome Angel

Hosted by the Sew Along Queen, Angie from Gnome Angel, this sew along is a given for me! Using the block instructions on each weekly spread in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, Angie’s leading this sew along to encourage and support you to make each block each week. Visit her page HERE to read all the details, as well as to see how you can join. This is a great sew along for those looking to get into a regular sewing habit. Plus, it’s a chance to use your Quilter’s Planner to its fullest!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017The Honey Pot Bee

by Molli Sparkes

Molli is hosting a quilting bee that breaks all the rules–as he says, you get none of the sting, and all of the sticky goodness! I love the relaxed mentality about this bee, and it’s a little extra exciting since I’m one of the Queen Bees for April! Here are the details, straight from Molli’s announcement post:

Each month there are two queens (and/or kings, but for the sake of brevity will be called queens) who decide on The Honey Pot Bee block patterns. Each queen picks one, I announce them to the world, then each participating member (Princesses and Princes) can choose to make one of each or two of the same. Each member then keeps the blocks for themselves.

This is less of a block swap, and more of a way to find amazing block tutorials / patterns they never knew they wanted to try from other amazingly talented people. Some of the blocks will be original patterns from the queens, some will be existing tutorials from world class quilters. That will be up to the queens to choose.

The benefits for Participant Princesses and Princes:
They get to use their own fabric that they’ve been stashing
They improve and stretch their own skills
They work to their own timeline
There is no pressure
No one is disappointed if they’re late
They act as their own quality control
They meet a group of like-minded, inspiring individuals
They see the varying potential of each block
Participating with me

I love this idea since I really don’t *need* another project, but I do love the community that is built around quilt bees and sew alongs. I love that Molli encourages you to make only the blocks you love, and that there are two unique options each month. Once I came up with my 2017 grand plan (more on that below), this one definitely needed to be added to the pot! Get all the details HERE.

garden snail quilt
Photo credit: Pen and Paper Patterns

Garden Snail Quilt Snail Paced Slow-Along Sew-Along

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#snailday #gardensnailsquilt

This is another fun weekly sew along hosted by Angie, using Pen and Paper Pattern’s Garden Snail Quilt. I think these snails are super cute, so I am joining in the fun, but plan to make only a few snails to add to the mix of the rest of my blocks. The gist of this Sew Along is easy… you simply make one block each week and post it on social media of your choice on Snail Sundays. You can find all the details HERE.

So now… for my Grand Plan that makes all of this not only manageable, but also fun!

My Grand Plan

Ready? I plan to participate in all of these sew alongs and bees, but with NO pressure. I am not playing along for the prizes. I’m playing along for the community and the recurring “deadline” to make a block and share it. I plan to use the same fabric pull and color scheme for all three of these bees/sew alongs, and combine all of the blocks together at the end of the year into a (hopefully) queen sized quilt for our bed. This way, I can make the blocks I really love, whenever I have the time to make the block, and I won’t need to stress when either life obligations kick it up a notch, or I have another project that needs my attention. As they say in hashtag land, #winning!

greenery color palette sew alongs 2017I’ll write more about this in another post, but I plan to use a color palette based upon the Pantone color of the year for 2017: Greenery. While green is not a color I’ve sewn with in large quantities before, it speaks to me on many different levels–from the freshness of the color, the vibrant hope that comes from new life in the spring, to the rich green that abounds in the environment around me–which as you know, I love dearly–, to the simple challenge of making a quilt with no final assembly pattern, and no guidelines except color. I’m both invigorated and scared at this plan, but as is my style, I’m jumping in with abandon, holding onto the hope that I can pull it all together into something epically beautiful (or at least tolerably pretty) at the end of the year.

For those of you who excel at fun and clever naming, I am trying to decide on a name for this greenery quilt project and am open to any suggestions or ideas! I want to select a name for this quilt so that I can tag all of my progress together across the bees/sew alongs, but “Kitty’s Greenery Quilt” sounds a bit flat. Maybe Night Quilter Hugs Trees and Bees? LOL #NQhugstreesandbeesquilt Uhm….

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress here, and thank you as always for following along with me on my creative journey, during waves of profuse creativity as well as lulls of relative quiet. I hope 2017 is off to a great start, and I’m looking forward to creating with a hopeful heart this year.

I’ll link up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social tomorrow, since I’m ready to jump back in!


Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

Ahh, remember the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along!? Today is my day to share the Block 95 Sylvia tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. Sure, I’m wildly behind on this sew along, but that’s totally ok! With my final deadlines being met within the next couple of weeks, I will have time to catch up a bit, chipping away at the missing blocks here and there. It’s all good! That’s part of what I love about Angie’s Sew Along–there’s no pressure. I’m making this quilt for me and I can take as long as I want to finish it!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEach of these Farmer’s Wife blocks manage to pack quite a punch in the little 6 1/2″ space. My method of attack when deciding how to piece each block has been consistent: how can I piece this with as little muss and fuss as possible? With Sylvia, at first I was thinking chain piecing would be the way to go, since it would help minimize the teeny tiny pieces in the inner borders I’d need to cut and sew. Looking at it more closely, I decided that with this block, even chain piecing would require piecing TINY bits, cutting, and then piecing again. Plus, sixteenths of an inch!? No thank you! Finally, I decided that foundation paper piecing was the way to go, since:

  • there aren’t any tricky joins,
  • the pieces are teeny enough that the foundation paper will be helpful in reducing wonkiness,
  • the block breaks into pretty manageable pieces, AND
  • all of the border pieces can be cut using a rotary cutter and ruler to decrease the paper removal at the end.

