Monday 11 January 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL, Blocks 33 and 34, Farmer's Wife and Fern

Back from the Christmas break and it's week 16 in the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along and time for blocks 32 and 33.  Ayumi from Pink Penguin is guest posting on block 33, Farmer's Wife  (p.192, letter p.14) and has made an Addie block too.  Here's my version.  I swapped around the piecing order in the outer edge sections to make life easier:

Fabric credits:

As with other blocks without vertical and horizontal symmetry, the pattern has not been reversed so the final block is a mirror image of the book version.

 Fern, block 34, (p.193, letter p.62) features inset seams so I thought I would go through this in detail as I know many people struggle with it.  The key is accuracy and sewing exactly along the seamlines and not beyond.  If you don't want to machine piece inset seams, hand sewing is a much easier option- it is far easier to hand piece inset seams and you could hand sew the centre square block and then machine piece the triangle corners.  English paper piecing would also work well with this block. 

Fabric credits:
Kona Candy Green
Washington Street Toy Chest Florals Pink Pressed Flowers
Blue Dot- part of a bundle from Celtic Fusion Fabrics

  • Colour code your pattern to match your fabric
  • Pre crease the pattern pieces with a  ruler and hera marker or blunt smooth knife ready for paper piecing
  • Make freezer paper templates of A1, A2, A3, E1, E2, G1
  • Rotary cut I1 to exact size according to the rotary cutting dimensions in the book.  On the wrong side of the fabric, mark seamlines ¼" from the outer edge
  • Rotary cut the remaining pieces using my usual generous rotary cutting measurements below for foundation paper piecing -see this post for more details on how to do this.  These create seam allowances larger than ¼" so that your fabric pieces are larger than needed- if you like more wriggle room, cut even bigger!  
Rotary Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
A4, B4, C4, D4: Cut (4) 1 ½" x 3 ½" rectangles
A5, B5, C5, D5: Cut (2) 2" squares sub-cut  each once diagonally to make 4 half-square triangles in total

Freezer Paper Cutting for Foundation Paper Piecing
G1: Place freezer paper template on to wrong side of fabric.  Press with hot iron to adhere. With a soft pencil, draw around the edge of the template  and on to the fabric to mark the seam line.  Train carefully ¼" away from this line using a ruler ( add-a-quarter is great for this) and rotary cutter.  Repeat to make a second piece- H1.
With remaining templates A1, A2, A3, E1, E2, press on to wrong side of fabrics and then cut out adding ⅜" seam allowance around the edge of each shape.  Repeat until you have all the precut pieces you need to complete the block.

With inset seams, you should only ever be sewing two layers of fabricso watch out at the start and end of seams to make sure surrounding seam allowances are out of the way and you don't stitch through them.


1. Piecing G1, H1 I1: Inset seam.  
These are the seam lines marked in red on the diagram.

  • Pin I1 to G1 using the stab pin method to mark the beginning and end of the seam.
  • Sink the machine needle to the exact starting point of the seam and then lower the presser foot.

  •  Sew the seam keeping stitches on  the pencilled seam line only and not in the seam allowances- securing start and end of seam with back stitches.  Press seam towards G1
  • Repeat with H1 and I1. Press seam towards H1.
2. Foundation Paper Piece sections E and F ensuring that the seams   Carefully remove paper from E and F and pencil the seam allowances on the wrong side and around the edge of each sections- you will need to flip the seam allowances from side to side to allow you to draw all the seam allowances in. 

3. Joining E and F to GHI
These are the seam lines marked in blue and orange on the diagram.

i.  Take section E and GHI, place right sides together and pin the seam line between joining E and I using the stab pin method to mark the beginning and end of the seam (blue line on diagram).

ii.  Making sure that the seam allowances at this point are flipped behind the needle, so that there are only two layers of fabric under the needle.  

iii.  Sew the seam keeping stitches on the pencilled seam line only and not in the seam allowances- securing start and end of seam.  The stitches at the beginning and end of this seam should meet up with the stitches from step 1.

iv.  Repeat  as above with section F and GHI.

v.  Take section E and GHI, place right sides together and pin the seam line between joining E2 and G1 using the stab pin method to mark the beginning and end of the seam (orange line on diagram).
Sew the seam starting at the beginning of the seam line at piece I and continue to the end of the seam (following the  orange arrows)- this end of the seam can continue into the seam allowance and to the end of where the E and G join.   (Photos show this as sewn and then flipped round and opened out).

 vii.  Repeat with the remaining three seams marked in orange on the diagram starting at the corner of square I1 each time and sewing away from this.

Because the seam allowances are 'floating' at the end, they can be swirled to reduce bulk. 

The inset seams are complete!  Foundation paper piece sections A, B, C and D in the usual way and join on to the central section like an Economy Square block.

Remember you can:
  • Hashtag  #fw1930sqal on Instagram and add photos to the Flickr group if you like to share there.  
  • For individual blocks, you can use #farmerswifeblock and #fernblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw33farmerswife,  #fw34fern, I'm using both hashtag systems. 
  • You are welcome to watch and join in the chat on Periscope at 2.30pm GMT today, I'm  It will be available for 24 hours to replay before it disappears! Link will be in my twitter feed @verykb and I'll post on Instagram and twitter about 15 minutes before it goes out.  
Please note:  I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.

Happy New Year!  Back next Monday with Fiona from Poppy Makes returning as a guest blogger. 

sib blog


  1. Your Fern block is gorgeous. Thank you for the tutorial on those pesky inset seams. This block was a relatively easy inset - seams block to practise on I found and I was able to machine stitch all of the inset seams. On smaller, trickier ones I tend to hand-stitching the inset seam intersections and machine-stitch the straight sections.

  2. Thank you Kerry for this really detailed tutorial. I am going to give it a go!

    1. It's all about practice with Y/inset seams, this is a good block to have a go with!

  3. Beautiful blocks! I can't help but see batman in #33, I might have to make those bits black in mine :)

  4. Block 33 made me think of cats playing peepo! Gorgeous as ever!


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