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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Farmer’s wife: Square Dance

Square Dance

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Again, I must observe that I am lacking a fabric with a larger print to show off in those rare blocks where there is room for it to be shown off. This might be a hint for me to go and buy one. Anyway, I am afraid I do not have a big enough variety of fabrics for such a big quilt. Besides the fact that my stash of turquoise/green and white prints will not suffice for 111 blocks, I am afraid that 20 different fabrics will create a certain monotony in the end. 20? Are there really as much as 20 by now? This does not sound monotonous to me. But still, 22 or 25 different fabrics would not hurt this quilt, would they?

Farmer’s wife: Squash Blossom

Squash Blossom

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Would you have guessed the name of this block if it hadn’t stood in the title? I would not. Nevertheless, I think it one of the loveliest blocks so far. At least it doesn’t consist of squares and half square triangles as so many blocks did before. I am already getting a little tired of blocks consisting of these two forms, and I predict that I will be sick of them when finishing the 111th block.

I feel I am sounding a little destructive here. So let me find a better name for this block. How about “Aztec Vibes”? This pattern strongly reminds me of some Mexican or Aztec pattern. I am sure, there exists an Aztec symbol like this, and I bet it had a certain meaning, something like squash blossom …

Farmer’s wife: Star Gardener

Star Gardener

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

This 57 pieces monster did not turn out too well, but good enough for me to not redo it. I reduced the “error rate” to 49 by sewing eight flying geese blocks.

Well, maybe I am too hard on myself. But when I am sitting bent over a 4,5″ square for one and a half hour, I tend to get nit-picky.

Farmer’s wife: Star of Hope

Star of Hope

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

I added a new fabric here that I did not use before in this quilt. I was looking for a larger scale print, and since I am dealing with tiny snippets of fabric mostly, I did not include large scale prints in my fabric assortment. I am not completely happy with this one but I didn’t have too many options. And I wanted the star’s rays to be in a bright and contrasting colour—white excluded. I hope this block will go with all the other blocks—but that is the exiting question throughout this whole project, isn’t it?

Farmer’s wife: Storm Signal

I am amazed how well this block turned out. I don’t know why I was so afraid that this particular block wouldn’t. It was not the easiest block so far, but it was by no means the hardest. Maybe it was because I wanted this block to be particularly exact.

Storm Signal

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

When browsing for other quilters’ examples, I realised that this block looks best when using very clear colours in the centre. I came across one example where the outer parts were very dark, and I liked this one too, but then decided to use the darkest shade in the centre in order to gain as much contrast as possible.

This block will be one of the “losers” when turning it on point in the end (when assembling the quilt top). It looks best when looked at as shown in the picture above. I had some losers so far, but rather minor ones: Windmill, Waste Not, and Tall Pine Tree. For other blocks, it doesn’t really matter which way you look at them. And of course there were several gainers so far, which only work when turning them on point: Tulip, Temperance Tree, and Strawberry Basket.

Farmer’s wife: Strawberry Basket and Steps to the Altar

Strawberry Basket

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Like Temperance Tree and Pine Tree, these two blocks are very closely related, and that is why I present them to you in one post.

Steps to the Altar

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

I think it very funny that two so very dissimilar things are sketched in two so very similar block designs. I could sit and ponder over this for quite some time.

Of course, I must admit that my two blocks are looking even more similar because my Strawberry Basket holds no strawberries. Since I have no red hues in my colour scheme, my strawberry basket is rather a gooseberry basket.

Farmer’s wife: Streak of Lightning

When considering the fabrics for this block, I wanted to express more than just sky and one or two streaks of lightning. I wanted to have the full picture of a thunderstorm in this 4,5″ square.

Streak of Lightning

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

First of all, I decided that there must be more than two colours in this block. Did you ever notice the different shades of blue the sky can have during a thunder storm? There is the earth (green), often in a strange unearthly light, minutes before the clouds extinguish the sun. Colours are very clear and the shapes particularly distinct. Then there is the lightning, of course. Some flashes are brighter than others. The sky is devided into two parts, at least: one is rather bright, like the sky was before the storm, and the other is so very dark you would not believe the sky to be able to be so dark (except at night). These heavy clouds carry the rain that wash both sky and earth, leaving behind a new shiny and spotless world.

Farmer’s wife: Swallow

I like swallows. They are so swift and elegant birds of prey when diving throught the sky hunting for insects. I like the fact that you can tell by the hight of their flight how the weather is going to be.  (True, the insects that are hunted by the swallows indicate that, but they are too small for our eyes.) I like their cry—for me, it is strongly connected with midsummer. I admire their migration.


© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

This block represents a somewhat clumsy or chubby swallow. Or maybe it illustrates the rapidity of its movements by showing three or four flaps in one picture.

Farmer’s wife: Tall Pine Tree

I have two remarks on this block:

First, that I took a shortcut when sewing the tree top of the middle tree. Strictly speaking, the big blue triangles should each consist of two triangles half the size—as in the tree tops on the bottom.

Second, that I used more different fabrics than in Laurie’s original. There, the trees were all in one colour, and the background in another. I preferred to distinguish the trees (or rather the parts of the trees) by colour. When sewing a whole quilt out of this block, it would be nice to have trees in different shades. With this block especially, it is a pitty that I am only doing one sample block, but you can easily imagine what a whole quilt would look like: a nice forest!

Tall Pine Tree

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann


Farmer’s wife: Temperance Tree

This is one of the blocks that have a twin—or almost a twin. Windblown Square and Whirlpool were real twins. The sibling block of Temperance Tree is the Pine Tree block, the trunk’s width being the only alteration.

Fabric choice on this block was not easy. I very much hoverd between having the triangles pointing to the inside in a darker shade or the triangles pointing to the outside. Finally, I decided to go with Laurie, although—devoid of Laurie’s example—I would have done it the other way round, intuitively. Maybe I will try this option when sewing the Pine Tree block.

Temperance Tree

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Another peculiarity of this block is the number of single pieces of which Temperance Tree consists: as many as 42! This is second place, so far, only outdone by Wood Lily with 57 pieces, but still one of the most difficult blocks, so far.