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1930's Farmer's Wife: Fern

The Fern block can be found on page 62 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 194 for template instructions.)

The Fern block can be found on page 62 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 194 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by I Serve in Indiana can be found on page 16.

July 1932

 1932 was not a particularly good year for the international economy. The Anglo-Irish Trade War stated at the beginning of July when the British Parliament implemented a 100% tariff on all Irish goods. This tariff was a retaliation against the Irish decision to end the payment of land annuities to the British that dated from the 1880’s. The annuities had been designed as a way for Irish tenant farmers to purchase land from their British landlords, but ultimately constituted a never ending form of income for those British landlords and their descendants. In the short term, the trader war was devastating to the Irish economy which had already felt the extended effects of the American Great Depression. But in the long run, the Irish would benefit from the trade war with increased trade, no tariffs, and the repayment of £400 million in over taxation by the British government.

 In the United States the economy was faring even worse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 41.22 points, its absolute lowest point of the Great Depression and a 90% loss of its value from the peak of September 1929. As an attempt to boost the economic power of the average American, President Herbert Hoover signed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act into law.  The ERC Act released federal funds for public construction works, with the intention of creating temporary government jobs for the duration of construction. Unfortunately this only helped lead to inflation and an even greater drop in the buying power of the dollar.

 But as the US economy was slipping further into depression, Americans like I Serve reminded one another to serve both our communities but also ourselves. Serving communal needs helps to build relationships and remind us that sometimes the grass really isn’t greener on the other side. And while I Serve warned that too much self-service leads to selfishness, it is important to take a moment for ourselves. I think we can all relate to her sense of peace and accomplishment that comes with finishing a quilt, especially when we can share them with friends.

The Block


Unfortunately I lost the list of pre-cut sizes I had written down while making the Fern block, and I’m just too lazy to remeasure them, so you’re on your own this time. But I have faith you’re capable of measuring template sizes.

As always, I would highly recommend coloring or labeling which fabric goes where. There are lots of little pieces and it’s easy to place the wrong fabric in the wrong place.

The Fern block can be a little tricky if you’re not used to Y-seams, but the angle of these seams is rather large so the seams aren’t too tricky to sew. I started by sewing the very center seam the aligns with the A piece, the very center square. Lock your seams at the start and end of the line, this will make it easier for you when you start manipulating the block.


When you’re ready to sew the seams along the C pieces, pin in place, and finger press the block open before you use an iron. This will help you see if you need to pull out the seam ripper and readjust the pieces. When I was happy with the way I had sewn the seams, I pressed the seams towards the center of the block.

I typically don’t press dark fabrics towards light fabrics, but sometimes you just do what you have to do in order to make a block sit flat.


Happy Quilting!

  • Rita

Ms. B's Baby Quilt - Throwback Series


I recently found an external hard drive that had been missing for about 3 years. I am so excited because I had previously come to terms with loosing several years worth of family pictures and quilt pictures. But lo and behold, I found it and now I can add several quilts to the blog! A number of the quilts are unfinished in the pictures. I don’t know why I took pictures of unfinished quilts, but I’m glad I did because most of these quilts were gifted away several years ago so these pictures are the only records I have of them.


When I heard through the grapevine that my childhood best friend was expecting her first baby, I jumped at the opportunity to make her a quilt. This was back at a time when I was actually trying to keep track of the specific fabrics I used for each quilt I made. So here’s a shot of the jelly roll of “Jelly Bean” by Laundry Basket Quilts I used to make the log cabin blocks for Ms. B’s baby quilt.

I don’t remember the fabric I used on the backing, but it was a sweet raspberry bunch pattern. The raspberries perfectly matched the red fabrics in the “Jelly Bean” color scheme. I really wish I had kept the selvage of the raspberry fabric so I could buy more, because I think it would make cute sheets for the girls bedroom.


I remember being very selective about where I used the red fabrics from the jelly roll. The centers of the log cabins are red, a traditional arrangement. And I was able to sneak enough of the strips out so that I could use them for the binding as well.

I don’t remember if I even put a label on the quilt, but I do like the look of the quilting on the backside. I stitched in the ditch in all the blocks to make concentric squares. I’m glad I chose that simple design because it doesn’t take away from the basic look of the log cabin block.


I wish I had taken more pictures of this quilt, but I had just finished it the week we bought out first house and moved out of the apartment. So between packing, paperwork, watching the girls, and being 8 months pregnant, I’m lucky I thought to take any pictures at all. I was also a little rushed to finish the quilt because I had wanted to send it to my friend via my parents, who had come out from Wisconsin to help up move.

Happy Quilting!

  • Rita

Lori Holt's Granny's Garden Sew-A-Long: Week 1 Update

This is Lori Holt’s original design. If you’re interested in purchasing the kit or the templates for this pattern you can find that information either on her website  HERE , or I’m sure your favorite local or digital quilt store can help you out.

This is Lori Holt’s original design. If you’re interested in purchasing the kit or the templates for this pattern you can find that information either on her website HERE, or I’m sure your favorite local or digital quilt store can help you out.

