Farm In The Valley is pieced per the directions on page 38.
I choose this block because I thought it would be a simple one. Let it be said that I invoked Murphy's Law that very moment. First, because I chose fabric that I wanted to be directional for the bands, I had to alter the directions. So for my block I avoided steps 3 and 4. Instead of a long 1" x 20" strip, I made smaller sections. 4 strips of each 1" x 5" sewn together and trimmed down to a 4 1/2" block.
My trouble started with creating the top and side triangle sections. I don't work with triangles much (at least before this project!), so I had trouble with my points. What's not mentioned in the directions, and I guess is common knowledge to experienced quilters, is that when you're putting your two triangle pieces together, you're not matching each point-to-point! You need to leave your seam allowance hanging over the edge, that would be 1/4" for this project.
Because I did not do my triangles properly, this is how it looked attaching it to my strip section. After re-making my triangles, they looked much better. Now, I realize these are pictures of a bad and good example, but really they are both bad!!!
To save yourself some trouble and headache, attach your triangles on the side sections first. This will prevent the strips from stretching like an accordion, which led to my next problem. The two triangles that matched up on the corners...didn't match up! It was horrible! To solve this problem, instead of using a 1/4" seam, I did a scant seam (as close to the edge as possible without the fabric fraying and pieces coming apart). Also, to overcompensate and give myself a bit of extra to square up my block, I cut the pieces for the 4 corners to 3 1/2 instead of 2 7/8. I might have been a bit paranoid. End result--a very nice looking block with a bit of history of its own.
Lisa B. says: For those of us that don’t always do triangles, don’t forget to offset the two pieces by ¼” when you start sewing. It will save you a great deal of frustration when trying to get the block to lay out properly.
Lisa says: Pressing is huge in this block – especially in the center piece. I pressed the seams open for the 1’ strips. Press vertically, so the strip set doesn’t bow all those skinny strips. I pressed the triangle pieces toward to the center, they seemed to lay better that way.
Additional blocks by Lisa K. & Shirley A.
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