Monday, 6 June 2016

Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL: Thoughts So Far

This week we are having a week-off any new blocks in The Farmer's Wife 1930s QAL so I thought I'd reflect on blocks and fabrics so far.  

 I have a big fat stack of 74 blocks which feels reassuringly close to the 99 blocks finishing line...

I do like the challenge of two new blocks each week and some of them are quite a work out.  The quilt along has give me a love of 1930s reproduction prints from so much more experience of working with them.  I've had some fabrics which I've liked and yet I couldn't often find a place for them like those below. 

From l to r:
1. Too pale, the quilt along has made me love brighter colours more than the lighter pastels.
2 and 3.  I find these children's style nursery designs a little bit too sentimental, maybe because my child is quite grown up?
4.  I've used this diamond grid once but I've found the pattern orientation a little hard to use in on-point blocks.
5.  I love the pink and orange leaf print but it is a bit of a challenge.  It doesn't work well with pink or orange solid, the contrast is insufficient and if I introduce a separate colour like green, it can look a little disconnected.
6.  I like this print but the pinky background is a little dark and a little dull so it's been used but sadly the fabric doesn't shine for me. 

With such small pieces in many of the six-inch square Farmer's Wife blocks, I've found directional prints- like the diamond print above- are much harder to use. The multi directional prints ( like many in the selection below)  usually make a print much easier to use and more economical  too. 

These have been my favrouite fabrics.  Sometimes it's the colour- far left the Toy Chest Floral is such a wonderful combination of purple/blue/yellow and a good purple fabric is hard to find.  I have loved the colours of many Heather Ross Tiger Lily prints and the yellow particularly lead me to use such a lot of yellow solids and prints in the different quilt blocks.  Giant blooms like Lori Holts make the blocks look a little more modern at times and put a little zest into the more traditional fabrics.  The colours in general have been glorious to work with. 

You can find posts all the blocks so far here.
You can see pictures of all my blocks here in my Flickr Album.
You can find all the techniques covered so far by all the wonderful guest posters, many of whom have done multiple posts here.

What has been your experience so far?  Started but other things took over?  Started and then changed your original colour palette?  Found a new appreciation of a particular print or colour?

Back next Monday with blocks 75 and 76 and Jo Greene will be back as a guest blogger. 
sib blog


  1. Your blocks looks fabulous! I agree about directional fabrics, they can be tricky especially when the pieces are so small. Great discussion about colour and prints! I have small children and still don't like a lot of the more nursery style 30s prints!

    1. I felt like it was a bit of a throwaway post with mutterings about fabric so glad to know it rang true for you Lucy x

  2. I've enjoyed seeing your blocks come together! Thank you for sharing your thought process on why you rejected some prints and included others. Such a helpful post!! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

  3. First off, thank you for continuing to host this QAL. I have been keeping up, and my pile of blocks is growing too. Originally I had no 30's style fabrics in my stash, maybe a tiny floral that could pass, but really no pastel or 30's nostalgia to be found. I thought this quilt would be a color challenge for me. I bought a jelly roll, a few charm packs and a few fat quarter collections all of thirty type prints. I find its the tone of the fabrics that makes them work, the size also, but for me if the tones work is all good. I have been sticking with the colors shown in the book, as I like the balance Laurie Aaron achieved in her quilt. I don't mind the nursery type prints, the lambs are a bit much, but the pieces are so small, its hard to tell what the figures are sometimes. I have decided to sash my quilt with light green instead of white, I think it will keep it fresh looking once its quilted.

    1. My pleasure! I never would have made so many blocks, each a different pattern without it so it has been a great discipline. It sounds like it has taken you on a fabric and colour journey- great idea for following Laurie’s colours, it provides some security and gives you room to experiment with a safety net.

  4. I have really enjoyed sewing along with you Kerry. Your blog posts every Monday are my first read of the week. I have used fabrics from my stash along with Kona Snow. I have also sashed as I've gone along - half of the blocks straight and half on point. I look at everybody else's blocks and love their colours and fabric choices.

    1. I am still not sure what to use for sashing- Snow is my go-to but I may go for a whiter option although I do envy the fact that your blocks are part sashed! Doing sew alongs is such a great way to meet new people too, it’s been a pleasure to meet you Amanda!

  5. I too am really enjoying this, my first sew a long, so thank you for making it so enjoyable. I look at all my blocks so far and am pretty amazed at all the work which has gone into this project so far. I found that lots of the original fabrics I chose had prints that were just too big to work when chopped into such small bits. It's been really nice to get inspiration for everyone else's blocks. When I look back at my original fabric pull I realise that I have totally changed my colour scheme a long the way. I started out with quite recessive greys and now I seem to have just jumped on the technicolour band wagon and started putting a lot of prints together after seeing how they work so successfully for other people. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's end result. I haven't even thought about the fabric to pull it all together. I always though it would just be white but now I am struck with indecision. It would be great to know what everyone else is planning.

  6. WELL, I was feeling pretty good about my THREE finished blocks until I read about your stack of SEVENTY-FIVE!!! Just kidding. I had no business even starting this project when I have so many others in the works. Had to whip up a quilt for a graduate so that stole my attention for all of last month, and then there's pesky work, laundry, and my family interrupting my sewing nirvana with demands for meals. But I have all kinds of yummy prints and solids pulled for my FW blocks, spread out in little piles across my work table. I'm looking forward to the next block, and even though the quilt along is bound to finish up years before my own quilt does, well, it's not a race -- it's a journey!

  7. I was late to the party and only started in January. Foundation paper piecing was all new to me and the first couple of blocks took hours. However it soon became an obsession and I've done all 99 blocks! Now I'm dithering as to whether I should use white or snow for setting the blocks.

  8. I'm not sewing along, but I'm really enjoying these posts and it was really interesting to read about (and see) the fabrics which have and haven't worked for you. Thank you!


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