Thursday, May 31, 2012


I'm hoping that "completion" will be a running theme this summer. And bringing big projects to completion is worth a bit of struggle.

My writing partner and I are inches away from getting our fully copy-edited manuscript to its next step (typesetting, yippee! must note that we do have a couple of weeks of detailed work to do first); I am waiting to here about some image reproduction permissions and then I can finalize small changes to a journal article (also about to be typeset); I just finished a book review that had been hanging over my head for a few months...AND oh yes, I have JUST FINISHED ALL 111 BLOCKS IN THE FARMER'S WIFE SAMPLER QUILT!


I was two blocks from completion last week, but put myself on temporary hold while taking care of some of the writing tasks mentioned above -- and also in order to give Melinda a chance to near completion of her own set of blocks (Melinda is actually making an additional 10, ambitious woman that she is!).

Yesterday I was back at the sewing machine, my 1947 Featherweight to be exact, not to work on the FW quilt but happily working away on the bear paw blocks for my king-sized Father's Day quilt (no pictures yet because my father deserves a little bit of a surprise); I have 24 of 30 blocks done. That feels good.

And then last night I read on flickr that Melinda was just 1.5 blocks away from being done -- so I kicked back into gear and gathered the template pieces for my remaining two FW blocks: numbers 104, Wild Geese, and 110, Wood Lily.

I cut the pieces this morning, put 'em together -- still using the Featherweight because it is so fun to use for piecing and my new little fabric guide had been giving me such good 1/4" seam results on the bear paw blocks (cue ominous music) AND.... pppfffffsssssssss...failure.

Both blocks measured at an exact 7" square.


What a way to wrap up this challenging, year-long project! With 60+ pieces in many of the Farmer's Wife blocks, the most miniscule inaccuracy in a seam can add up to a big problem.  I had faced this several times before, had discovered exactly which set of templates worked for me, and exactly which setting on my Janome produced exactly the right seam width...and yet here I was once again.  Apparently I hadn't learned my lesson, even after 109 blocks.

So I filed away the cute but oversized blocks, and remade them.

And now, ta da!  I can introduce to the world my final two Farmer's Wife blocks.

FW block 104, Wild Geese
Block 104, Wild Geese

FW block 110, Wood Lily
Block 110, Wood Lily

As I wrote on flickr, it seems appropriate that this particular project should end with some bumps: I learned a tremendous amount in making all of these traditional blocks (and using templates for the very first time!), but it was a steep climb at points. To quote the fitness DVDs that have recently (and of necessity) become part of my daily life, the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt kicked my butt, from start to finish.


Archie The Wonder Dog said...

Your final two blocks are fabulous - well done on making them all!

laura said...

congrats on completion! will be excited to watch the quilt come together.

Jennie said...

Congratulations! I love the greens in your second block!

LizA. said...

Congrats! That's a couple of major accomplishments. Alas, I'm afraid my FW is going to probably be put aside as we will be moving to central Washington around the end of the year and I have a long list of home improvement stuff to complete. Then there's the whole "sorting thru 22 years of accumulated stuff" thing that also has to happen........

quirky granola girl said...

your last two blocks are beautiful. i had great difficulty with the flower garden path block but i just decided to trim it down and leave it less than square. i hated that block so much that there was no way i'd make it again. i just have spider legs left. (i'm skipping wood lily) thanks for waiting for me to catch up! last week i barely saw my husband and my son because i was determined to finish them all up this week. the fabric mess from making them scrappy is driving me nuts. so, tonight i'm folding fabric and putting some of it away. sending a big FW hug your way :)

Ronny said...

I love the fabrics you are using for the Farmers Wife Block! I just pulled mine out again today. I had the number 111 in my mind, but I need to make 145!! I have 67 done, and about 20 more cut out. So many to go. And oh dear, they have to all be the same size?! Any tips on fudging the sashing? Lol.

Nic said...

Congrats on finishing your blocks!
Wood lily is beautiful. Probably one of my favourites. At least today :)
It's funny, Iread for so many people that they've never used templates before this quilt, but for me, quilting is all about templates. Though this is the first time I've come across templates made for marking on the front of the fabric instead of the back.
So, what's up next?

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

I have answered you all individually, but just want to say a public thank you -- for the encouragement and the sweet comments! They are very much appreciated :)

Little Island Quilting said...

Mightily impressed by block 110!

Melinda said...

YAY!!!! Congratulations! SO impressed and proud of you and in AWE! xo