In my head I’ve been referring to this block as “Boom Boom Betty” and it’s block 14 from Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt. Betty is going to teach you the importance of paying attention to your seams, and that’s not a bad thing. If Aunt didn’t do it, Betty’s going to get you thinking about what’s an acceptable tolerance level for you when it comes to “mistakes”. Now I’m a firm believer that there are no mistakes in quilting, there’s just opportunities for do overs.
I’m not going to tell you what’s an acceptable level for having your seams just off or for your blocks being just under, that’s up to you. For me, it’s all about the continual improvement, learning new tricks and having fun. (Want to see the first blocks I ever made? Click here to see them! Not a quarter inch seam in sight!) As you can see I’ve come a long way since those first blocks and I’ve got a long way to go yet. I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m here to share with you what I do and encourage you to find your own voice.
Quilting is like skinning a cat, there’s a million ways to do it. (Apparently???? No cats were hurt in the making of this metaphor!) Over the course of this sew-along I’m going to share with you the techniques I use to make the blocks and the Official Bloggers, Marti Michell and the team at Fat Quarter Shop will share their techniques and it’s my hope that you’ll learn and develop a multitude of ways to approach your quilting journey.
You also have my word that I’m going to tell you when I unpick a seam, when I couldn’t get a seam to work and any tips or tricks I use to make the blocks. Together we’ll get through all 99 blocks and you’ll end up with a quilt you love and you’ll have lost any fears you may have had about trying something new. So let’s get to work on (Boom Boom) Betty!
Thoughts on the Letter
If you replaced “music” with “quilting” this could so easily be my own letter. (Although there’s no orphan or niece living with us.) This is how I feel about my quilting journey. I know that my life in the past 4 years has been “greatly enriched” and made that “much sweeter” because of my quilting journey. I often marvel at people who don’t have a passion in their lives and thank my blessings that I do. I could not imagine my life without a hobby in it and to be in a position where I can use my hobby to support my family is a true blessing. As we raise our Son I know that I’m going to give him every opportunity I can to find his passion in life, just like my parents did for me.
Turns out my passion wasn’t even invented when I was a kid (blogging) and my love of sewing wasn’t founded until I was an adult, so who knows his passion may not come along until he’s an adult himself. In the meantime I’m going to do my darnedest to foster a willingness to try new things and to have him embark on the search for his passion. I’m going to lead by example and show him that even in a world filled with responsibilities (or as Music Maker called it “the day’s work) that you can still make time to follow your passion.
What’s that saying; “If you want to do it, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
Tutorial: Block #14 “Betty”
- I pressed my seams open.
- I used a Schmetz 70/10 needle.
- I used 50wt Aurifil #2600 (Dove) thread for piecing.
- I used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A.
- I used Flatter by Soak in Yuzu 248ml as my starch.
- Fabrics shown in the tutorial are from the Gnome Angel Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Bundle on Fat Quarter Shop.
Measurements for the pieces needed to construct this block will not be provided in this tutorial. It is a pre-requiste of making this block that you have a copy of the book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them. Measurements can be found in this book and it’s associated media.
On Point Blocks
Please note I am not doing my blocks on-point. If you are fussy cutting your blocks please be mindful of your fabric placement so that the motif will sit correctly if you decide to put your blocks on-point.
You can find the From Marti Michell Patchwork Template Conversion Charts by clicking here.
Helpful Links & Videos
Marti Michell shows you how to cut using your ruler and templates:
BLOCK CONSTRUCTION PDF
The Author and Publisher have made available a PDF file of the block rotary cutting instruction and construction details as provided for in the book to assist those that are waiting on their books to be delivered. You can download this block by clicking here.
The block PDF’s and the Marti Michell Conversion Charts are provided to your as a courtesy and are not for further distribution. Anyone found to be circulating these PDF’s via their own website, Facebook Group, Guild, social media, etc. will be removed from all emails, the Facebook Group and details will be passed on to the publisher. We take our responsibility to respecting copyright seriously and we will not endorse, support or tolerate breaching it. Thank you for your understanding.
How to Make the Block
- Tolerance Levels: you need to decide what is an acceptable tolerance level for “mistakes”. For example if your blocks are consistently 6¼” instead of 6.5″ are you ok with this. Or if your seams matching are less than an eight of an inch “off” are you ok with this. There’s no hard or fast rule and it’s different for everyone, so remember it’s your quilt so make your decision for you.
- Press your seams at each step. Click here for a great article on how to press your seams for patchwork.
- You can iron and starch your fabric prior to cutting. I also starch when pressing bulky seams.
- When pinning, pin away from you so that you don’t move your pieces when pinning.
1. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut all pieces required for the block as per the instructions in the book. Cutting instructions can be found on the disc that came with the book. Block directions are located on page 173. You can also use the cutting instructions on the conversion chart. I have used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A and accompanying conversion chart to cut all my pieces for this block.
2. Join 14c (dark blue) to 14C (light blue). Repeat to make Unit 1 and Unit 4 (as pictured), these are large Half Square Triangles (HST).
Tip: Once you have all your pieces cut out you could chain piece joining all the triangles to save time. If you’re unsure of what chain piecing is, click here for a tutorial on how to do it. However for the purpose of this tutorial I’m showing you how to make the 4 units of this block separately.
3. Join 14A (purple) to 14A (light blue). Chain piece this step to make 4 small Half Square Triangles (HST).
4. Join 14B (purple square) to one small HST. Repeat to make 4 (A, B, C, D). You can also chain piece this step.
Tip: Be careful with this step as you’ll need to make sure that your fabrics are in the correct position as per the block diagram on page 173 of your book.
5. Join A to B and C to D. Diagram 5a shows you what the backs of your units will look like if you’ve pressed your seams open.
Tip: You can either pin in the seam allowance (bottom left arrow in diagram 5) or beside the seam allowance (top right arrow in diagram 5). Pin to suit your sewing style.
6. Join 1 to 2 and 3 to 4.
7. Join the two halves together to complete your block. Step back and do a happy dance you’ve just made Betty!
Tip: I only pinned this in one place and then I manipulated the fabric to make it work. I also unpicked this final seam and redid it to make it meet, but as I said at the start its up to you on how much tolerance you’re happy with.
Thoughts on the Block
This is the first block I’ve made where I’m regretting my fabric placement. If I had to make this over I’d use the dark blue fabric in place of the light blue. I think this wold have made the middle of the block more pronounced and your eye wouldn’t be drawn to the sides so much. Lesson learned, on to the next block.
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along Blogger Line up for Month 1
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-along Official Bloggers will be posting their tips, tricks and tutorials for the blocks as they are released. You’ll be able to find them at the following links.
29/09/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
01/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
02/10/2015: Jodi @ Tales of Cloth
06/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
07/10/2015: Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
08/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
13/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
14/10/2015: Melissa @ Ms Midge
15/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
16/10/2015: Erin @ Why Not Sew
20/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
22/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
23/10/2015: Tina @ Emily Ann’s Closet
27/10/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com
28/10/2015: Rachel @ Wooden Spoon Quilts
Blog posts will be published as per the timezone of the blogger. Why not subscribe to their blogs via their mailing list or a blog reader such as Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a post!
The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!
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