acolchado fabric scraps project farmer's wife quilt sampler free-motion FWQS sewing

On making the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Sampler

The quilt is finally being used!

It has taken over 2 years to complete all the blocks in the book and it feels like an achievement for sure. This is the largest and most complex quilt I’ve ever made.

There are some things that I have learnt from making the 110 blocks in the book and which I explain below the ridiculously long graphic with photos of the majority of blocks.


I have spent many hours making these blocks. Some are quite quick and easy to make, others can take 2 or 3 hours.

In which order I made the blocks

Before I started I thought of making the easy blocks first and the hard ones last, or the other way round but then, after looking at the order the blocks appeared in the book I realised that block difficulty was mixed, so I decided to just make them in the order of the book which, by the way, is alphabetical.

I made the blocks in batches. I first cut a handful of them and then I stitched them.

After I had had enough making blocks I put them away for a few days or weeks, even months, while I concentrated on other projects.  My only deadline was to finish the quilt by July 2014.

Failed blocks and unpicking pieces

I only had to make 2 blocks twice though I had to unpick many pieces regularly. I also had to add a small strip of fabric to a couple of blocks which turned out a lot smaller on one side than the 6 1/5 inch square they’re supposed to be.

Sewing and cutting accuracy

This quilt has helped me improving accuracy though many of the pieces in my blocks don’t match exactly and I had to press some blocks into submission.

As much as possible I pressed the seams open to reduce bulk.

While I was making the blocks I always had the impression that my blocks weren’t exactly square and that I would have problems putting them together with the sashing. This hasn’t been the case though. Except for a couple of blocks, the rest have been just fine.

Quilt style and block placement

I chose to make a scrappy quilt using white as my base colour to add some light and breathing space to the blocks. I used Moda Bella Snow.

While the quilt is scrappy I tried to use some colour scheme for each block such as reds, blacks/grays, greens, or a mix of complimentary colours such as violet and yellow, red and green and so on.

I grouped the blocks by colour starting in the middle of the quilt top with reds and then the other colours around the red with brown and blacks on the outer ring.

Corner triangles

The corner triangles are also scrappy. I saw this in another finished FWQS quilt and quite liked it.

Patchwork vs quilting

Choosing fabrics, making blocks and assembling the top is always my favourite part. And quilting is my least favourite. The arm in my machine is only 9 inch wide so I thought a queen size quilt would be quite a challenge to quilt. It was probably the reason it took me so long to complete.

The quilt was very heavy but overall it was far easier to quilt than I anticipated. My stippling doesn’t look as professional as if it had been made by a professional using a long arm machine but it’s still a beautiful quilt. And I it has encouraged me to make more this size.

Next post I’ll show you my top 10 favourite blocks in the FWQS.


  1. Congratulations – your finished quilt looks so inviting. Amazing to scroll through all 110 (!) blocks – will be interested to see which ones end up as ‘favorites’ and I do empathize with “ironing” a block into submission!!


  2. Que pasada!
    Me parecian muy coloridos los bloques sueltos, pero he de reconocer q queda espectacular. Mi enhorabuena.


  3. What a lovely result! It positively sparkles! I followed the construction of the blocks & I have to say I had questions about how it would finally look when put together. But it’s lovely. Thanks for all the commentary on the end result. Judy in W Washington state, USA


  4. Fabulous work Teresa and great perseverance. Congrats on doing the quilting yourself so the quilt is “all yours”. It is all too easy to send it off and pay for the quilting!


  5. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this quilt. I bought the book several months ago and was a bit discouraged when I realized that I had to make templates of all the pieces first. I have made several squares, and am very happy so far. I knew when I started that I wanted to lighten up the colors, but not being sure how I wanted it to look, I have come to a stop. Sharing your blocks has helped quite a bit in that process.. Please keep posting about this quilt. You will have an avid follower. Love your quilt, it is a masterpiece.


  6. Beautiful!!! I just finished all my blocks, and am about ready to put it all together.. I appliqued the name of each block on the sashing that abuts it… can’t wait to be done!! Also, great job on the quilting part of the journey!!


  7. Mary Jo, I used Yahoo!’s group to cut my pieces, at least most of them. Certainly quicker than cutting each piece individually using a template. I think I posted the address to the alternative cutting instructions on my first post about this quilt.

    It felt really good finishing it. And a relief to find out I had been worrying about the quilting when it wasn’t that difficult in the end.


  8. I love it. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Now I need to start one. Where can I find this list of blocks?


  9. Congratulations!!!

    I have my FWQ blocks buried in a box, I don’t like them all together, some are really distort, ones are bigger than others, I need to have a plan because I want to sew this quilt, but not now.


  10. Don´t discourage Teresa. I also thought my blocks were uneven and didn´t know how to put them together and then once I started adding the sashing magically the blocks seemed to fit into place. I only had to fix a couple that were really off. I was really surprised.


  11. Teresa,
    Your FW quilt is gorgeous! I wish I had looked here before I sent you the email, so I could have told you! Beautiful, beautiful work!
    Susan Gatewood
    Smithfield, VA


  12. I was wondering what happened to this– have not been paying attention lately! Teresa– it is an absolute tour de force– cannot believe how well your colors all came together in the end.
    A huge congratulations to you!


  13. What a great job! I have always wanted to make a Dear Jane quilt…I applaud you for sticking with it and doing such a great job!


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