Monday, 14 September 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL Blocks 1 & 2: Addie & Aimee

Welcome to the first weekly post in the year long project of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt Along.   The very first block is 'Addie' (p.160, letter p.82).  Wynn from Zakka Art is posting about this block.  She's a hand piecing expert and is always drawn to the prettiest fabric combinations so I can't wait to see how she puts this block together.  


I found this quite a straightforward block to piece although I did resort to glue basting to get the seams points to meet up.
Here's the second block, 'Aimee' p.161, letter p.20: 


 I foundation pieced this block.  This is how I set out my materials at the beginning of a block.  I print out the foundation pattern and keep the schema section to write notes on.   I crease all the seam lines with a hera marker (see this post for equipment ideas); this makes it easier to flip each part of the blocks section around as the fabric is added.  Then, I cut out the sections, leaving seam allowances intact and not trimming the corners.  You can download a free guide to foundation paper piecing here.


I am quite precise when I foundation paper piece.  I don't like adding huge chunks of fabric to each tiny section.  Instead I pre-cut the fabric that I am adding.  I allow around ⅜" to ½" around the seam lines for each piece so that the piece of fabric is always bigger than needed.  If you want to use the same method, my cutting suggestions are below.  You may want to cut bigger, it's personal preference and technique that is determining the size I choose.  I have not specified which fabric you will be cutting from, it depends on how many colours you use, it may also help to add a little colour pencil so you know which colour each piece will be:

Foundation Paper Piecing Fabric Cutting
A1, B1, A3, B3: Cut (4) 2" x 3 ¼"
A2, A4, B2, B4: Cut (4) 2 ½" 1/2" x 2 ¾"
E1,E6, F1, F6: Cut (1) 3" square- cut along diagonals to make quarter-square triangles.
C2, D2, E3, F3: Cut (4) 1 ½" x 4 ¼"
C3, C4, D3, D4, E2, E5, F2, F5: Cut (4) 2 ½" squares and cut each in half  diagonally
C1, D1, E4, F4: Cut 2 (3 ½" squares and cut each in half diagonally
E1, E6, F1, F6; Cut (2) 3" squares and cut each in half diagonally

These shapes are all rectangles, squares or right angled triangles.  To get the fabric into a shape with the correct angle to match the diagonal that it is being joined to, I either trace a quick freezer paper template ( see here for explanation of this method), or I lie the fabric under the paper pattern pieces, flip the paper back and use my Add-a-quarter ruler to cut one sides t, making the seam allowance a little bigger.  This method works well with solids as there is no right side, you do need to take more care with prints.


I've just repeated the same process here on the rectangle that will become B3.  I am trimming it on the right side, the piece can then flip over and the trimmed side will be sewn on to piece B2.


This method keeps the grain lines straight and if done carefully can allow you to play a little with directional print, as with this floral Penny's Doll'shouse print.


Here's the same procedure for piece F3.  I am trimming the diagonal on the right, then flipping the fabric over so the trimmed piece will fit the same angle that joins onto piece F2.


The seam points are a little tricky on these blocks.  I tear the paper off and mark the seam allowances at key meeting points so I know where to pin.  Glue basting with Elmer's School glue is very helpful.  The order of piecing on the paper patterns is not always what I would choose- in foundation piecing sometimes you need to piece in a particular order, other times it's down to personal preference but it all works.  I add my first piece using a swipe of Sewline glue to hold it in place, trim the next edge with the add-a-quarter ruler and add the next piece.


I hope those tips help.  Any questions, please comment and I'll answer below.  The letter for the Aimee block (p.20) is about books.  Saving pennies to buy books and the pleasure of escaping to a make-believe world. I rarely read fiction, although my degree is in English Literanture and I used to love reading.  These days I lean towards audio books and they tend to be either funny memoir- I love David Sedaris' writing, or factual, I'm currently starting Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed  on audible.   I have a Kate Atkinson's paperback, Life After Life sitting ready to read and inspired by Bookworm of Wisonsin, I think I'll get started on it this week.

  • Feel free to share your current reading matter in the comments.  Don't forget to use #fw1930sqal on Instagram and the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • You can also copy and paste links to any blog posts you do on these blocks in the comments and I'd love to visit and take a look. 
  • I'll be introducing this post on Periscope with a short broadcast  around 2pm GMT today and it'll be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb
Don't forget to visit Wynn's post on block 1, Addie.  Back next Monday with Charise and blocks 3 and 4.

sib blog

26 comments:

  1. What a fabulous start Kerry, beautiful blocks - and helpful information! I hope this quilt-a-long goes smoothly for you. x

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  2. Gorgeous blocks Kerry. So precise. I paper-pieced Block 1 and patched Block 2. I love how we can mix-and-match methods.

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  3. Forgot to say ..... "Life after Life" is a brilliant read - you will enjoy it. xxx

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  4. Beautiful blocks Kerry, lovely fabric choices. I loved Life after Life - it took a little while to get into it, but once you're hooked, it's really compelling. Lots to reflect on when you've finished too. I've bought the follow-on book, but haven't started it yet. Cat x

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  5. Your points all line up lovely!
    What is special about Elmer's glue? I had always assumed it was just the American equivalent of pritt stick (or white PVA glue if it's runny). Does it do something different I've been missing?

