Book Report: The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt

Posted in: Reading List — By on January 1, 2013 8:24 PM

Happy New Year!!!

I hope that your holidays were happy and full of good times with family and friends. I certainly enjoyed having a couple weeks of holidays this year. I spent probably too much of it puttering around the house, watching movies (how have I never seen The Goonies before?) and not eating enough vegetables, but I also hosted my family’s Christmas and had fun times with friends. I also read The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hind and got cracking on some blocks. This is a book that I’d seen on many of my favourite sewing blogs over the last couple of years and I can see why it’s so popular. A quick search in Google or Flickr shows some of the beautiful quilts that have been made using this book.

The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt features 111 quilt blocks inspired by farm life in the US during the 1920’s. The book features excerpts from 42 letters written by farm wives in the 1922 in response to a contest in the Farmer’s Wife Magazine asking if they’d want their daughters to marry farmers. Each of these letters inspired the design of quilt blocks, and they are shown alongside the letters in reproduction vintage fabrics.

Unsurprisingly, the letters featured in this book are very warm and fuzzy about the virtues of being a farmer’s wife. Apparently 94% of the 7000 contest entries were in favour of a daughter marrying a farmer. Lots of interesting tidbits in here about the nice and not so nice aspects of farm life in the 1920’s, but the joy and happiness these women get from their daily lives on the farm and in their rural communities is clear. It’s a fun read and definitely a nice break from the hectic, urban lives that most of lead today!

I’ve never used a book or pattern to create a quilt before, but I love how Laurie Aaron Hind shows how to make each quilt block with a very simple assembly diagram rather than written instructions – a picture says 1000 words!

All templates for the blocks are found on the CD that comes with the book. I really wish that the templates could be printed several per page rather than on individual pages. With 106 different templates, that’s a lot of wasted paper. I’d recommend printing on scrap paper since you’ll likely be transferring your templates to cardstock anyway.

After reading the book, I couldn’t wait to start working on my quilt. This floral fabric that is one of my favourites in my stash is definitely a colour inspiration for my Farmer’s Wife quilt:

I’m planning to use whites and greys as my main colour with a red, yellow or blue accent in each block. I was inspired by the way that any hint of colour just jumps out on a snowy or cloudy day, and I think a simple primary colour scheme will emphasize the beautiful designs of the blocks.

I love how each block of this quilt is different. It’s a great chance to try new techniques and also a nice project that I can work on for an hour here and an hour there, and still feel like I’m make progress. At this point I don’t know how big a quilt I’ll be making, what kind of layout I’ll use or where the finished quilt will go — I’ll just see where it takes me! I’ve made 4 blocks so far and I can’t wait to stitch up some more!

#54 Kitchen Woodbox

#6 Big Dipper

#20 Churn Dash

#16 Calico Puzzle

I know better than to say I’m going to finish my quilt by a certain date because I want to keep this a fun, no-pressure kind of project. I’ll post my progress every month or two to show how it’s coming along. Leave a post in the comments if you’re working on a Farmer’s Wife quilt too!

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