Farmer's Wife 1930's QAL: Grandma

Kerry of verykerryberry knows my weakness for samplers.  My first Farmer's Wife quilt (based on letters from the 1920's) is still in the hand quilting process.  My Farmer's Wife Pony Club blocks are packed for our move later this month, as is my in-process Gypsy Wife Sampler.  So, why not start a new sampler?

Last summer, Kerry was kind enough to invite me to blog for her quilt along.  She started sewing and blogging her blocks in September.  For five whole months, I've been meaning to join in, but I was stuck on a fabric theme.  Soooooo stuck, epic, quicksand stuck.  What would make this sampler new for me?

I finally figured it out four stinkin' days ago.  Based on an inspiring instagram photo from Monica of mountainofthedragon,  I decided to use vivid colors with very little value difference.

Jay McCarrol's Habitat City Planning in teal
Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Jewel and Paprika.

Value is determined by how light or dark a color is in grayscale--baby blue vs. navy, pink vs. burgundy, peach vs. dark orange.  When there are many colors in a quilt, you can look at a black and white picture of the fabrics to help determine if you need more value changes in your fabric selection.  In my sewing, I tend to choose a lot of medium value fabrics and need to push myself to add lights and darks.  In sampler blocks, it is generally accepted that using a mix of light, medium and dark fabrics helps highlight the piecing and design of the blocks.

This time, I decided to ignore that advice and am using a single value.  I'm really excited about this experiment. Check out this black and white picture of the three fabrics I chose for this block:

I have a thing for starch in my sampler blocks.  Frequent starching allowed me to use templates to piece nearly all of my first Farmer's Wife quilt blocks.  Some previous FW and Pony Club blocks were so stiff they could nearly stand on edge.  However, I have found that the Michael Miller Cotton Couture does not play nicely with repeated starching when pressing.  The fabric is fine and smooth, doesn't accept starch well and tends to bubble up along seam lines.  I decided to starch my fabrics just once and then paper piece this block.  That allowed the fabric to play nicely yet gave me a smooth finished block

I precut my fabrics for paper piecing by tracing the triangles a little bit bigger and then measuring the bigger size square to cut them from.  I colored the paper piecing directions, too.  It's a good thing I did because I still had to start over with section A once and B twice!  I guess I'm out of practice with paper piecing. 

So, this first 1930's Farmer's Wife block was a long time coming, but I think it was worth the wait.

Tag your Farmer's Wife blocks on Instagram with the hashtag #fw1930sqal, and tell me about your sewing adventures in value in the comments.