Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt-along: Block 1 Addie

Hello everyone! I'm very happy to kickstart this Farmer's Wife 1930s Quilt-along (organised by talented Kerry!) with our first block: Addie. 

fyi: I'll be handsewing all the blocks. Yippee!

Addie is a delightful block with a beautiful and touching story "Happier than ever before". If you read it once, you will wish to read it over and over again just like me. Will you be happy giving up a comfortable life in town and modern conveniences or even material things like electric washer just for two cows, a range and a faraway garage? The author Mrs H. S. L. wrote "... But don't think it's all work and no beauty, for we have a nice garden, sweet smelling pines, and worlds of wildflower..." She definitely sounded so much "happier than she ever have been before".  I can imagine her smiling with contentment watching her kids running wild and free in the farm while she work as a farmer's wife. Now I truly understand, it's really the most simple things that can actually bring the most happiness in life.

Anyway, I handpieced this block without any difficulty using my traditional handsewing patchwork method. There is a diagrammatic instruction in the book for each block on how to piece the templates.  I followed the templates exactly with a seam allowance of 1/4" throughout. And you know what, there is no Y-seam at all! I was mistaken at first sight that there might be Y-seams but actually, all sewing in this block is just end-to-end sewing! Easy peasy! 

For fabric choices, I usually love mixing various or clashing prints and colours. Even for a single colour, I would prefer to choose two or three different fabrics to add to the element of fun and surprise! So you can see from this block, although there are only three colours needed, I chose seven different fabric prints!

When you handsew for some time, you will realise it's almost second nature to know where you should press the seams (more often towards the darker fabric). There's no right or wrong. This is how I did it:

How I prepare each block before handsewing:
- print template to actual size 
- cut out template and paste on cardboard (e.g. cereal box) 
- draw 1/4" seam allowance around the templates 
- use a sharp penknife (I recommend X-ACTO craft knife for precision) and cut around the templates 
- cut out the templates 
- choose fabrics 
- draw templates on fabrics 
- cut fabrics 
- relax and start sewing! 

I love how this Addie block turned out! It looks cheerful, optimistic and really happy!

If you are more keen in paper piecing this block, please feel free to hop over to Kerry's blog learn more! You will be surprised that there's so much you can learn and do with each block!

I hope you will enjoy sewing (english or paper piecing or even handsewing) this Addie block as much as I do! Enjoy!xx

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jenni said...


Susan said...

Wynn. I was very excited to see your name on this sew along. I read your other blog (and I'm confused as to which blog is current) and was giddy to know that someone else enjoys hand piecing. I'm considered strange by quilters I meet. LOL. I read all your hand piecing posts and watched your video. I learned so much. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous little block. I'm trying to decide whether to boost them all to 9", which would make me happier. I will get started this coming week - a little slow here. =)

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Wynn. I know I am a bit late getting started on this sew-along, but that's how I roll... ;-)

In the past my quilts have all been rotary cutting and machine piecing, but I want to learn new techniques with this quilt-along so I'm planning to paper piece some and hand piece others depending on which method seems best suited to each block. But although both of the Farmer's Wife books came with CDs full of templates, I am having trouble finding directions for how to make and use templates for piecing! It's not in any of my quilting books; they just talk about how quilters used to use templates for everything before rotary cutters were invented!

So my question for you is: Am I understanding correctly that you cut your templates out on the STITCHING line, not the cutting line, so you're tracing the actual stitching line onto your fabric pieces and then cutting them out 1/4" from the drawn line for the seam allowances? Or do you cut the templates out on the dotted cutting line and then somehow draw the stitching line inside on your fabric pieces? If you are cutting your template on the stitching line, do you cut just inside the line, just outside the line, or do you try to cut right down the middle of the line?

Your block is lovely, and I really like the way you've mixed up your fabric prints. It's so subtle, you don't notice it at first, but then it's a surprise detail that you realize after looking at the block for a bit.

I'm off to read your hand piecing tutorial now!