Your love of the triangle is going to go a little deeper with Caroline of the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt. Just like Betty this block is going to teach you a little bit more about yourself and what’s acceptable when it comes to points matching. This is a really busy block and it’s the first block I’ve made that’s had me questioning my resolve to stick to the fabric requirements (how many prints/colours are in each block) of the blocks. You could have so much fun if you introduced some more fabrics to really play up that elongated pinwheel in the middle. But if you did that this block wouldn’t be Caroline it would be something else and so I’m sticking to the blocks as they have been provided in the book and finding enjoyment in the constraint.
I’m making 2 versions of each block; 1 in the Gnome Angel Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Bundle from Fat Quarter Shop and 1 from fabrics in my stash. I decided to do 2 because I want to do something special with the FQS version and I want to have fun with the stash version (be patient Grasshopper, all will be revealed next year). This is the first stash built block that I’ve done using solids and the effect of having the seam allowance on the edge of the block still visible is doing some weird tricks to my eyes.
This was also the first block where I spent a bit of time working to get my points to meet and it was worth it (for me). I’m really looking forward to seeing other people’s version of this block as there’s a lot of room for fun to be had here. Let’s get cracking!
Thoughts on the Letter
When we embarked on our IVF journey I thought I knew how we reproduced. I’d taken the class in high school, I’d watched television, I knew what it was all about. I knew nothing. I remember sitting in a doctors surgery listening to our specialist walk us through what was going to happen and rattling off all the points at which something could go wrong and just marvelling that anyone ever came into existence. It was a really powerful moment for me and one that flavours everything I do now.
When I look at our son and I know all of the steps that had to happen to bring him into this world I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a miracle. We all are. We are given this amazing gift of life and we live on this planet that is abundant with various life forms and organisms and it’s all tightly woven together and inter-dependent on each other. It’s a miracle. Take the most basic requirement of our living, oxygen. Have you ever heard a scientist talk about the massive chain of things that had to go right on our planet for oxygen to form and then for it to be at a level that could support life. It’s mind blowing.
I don’t care whether you subscribe to a specific religion or whether your faith is in science, you cannot go past that fact that this world in which we live in is a thing of beauty. Staggering in it’s complexity and awe-inspiring in it’s simplicity. It seems a waste not to pause every once in awhile and give thanks for the opportunities we’ve been given and embrace the miracle that is our existence.
Tutorial: Block #20 “Caroline”
- 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 from 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:
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 179. 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 20Ac (pink) to 20A (green). Repeat to make 4 larger triangles.
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 your larger triangles together to make 2 squares. Be careful to keep the fabrics in the correct placement by checking with the diagram on page 179.
Tip: You can either pin in the seam allowance or beside the seam allowance (arrow in diagram 3). Pin to suit your sewing style. Diagram 3a shows the seams if you are pressing open.
4. Join 20B’s together on the diagonal. Look at diagram 4 to see the pairings. You want to make 8 small Half Square Triangle (HST) blocks.
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 179 of your book.
5. Join your HST units together to make rectangles as per diagram 5. The backs of these blocks are shown in diagram 5 to show you how they’ll look if you press your seams open.
6. Join the two halves of your squares to make two square units.
Tip: I’ve pinned on the outside of the seams in this instance. The impact of this block comes from having nice crisp points in the middle. When you’re sewing your blocks you want to ensure that your stitch line runs just below the link in diagram 6a. Take the time to line up your seams and if you have to unpick the seams and resew. (I did on one of them! Again, it’s all about what your tolerance acceptance is. In my top right block my seams are just slightly off. It’s not a big deal to me because I know that once it’s quilted that imperfect will disappear, but for you it might be a big deal. Work to your own comfort level, it’s about having fun not working till your fingers bleed!)
Also, this is where starching when you press your seams can come in handy with getting them to lay flat and take out some of the bulk. I use Flatter by Soak in Yuzu 248ml because I’ve found it the best for getting the seams to be smooth, crisp and hold their shape while I’m working. It’s just personal preference.
7. Join 2 squares together to make the 2 halves of your block. You can either join the top two and the bottom two or the two left and the two right. It’s up to you. I joined the top two and bottom two.
Tip: Pay careful attention to the seam lines – this is where the impact comes from. I pinned in the seams (see diagram 7a) so that I knew they were lined up.
8. Join the 2 rectangles together to make your block.
Tip: If accuracy is alluding you here’s how I match points that I want to line up. Grab a pin and, if you have them, a Clover Wonder Clip. (If you don’t have them you can still pin the seams while this pin hold the point in place – I just like the added security the clip provides as it stops them moving while I pin.) Put the pin through the top of the pyramid created where the edges of your triangle meet in the seam on the wrong (back) side of your blocks (the arrows in diagram 8a are point to this place and the pin).
Then on the right (front) side of the block you’re joining it too push the pin through the intersection of the seams. (If you flipped the blocks over the pin will be protruding in the same place on the block underneath as it was inserted from the block on top.) The pin will be standing up straight if you were to lay the blocks on a flat surface. Use the Clover Wonder Clip to pinch the two blocks together and hold them while you pin the other seams in place.
Remove the vertical pin (and clover clip) before putting this through your sewing machine. You’re aiming to sew in the same place as on diagram 6a. Don’t worry if you don’t get it on the first try – I unpicked this seam twice before I got it! Diagram 9 will show you the seams that you’re aiming to come together in nice crips points.
9. Go have a drink and maybe a lie down because you’ve just made Caroline.
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.
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