The Farmer's Wife

Saturday, July 16, 2011
By now many of you have probably heard about the Flickr Farmer's Wife Quilt-along.
If not, consider yourself warned! I tried to resist but once I saw Camille's blocks I was sold.

I ordered my book a few weeks ago and I want to share my review with you now that I'm ready to finally start working on my quilt blocks.

Farmer's Wife

top left: condensed templates, quilt layout (EQ6), paper piecing templates (EQ6)
bottom left: Farmer's Wife book (Amazon or Connecting Threads), EQ Companion CD (Amazon $13.59)

I ordered my book from Connecting Threads for $16.79 on sale otherwise I would have ordered from Amazon and gotten free Prime shipping. I was ordering some other items from Connecting Threads so it shipped for free. Once I received my book I quickly flipped through it and made the following observations:
  • The first half of the book features letters written by 1920's farm wives sharing why they think farm life is better than city life. Each page also features a photograph of a single block found in the sampler quilt. To tell you the truth I read a handful of letters and then got bored. It's just not my cup of tea!
  • The second half of the book features a single block per page along with template cutting instructions and a block assembly diagram. There are no written instructions on how to piece the blocks or in what order to piece the segments. Most blocks are pretty straightforward as to how you would piece the segments, but some of the more intricate blocks could be tricky.
  • The last 10 pages of the book has minimal instruction on how to assemble the quilt and add borders.
  • The very back of the book holds a CD with PDF files of all the templates required to make the blocks. The frustrating thing is that each template (100+) is on an individual PDF file. So printing out each template as is would require 100+ pieces of paper! I spent the better part of a day merging those templates into 14 pages. Unfortunately because of copyright rules I cannot share those files with you. There were also no instructions on how to use templates to piece together a block, so if you've never used templates this may not be the quilt for you.
After printing out my templates I was browsing the Flickr group when I found out that there was an EQ companion disc available for this book. Feeling overwhelmed by the templates and lack of instruction in the book I decided to order the companion CD from Amazon and got free Prime shipping. Here are my observations on the CD:
  • If you don't care for the letters and you have EQ 5 or 6 I recommend just buying the companion CD. (This is what I should have done) Oh, and according to the reviews on Amazon you should be able to use it with EQ7
  • You get a project file, as well as the whole block library and the fabric library.
  • I have EQ6 and I was able to print out paper piecing templates for assembling my blocks.
  • You can also print out templates for each block (just like the ones included on the cd with the book.)
  • You can also get rotary cutting instructions for each block.
  • You can print out blank "coloring sheets" of the whole quilt or of individual blocks
  • You can easily design your own quilt by dragging and dropping blocks, and trying out different colorways or fabric lines.
 So those are my opinions on both the book and CD.

I've decided that I'm going to be paper piecing my blocks for the following reasons:
  • The biggest problem I have heard on the Flickr group is that those using the templates are having a hard time getting consistent finished block sizes and points that will be chopped off once sashings are added.
  • While I can get rotary cutting instructions from the companion cd some of the sizes are in 16th of an inch increments. For example you will be directed to cut 4 squares measuring 2 and 5/16" Most quilting rulers are marked for an eighth of an inch. Besides I know that I would definitely mess up cutting when 16ths are involved.
  • I really want to learn how to paper piece. I've only made 1 paper pieced block ever.
Oh and in case you are wondering I printed my paper piecing templates on some newsprint that I cut down to 8.5"x11" and ran through my printer. Newsprint is thinner than regular copy/printer paper so it should tear away easier than copy paper. I did have to run each sheet individually through the printer because the rollers kept grabbing more than one sheet at a time. Out of 14 papers only one got jammed and that was because the feeding end wasn't completely flat.

Boy, that was wordy!



Jennifer said...

Good post. This is extremely helpful and I'm glad I read about your opinions, frustrations, and recommendations. I didn't know there was a EQ version... I am now rethinking my participation...

Toni said...

oh dear, I jumped right in and bought the book, it still hasn't arrived yet, now I am scared lol

stacey said...

Thank you so so much for this review. I have now ordered the EQ companion and will jump in, instead of watching the quilt-a-long from afar. :)

KimT said...

great review! Thanks!

Deborah OHare said...

Great post. Thanks for all the info.

Margaret J. Morris said...

Is there a way to just print out templates and not buy book?

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