Laugh yourself into Stitches*
The Farmer’s Wife Quilt Revival Lessons

Good information to know before you begin...or maybe you are pondering whether you should begin this journey~~

This 12 month ‘lesson’ or ‘class’ is a Quilt Journey and a look back into time through letters written by farm wives in the 1920’s.  Laurie Aaron Hird’s book: The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt is designed using templates and hand piecing methods.
We will not be using these methods…we will use modern rotary cutting and piecing methods. 
Each class contains complete instructions with illustrations for approximately 10 blocks and cost $8.50 per class.  Purchase options for the classes are available on Etsy  
Buy the entire collection of classes on Etsy and save! 
   See a sample of a class block HERE and read what others are saying about the lessons HERE
Need a copy of the book?  You’ll find it by clicking HERE

**Please carefully read through this entire document before Starting
This class will teach modern piecing techniques like:

The Magic 8, a handful of paper piecing blocks (optional), Triple Triangles and much more! 
The class will strengthen one’s piecing techniques; take the intimidation out of making 6 ½” blocks and enhance one’s quilting skills.
 Designed for a Strong beginner with competent skills in cutting, stitching a quarter inch seam allowance, competent understanding of quilt terms and a desire to learn. 
You will need a copy of Laurie’s book…it will become your journal.

**I do not work in the block order shown in the book.  I begin with simple blocks, building skill level along the way.  I don’t always piece the blocks according to what is shown in your book.  Remember this!  Follow MY cutting and piecing instructions.  Some blocks will be pieced similar to what is shown in the book and some will be pieced completely different. 

Here’s what you’ll need to begin:
1.  The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt  book by Laurie Aaron Hird
     I would highly recommend getting your book spiral bound.  Most office stores like Office Depot can do this for just a few  dollars.             
2.  Your sewing machine in good working condition.
      If it’s been awhile since your last tuned up, now’s the time!
3. Thread:  A neutral color will do, medium taupe for a darker quilt of cream if a lighter colored quilt is desired.  I recommend Auriful 50wt thread.  Click Auriful
4. Scissors, seam ripper, pins, other common sewing tools, 6-1/2” square rotary ruler
New needle!  You’ll be amazed how a new needle can make your blocks come together nicely.  I recommend changing your needle every 20 blocks or so.
5. A variety of darks, medium and light fabrics w/big and small print.

This quilt is made with many small pieces, a variety of charms and other precuts are perfect or scraps from your own stash.  For great Online Fabric Shops, visit my favorite shops listed under the ‘Files’ tab in our Facebook group.  Click HERE to find our Facebook group.

PLEASE READ! ** Fabric requirements for finishing the quilt top with setting triangles, sashing, corner stones, border, binding and backing are available in Class 10.  If your quilt is completely scrappy, I recommend purchasing these fabrics sometime around Class 9.  Your blocks may take on a different look than what you expected when you started, so waiting is recommended.
HOWEVER, If you are using a consistent line of fabric for making all your blocks, purchasing the border, sashing, setting triangle fabrics is recommended sooner than later.  You don’t want to find yourself in a position where the fabric line you chose is no longer available when you are ready to put your quilt together.  Purchasing Class 10 may be done at any time.
Before you begin:
Determine a ‘focus color’ and build from there using complimentary scraps or precuts.  A variety of large and small print as well as lights, mediums and darks should find their way into your patchwork.  There are a total of 111 blocks that will make up the queen size quilt.
The techniques or patchwork skills shared in the classes will be used in multiple blocks.  Once a new technique is introduced, there will be a handful of blocks using the same method.  The blocks have been divided based upon patchwork skills, not in chronological order as shown in the book. 