Those who know me know that I LOVE foundation paper piecing (FPP), and it’s true–I do! The precision one can get using FPP is unrivaled, and once the technique is mastered, it makes sewing teeny tiny pieces MUCH more manageable. I am not going to take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece, since I have  written two very clear tutorials already (why reinvent the wheel, right!?), but I will share some block-specific tips and tricks to help you piece Sylvia smoothly.

For those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog here. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

Nearly every one of the letters in this book seems to talk to me in a very specific, seemingly personal way. After the first dozen times of reading a letter I shockingly thought was *meant for me*, I realized that all of the letters have a very widely applicable message and I was simply interpreting it in a way that worked for me at that moment. That said, I can completely relate to this letter!!

Sometimes it’s necessary to just head off on an adventure despite whatever chores, obligations, or need for frugality you have waiting for you at home. We did a lot of adventuring this summer, but like Mrs. A. M. from the letter, we were able to do it on a very tight budget, not paying for much more than gas money.  Day trips to beaches, mountains, playgrounds, and forested hikes abounded, and I was always sure to pack a picnic lunch, extra snacks from home, and full changes of clothes for all three kids (and myself)… just in case. It was a much needed change from the stay home and do chores days we could have had!


farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialReady to get sewing? Make sure you have a grasp on how to foundation paper piece, and let’s make Sylvia!

Choosing Fabrics

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAs soon as I saw this block, I knew that I wanted to meticulously cut the center square. I’m arranging my blocks on point, so be mindful of your own plans before meticulously cutting your fabric! (I call “fussy cutting” meticulous cutting, and you can read why here). In looking for a fabric with a perfect color scheme and feature design, I stumbled across my precious Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns (Windham Fabrics). I added some solid blue from an old project, and some Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper Palette (Andover Fabrics). While the colors are a bit more muted than my other blocks, I think they will all work together. Plus, this fabric combination was a match made in heaven… once it was together, there was no separating it!

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.2 (if you are an absolute newbie at FPP, try 1.5 until you get the hang of it);
  • Hand crank your needle down at the beginning of each line to make sure you start off exactly where you want to;
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure your stitches (they will be much sturdier during paper removal this way); and,
  • Foundation paper piecing results in many trimmed thread ends. What better time to make yourself a thread catcher? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make the one I use.

To help you while you stitch up Sylvia, here are some block-specific tips for you with photos from my process.

Tip #1: How to make a fussy cutting template for FPP

Fussy cutting while foundation paper piecing can seem daunting, but with one extra step, it can be super easy! Simply create a fussy cutting planning template for the piece(s) you want to focus on. I go through making such template in detail in my FPP post for Andover here, but here are the basics: Print an extra sheet of paper containing the FPP template with the piece you want to fussy cut (printing on card stock will make the planning template sturdier).

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialMark the specific piece you want to meticulously cut. I went a little overboard on marking mine for the sake of clarity here. I circled the number but also traced just outside the line of the particular piece, both with bright pink sharpie. Simply circling the number would probably suffice!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut out the center of the piece, creating a window that is exactly the size of the piece you want.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialDraw a 3/8″ seam allowance around the window. I used a green micron pen for this example to ensure the line didn’t get confused with the printed lines on the paper.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialYou should how have a planning template to help you cut your fabric for fussy cutting. Notice that I placed my planning template onto the fabric upside down. This is because in foundation paper piecing, we are sewing the block on the reverse side of the template. It did not matter too much for this particular piece, since it’s a square, but always be mindful of directionality of the fabric as well as wrong side-right side. If need be, mark your planning template with “right side up” or “wrong side up” so that your fabric is cut properly!

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialBetween sewing the fabric on the reverse side of the paper, having the block broken into sometimes odd sections before sewing, and the many pieces involved in most foundation paper piecing patterns, it is in your best interest to color code your paper template before beginning to sew. This way, you can be sure you sew each fabric in the proper place.

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEspecially when first getting started with foundation paper piecing, one of the biggest tips I can offer is to be generous with your fabric pieces. It’s better to have to trim a bit more off than to be short and have to rip stitches! For my bright blue squares on Sylvia, I cut the fabric into 1 1/2″ squares, which as you can see includes ample overhang.

Tip #4: Use rotary cutter and ruler for rectangular shapes

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialThis tip goes for bag-making as well: just because there is a template created for a perfectly rectangular piece, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your rotary cutter and ruler! The outer pieces of Sylvia can be easily cut using a rotary cutter and ruler, which will save time with paper removal at the end. Since these pieces are not easily measured (let’s avoid using sixteenths of an inch if we can help it!) simply cut out the foundation paper piece templates and use them as a guide when rotary cutting. Use the foundation paper piecing method to piece the center portion, then add the D, E, H, and I rectangles using traditional piecing methods. Easy peasy!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAnd there you have it. Sylvia, in all her glory.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.


