If you've been following along on Instagram, you know I recently pulled all my Farmer's Wife blocks out again. I have 29 left to go to make the twin size version. Yay! (In case you aren't familiar with Farmer's Wife, it is a sampler quilt of 6" blocks made from templates. Read more about it here.)
When I got back to work, I had to stop and think about my process. Then I remembered I had taken some photos way back in December (!) to show you how I put them together. Oops. So today I'm going to post them and maybe they will be helpful to us both. Better late them never right?
*disclaimer: This is only MY way of doing things. It is not THE ONLY way of doing things. It is one of many, many ways of piecing FW blocks.
With that said, here are my steps to making a Farmer's Wife block:
1. Put the kids to bed. Get a Dr Pepper. Turn on Downton Abbey.
2. Pick 6 blocks from the Farmer's Wife book. Mark them with paper clips, then find all the templates that go with each block and tuck them under the paper clip.
3. Dig through my scrap bucket and decide on the fabric for each block. This is my favorite part. It is also the messiest part. I'm not sure what that says about me. I tuck the little stack fabrics I want for each block between the pages or under the paper clip if they are small scraps. (Look extra close at the book in the picture above and you can see what I'm talking about)
4. At this point I rough cut (with scissors) the pieces of fabric I need, leaving about 1/4" extra fabric all the way around. You can see the extra fabric in this photo around the template.
5. In this block, there were 4 white squares. I stacked 4 rough cut white pieces of fabric and put the template on top. Using my teeny tiny rotary cutter, ruler and mat, I put the ruler on top of the template and line up the 1/4" line with the solid line on the template. That way if I've shaved off bits of the template the pieces will always be the correct size. Also, make sure the template stays put and doesn't slide around.
6. I cut each side the same way, rotating my tiny mat instead of the fabric. There are lots of cute slivers of fabric leftover, but very little waste.
7. I'm sure it goes without saying, but keep your fingers away from the edge of the ruler, be super careful and never, ever, EVER cut off one of your fingers. Just be extra careful, but really that is applicable anytime you use a razor blade that spins.
8. Same with the template pieces that aren't square. Simple.
9. Lay all the pieces for the block.
Note: In general, when you are handling the pieces, handle them very carefully and as little as possible so they don't stretch or distort.
10. Repeat until you have the pieces set out for all 6 blocks.
11. CHAIN PIECE. I can't say this enough. Chain piece, chain piece, chain piece. With a perfect 1/4" seam. Test it on scrap fabric and make sure it is accurate. While your mat is sitting there with all the pieces on it, pick up and sew everything you can in one long chain. Clip them apart, press well, lay them out and do it again. Chain piecing 6 blocks at a time is the fastest, most effiecient way I've found. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the part because my photographer was home on his lunch break and had to go back to work. Darn work. (Hi Jen ;-)
Note: I rarely, if ever say to skip pinning. But I do with these blocks. The pieces are so tiny, I rarely pin, I just keep a close eye on things as I feed them through. If it is off, I unpick (carefully!) and do it again. It's like 10 stitches, people. Easiest unpicking ever.
12. Once the blocks are all pieced and pressed, make 105 more. :-)
I have loved every step of my Farmer's wife blocks. I love piecing them, I love taking the time to try to get every point to line up. I love looking through my blocks and all the fabrics used. I cannot wait to get it all pieced and quilted and snuggle up with my family under it. As long as they are freshly bathed and not covered in jam. (You'd be surprised.)
And there you have it. Did I miss anything? Hope this helps!