Lori Holt’s Granny’s Garden Sew-A-Long officially kicked off last week so here’s my update! The first four blocks are done (every week has four blocks assigned to it) and they were a blast to make! I’ll admit that I cheated a bit and didn’t stop at just the first four blocks.


I went on a nice little quilting rampage that lasted several days and resulted in over-TV’d children, a messy dining room table, and several orders of take-out for dinner. But I finished the first twenty blocks and it feels good to be ahead of the game, especially since I’m ready to stop living in limbo in regards to moving.


Really the only hiccup I ran into was with Block 3 when Little Man decided he wanted to “help” me quilt while I had my back turned. Aren’t children lovely!

I reinforced the cut up area with fusible webbing and a second layer of white fabric and then satin stitched over all of the cuts Little Man had made. In the picture above you can kind of see the outline of the layer of support fabric, but I’m sure that it won’t be noticeable once the circles are appliqued onto background fabric.

The damage.

The damage.

“I helping Mommy!” Yeah, sure you are.

“I helping Mommy!” Yeah, sure you are.

Looking forward to updating you lovely people next week, and I’ll look out for you on Instagram if you decide to join along too!

Happy Quilting!

  • Rita

1930's Farmer's Wife: Caroline

The Caroline block can be found on page 60 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 179 for template instructions.)

The Caroline block can be found on page 60 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 179 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by What-Is-Man in Montana can be found on page 12.

July 1933

A governmental decree made it illegal for a parent to name their Hitler, or any variant of Hitler. This decree came at an interesting time, just days before an Austrian newspaper printed a three page story claiming proof that Hitler had Jewish heritage on his mother’s side, and still had Jewish family members in the city of Polna. Other rumors have been added to the mystery surrounding Hitler’s family origins, including a debate on whether he is the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother and her uncle, which some scholars believe to be substantive. Either way, it is interesting to note that Alexander Basch, the Polna city registrar had died around the time of the newspaper’s publication. Hitler also ordered the destruction of all official documentation regarding his heritage, so it is very unlikely that historians will ever have any solid evidence to validate or refute these rumors.

The United States was experiencing it’s own bit of rumor as a bizarre event was unfolding, known as the Business Plot. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, at the time the highest ranked and most decorated Marine, claims to have been approached by a number of wealthy business men with the intention of creating a fascist veteran’s organization that would launch a coup against the United States government and overthrow President Roosevelt.

At the time, the Business Plot was dismissed as a hoax, but historians now agree that something was afoot even if a coup never actually materialized. It’s believed that Roosevelt’s decision to end the gold standard, the Securities Act of 1933, and the promise of government subsidized jobs were the main motivating factors for the alleged coup. Those reconstructions of the US economy lead to inflation and the undermining of personal and corporate wealth (the value of the dollar dropped 30% practically overnight), and were seen as socialist expansion of government control over private business. In 1934 it was decided that a Congressional investigation was necessary, although the investigation found there was no evidence to substantiate the claims make by Butler.

 But what I find interesting is that as events were taking place world wide that set the groundwork for some of the most life altering, atrocious events in history, everyday Americans were focused on living and life. The early thirties were the height of the Great Depression and Americans like What-Is-Man were counting their blessings. All things necessary for the sun to rise, or snowflakes to fall, or bodies to form and function are amazing if you just take the time to think about them.

The Block

 While writing this blog post I couldn’t find any pictures or notes I usually take while making each of the Farmer’s Wife blocks. So that means there’s no paper template or pre-cut sizes for you today. I would suggest, as always, to color your paper template so that it’s easier for you to keep fabrics in order. There are lots of pieces that are the same shape and size and it’s better to be prepared than it is to rip seams!


Happy Quilting!

  • Rita

I ♥You Baby Quilt


I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts, that four of my friends are all pregnant right now. That’s a lot of babies to make baby quilts for, yeah me!

Well as it turns out, my friend Christa is due any moment now. Earlier this year we went on vacation to Wisconsin and unfortunately we missed her gender reveal/diaper shower. For the past 15 weeks or so, I’ve been under the impression that she was having a girl. I know she’s not the girly-girl type, so when I was selecting fabrics for a baby quilt I chose some not-so-girly fabrics but also went with a pattern that was sweet. (Thank you Cluck Cluck Sew!)

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The triangle patterned fabric came in a bundle of fat quarters I received in a gift exchange in my Tuesday night quilting circle. The teal apple blossom fabric used for the backing and binding I found buried in my stash, and I settled for this fabric because it had related colors, but also because it tipped the scales of this quilt towards the feminine. Perfect for a not-so-girly baby quilt.

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I made a quick job of quilting this quilt, with horizontal, diagonal, and perpendicular top stitching. Nothing fancy, just quick, clean top stitching. I will admit that the tiny hearts in the sashing were a bit of a challenge just because the seams didn’t want to lie flat, but I eventually wrestled them into submission. The finished product measures about 33 x 42”, a nice crib/tummy time sized quilt.

Now for the kicker.

Christa’s having a baby boy! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to double check with her BEFORE I started this quilt, but I have a habit of “knowing” I’m right and then later finding out differently. Oh well, now I have an extra baby quilt on hand. Instead of this quilt, Christa’s little boy will be getting one of these Baby Blocks quilts instead.

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Happy Quilting!

  • Rita