Monday 15 February 2016

Farmer's Wife QAL Blocks 43 and 44: Hope and Iris

This week it's blocks 43 and 44.  Jo Avery is  back as a guest blogger for Hope (block 43 p.202,  letter p.128), read all about it here!   This is my version - keep a look out for the partial seam, it's not too tricky if you pencil the seam allowance on the reverse of the central square.

Fabric credits:

Block 44, Iris  (p.203, letter p.50) is one of several rather pictorial floral blocks (like Daffodil) which I am not drawn to as much as the more symmetrical and geometric blocks:

Fabric credits:

Riley Blake Fabulous and Fancy-Breath in Yellow
Kona Violet
Kona Petunia
Darlene Zimmerman Grandma's Garden Bouquet in Country

{Please note:  For all fabric credits I have linked to my sponsors on items bought through them and elsewhere for anything that has come from other shops.}

The easiest way for me to piece blocks like these with lots of different shapes is to use freezer paper templates.  I was asked an interesting question by Rebecca about grainline in a comment on a Farmer's Wife post .  Even though the paper acts as a stabiliser in foundation paper piecing, I still try to maintain a consistent grainline where possible in a block.  It can't aways be done and sometimes bias edges end up on the outer edges- I usually sew a border ⅛" from the outer edge to prevent bias edges stretching.  I print the block diagram for the templates and add piece letters/numbers and grainline arrows.

I'm not totally rigid about grainline.  If I only have a little scrap of fabric, I'll fit the pieces however I can and if I'm fussy cutting, I'll sacrifice grainline for an image but generally I'll try and keep with the straight grain- lengthwise or crossways.  For this design, because many of the pieces are repeated in a mirror image, I often cut two pieces using one freezer paper template.  To do this, I fold the fabric wrong sides together, press the freezer paper piece on to the right side and cut out through two layers with a ⅜" seam allowance added around the edges (or ½" if you want more wriggle room creating two pieces that mirror each other.

Top tips for this block
  • Pre-cut all pieces using the freezer paper template method. 
  • Use a water based glue stick. I use Sewline, to stick the first piece of each section
  • Chain piece- for any repeated sections
There is a lot of bulk on the section seam where the stem reaches the base of the flower.  I sewed this seam in two runs working from the centre and folding seam allowances out of the way so they are floating and can move around.  It's still a little lumpy but I think that's unavoidable with so much going on at that point!  I pressed the joining seam open between ACE and BD and the base of the flower sits over this. 

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 #hopeblock and #irisblock on Instagram, Fat Quarter Shop and Angie are using these hash tags, #fw43hope,  #fw44iris.  I'm using both hashtag systems.
  • 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'm taking a break from Periscope.  I have covered so many techniques in the Persicope broadcast and I feel I am in danger of repeating myself, plus I have a change in my usual routine that means I can't always do the same time as easily so I'm going to leave it for a while.  You can find links to posts that cover all the main techniques used to piece these blocks here and that includes using freezer paper templates, English Paper Piecinghand piecing plus more!  Thank you to all of you who have joined me there- it's been fun trying out a new social media and meeting you all!
See you next Monday with guest blogger Jo from Life in Lists returning for her third post!

sib blog


  1. I like your Iris even if you don't! I wouldn't have even thought about all those seams meeting in the middle making it bumpy as you've made it look so flat!!

  2. Another couple of beauties. Nearly halfway through!


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