It started badly. When I looked at the block picture next to the letter I thought there were only two fabrics. I spent some time choosing two fabrics, then happened to look at the block assembly and realised there were three! I chose my fabrics based on the theme of the letter so I had a rethink and finally felt happy with my picks:
top to bottom: Delicate Femme in Apricot, Rapture by Pat Bravo; Carpal Stone Grid in Gold, Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander and Row by Row Lit, Cultivate by Bonnie Christine.
And then it just went downhill!
I decided to hand piece this block, the last few were English Paper Pieced but I needed a change. Perhaps because I had been used to just cutting up the pieces, or maybe because I wasn't concentrating, I messed up. I failed to realise that the triangles in the centre are not all the same size or that this is a mirror image block. And it wasn't until I started sewing that it all clicked.
I salvaged what I could and then re-cut the pieces. Very often a block spinning the wrong way wouldn't bother me at all but I do like getting it 'right' when I can. Also by this point I was questioning everything and relying heavily on the block assembly to keep me in check!
The easiest way for me to make sure the pieces are correct in a mirror image block when hand piecing, is to print the block diagram and trace the lines on the reverse. I use a lightpad, put the diagram face down and then the fabric right side down on top - turn the light on and trace.
So finally I had the pieces cut out properly! The block can be split into quarters, as each quarter is the same. I laid out a quarter to ensure it was right then split the block into eighths and used clips to hold the pieces for each small section together.
I must have looked at the block assembly a million times while I was sewing and it really isn't that complicated!! I think I just started doubting myself because I screwed up the cutting. My brain probably needed the challenge ;)
Usually I do know what I'm doing and you can find my hand piecing tutorial here.
Even with all the mistakes I made I did enjoy sewing this block together!
This was a beautiful letter, I like how often the letters tell of simplicity and finding joy in what we have. I also found the book The Culture of Simplicity by Malcolm McLeod, that is quoted in the letter - you can read it online here (there are sections missing but it is free). You need to click the Next>> tab on the top right to flip through the pages.
I used the grid print to represent the "rolling brown fields" and the floral print as a symbol to "Live simply then. Enjoy the present moment". The stripe worked beautifully as "the beams that bring summer into the soul and make us lighthearted, free and glad".
I'm already working on my next block and getting back into the swing of it! Are you sewing along? How many blocks have you completed so far and which block is your favourite?
The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.