Back to the Farm

Spring has sprung and the vegetable garden is looking GREAT!  My fabulous farmer hubby has all kinds of goodies growing – tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, squash, radishes, lettuce, peppers, asparagus, onions, garlic and lots of different herbs.

Since it looks like a real “farm” I decided this farmer’s wife needs to get back to the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt.  The challenge is to make two blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  There is a wonderful Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr with lots of support, encouragement and pictures.

I picked back up with Block 44 – Gentleman’s Fancy – here pictured among the tomato plants (yes, it is April and we already have good sized tomatoes – amazing!).

Next is Block 45 – Grape Basket.  It is photographed in the potato plants (no, we don’t usually have a tomato cage in the potato plants 🙂 ).

And then I had to get both blocks in the strawberries:

The fabric I chose for this project is primarily Aunt Grace and is so bright and cheery that it feels like the perfect project to celebrate a beautiful and bountiful Spring.

Three Friends and a Fruit Basket

Today I managed to get back to my Farmer’s Wife Sampler blocks.  I’ve been participating in the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr which is on week 21.  The challenge is to make 2 blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).

I am working through the book sequentially and am up to the F’s – the Friendship blocks and one Fruit Basket.  The fabrics I am using are mostly Aunt Grace with some of my regular stash thrown in and I am paper piecing using the foundation patterns found on the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Yahoo Group site.

Here are this week’s blocks:

Farmer's Wife Blocks 39 through 42

Here is a close look at each:

Farmer's Wife 39 - Friendship

I love the Friendship block!  I can imagine making an entire quilt using this block.

Farmer's Wife 40 - Friendship Block

OK – I love the Friendship Block above too!  I’m really happy with the bright cheery fabrics I chose for these two blocks.

Farmer's Wife 41 - Friendship Star

The Friendship Star is an easy block but the directional print of my background fabric is a little skewed.  Paper piecing and directional prints don’t always play well together!

Farmer's Wife 42 - Fruit Basket

I tried to use some “fruity” fabrics” in Fruit Basket – thus the orange circus print.  I also tried to use a bunch of scraps of white on white prints for the background.

I was starting to get a bit burned out on the Farmer’s Wife project – until I sat down and did the first Friendship block and it came out so cute and happy.  So I kept on with the other “Friend” blocks and finished up this week with the Fruit Basket. It turned out to be a good week to be a “Farmer’s Wife!”


Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along – Blocks Among the Tomatoes

The Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along is up to week 19. This project is inspired by the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr.  The challenge is to make 2 blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made 4 blocks but haven’t had time to share pictures.

As a good farmer’s wife (well, gardener’s wife), I had to also share pictures of our fall tomato plants:

Here are blocks 35 and 37:

And blocks 36 and 38:

It won’t be long and we will have some fresh garden tomatoes!

Here are some closer views of each block:

FW 35 - Flower Basket

All four of these blocks today are paper pieced using the foundation patterns that can be found on the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Yahoo Group site.  The Flower Basket has a machine appliqued handle.

FW 36 - Flower Path

Flower Path was a real bear!  It doesn’t meet in the center as well as I’d like.  But I do like the brown and white print and the green “path”.

FW 37 - Flower Pot

Flower Pot is another challenging block with some set-in seams.  I used some new Aunt Grace fabric I picked up at the quilt show last week.

FW 38 - Four Winds

Four Winds is my favorite this week.  I love all the pinwheels within pinwheels and used some pretty blue fabrics to represent the sky.  Perhaps some clouds in the sky might look like white dogs? 🙂

Despite some challenges this week, the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along is zipping along.  I can’t believe I have 38 cute little blocks completed already!

Monday on the Farm

OK, we have a garden, not a farm, but after spending part of the morning in the garden pulling Tomato Horn Worms off the tomato and the pepper plants (including the jalapeno plants – ¡Ay Caramba!) it feels a bit like a farm.  So, as a good farmer’s wife 🙂 I have 5 new quilt blocks to share!

Farmer's Wife Blocks 27 Through 31

This project is inspired by the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr.  The challenge is to make 2 blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  Since this is my week 7 and their week 16, I have been attempting to catch up.  I’m almost there!  I think I only have 3 blocks next week!

Here is a closer look at each one:

FW 27 - Darting Birds

Lots of teeny tiny pieces in this block.  I have to grin over my fabric choice for Darting Birds – each bird has flying hearts pierced by an arrow… or is that a dart? Get it? 🙂

FW 28 - Duck and Ducklings

I like Duck and Ducklings a lot – no ducky fabric so I chose something calm and serene.

FW 29 - Economy

Well this block is certainly an Economy of time – it was very easy.  The Aunt Grace fabric I’m using doesn’t have any large print that would lend itself to a nice fussy cut in the center.  This would be a nice block for that type of treatment.

FW 30 - End of Day

I haven’t used this blue fabric much and I thought it would lend itself to the pinwheel effect of the End of Day block.  It came out alright, not my favorite.

FW 31 - Evening Star

Evening Star is probably my favorite block this week.  I love the Aunt Grace black and white fabric and the striking contrast of the star in yellow.

Now that I’m almost caught up with the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group, I have my eye on another interesting project.  It’s a Mystery!  I tell you about it later this week!

ps – after dinner we discovered more Tomato Horn Worms.  This guy has been chowing down:

Yuck!  These guys are nasty!


Mistakes in Quilts – Amish Tradition or Myth?

A couple of days ago I posted about my Farmer’s Wife Quilt Sampler blocks for the week and noted that one of my blocks has a mistake.  It was the Country Path block:

Country Path

There are a couple of green squares that should be brown and a couple of brown that should be green.  Overall, I still really like the block but have been thinking that I shouldn’t allow mistakes to creep into a project so it might be a do-over.

With that thought lurking in the back of my mind, I just recently started reading  A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick and I came across this passage:

“One of the first bits of wisdom imparted to a novice quilter is that the Amish, who make some of the most simple but exquisite quilts in the world, purposely plan a mistake into each of their projects because they believe attempts at human perfection mock God.  Of course, any quilter knows that you don’t have to plan for imperfections in your work; they come quite naturally on their own, so I don’t know if this bit of Amish folklore rings true or not, but the idea does.”

I’ve heard of this before – have you?  I’ve also heard it called the Humility Block.  So I did a little Google research.  There are several websites that present what appears to be unbiased factual information about the Amish, including the quilt imperfection theory.  One example from The Amish People and Their Lifestyle:

“I have heard the Amish will place a small mistake or imperfection in a quilt or other handmade item. Why is this done?”

“We’ve heard that many years ago sometimes a scrap of fabric that didn’t quite match was used inconspicuously in a patchwork quilt to give it “identity.” We question whether this is true. We don’t know of any quilters who would do that today. Amish quilts are all band quilted; stitches are very small and uniform. But, no matter how hard one tries, the stitches are not all identical and perfect. A quilt may have an imperfection, but it wasn’t on purpose.”

Several other websites answer in the same manner.

There is an excellent Quilt History on Hart Cottage Quilts website which includes extensive information on the Humility Blocks:

“But the research of quilt historians reveals that the “humility block” appears to be a figment of mid-20th century imagination.”

In a nutshell, the Amish practice of purposeful imperfection in a quilt or humility block seems to be a myth. I still don’t know if I will fix the Country Path block; I really do like it as it is.  But unfortunately, I don’t have the Amish tradition as an excuse to allow mistakes to creep into my quilts!


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