I had just won a full quilt shop box of Thimbleberries – Shades Apart and wanted to make something using this line, but what. There are 70 different shades, I didn't want to make a scrappy quilt just for the sake of using the fabric, I wanted a project, not a quickie quilt.
There, sitting on my shelf, was The Farmers Wife Quilt book. I had read through it a while back and decided that it was no interest to me, but now I had a whole box of coordinating fabric, it might be worth a second look. If you have the book (and you must have the book to do these lessons) you know the book does not have cutting information, nor does it have assembly instructions, one of the reasons that I shelved the book in the first place. But I was determined to do this quilt.
I started to think that I could draft all of the blocks in EQ and then place the actual fabric to see what the blocks were going to look like. EQ provides the cutting instructions, even paper piecing templates, but even with the cutting instructions, they were templates, not modern ways of constructions, just the pieces. I figured that with 30+ years of quilting experience, I could do this, I hate templates, but I could do it.
As I was drafting the blocks, I was also searching on the internet for others that were doing the same as me and I stumbled upon the fact that there was a companion CD that had all of the blocks drafted for EQ and I found Karen Walkers Farmers Wife Revival Classes.
I started reading her blog and taking in all of the information that she was posting and thought, OK, so she knows what she is doing, maybe this is the place I need to be. It takes me a while to make on line purchases, but I dove right in and purchased classes 1 & 2 right from her as I didn't (past thence), like to give my credit card to web sites. I quickly received the lessons back via e-mail, I started working through class one. Not only was it was easy, fun, but well written.
But at the end of class one, I discovered I needed to be more organized, so I created my notebook, had my book spiral bound and started my own blog (which you are reading now).
Class 2 was next up. I was finding that, although I had been quilting for 30+ years, I had never created a lot of these blocks. I was also find out that the blocks I was afraid of making, were, in fact, easy once I knew the tricks.
I also thought that my accuracy was spot on, I was using a scant quarter inch and doing everything all of the teachers tell you to do, and my blocks never quite turned out, but were acceptable. Now that I am making blocks that measure 6 1/2 inches and have 49 or more pieces, I have found that my accuracy has greatly improved and that scant quarter inch seam allowance is for the birds!
If you cut accurately and then piece with 50 weight thread, there is really no need for adding that 2 or 3 threads extra, and as I am finding out as I work through these lessons, accuracy, TRUE accuracy is the key. It doesn't matter what foot you use and in fact I am using both of these feet to create these blocks, it totally depends on the method you are using. Also moving your needle to the dead center position, is the key, no more one click to the right!
Marking sewing lines and then sewing ON the line, not next to it is the key. At first, my blocks were coming out at 6 to 6 1/4 inches, now they are coming out at the full 6 1/2 inches, even the one with the 49 pieces was a full 6 1/2 inches! Thanks to Karen’s instructions, perfect cutting directions, it is possible to create a perfect block using 11/16th measurements.
Would I highly recommend her lessons to even the most seasoned quilter, you bet I would! I have learned so much that I didn't expect to learn and created blocks that I would have never attempted before. Because of her instructions, even the most complicated looking blocks are as easy as a simple 9 patch!