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The Farmer’s Wife is done

A big quilting project comes to a close: my Farmer’s Wife quilt. Someone asked me the other day how long it took me. I said I didn’t know but I guessed it could be a whole year. Now, I have looked it up in my blog chronicles, and to my surprise I started out on this journey more than two years ago. In March 2012, I posted about the first square, Wrench. Little did I know that it would take me that long to finish it. But that is exactly what happened today.

I finished the quilting a couple of days ago. As mentioned before, I played with the thought of not binding the quilt at all. I have only done this once before, on a very small wall hanging. But this technique has nothing to do with size. It is rather simple, and I will quickly describe it here.

For this method, it is essential that you do not quilt up to the edge, but stop at least half an inch before it.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

After all quilting is done, I cut the three layers evenly with a ruler and rotary cutter. Then I took some scissors and trimmed the batting a quarter of an inch so that top and back stand out.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

This is the trickiest part of it because I almost cut the backing fabric several times—or thought that I would. It cost me some nerves. In fact, I found this way too exciting and decided to pin the top and back out of the way to be able to cut the batting of the three other sides without obstacles.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

Now, on all four sides, the batting is a quarter of an inch shorter than the top and backing fabric. Next, I folded the protruding part of the top and backing inside, enveloping the batting with the backing fabric. I pinned it and then sewed it with an invisible stitch by hand.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

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© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

And I am very pleased with the result of no binding. See a picture of the whole quilt here.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

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Farmer’s wife: Quilting

The quilting on my Farmer’s Wife quilt is done. It was done in no time—or so it seemed to me. As I imagined beforehand, I enjoyed re-visiting each square so much.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

So another big projects draws to a close. I quilted the outer border in just two days. Now I am only waiting for my fingers to rejuvenate so that I might finish the quilt with a binding. Or rather, with no binding at all.

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

I had planned to bind the quilt by folding the backing fabric to the front, but it turned out that there is a small distance at one edge of the quilt where the backing fabric is too short. Now I am thinking about finishing the quilt with no binding. The alternative would be to buy binding fabric. Hard decision …

© 2014 by hs

© 2014 by hs

I also thought about labeling each of the 110 squares by embroidering their names on the sashing strips. I would have liked this a lot. But I didn’t come to a satisfactory solution as to how to do it, floss, and colour, without losing the present look and feel. Besides, I think I should have done any embroidery before making the quilt sandwich, so I put the idea aside. So it seems the finishing date is only a few days away.

Basting without kneeling

(c) 2014 by hs

(c) 2014 by hs

My Farmer’s Wife quilt has now two borders, an 1 inch grey polka dot, and a 4 inch white and light blue stripe. Since I moved in my flat in September, this is the first big quilt I wanted to baste. I used to do it on the floor, usually in our dining room which is tiled. I moved the table and chairs to the side and crawled on my knees for one or two hours.

farmers-wife-borders-2

(c) 2014 by hs

Now, I have a light-coloured laminate floor in all rooms—not fit for scratching needles. So I pondered over an alternative way of basting my quilt and came across this method on Pinterest:

(c) 2014 by hs

(c) 2014 by hs

I wrapped the backing fabric and the quilt top around two boards I bought in a hardware store.

(c) 2014 by hs

(c) 2014 by hs

Then I began to uncoil them on my dining room table, letting the batting float in between. I smoothed out any wrinkles while going and started pinning. When I was done with the section on the table, I pulled it to the side and let it hang off the table, then unrolling another section of top and back.

(c) 2014 by hs

(c) 2014 by hs

I admit that I had some doubts as to the exact direction of the three layers and any wrinkles since I was used to fix the top and the back on the floor with some tension. Moreover, it was somewhat exciting whether the backing and batting would be long enough or one of them would end before I had completely unrolled the top—but of course my measuring was correct and everything went well. I was done in no time—or so it seemed to me. And neither my back nor my knees ached the least bit!

I decided to quilt every one of the 110 squares individually, making the design up as I go. I am looking forward to “re-visiting” them all.

Farmer’s wife: resumed

Finally, I have some small news concerning my farmer’s wife quilt. This morning, I went to the quilt store in order to pick the fabric for the sashing and the setting triangles.

I still had not made up my mind what colour it would be. All I new was that the cornerstones should be white. I “sewed” a virtual quilt top on my PC some time ago with the original photos of my blocks. Strangely enough, the quilt looked best when using a black sashing. But I did not want a black sashing!

In the quilt store, I was in luck twice. First, the shop owner—a very experienced quilter with a taste not too far from my own—was in herself and offered to assist in the fabric choice. I told her of my virtual quilt and showed her a black print which I had just pulled from one of the shelves. We laid some of my blocks out on it and agreed that it went well.

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

Then she handed me a dotted grey print—not a cold blue-gray which I would have chosen, but a warm brown-grey—and it looked wonderful against my turquoise blocks. She said that brown always goes well with turquoise which astonished me. She then found a true brown print and spread some of my blocks on it. I tell you the truth, it looked really really good. Amazing!

While she attended another customer, she advised me to go and look out for similar options. Now I browsed the shelves for all kinds of greys and browns and found out that a dark blue print would work as well.

Finally, I opted for the dotted grey print which will give my farmer’s wife quilt just the final touch of colour it needs. And I am still astonished that it matched better than any other colour—even better than some grey/turquoise prints.

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

The turquoise/white print for the setting triangles, I found by myself, but she confirmed my choice heartily. And when paying, I learned about my second point of luck when she told me that this grey fabric had just recently arrived and I was the first to buy a piece of the bolt.

Farmer’s wife: Attic Windows

Wow! I arrived at block no. 1, meaning block no. 111 for me. Unfathomable!

Attic Windows

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

Here again, I used one of my favourite prints for the large pieces, as I just did in Autumn Tints. Plus, on this last block I got another opportunity to wholly paper piece a block. I only did this with three other blocks: Economy, Kitchen Woodbox, and Gentleman’s Fancy. And I like all four of them very well indeed. Not for the accuracy only, but for the design as well.

This is a happy and a sad day. Having finished the 111th block means that there are no more left to be done. Yet, I would be delighted to sew 111 more. It was so diverting to make these blocks—each with a different claim to choice of fabric, colour combination, and method. Challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Next, of course, is the challenge of putting these 111 blocks together. I have some ideas in mind, but am still not decided. I will try out some ideas on the computer first and then head for the quilt shop 🙂

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Farmer’s wife: Autumn Tints

With no autumn colours in my colour range for this sampler, I put all stress on the choice of prints and the direction of the designs. It was fun and easy with such a simple pattern consisting of two different sized squares only.

Autumn Tints

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

In the two big squares, I wanted to show off some of my favourite print which I wasn’t able to use very often in this sampler due to the small pieces so frequently needed. But now I am very happy to have the opportunity to use it once more.

And of course, I did not paper piece this one. It went together with my eyes closed—almost!

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Farmer’s wife: Basket

This is the basket block I like best in the farmer’s wife sampler. With the benefit of hindsight, I might have liked to use a different green print for the centre square of the basket. But otherwise, it is a very pretty block.

Basket

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

© 2013 by Heike Scharmann

Another very similar basket block was Flower Basket, the more commonly known basket block types were Grape Basket and Fruit Basket, and yet another one was Strawberry Basket.

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