#100Days100Blocks Thrifted City Sampler

A few months ago when Angie from Gnome Angel announced her newest wild and crazy sew along, a challenge to sew all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book in 100 days, of course I was intrigued, tempted, and mentally plotting color schemes. But I was good, and knew that I already had a full plate. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch from the outside. Flash forward a few weeks when the challenge began and thousands of gorgeous blocks started popping up everywhere, flooding my Instagram feed with beauty, diversity, and temptation. Cue…

100 days 100 blocks peekSo fun! Still, I resisted. Then I noticed that Kim from My Go Go Life was making her blocks entirely out of thrifted materials, and they were GORGEOUS. This reminded me of the #MakeDoQuilt challenge recently initiated by Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time, where she invites participants to make at least one quilt top and back out of salvaged clothing, linens, curtains, or other household materials in the next 365 days. She shares:

Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.

Reading this struck my environment-loving heartstrings, and I knew I had to add this to my list of makes for the year. With Kim’s encouragement, I was hooked. Thus began my #ThriftedCitySampler, 10 days late but raring to go. I resisted for quite a long time, really!

thrifted clothing for quiltI pulled some old worn out clothes from our toss/donation piles (a workshirt of my husband’s with elbows worn nearly through, a pair of maternity corduroys that were a hand-me-down given to me by a friend who had received them as a hand-me-down from another friend and worn bare in too many spots to mend, and a thrifted leather skirt I had bought for a project that fizzled before it really began), and hit up a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps a bit. I decided to focus on a monochromatic grey color palette, but asked my kids to choose a pop of color from the sale racks. A large pair of coral women’s capri pants fit the bill, and I’m excited at the resulting palette.

Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13
Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13 (from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, for the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel)

It took me a few days to decide how I wanted to share these blocks each day on Instagram. I began by simply sharing each block with a basic flat lay, but with the muted color palette, the aesthetic just wasn’t doing it for me.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100days
Block 14 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 14 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: wetlands!

I finally decided to continue along the environmental advocate path. Appreciating, understanding, and caring for our earth is very important to me, and so I decided to use the sharing of these blocks made out of thrifted materials as a platform to share some tidbits of information about the environment, in the hope that by learning more about this mind-blowingly diverse and beautiful world, people will be more invested in preserving, restoring, and caring for the environment.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100daysEven if you don’t have Instagram, you can follow along with my posts and environmental tidbits by clicking HERE to see my #ThriftedCitySampler stream on Instagram.* I invite you to follow along with my posts, where I’ll share tidbits about this beautiful world: information about a specific ecosystem, an introduction to some of my favorite plants, or sharing wild stories of symbiotic relationships in the world around us.

*Please let me know if this doesn’t work, those of you without Instagram; it seems to work for me, but I also have an IG account.

block 15 tula pink city sampler 100 days 100 blocks
Block 15 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 15 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: milkweed and monarchs!

So far, I’ve shared information about my favorite ecosystem: wetlands (I worked for 6 years as a wetland scientist before teaching and then mom-ing), and the awesome symbiotic relationship between milkweed and monarch butterflies. I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps learn something new about this amazing world in which we live.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been AGES since I’ve joined a linky party and I miss sharing my creative process and in turn, peeking into your recent creations!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 31 Eva Tutorial

Today is my day to share the Block 31 Eva tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell.

Farmers Wife 31 Eva TutorialAs with Autumn, a first look at block 31 Eva may cause you to balk: 37 pieces in one 6″ block, and many of them are tiny squares!? But with a creative look at the block construction,  Eva can come together smoothly and without too many teeny pieces. This sew along continues to show me that there is nearly always a faster and easier way to approach block construction than purely cutting out all of the pieces and sewing them together. With a few shortcuts and piecing tricks, Eva comes together quite smoothly. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use strip piecing to save a bit of time and create larger, more manageable pieces, and fill in the gaps using Marti Michell templates (Set A) or rotary cutting to help make putting Eva together smooth and enjoyable.

Note: Exact measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial in order to protect copy write. It is a prerequisite of making this block that you have a copy of the book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them. All measurements can be found in this book and its associated media. That said, even if you aren’t sewing along with us, I think you will find some really helpful tips in this tutorial that will help you look at all block construction more creatively!

Reflection on the Letter – Two Little Sparrows

The letters in this book continue to move me in their honesty and relevance in my life today. It’s amazing how similar the worries of today are to those of the farmer’s wives back in the 1930s. Losing sleep over financial stability seems to me to be part of the human condition. Especially at our current stage of life, growing a young family, recently having bought our first home, and working hard as a one-income family of five so that I may be a full time mom raising our children, my husband and I unfortunately do not escape the worries of making ends meet. Mrs. P. G.’s dream of two sparrows drawing nearer together when faced with the winds of adversity really resonated with me, and gives me renewed hope that “every little thing, is going to be alright” (thanks, Bob Marley, and Mrs. P. G.).


For this block, I specifically chose fabrics with small or nondirectional prints, so that I could quickly strip piece the components without worrying about fussy cutting or directionality. Note that I am arranging my final layout on-point, but for the purposes of being consistent with the diagram in the book, this tutorial pieces the block squared. If you plan to set your blocks on-point, be sure to account for that with any directional fabric placement.

