Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt

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 (

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.

Published by


Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

10 thoughts on “Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt”

  1. I really like your quilt and I have heard of the book. Small blocks are a challenge for me. I do like 6″ blocks a lot though. Churn dash and Friendship star are fun to make.

  2. loved sampler. now on the new book f/w/pony loved the new way you did the book printed all of the cdfor a note book to work fron

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s