My Annie's Farm Stand fabric arrived over the weekend! I was so excited to get started making my Farmer's Wife blocks, that I jumped right in. Sara and I worked on our blocks together, and I finished a dozen of them. Actually 14, but one is much like another so I didn't take its picture, and the other one is too ugly to live. Sara made great progress too, go check out her blog and have a look.
The blocks are loads of fun to construct, for the most part, and I can see why others have said that making them is addictive. You just have to see what the next color combination and block layout will be.
I'd like to have a discussion with you all about techniques for making these blocks. When Sara and plunged in, we made the decision to use the templates. I had read that if you print out the 111 templates from the book on the cd which is included with the book, they just print out one per page. Definitely did not want to do that. A fabulous gal with a blog called Liz Quilts posted a LINK with the templates combined many to a page, which was more what made sense to me. I printed out the templates, bought some template plastic and set about making my templates for the blocks. I cut out each paper template, then used Elmer's glue to stick it to the plastic template, let it dry, then cut it out on the line.
Sara and I found that every block made with the templates comes out 6 1/4 inches square, not 6 1/2 inches as they are supposed to be. Is this a scaling issue that resulted when I printed out the templates? The blocks are consistent, so this could end up not being a problem if all our blocks are template made.
However. We soon tired of using the templates. Cutting out all those little triangles and sewing them together got old real fast, plus we found it was a challenge to get all our pieces and seam allowances to line up perfectly. Rotary cutting was looking VERY appealing after we had made a half dozen blocks or so from templates. So, we did the math and started making our blocks with a half square triangle method that guarantees success every time (making them with 2 7/8" squares and cutting them in half after stitching on either side of a drawn diagonal line). Ta da, every block a perfect 6 1/2 inches square, just like they are supposed to be.
So here's the dilemma: Can we use both the template made 6 1/4" blocks in the quilt along with the rotary cut 6 1/2" blocks? Will the quarter inch size discrepancy create a nightmare when we sew all the blocks together in the finished quilt?
Many of the blocks in the book can be made by doing the math, since they are simple 9 patch or 4 patch blocks. But there are loads of blocks that are fantastic that we want to include in our quilts, that seem to require templates.
The block below for instance. I could probably figure out how to make this using all half square triangles, but I like the look of the larger pieces that template construction permits.
How are the rest of you coping? I found some excellent tutorials on Lori Holt's blog Bee In My Bonnet for blocks made by doing the math. Someone also told me that if you buy the Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates sets A, B, D, N & S (for $90!) you can use them for most all the Farmer's Wife blocks with a 6 1/2" block result. Has anyone used Marti's templates?
Should I bite the bullet and print out the templates from the cd included with the book? I wonder if they will be 6 1/2", or if my printer will scale them smaller some how.
Please talk to me about how you are making your blocks and what your experience has been. I'd love to learn about some other options.