Farmers Wife 31 Eva TutorialWhen broken into more manageable pieces, this block is composed of the center 9-patch, two pairs of mirror image blocks, and 8 surrounding triangles, cut with templates and/or a rotary cutter. I first made the blocks using strip piecing to speed up the creation of the components, and then sewed them all together. Let’s break it down.

Making the Center 9-Patch

In the book, the cream and yellow fabrics were used to make the #31E 9-patch. Choose your coordinating fabrics (I used black and orange and will refer to the fabrics as black and orange throughout).

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialCut one (1) 1 3/16″ x 19″ long strip of your cream equivalent fabric (I used black). Subcut two (2) 4″ long pieces. Set the remainder of the strip aside.

Cut one (1) 1 3/16″ x 16 1/2″ long strip of your yellow equivalent fabric (I used orange). Subcut one (1) 4″ long piece and one (1) 1 3/16″ square. Set the remainder of the strip aside.

*Measurement tip: 3/16″ is halfway between 1/8″ and 1/4″. Since the 1 3/16″ measure was used so often in cutting for this block, I marked it with painter’s tape on my ruler to help avoid confusion. 

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialSew black strips to orange center as shown. I prefer to press my seams open for ease of matching seams and reduction of bulk. Feel free to press open or toward the darker fabric.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorial
Ruler marked with 1 3/16″ measure.

Cut into three (3) 1 3/16″ wide strips as shown.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialNext, carefully unsew one of the black squares. Sew the orange 1 3/16″ square to the other side to make the center strip for the 9-patch.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialThis is a great time to use a leaders and enders project to help smoothly sew these tiny pieces without the fabric getting bunched in the machine. If you don’t have a leaders and enders project in progress, sew through a scrap piece of fabric before sewing the tiny squares together. This will help your stitches stay smooth despite the tiny fabric size!

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialYou now will have your three strips for your 9-patch.

FW Eva front back 9 patchCarefully sew them together, pinning just after each seam join. Press seams open. Above shows my block, front and back. Note how nicely the pressed-open seams sit! Set your 9-patch aside.

Making the Mirror Image Blocks

In the book, the cream, yellow, and blue fabrics were used to make the remaining blocks, each comprised of a #31C and two #31D-#31E units. (I used black, orange, and yellow-orange fabrics and will refer to them as such throughout).

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialCut one (1) 1 7/8″ x 11″ piece from your blue-equivalent fabric (I used yellow-orange). Retrieve the fabric strips set aside during the 9-patch construction, and subcut one (1) 1 3/16″ x 11″ strip from the orange. From the black strip, subcut four (4) 1 3/16″x 2 5/16″ pieces. If you have the Marti Michell template set A, the A-3 template is exactly 2 5/16″ and can be used to easily cut the pieces.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialSew the orange to the light orange as shown. Press seams open. Subcut the strip set into eight (8) 1 3/16″ segments. Using a ruler marked with painter’s tape as shown previously in this tutorial will help this step go quickly.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorial**MIRROR IMAGE ALERT** At first glance the blocks above may look the same, but notice that they are actually mirror images. The two on top are mirror images of the two on the bottom. Carefully arrange your pieces as shown above, paying very close attention to the direction of the orange bits: orange bit facing down on the left and up on the right for the top two; orange bit facing up on the left and down on the right for the bottom two.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialVery carefully sew the blocks together, pausing midway to double check the alignment before sewing the second strip onto each center. Press seams open. Set these four blocks aside.

Cutting the Triangles

In the book, the cream fabric was used to make all of the triangles that comprise the background of this block. I used black fabric.

farmers wife 31 eva tutorialCut a 2″ x 18″ strip of black fabric. Using Marti Michell templates A-4 and A-6 or the templates provided in the media associated with the book, cut four (4) #31A and four (4) #31B pieces. The photo above demonstrates how to efficiently cut the pieces from the 2″ strip. One more #31A (the large triangle) and one more #31B (the smaller right triangle) remain to be cut in the photo above.

Assembling the Block

Farmers Wife 31 Eva TutorialNow you have all of the components necessary for piecing Eva! Grab all of your blocks and triangles and let’s lay them out. Here is where the mirror image blocks can get easily mixed up. Take your time, cross referencing with the picture in the book or the photo above to make sure that all of your pieces are heading in the proper direction.

Farmers Wife 31 Eva Alignment Diagram*Note: The orange squares all converge in a horizontal strip in the center of the block. If an oval is drawn horizontally across the center, it should contain all orange squares. 

Once you are sure you have your layout correct, I suggest that you take a photo with your phone for reference. Refer to it before each step, since it’s much easier to take a second look than to rip stitches to resew (ask me how I know! I began assembling the block before realizing that two of my orange bits were facing the wrong direction. Hello, bff seam ripper!)

Farmers Wife 31 Eva tutorial assemblyWe will assemble this block in diagonal strips. Begin by sewing the large #31A triangles to either sides of the top right and bottom left mirror image blocks, and the top left and bottom right mirror image blocks to the center 9-patch. Press seams open.

Farmers Wife 31 Eva tutorial assemblyNext, sew the #31B triangles onto each unit.

