Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Farmer's Wife and historical quilt design

Anyone who knows me is thinking, that woman needs another long-term project!  Or not.

I seem to have caught the highly contagious Farmer's Wife fever: I have joined the (viral) quilt-along based on Laurie Hird's bestselling book The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: 55 Letters and the 111 Blocks they Inspired.  This sampler quilt is (as the title suggests) made up of 111 quilt blocks, each just 6.5" square.  I'm looking at the project as a little master class in historical quilt block construction, and love the fact that all the blocks are made from templates -- the way quilters shared and followed block designs before the advent of the rotary cutter.

The members of the FWQAL flickr group have gone a little nuts over the past week, churning out "Big Dippers," and "Calico Puzzles" like there was no tomorrow.  I have ordered my copy of the book from Amazon, but it won't be here for at least another week (boo hoo), so I just improvised a couple of the most straightforward blocks:  "Autumn Tints" and "Basketweave." 

The final layout of the sampler quilt has all the blocks positioned on point, like so:

I rearranged the layout of the Basketweave block slightly, to make it read less like a swastika (common to some classic quilt block designs -- but my interest in historical accuracy has its limits).

A fellow group member was incredibly generous, and e-mailed me the pdf of the template for block #1, "Attic Windows" -- so after two unsuccessful attempts at getting the right finished measurements, I finally got it:

I am not completely confident about my fabric choices for this sampler -- and choosing fabric is usually my favourite and least tortured part of the process.  So the matter on which I could really use some input is this: do I plow ahead (like a good farmer) or should I put some more time into planning this sampler?


Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts said...

Looks great!

Tong said...

Ha, I was really tempted by this quilt along as well, but figured I really don't need another project at this moment, I'm having trouble finishing all the ones I've got going as it is, so I'll have to live vicariously through you! I love your blocks so far, especially the Attic Windows (what is that green striped fabric you used?). I always love a scrappy quilt, so I say just plow ahead! If you are worried about the overal cohesion of the quilt, then I'd say just stick to an overall colour scheme, and make sure you have enough contrast in warm and cool, light and dark farbics. Good luck and I can't wait to see the rest of the blocks!!

Prof. S (the enchanted bobbin) said...

Thank you so much for the kind comments!

Tong: I wish you would join in...but I know you have a lot on your plate. Thanks for the good advice: I'll keep all that in mind as I go forward!

And the green stripe fabric is from the much coveted (ha!) "Kitty Cucumber" line from In the Beginning. I bought it when making Miss F's Hello Betty-Kitty quilt last spring ( -- it coordinated with the cat prints I used in that quilt, but I didn't actually end up using the striped fabric there. So it has sat in my stash all this time, while I have used bits of it here and there. One thing I can say for those fabrics is that they are incredibly soft when washed.

Tong said...

It's getting pretty tough to resist these quilt alongs popping up everywhere, especially this one and the +&x quilt along, soooo tempted!! But I simply don't have the time =( maybe I'll catch up later?

That kitty quilt is adorable! Love the fabrics you chose too, such pretty colours!