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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Farmer’s wife: Seasons

Seasons was very easy to sew, but again rather hard to decide on fabrics. As I read more and more blogs about Farmer’s Wife Quilt Samplers, I come to realize that choosing the fabrics for each block is a very important issue with many quilters, which has—if neglected—an immediate, and grave influence on the whole project. In fact, I have read quite often about “redoing” blocks—something I certainly would like to avoid (with my anxiety to never waste fabric!).


© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

With Seasons, I am introducing another new fabric I bought at a new quilt shop in town. Strictly speaking, the shop is not so very new, it just moved to town a fortnight ago. Which is very convenient of course.

When considering the fabrics for Seasons, I had a strong inclination to use four different fabrics symbolizing the four seasons. I cannot understand why Laurie did not—and so many other quilters with her. But then I found that recently I already had several blocks with more than two or three different fabrics in them, but I prefer it rather plain. Still, I thought something had to be done to this design to make it more … understandable. So I switched light and dark fabrics and am pretty content with the result.


Farmer’s wife: Shooting Star

I bought two new fabrics, and I used one of them in this block. It is the dark turquoise with the flowers almost looking like LeMoyne Stars. As you might notice, I am no fan of buying and using fabrics of one fabric line. I will mix whatever I think fits together in colour and style. Of course, it is somehow easier to use together what was designed to be together. But I think there lies some kind of danger in there, too. I have seen quilts that look rather dull because their fabrics blend in too well.

Shooting Star

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Once only, I ordered a fabric kit for a quilt I saw in McCall’s Quilting Magazine. I wanted this quilt to look exactly like the one featured there. I still think it is one of the most beautiful quilts I possess (Seaside Cotillion), but—it is hard to describe—there is something missing in this quilt. Somehow, it “feels” as if I ordered not the fabrics but the whole quilt. Anyone could have sewn this quilt, with exactly these fabrics. If I choose the fabrics by myself, I am sure that there is not another quilt like this in the world. It is not the uniqueness that attracts me but the creative process before sewing (which is missing when buying a quilt kit), and the fact that the result somehow reflects me—and not some fabric designer.


Farmer’s wife: Silver Lane

Silver Lane

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Silver Lane is such a beautiful name for a quilt block! Yet, you might have trouble to  “see” the silver lane. Other quilters have tried to incorporate silver-coloured fabric. I certainly did not.

I think of this design as a moonlit garden: In the centre, there is a fountain, quietly producing little ripples of quicksilver. Surrounding the spring are four benches where you can sit and listen to the water. In the corners are four yew trees, cut in shape. And behind the benches, connecting the yews, there are hedges of beech, their leaves rustling in the night breeze. If you are very quiet, you can here some night bird’s cry. The whole scenery is bathed in a faint silver light. Sometimes the wind makes the yews shake a little and give way to a pure streak of moonlight which is reflected by the fountain as little liquid flashes.

Would you not wish to be there?


Farmer’s wife: Single Wedding Star

Single Wedding Star

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

I have to compliment myself on this very successful block.—Um … yes, why not? I think it very pretty. Even more so when you know how it came together. As always, it took me a considerable amount of time to choose the fabrics. I didn’t mean to use my only plaid again (I already used it in the last block, Snowball, and am quickly running out). But then, I saw such a lovely Single Wedding Star by BeeInMyBonnet which I pinned directly to my Pinterest board. He or she used exactly my plaid in creamy yellow tones.

Once I had decided on the plaid, I needed a really good contrast to go with it. I already used this dark turquois in combination with the plaid in Waterwheel and Squash Blossom, and thought it went together very well, although I cannot understand why. For some mysterious reason, however, I had put the dark turquois fabric back into my fabric closet, resolved not to use it again in this quilt. I cannot remember why! It is the darkest shade of turquoise that I have in my fabric assortment, and I am convinced I will need it furthermore.

Farmer’s wife: Spider Legs

Spider Legs

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Uuh, again a block associated with those ugly beasts. I would like to repeat and stress what I said just the other day. But let me pass on to a pleasanter topic.

Our elder is in bloom. Isn’ it delightful? When mowing the lawn, I repeatedly went by and stuck my nose into the shrub.

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Yesterday, I plucked some elderflower and prepared one of the best drinks for hot summer days: elderflower juice. There is no flavour to be compared with the aroma of elderflower!

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

Today, I bottled it. Four litres of liquid early summer!

Farmer’s wife: Spider Web

Spider Web

© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

I like this block very much, though I do not like spiders or their webs. We have many—really many—of them lodging in our basement. And big ones! I mean, we have small ones also, I guess, but they do not annoy me as much as the big ones. When I am in the basement, I pretend not to see them. And they pretend not to see me. So we are getting on in some way. Principally, I think they have no right to be in our house. I think they would have a much better life outside—anywhere else. But they choose to be there. My forbearance ends, however, at the staircase. When I see a big one crawling on the wall of the staircase, or having installed herself there in a corner, I take out an old broom that I keep for this purpose only. I never sweep with it, it is too old and not fit for regular use (one of the very few things we kept from the former owner of our house). This is the spider killer. But enough of this ugly topic.

I am introducing a new fabric here which I did not mean to use at all. It is of a beautiful turquoise, but I thought it had to much gold/beige in it to go with the rest of my fabrics. It is still true, if compared with all the blocks I’ve sewn so far, it looks a bit pale or too “warm”. But I like this paisley really very much, and I think it makes this block especially look so classy—not at all like our basement …

Farmer’s wife: Spool and Snowball

Here is proof that the equation “the bigger the pieces of a block, the easier it is” is not true. I do not know why, but it simply is not true.

Spool and Snowball, each consist of 13 pieces only. And except for the orientation of the half square triangles, the two blocks are identical. They seem to have a rather dull design. But still they need the same accuracy as—let’s say Temperance Tree, or Wood Lily. I had to redo four seams when sewing the Snowball block—which is uncommonly often with me.


© 2012 by Heike Scharmann

And even if the design was so very dull, you can still give much thought to the choice of fabric. When preparing the Spool block, I opted for three, instead of two different fabrics, following the example of many other quilters.

And as for the Snowball block, I could not bring myself to do the snowball in a dark colour, as Laurie Hird did. But then, I could not find a single example where the ball (or rather ring) was done in white, and was pretty much discouraged. Still, I stuck with my plan, and voilà! My snow ring.


© 2012 by Heike Scharmann