Farmers Wife 31 Eva tutorial assembly pinsFinally, sew the top right and bottom left units to the center strip. I find it helpful to pin just after each seam match for perfectly matched seams. Between the pressed-open seams and the pin *just* after each seam, my block comes together just how I like it!

Farmers Wife 31 Eva tutorialViola! There you have Eva, easy peasy! I love the look of this block set squared, but since my quilt blocks will be set on point, I decided to have her orange strip head uphill, since optimism makes the world a brighter place, and the letter encourages sticking together in the face of the winds of adversity. Chin up, here we go!

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.


Colour Block Challenge Hosted by Gnome Angel

Those who know me know I love color, the brighter and bolder the better! I also love quilt photography and fun styling of process photos, and continuously aim to improve the clarity and aesthetic pull of my photographs. So when Angie at Gnome Angel announced a fun little challenge called the Colour Block Challenge (yes, colour with a ‘u’!) that includes bright color and fun photo styling, I immediately wanted to play. With a to-do list a mile long and only wee bits of time in which to complete it, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to squeeze in making a block for it though. Then, Angie gave me just the gentle nudge I needed–she tagged me on Instagram saying she was personally challenging me, since she knew how much I would LOVE to play. Then and there, I knew I was going to make time to play and participate no matter what–don’t you love when quilting friends really know you and help encourage you to have some extra fun!?

Take a colour themed quilt block photo and win! Find out more at www.gnomeangel.com
Take a colour themed quilt block photo and win! Find out more at http://www.gnomeangel.com

I read through Angie’s fabulous tutorial on how to make awesome color (er,… colour) flat lay photos, selected fabrics that I felt complimented the block well but also would lend themselves to some fun color scavenger hunts around the house, and went wild.

I took a full Finn nap-time (a serendipitously long one at that!) to make a new Farmer’s Wife block with the colour challenge in mind. This was doubly great, since I’ve been wanting to make more Farmer’s Wife blocks, but they always seem to drop to the bottom of my list. This project has jump-started my desire to catch up with some blocks, AND has reminded me how much I love foundation paper piecing (FPP)! I plan to FPP more of my future Farmer’s Wife blocks, since I was able to make the entire block during the span of one nap time. Knowing that I can accomplish something like making an entire block during one nap helps me feel like I’m set up for success and ready to dive in. Everyone loves a finish, even if it’s a single block!

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise Once my block was complete, I wandered the house in search of colorfully turquoise objects. As Angie suggests, I gathered a lot and generally laid them out around the block on a big white foam board.

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise I arranged and rearranged, and rearranged some more. Without sharing all her secrets (you can go and read her awesome tutorial on how to succeed with these colour flat lay photos here), Angie was so right that the magic happens as you get closer and closer with your photo.

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise I think I spent more time rearranging the items than making the block, and remembering where they all went when I was done was another interesting challenge. I honestly had such a fun time laying this out. I already have another idea I want to try, which almost ALWAYS happens when I divert from my project to-do list to play, but I have to get one deadlined tutorial finished before I play more with this idea. I have a feeling my kids will love helping me with these photo flat lays, too. I made this one while the big kids were away on their grand adventure with my parents, so they didn’t get to help this time around. Just one more reason to make the time to play juuuuuust one more time *wink* (we all know I’m not finished with these color block flat lays!)

colour block challenge gnomeangel nightquilter entryThe challenge is being held on Instagram, so here was my final entry (above). Looking at it again, my camera photos look brighter than the one I took with my phone. Note taken for next time! You have two more days to post your entries, so if you are on Instagram, I definitely recommend you play, or at least check out the hashtag #colourblockchallenge to feast your eyes upon a gorgeous world of quilty color (you can view the tag online, even if you don’t have a smart phone or an Instagram account).

Since I love close up detail photos, here is a little tour of the silly items I found for this challenge. Who knew that we had so many turquoise bits and bobs around the house!?

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise frogZippers and frogs, and pencils, oh my!

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise ribbon boyntonChecking the kids’ bookshelf was a great tip by Angie. Sandra Boyton’s Hippos Go Berserk is a must read, especially when you love turquoise, math, and silliness (like I do!).

colour block challenge by gnomeangel turquoise sharkThis smiley shark had as much fun as I did, I think! Legos are an immediate win, and the little bobbin minders that Sarah from Sarah Goer Quilts sent me a few months ago kicked off my color hunt. No turquoise lay would be complete without an Elsa shoe, too, glittering in the background.

So much fun! Thank you, Angie, for the push to play. I had SO much fun with this!


Back on the Wagon with the Farmer’s Wife

It has been a long while since I last shared an update on my 1930’s Farmer’s Wife quilt progress. I wish I could say it’s been because I’ve been too busy stitching them up to post photos, but…. you know the truth. I haven’t made much progress. You know what, though? That’s ok! I have been creating all sorts of everything, and the whole idea behind this sew-along is to have fun. I’m still excited about my color scheme and warm-cool layout plan, and I plan to get back on the wagon with making slow progress on the blocks.