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    1. Hi Jodie, I'm not sure what makes it special! It is runny but it doesn't smell like PVA. I find it holds a seam better than a glue stick e.g. a Sewline, and it washes out. It needs heat to activate too. For a cheap product it does a great job!

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  6. Am I being extraordinarily dim. Paper piecing aside. The letters & numbers are not the same as those in the small block I.e. square in the centre is E1 but the foundation piece is F2. When it comes to joining components I have no "A" parts at all. ###aside should read Addie ! Thank you.

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    1. Hi Mari, each pattern or construction method operates separately so you can't mix templates with foundation paper piecing easily as the references (the letters and numbers) will be different. For each block, stick to one method and that should avoid confusion.

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  7. Thank you the super directions - they are a big confidence booster!

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  8. I'm going to print my papers after this comment. Its a cool and over cast day, perfect for sewing. I am an audible fan also, fiction is my choice though. I'm currently listening to a 65 hour trilogy, lots of sewing time.

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    1. What is the trilogy called? I love Audible-I drive a lot and cannot read like I want to, so Audible is my "read" for the day.

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  9. HI Kerry, I am foundation paper piecing and using the paper piecing patterns - there are 2 pages but the letters and numbers are not the same as those in the little diagram shown at the top left of page one. Where can I be going wrong? Thanks

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    1. Hi Mairi, I have had a good look but I can't see what the problem is? The foundation paper piecing sections, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I on the 2-page print out all match up with the diagram on the first page. Your email is not in your profile so maybe you could email me direct? Kerry

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  10. Great start to the sew along, Kerry. Thank you for excellent directions. Love those two blocks in the chosen fabrics. I too use audible as I love sewing while "reading" just finished listening to "a God in Ruins" by Kate Atknson and I loved it. I've read lots of her writing and enjoyed all of them. Also listened to "A Fall of Marigolds" this week. A sad love story that is set in the early 1800s when Ellis Island was used as a processing hospital for new arrivals to New York and also jumps to present day times, weaving in a link with the 9/11 tragedy. Thank you for a lovely blog for us to read too! X

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  11. Thank you for your helpful hints for Aimee. I couldn't get the last two sections to line up to save my life. I reread your hints and took the papers off for that seam. Viola! My points lined up. Fun two blocks.

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  12. I am starting over with Aimee and it is giving me fits. I was using scraps so it is no great loss although I cannot use the sections that worked since I do not have enough fabric to redo the disaster sections. It is sections F and E that I am struggling with. Is there any reason why I cannot do F3/E3 as my first piece, then do F2/E2 as my second piece, and E1/F1 as my third? It is the third piece with the funky angle on the rectangle that I cannot seem to get (which is definitely my issue since no one else seems to be having trouble with this but I do not want to have to start the block a third time - the fun factor goes way down by then. I am looking forward to your response and choosing an alternative to the original leftover orange green strawberries I used for attempt one!

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    1. Yes, you can do E and F as you say, it is awkwardly ordered and can be done in a different way. I hope that makes it easier!

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    2. It's not just you! I'm so glad you asked this question. I'm going to try it your way. Thanks!

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    3. It worked for me. I now have a lovely olive and blue block and did not feel the slightest incination to use bad language at any point during the construction process! 😊

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  13. Kerry, I'm printing my paperpiecing pattern at actual size and its printing way too big...do you know why I'm doing wrong? My finished block was 9 inches instead of the 6.5

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    1. That doesn’t sound right at all. When I print, the first window always shows the page at 91% and I change this to 100%. Nine inches unfinished is around 140% bigger than the original? I am printing from a mac and I know printer windows vary on different computers. Have you tried printing the block diagrams? They should print at 6” square. The usual suggestions are that you are printing at 100% and not 'to scale’ if that is an option that pops up. Otherwise I don’t know I’m afraid. If anyone else has this problem or solutions, please add to comments

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  14. I made my first block! My first block is the second block in the book, Aimee, and I think it came out okay considering the horrible stiff vellum I was trying to use that cracked apart even as I was sewing the seams... What kind of paper do you use, Kerry? My finished Aimee block is in this post: http://cheekycognoscenti.blogspot.com/2016/02/foundation-paper-piecing-1930s-farmers.html. Thanks for your inspiration and for sharing your knowledge and experience with newbies online!

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    1. I use the cheapest thinnest printer paper. It is so thin that I have to feed it into my printer in single sheets otherwise it gets stuck! I like vellum but it is quite expensive, I tend to save it for fussy cutting blocks as you can see through it for precise print placement but it is also crinkly and a bit resistant.

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    2. I used plain newsprint for my Addie block. It went through my printer okay, but it was MUCH thinner than the 29 pound vellum I used on my last block, and so much easier to work with. Thanks!

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  15. I finished Block #1 Addie today! Thank you so much for your patient explanations and clear photos, by the way. These blocks are FUN, like little treasures! I'm so glad that I decided to join in the quilt along, even if I am way, WAY behind everyone else! http://cheekycognoscenti.blogspot.com/2016/02/1930s-farmers-wife-block-1-addie.html

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