My daughters gave me the book, The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt for Christmas and I spent Christmas Day reading “letters from 1920s farm wives” and checking out the “111 blocks they inspired”.  The book is by Laurie Aaron Hird, published by Krause Publications, Cincinnati (www.mycraftivity.com).

There are 42 letters from readers of Farmer’s Wife magazine in 1922, answering a contest question, “If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?”

In addition, there are 111 six-inch blocks with assembly diagrams, instructions for making a sampler quilt in any traditional size, and a CD with templates for all 111 blocks.   Please note that the blocks are 6″ unfinished (5-1/2″ finished) – fairly small blocks.  The book is written for hand-piecing, but I’m not good at hand work and prefer to do as much stitching as possible on my Bernina sewing machine.  I also don’t like to work with templates and picked out patterns that I could work out mathematically to cut with a rotary cutter.  Either way, there are a lot of blocks to choose from and these are the 12 that I chose:

  1. Hovering Birds – I liked this block very much
  2. Practical Orchard – very easy to piece
  3. Churn Dash – an old classic
  4. Contrary Wife – another easy one
  5. Cups & Saucers – the flying geese in this block were more difficult because of the small size
  6. Prairie Queen – looks more intricate but is easy to do
  7. Friendship Star – easy to piece
  8. Homeward Bound – the small pieces made some of this block a little harder to do
  9. Country Farm – had a little trouble matching seams
  10. Box – easy to piece
  11. Single Wedding Star – easy to piece
  12. Cut Glass Dish – the most difficult of the ones I chose – again, the small size of the pieces made it harder to match and to keep the bulk under control

I had a $5 bag of coordinating scraps I had purchased on a trip to Holmes County Amish Country last fall and the size of the pieces was perfect to make the small 6″ unfinished blocks.

I decided to set the blocks on point and used coordinating checkered fabric for the setting triangles.  The sashing and binding were cut from a dark maroon fabric, a color that showed up in almost every block.

I like to use fabric scraps to piece the backing on quilts and chose some that echoed the colors in the wall hanging.

The piece measures 29×29 inches and I like to use drapery hooks to hang a piece like this so I can use it as a hanging or remove the hooks and use it as a table cover.

I think it made a nice piece and I still have 99 block patterns to try out on another project.

This is an interesting book to read and a great source for vintage quilt blocks.