Since my last post, I’ve made two whole 6″ blocks. Yay, progress! Both blocks are in cool-on-white colors, since in looking at my blocks thus far, I decided I needed to build my cool collection.

farmers wife #46 jewel Jewel is the first block I foundation paper pieced, and you know me–I LOVE foundation paper piecing! As straightforward as she looks, I think I struggled with Jewel the most out of any of the blocks I’ve made thus far. Between the mirror image fabric placements and the tough angles, this block is a bit ragged around the edges. I’m living with it though, and I think it should be hidden within the seam allowances eventually.

This block also will act as a bit of a tie between the true blue blocks and more turquoise blocks. I am still on the fence as to how I will ultimately arrange the blocks within the cool-warm areas, but I think as I make more blocks, a cohesive plan will arise. It nearly always does, right?

farmers wife #67 mrs brownMrs. Brown was very fun to make. I used some precious scraps and had some fun with meticulous cutting to get those parent birds to gather around the nesting babes. I know these blocks measure a measly 6″ square when finished, but they sure do pack a lot of punch!

I’m currently finishing up a big project and a few small ones, and then I plan on setting the month of April aside for selfish sewing since it’s my birthday month. Part of my selfish sewing will include cranking out a few more of these 1930s Farmer’s Wife blocks (I hope!) An exciting update about the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along was recently announced, and should help my catch-up goal tremendously. The amazing Angie from Gnome Angel, who has been hosting this epic world-wide sew along with over 7,000 members (!!!), has decided to switch to releasing one block per week instead of two. It turns out she’s only human, too! It is reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one feeling like these sweet little 6″ blocks are not something to be taken lightly (nor something to be sewn up in any kind of record time).

I’m extending my promise from last time one more post–next time I post an update about my Farmer’s Wife progress, I’ll show you all of the blocks! Hold me to it!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 9 Autumn Tutorial

Today is my day to share the Block 9 Autumn tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialWith a block like Autumn, it’s easy to get daunted before you even begin: 37 pieces in one 6″ block!? Ack! But wait! This is a perfect time to practice looking at each block’s construction creatively. If there’s one thing this sew along has taught me, it’s that there is nearly always a faster and easier way to approach block construction than purely cutting out all of the pieces and sewing them together. With a few shortcuts and piecing tricks, Autumn comes together quite smoothly. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make half square triangles (HST) 8 at a time (Yes, 8! We make all of the HST needed in this block at once), use strip piecing to save a bit of time, and fill in the gaps using Marti Michell templates (Set B and Set N are helpful with this block) or rotary cutting to help make putting Autumn together as easy as watching falling leaves.

As you may have noticed, I used different locations for the orange and black fabrics in the center square than those used in the book. I’d like to say it was intentional, but lo… it was not. I did not even realize my error until this entire tutorial was finished, photographed, and scheduled to post, as I was proudly admiring my block. When I realized my error, at first horror swept over me. Then, after Angie’s reassurance and another look at my block, I decided that Autumn was a good place for a design change. After all, it’s my quilt! I encourage you to remember that during this sew along, and don’t be afraid to make your quilt your own, with a hefty dose of gentleness toward yourself if  when you discover an error after fully completing a block. Call it an unexpected design element. AND take this as an extra reminder to double check your fabric placement and choices BEFORE sewing your block together!

Note: Exact measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial in order to protect copy write. It is a prerequisite of making this block that you have a copy of the book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them. All measurements can be found in this book and its associated media. That said, even if you aren’t sewing along with us, I think you will find some really helpful tips in this tutorial that will help you look at all block construction more creatively!

Reflection on the Letter – A Precious Half-Hour

For those of you reading this who are not sewing along, one of my favorite aspects of this sew along is that each block in the book is inspired and accompanied by a letter written by an actual 1930 farmer’s wife. It has been inspiring to see how similar these farmer’s wives’ dreams, desires, troubles, and day-to-day struggles were to mine, and to hear their often uplifting takes on life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the letter with tears in my eyes, nodding a resounding “yes!” as I relate my own life to the words on the page.

I know Angie said that blocks were allocated completely randomly, but this letter was meant for me. This woman is me! It was both surreal and somehow encouraging to read that even those hard working, ever-positive farmer’s wives embraced the NEED to make time for themselves. A few months ago, I created a hashtag (#sewtake20) in an attempt to encourage other busy moms (and myself!) to make time for themselves 20 minutes a day, no matter how crazy the day, how high the stack of dishes, and how all-engulfing the mountain of laundry. Wise L.O.L. from Iowa recognized the need to nourish body and soul back in 1939, despite her full plate. While she took a precious half hour and I’m striving for only 20 minutes, it still helps me to not feel so guilty doing the same here in 2015.


For this block, I specifically chose fabrics with small or nondirectional prints, so that I could quickly piece the components without worrying about fussy cutting or directionality. The #9C pieces are a small exception, since I gave a tiny bit of focus to fabric alignment. Note that I am arranging my final layout on-point, but for the purposes of being consistent with the diagram in the book, this tutorial pieces the block squared. If you plan to set your blocks on-point, be sure to account for that with any directional fabric placement.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialThis block is composed of 8 HSTs, 8 rectangles, 9 squares, and 4 triangles. I first cranked out the bits I could make quickly and efficiently, namely the HSTs and the center square. Let’s break it down.