A.    Cross cut (C/C) or Sub cut (S/C) means to cut again
B.    Opposing Seams: seams pressed in opposite directions
C.    Finished:  block size when sewn into the surrounding
D.    Unfinished:  block size which includes seam allowances
E.    Chain piecing:  feeding through your machine, pairs of
        shapes one after another

There are 3 important things to remember for the success of one’s quilt top
A.   Accuracy in cutting:
When cutting fabric using an acrylic ruler, make sure whatever size shape is cut includes the line on the ruler.  For example, if cutting a 2 1/2” square, the line on the ruler representing 2 1/2” should be included onto the fabric.  If the line is just off the fabric, the block will be a couple threads less than the desired size.  Even a couple threads can add up!  Find a pictorial in our Farmer's Wife Facebook Group by clicking on the 'File's Tab. 
B.   Accuracy in maintaining a 1/4” seam allowance:
Before piecing a block, test to see if your machine is stitching a   true 1/4”.
C.  Pressing (not ironing): Ironing will distort the shape of your block, so press.
A few more thoughts on Pressing: 
If your fabric seems a bit thin, use a spray starch to add stability.  Do this BEFORE cutting out block shapes.  The sprays will tighten the threads and sometimes shrink the fabrics just a tiny bit. Set your seam with heat before pressing to one side or opening.    
*try not to distort what you’ve just stitched together! 
Most blocks press seams to one side, usually towards the darker fabric. Pressing seams to one side allows for the seams to nestle together when sewn to each other.  There may be times when it makes more sense to press your seams open to eliminate bulk. 
When starting to stitch, hold the top thread and bobbin thread tales to begin.  This should help eliminate a tangled mess. It may be more helpful when working in small scale to begin stitching on a small scrap of fabric, then sew a few stitches with no fabric under the needle, and then feed in your fabrics. End by sewing onto another small scrap which will set you up for the next set of fabrics.

Many times it will be useful to have the needle in the ‘down’ position.   Especially when chain piecing, sewing long strips together and matching seams.

 When working in small scale, it is important to check and measure the accuracy of each piece as it is sewn together.  If you are off a bit after stitching 3 or 4 pieces of a block together, you may want to rip out and start again.  Don’t let this discourage you!  Take a deep breath.  J

Squaring up the block:  The Farmer’s Wife blocks should measure 6-1/2” unfinished.   Before squaring up a block, using a 6-1/2” ruler, check to see if you would be cutting off any important points or intersections before you squaring up.  In a perfect world, you should not need to square up at all and if you have measured as you go, you will be more accurate with the completed block size.  
       But….don’t fret!  None of us are perfect!!  

Pinning:  some pin, some do not.  If sewing opposing seams together you may find you do not need to pin because the seams will nestle together. 
When sewing intersections together, first set a pin through both fabrics on the sewn line to match the seam. Then pin closely to either side of the ‘set pin’.  Now you can pull the ‘setting pin’ out and stitch. 

There are many piecing methods used throughout the class.  Links to my blog with step by step tutorials are listed in each class where the methods are used.  The links are highlighted in blue and found in the cutting and piecing instructions for the particular class where the method(s) are used.  In additional to the tutorials for the piecing methods, I offer a few pictorials (also on my blog) with step by step piecing instructions for more difficult blocks.  I offer Free printable tutorials with time saving methods and quilting tips.  The tutorials on our Facebook page.  

Click Farmer’s Wife Quilt Revival Facebook group and join us for lots of additional tips and support!

Rev up those Tractors and Enjoy the Journey!

I appreciate your business!
Please do not reproduce or distribute this class pattern
©Karen M Walker….laugh yourself into Stitches* 2014


  1. Thanks for giving me some ideas of how to handle the blocks in the current 1930's Wife Sampler Quilt quilt along. These blocks have driven me to utter distraction. The 6-1/2" block with 52-54 pieces is the corker. :-)

    1. Thank you...I have been asked a number of times if i would also offer cutting and piecing instructions for the 1930's book. I'm not taking on that project. But so many have been very happy using my instructions for the 1920's Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt. Join us on Facebook if you like! I have a lot of free tutorials available there. :) ~karen



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