I hope you're all enjoying sewing along with the Farmers Wife 1930s QAL - I've been doing very little sewing along, but very much enjoying seeing everyone's progress as the various quilts begin to take shape.
My block for this week is Em - one of the most piece-heavy blocks in the book, but actually also one of the most straightforward in terms of construction. There are a few obvious construction options for this block, all of which I briefly considered, and since you might be considering them too, here's the thought process I went through to decide:
- English paper piecing (EPP) - my favourite construction method, but also the slowest, and slightly unsatisfying when the most complex piece you have to put together is a triangle.
- Hand piecing - definitely a possibility, but the same drawbacks as EPP really, although it's slightly quicker. I also generally don't particularly enjoy hand piecing, as I find tracing onto fabric intensely irritating and dull.
- Freezer paper piecing - doable but slightly fussy and over-involved for a such a simple block. Also not one of my favourite construction methods, I would generally only turn to it when I have a simple block with y-seams, such as a spool block.
- straightforward sewing of half square triangles (HSTs) and squares - normally I would just choose this method of construction for a block like this. Making 0.75" HSTs doesn't particularly alarm me, and the rest is just sewing squares together. But I knew I would have to finish this block on my mum's sewing machine because we were visiting her this weekend (clearly finishing the block in advance of this weekend was a step too far on the organisation front), and I know full well her machine doesn't have a 1/4" foot and would therefore be tricky to accurately sew with.
- Foundation paper piece it- not my favourite method, although I've got a lot more comfortable with it this year with all the foundation paper piecing I've done for the My Small World quilt, and it solved the double issues of sewing at a reasonable pace and being able to sew on my mum's machine, since no perfect seam allowance calculation is required when sewing with foundation papers. I went with this method.
When I sewed my last #FW1930sQAL block, my pinwheel came out rotating the wrong way. I have no idea whether this was a one off problem or is repeated through the book, but since this block is symmetric in every direction and has no rotation, it wasn't an issue.
I actually really enjoyed sewing this block once I got into the rhythm of it - the whole lot, from ironing and cutting the fabric to pressing the last seams, took me something like three and a half hours, which is ridiculous for a 6" square of fabric but given that the block has some 84 pieces, I didn't think that was too shabby.
I constructed one row at a time, and finger pressed as I went, rather than getting the iron out at each seam (I am normally very careful to iron at every step when foundation piecing), but the block was fairly forgiving of my slapdash methods. I do have a couple of less than perfect points though - don't look too carefully! Once I'd sewn all the rows together, I pressed the block with the horizontal seams going upwards from the middle and downwards from the middle, rather than all in the same direction, as I found the points on my HST seams didn't like all being pressed in the same direction (see the image below if that makes no sense at all).
My fabric was chosen in a bit of a rush for this block, but all in all I'm pretty pleased with it - I think having a mix of a darker or lighter print keeps the movement in the block, as in the original design.
Anyone else sewn this one yet? How did you find it?