Making 8 HSTs at Once

In the book, the print and coral fabrics were used to make the #9F HSTs. Choose your coordinating fabrics (I used black and orange).

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialCut one (1) 5″ square from each. Note: If your HST-making skills are on point and you want to conserve fabric, you can use 4 3/4″ squares. I prefer to play it safe and trim a bit more to ensure my HSTs are perfect.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialRight sides together, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner, making an X. You only need to mark the wrong side of one of the squares.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialPin your squares together to keep them from shifting, and sew 1/4″ from the right and left of both lines. This is a good time to confirm the accuracy of your 1/4″ seams.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialCarefully draw a line down the middle of the blocks in both directions. I used the 2 1/2″ line on my ruler to help make sure my line was square. You should now see a plus and an X.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialCut along the marked lines. Press open.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialYou now have 8 HSTs! I typically press all seams open, but with HSTs I press to the darker fabric since I use my Bloc Loc rulers to trim them to size. If you don’t have Bloc Loc rulers, feel free to press seams open, and align the 45 degree line on your ruler to help trim to the size indicated on the #9F template in the book.

Farmers Wife Marti Michell template HSTYou can also use Marti Michell template N79 to trim to square, too. Be sure to center your diagonal seam in the centers of the two holes in the template to trim evenly.


Do a little dance and set those 8 HSTs aside.

Strip Piecing the Center Square

Because the center square is symmetrical, two of the outer edges can be strip pieced, saving you a bit of time and thread.

In the book, the coral (#9D) and yellow (#9G) fabrics with a tiny center square of print (#9E) were used. I should have used black, yellow-orange, and a tiny center square of orange, but as I noted above, I made an inadvertent design change and went with orange, yellow-orange, and a tiny center square of black. Wrap your brain around which of your fabrics belong where for your block, and here we go. **Really, take a moment and make doubly sure you have the right fabrics. Got it? Great! We will be strip piecing the two rectangles composed of #9G and #9D.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialCut two (2) 1 5/8″x 3 1/4″ rectangles of your #9D fabric and one (1) 1″ x 3 1/4″ rectangle of your #9G fabric. (Math aside: The 5/8ths” mark is the little line right after–aka a bit larger than–the 1/2″ mark on your ruler.)

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialRight sides facing, sew the #9D rectangles to the center #9G along each long side.

1930 farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialCut in half as shown to create two (2) 1 5/8″ x 3 1/4″ rectangles. We will call these your #9DG units.

farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialUsing the rotary cutting measurements provided in the book’s cd, cut two (2) #9Gs and one (1) #9E.

farmers wife 9 autumn tutorialAssemble as shown. Note that I rotated the bottom row 180 degrees so that the direction of the yellow-orange fabric radiates outward from the center.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialSew your strip pieced #9GD units to the top and bottom of your center piece to create the center square.

Farmers Wife Piecing TipSewing Tip: When matching seams, pin directly after the seam join to prevent slipping. Also, take a moment to match up the seam lines on the opposite raw edges, too. While it is not a sewn edge, it will help keep the sewn edge level.

Cutting the Remaining Pieces

Now we need four (4) #9D squares, four (4) #9C rectangles, and four (4) #9A triangles. These remaining pieces can be cut in a very straightforward way, by using the rotary cutting instructions or paper templates included, or using Marti Michell templates. I’ve found that using the Marti Michell templates really help me line up different units accurately, so I opted to use those for the triangles and rotary cut the squares and rectangles. Here’s how:

9 Autumn Rotary and TemplateCut a 1 1/2″ x 6″ strip of your coral-equivalent fabric (I used black). Subcut the four #9D squares, per the measurements provided in the rotary cutting instructions or with Marti Michell template N79.

Cut a 1 1/2″ x 10″ strip of your print-equivalent fabric (I used orange). Subcut the four #9C rectangles, per the measurements provided in the rotary cutting instructions.

Cut a 2 1/2″ x 7″ strip of your print-equivalent fabric (I used orange). Using Marti Michell template B13, subcut four (4) #9A triangles. If you don’t have the Marti Michell templates, you can use the rotary cutting dimensions or paper templates provided on the book’s accompanying CD.

Assembling the Block
farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorial
Here is a shout out to the essential tools used in creating this block: Flatter by Soak makes everything lay smoothly–even HSTs!–, Aurifil thread, Marti Michell templates, and my trusty Olfa rotary cutter. *Not shown but equally essential is the Bloc Loc ruler!*

Now that you have all of the necessary components, lay them out to make sure you have all of the pieces aligned properly (pay particular attention to those sneaky HSTs). Tip: Take the time here to focus and be sure that all of the pieces are arranged properly, heavily referencing the picture in the book. The HSTs are particularly sneaky. Once your block is perfect, take a picture with your phone and reference it heavily throughout the piecing process. It takes less time to stop and lay out your pieces to check the arrangement than it does to seam rip once you’re finished!

