Thursday, June 30, 2016

Farmer's Wife Block 103 "Whirlwind" and Farmer's Wife 1930s Block 5 "Anne"

I made not one, but TWO more 6" blocks for my Mish-Mash Sampler (Farmer's Wife, Farmer's Wife 1930s, Vintage Kansas City Star, and other block sources yet to be selected).

This is Block 5 from the 1930s Farmer's Wife book, "Anne:"

FW1930s Block 5, "Anne"
Anne was foundation paper pieced.  Next we have a block from the original Farmer's Wife quilt sampler book, Block 103, "Whirlwind:"

Original Farmer's Wife Block 103, "Whirlwind"
I almost didn't make this block at all, for two reasons.  First of all, the block that was photographed for the book reminds me of a swastika, and I didn't want any swastika blocks in my quilt.  So I reversed the block so it "spins" the other direction (counter-swastika) and used a contrasting fabric for the center square, and selected the sweetest, most cheerful fabrics I could find.  Happily, my resulting block doesn't remind me of Nazis.

Original Farmer's Wife Block 103 "Whirlwind"
I used my EQ7 software to explore different fabric options for the block without cutting into my stash prematurely.  I played around with my "virtual stash" in EQ7 until I had a block that I liked, and then went through my ACTUAL stash to find similar fabrics to the ones I'd used in the computer version.  I find that I use my EQ7 software a lot for tasks like this, just playing with ideas for a single block, versus designing an entire quilt from start to finish.

EQ7 Block Design with Similar Fabrics
The second reason I almost didn't make this block is that I'm not a fan of all the extra seams.  To me, a patchwork seam is superfluous if it is adjacent to another patch of the same fabric and it is possible to sew the block without that seam.  Making the block as shown in the book with all squares and half square triangle units is easier construction, but those additional seams disrupt the flow of prints, add unnecessary extra bulk, and more importantly, sewing partial seams or set-in seams or whatever is a new (to me) skill that I've never tried before.  So I gave it a go.  Again, EQ7 to the rescue -- I found a similar block in the EQ7 block library, edited it to remove the unwanted seams, sized the block to finish at 6", and then printed out templates on cardstock.  I rotary cut the center square and the pink QSTs (quarter square triangles), and cut 2" strips for the diamond patches, but used the diamond template in conjunction with a rotary cutter and ruler to subcut those strips into accurate diamond units.  Another reason to love EQ7 -- the ability to print my own templates or foundation paper patterns for any block in any size. 

By eliminating those unwanted seams, I reduced the number of patches in this block from 21 to 9.  Even with fewer pieces, it still took me awhile to piece this block due to the fiddly set-in seams.

Assorted 6" Sampler Blocks
So I learned something new today -- yay!  :-)   Looking at my blocks on my design wall, I still don't feel like they "go together" all that well, and I still don't care.  These are very process-oriented blocks for me, each one is a self-contained challenge to learn something new.  Maybe they'll end up in a quilt together someday, and maybe they will end up divided up into several quilts.  Just making a bunch of random 6" blocks with no set purpose in mind feel deliciously decadent!  However, other UFOs have been languishing.  I think I'm going to have to make another giant pineapple log cabin block before I make another 6" sampler block.  Remember this project?

17 3/4" FPP Pineapple Log Cabin Blocks
I started that project almost exactly two years ago, June 28th of 2014.  It's intended for my own California King bed, and although I love how it's coming out, there are something like 97 seams in each block and they are time-consuming and monotonous to construct.  So I do one or two pineapple log cabin blocks, and then I have to switch gears and do something else for awhile.

I need to put in some serious hours on my business web site design today, but tomorrow we're going up to Davidson College to pick up my younger son Anders.  Yippee!  He's been gone for three long weeks at Duke TIP Summer Center Studies for 7th and 8th graders, taking an intensive course in academic debate.  He's been having a great time, staying in the college dorms, having a taste of independence, and getting to know other bright kids from around the country and around the world, but I've MISSED HIM!  Can't wait to get him back in my studio, watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and cackling with laughter as I sew.

Missing Studio Accessory, Laughing Bean Bag Boy, Returns Tomorrow!
Meanwhile, I'm linking up with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  And I'll be checking out everyone else's projects at the linky parties over my second cup of coffee!


Jenny K. Lyon said...

You are absolutely masterful with your fabric combinations!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

You are absolutely masterful with your fabric combinations!

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

I haven't got EQ7, although I am tempted,you have just given me another reason to splash out. I loved your detailed explanation of how you changed the block. If you are not happy with how your blocks are going together add more fabrics, add more colours, lots of them. They will blend together great, it is only difficult when you are limited by a few. Look at the Gypsy Wife quilt, a fantastic example, the scraper it is the more they blend.