Monday, 28 September 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL Blocks 5 and 6: Anne and April

Welcome to the third weekly post in the year long project of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt Along.   Block five is is 'Anne' (p.164, letter p.46) Jo is posting about this block over at A Life in Lists.  A little note for foundation piecers, because of the way the pattern is designed your block will spin the opposite way to the block in the book. Technically, the pattern pieces needed to be reversed to match the book photo. Jo goes into this on more detail on her post.

Fabric Credits

Block six is 'April' p.165, letter p.134: 

Fabric Credits
Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Penny and Friends, Square Dance Camelia
Bella Solids in Peacock
Kona Corn Yellow

I found the construction of this block relatively straightforward,  but there are an awful lot of pieces which are easy to muddle up, the block pattern is seen more clearly on point rather than square on and choosing the right level of contrast was hard!   I went through three combinations before I got the contrast right!  Less is more: reducing the number of patterned prints in a block works better for me than two or three patterns, and if in doubt, use a solid.  There's a reason that these blocks work well with 1930s reproduction prints.  The small, often multi directional designs lend themselves to tiny pieces.  These are my various combinations and I am not totally sold on the colours I finally went with but some blocks are going to end up at the end of rows cut in half and this may be one!

Foundation Paper Piecing Fabric Cutting
These shapes are all rectangles, squares or right angled triangles so this is a very straightforward block to cut out.  I used the rotary cutting instructions for all the shapes with the addition of ½" so for example a 2" square would become a 2 ½" square which adds some extra fabric for foundation piecing.  For shapes A1, B1, C1, D1, I cut out 2 ½" squares.  As these are the first pieces in theses sections, they will get trimmed to shape as you add the triangles (A2 and A3 etc).   You can download a free guide to foundation paper piecing here.

The tricky part of this block is not the piecing, it's the arranging the colours and fabrics and getting them in the right order to piece.  The block is symmetrical when on point but not when square on (the symmetry line is diagonal). I used a dash of coloured pencil to keep myself sane and I looked a lot at the photograph on page 165 as I was piecing.

These things made my piecing easier!
  • check your fabrics for contrast
  • colour code pieces on foundation patterns
  • remove paper just before stitching sections together
  • check your block with the book images square on and on point 
When it comes to joining the sections.  I trimmed them down, removed the paper just before I was ready to join so I knew I had the right piece and the right orientation and then pressed the seams to the side so they would nest together with their corresponding section.  This makes joining a lot easier!  There is an instruction to 'Sew these three large sections together as in block diagram'.  It's slightly confusing because the block diagram has rows joined horizontally and the foundation method has columns joined vertically.

Any questions, please comment and I'll answer below.
  • Use #fw1930sqal on Instagram and there's also a Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • You can also copy and paste links to any of your blog posts for these blocks into the comments - I'd love to visit and take a look. 
  • For individual blocks, you can use #anneblock and #aprilblock on Instagram
  • I'll be introducing this post on Periscope with a short broadcast talking about contrast with fabrics around 2.15pm GMT today and it'll be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.
Don't forget to visit Jo's post on Anne.  Back next Monday with Justine and blocks 7 and 8.

sib blog


  1. Your blocks are gorgeous Kerry. I too had to keep referring to the photo and I also mark the foundation templates, as you do, with the colour.

  2. Oh, I have such a love/hate relationship with the QuilterNet! I love the knowledge and inspiration, and I'm really crushing on these Farmer's Wife blocks and dying to make some of my own, but that is how I got myself into the pickle of having projects in progress strewn all over the sewing room, confusion over which shade of Kona white is the background fabric for which project, and only one finished quilt to show for myself so far for all of 2015! I am just glad that these posts will still be here when I've caught up with myself a bit. I am especially enamored by the combinations of saturated solids with the sweet, small-scale florals in today's blocks. Maybe I could set up a Featherweight in the corner of my room and make just ONE block today... :-)

  3. Are you planning on making extra blocks for the end 'half' pieces of rows and discarding the (not quite) half that's not used, or making the halves separately so that they have the quarter inch seam down the centre for joining to the borders?

    I like your colours for #6, the contrast with the solids looks great :-)

    1. I'm not quite sure Jodie! I'm thinking of either the Twin and using some blocks on the reverse side or the queen size which will be 99 blocks including some cut in half. I'm undecided! And thank you!

  4. Thanks for the great explanations. One thing I don't understand though: why will some blocks be cut in half? In the book it looks like all blocks are set on point and there's a background fabric. No?

    1. Hi Elnora. From the layouts in the back of the book there are always some half blocks as the rows are staggered. I guess the half blocks could be replaced with background though? I’ve got that as an option in my head!

  5. I absolutely love the fabrics you chose for your April block! I am totally planning to join this QAL, but I'm trying to wrap up another big paper-pieced quilt first. I started quilting it hand. So God knows when I'll get to the Farmer's Wife project. At least quilting by hand frees up my machine to start piecing.


Thank you for taking the time out to leave your thoughts, I do very much appreciate you stopping by! Blogger is not sending comments through by email at the moment so I'll reply in the comments.