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