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialFirst, sew the #9A triangles to the center square as shown. Begin with two opposite sides. Press seams open.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialSew on the remaining two triangles. Press seams open. Your center square should now measure 4 1/2″ including seam allowances.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialfarmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialPair corner #9B squares with their neighboring HSTs and sew as shown.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialI like to chain piece steps like this, and as I pick up my pairs of squares to sew, I align all of the to-be-sewn edges so that I don’t get mixed up between my cutting/arranging table and the sewing machine.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialSew HST-corner square units to center #9C rectangles to create the top and bottom rows.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialNext we will sew the middle row together. Sew the HSTs to the side #9C rectangles as shown.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialAgain, pay close attention to the alignment of those HSTs! They like to do somersaults on the trip to the sewing machine if you’re not super careful!

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialSew side HST-rectangle units to center square.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialSew top and bottom rows to the center row. Tip: This is another great place to match bottom seam lines as well as those right at the sewn raw edge. There are only two seams to match! I love this block! Press all seams open.

farmers wife 9 autumn quilt block tutorialGaze lovingly upon your Autumn block and think, “Gee, that wasn’t so bad! But it sure took me longer than a precious half-hour!” (and if you’re me, about 45 minutes later realize in horror that you botched the center square’s fabric placement, then decide that your Farmer’s Wife quilt deserved some individuality anyway, and let it go.)

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful! This is the last tutorial before the Christmas break, which begins tomorrow and lasts through the first week in January. I know I am hoping to do some serious Farmer’s Wife catch-up amongst all of the festivities. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a very happy New Year to you all!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe 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.

Here are links to all of December’s tutorials:
09/29/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

12/02/2015: Debbie @ Happy Little Cottage & Sedef @ Down Grapevine Lane

12/04/2015: Janice @ Better Off Thread

12/09/2015: Kerry @ Kid Giddy

12/11/2015: Lisa @ Sweet Little Pretties

12/15/2015: Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts

12/18/2015: Kitty @ Night Quilter <— YOU ARE HERE

CHRISTMAS BREAK – 12/19/2015 to 01/04/2016

01/05/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell


Farmer’s Wife Sew Along: Patience & Progress

Despite all my best intentions, life has caused me to get a *bit* behind with the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. I’m not letting it get me down, though, and plan to keep on plodding. After all, not only have I allotted for skipping some blocks with my planned layout, I also know that every block made is one step closer to catching up. It’s all about patience, right?

Here are my latest three block additions.

farmers wife 79 patienceIt’s all about patience… see what I did there? If only patience were always so easy to come by!

farmers wife 80 patriciafarmers wife 57 margaretI am really liking my color choices, and as more blocks are added, I’m starting to see how they might go together. I’m still toying with arranging each warm-cool grouping in color order, and very well might do so. I think after the next bout of blocks added, I’ll try laying it all out together and see what you think, too.

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday, and Angie’s Farmer’s Wife Link Up. Have a great day!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along: Getting Organized

As this crazy month of November winds down (already!?), I’m trying to get a bit organized with my sewing projects. I truly enjoy having a lot of projects going, and I’m excited about all of the different quilting adventures I’ve joined lately (mini mini quilt swaps, Sizzix Design Team, a small private swap, my first commissioned quilt, and the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along as an official blogger, among others I’m surely missing). But life happens, and when it does, it can certainly throw a wrench into best laid plans. Yesterday I decided it was time to reevaluate, make some lists, and wrap my head around a plan for creating with little stress.

First up is the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell.  As you may remember, in planning my quilt, I literally planned to be behind and to skip a few blocks so that I could sew along without stressing about being behind. After a crazy month of travel, visitors, and sickness all around, I may have taken that “it’s ok to be behind” a bit too far.

1930 farmers wife sew along organization
Time to get serious!

Yesterday I plopped down on a quilt on our living room floor, pulled out my notebook, my Farmer’s Wife book, and my laptop directed to Angie’s block tutorials page, and made a list. Per my calculations, 21 blocks have been released and I’ve made 6. Oops. I guess I’m just a BIT behind. (Update while writing this post–another block was just released! Make that 22 blocks!)

1930 farmers wife sew along organizationI made myself a comprehensive list complete with a space to check off when a block has been released or made. I LOVE checking things off a list, so I am hoping this is just what I need to catch up a bit.  I also put post-its on the pages of blocks that have been released so that when I have a free minute, I can easily flip to one, grab some fabric, and dive in. My mind is much more at rest knowing that everything is written down and ready to check off.

Now, for the fun update! Here are the blocks I’ve created so far.

1930 farmers wife #8 aunt1930 farmers wife #14 betty1930 farmers wife #16 bonnie1930 farmers wife #20 caroline1930 farmers wife #49 katherine1930 farmers wife #94 susannahI’ve decided on a photographing style, organized my notes, made a checklist of released vs finished blocks, bookmarked pages with blocks I need to make, and am reenergized and ready to do some catching up!

I’m linking up with Lee’s Works in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. These “easy 6-inch blocks” (insert maniacal laugh) will be works in progress all year!

**Sponsor News**
Online Sale – This is their big online sale for the holidays!
Take 15% off online starting Thanksgiving Day through Monday, November 30th. Please use the code “Thanks2015” to receive a 15% discount on your entire order (before shipping) anytime over those five days.
In-Store Sale – For those of you in the Belfast, Maine area, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply is also having in-store sales during this long holiday weekend, AND an early bird special sale day on Saturday December 5th. Check them out!