After the trauma that was Belle it’s nice to get back to something I’m remotely comfortable with, triangles. Today’s block sorely tempted me to ditch my rule about sticking to the same fabric numbers as the blocks in the book and think about using a special little print in the “peep hole” of the star. In the end I consoled myself with using one of my favourite pieces of Sarah Jane‘s Children at Play prints.
I must confess I found the version of this block in the book a little underwhelming, but now having made two (and seen sneak peeks of the Official Bloggers versions) I feel like this block is the quiet achiever of the bunch. There’s so much fun you can have with the star and then the cut out square. I love it.
In this tutorial I’m going to be showing you how to reduce the seams and bulk in this block (and increase your chances of accurate points) by showing you how to make it with flying geese units instead of half square triangles. I’ve made it using the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A and From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set C sets but I’ve also provided the replacement piece measurements for those of you using the cutting templates and rotary cutting instructions included in the book.
I hope you have as much fun with this block as I did and I can’t wait to see the version you make!
Thoughts on the Letter
The last line in this letter “Love them while we can.” really struck a cord with me when I read this letter (so much so I must admit to shedding a tear). This week a Journalist was found dead in his home, nothing suspicious just life. I had never knowingly read his work, but as I read the newspaper article on his death I clicked through to read his last column; “Why parents should share a bed with their children“.
As a family that co-sleeps I always feel guilt when I tell people that our 3 year old shares our bed because I fear having to defend that decision. (Not because I don’t believe that it’s the best decision for our family, but because I don’t like confrontation. But if pushed I’ll gladly sing the virtues of co-sleeping.) To read this article that articulates so clearly why we see benefit for our family was such a blessing, but at the same time I couldn’t help think of the fact that he’ll never get to experience those conversations in the middle of the night, the spontaneous hugs, the giggles, the dutch ovens or the security that comes from having your family within arms reach as you dream again.
Life is too fleeting. I don’t care if you live to 124 – it goes too fast. I’ve never been as acutely aware of the passing of time as I am now that we’re parents. I’m so greedy for time. I want more time with my son, I want more time with my amazing Husband, I want more time with my family and friends. I just want more time.
I can’t get more time, but what I can do is make sure that I spend the time I’ve been given as best I can. So I make the same decisions as this Farmer’s Wife. I steal moments. Every day moments of just doing the every day boring things. Because I know those are the very moments that I look back on and am thankful to my parents for spending their time doing silly pointless things with me. It’s those moment that gave me such deep security in my relationship with my parents that I could do all the things that I did as a child and now as an adult. It’s those moments that meant that today my parents are my best friends.
Tutorial: Block #24 “Coral”
- 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 and From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set C.
- 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.
- Where possible I chain piece all the pieces I can in one step. If you’re unsure of what chain piecing is, click here for a tutorial on how to do it. However, for the purpose of the tutorials I will step you through all the seams individually.
Special Note: The instructions on the conversion chart provide two methods of construction using the templates. One to keep the exact seams of the block and the other for using the templates to create a block that looks like the block in the book but reduces the seams. This tutorial is showing you how to make the “cheats” version of the block using the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A to reduce the seams but retain the look of the block. Technically, doing it this way means that it’s not the same block as the book but I’m not the quilt police so you make the block however you want. I just wanted to let you know in case sticking to the exact blocks was important to you.
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 183. You can also use the cutting instructions on the conversion chart. I have used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A, From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set C and accompanying conversion chart to cut all my pieces for this block. I am using the alternative method for making this block on the conversion chart. The advantage of this method is less bulk from seams and less opportunities for your points to go missing.
Tip: Be mindful of how you cut your fabrics if you are using a directional print for this block. If possible, and your desire, aim to keep the direction of the print traveling in the same direction for all pieces.
2. Join one 24D to 24B (the middle of the star) as per diagram 2.
3. Join the remaining 24D to 24B (as per diagram 3) to make Unit A.
4. Join the remaining 24A to Unit A (as per diagram 4) to make Unit B.
5. Now we’ll make the 4 flying geese units. For the purpose of this tutorial I’ll show you how to make the first one and then show you all 4 done. Join one 24C to A4 (note this is different from the book templates as I have used Template A4 of From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A to replace the Half Square Triangle units given in the books method of construction).
If you wish to use this method but you do not have the Marti Michell template set you can cut a 3 6/8th inch square and then cut in half diagonally from one corner to the other to make 2 triangles. You will need to do this twice as you need 4 triangles.
Tip: The engineered corners of the templates will help you to line up the edges of your seams. The arrows in diagram 5a point to where the flat corners of the pieces will line up to make your piecing easier.6. Join one 24C to A4 as per diagram 6a. This will complete your flying geese unit.
Tip: The engineered corners of the templates will help you to line up the edges of your seams. The arrows in diagram 6a point to where the flat corners of the pieces will line up to make your piecing easier.7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 three more times with the remaining 24C and A4 pieces to create a total of 4 flying geese units; Unit C, Unit D, Unit E and Unit F.
8. Join 24B to Unit C to make the top row. Join Unit E to Unit B to make the middle row. Join 24B to Unit F to make the bottom row.
9. Join 24B to Unit C to complete the top row. Join Unit E to Unit B to complete the middle row. Join 24B to Unit F to complete the bottom row.
10. Join the bottom row to the middle row.
Tip: Pay careful attention to the seam lines – this is where the impact comes from. I pinned in the seams (see diagram 10) so that I knew they were lined up.
11. Join the top row to your block. Stand back and admire your handiwork, you just made Coral. Booyah!
Tip: Those of you paying attention to my block will notice that my bottom on-point square doesn’t match up “just” right on the right hand side. I unpicked this seam twice and couldn’t get it to work so in the end I decided to put it aside and maybe come back to it later. Or, you know, I might just leave it and let the quilting hide it for me in the end product.
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.
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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