Grandmother is Block 40 of Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of

The minute I saw this block I knew exactly which fabric I was going to use, which has been unheard of with this project. I feel like I spend more time trying to work out what I’m going to use then actually sewing the blocks. (I timed how long it took me to make this block and it was 30 minutes. 30 minutes!!! I think that’s a record. I’m sure on the others I spend more than 30 minutes looking at my fabrics.) I wanted this block to look like the low bowl vases that they used to use in the Church I went to as a kid. I used to love seeing the flower arrangements each week, and they weren’t anything professionally done, just the ladies of the Church and what they grew in their gardens. But I loved them. I still do. When this Karen Lewis Blueberry Park print came in my recent order from Fat Quarter Shop I just knew it was destined for this block. I wanted those big happy flowers to be the arrangement in my bowl. I’m so thrilled with how this block turned out. It’s perfect (to me).

There’s what I like to call a “gentle y-seam” in the foundation paper piecing of this block. It’s really easy to do and you’ll be able to do a victory dance when you nail it first go. However, I do confess to wondering why the pattern was done this way. But who am I to question, it’s not the hardest block to make so it’s all good.

Thoughts on the Letter

Having just had my Mother here for a surprise visit this letter brought up all sorts of longing for having my parents close. I miss them so much and our son just adores them. I wish we were in a position to be able to provide them with somewhere to live so they could be a daily part of our lives. I also must admit to being envious of Grandmother’s days… “…she can sleep late; knit or read as she likes; cook some of the old-fashioned dishes…” Just change knit for sew and I’m there!

Tutorial: Block #40 “Grandmother”Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.comGeneral Information

If you’d like to know “My Top 10 Beginners Patchworking Tools” you can find them by clicking here.

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, where applicable, 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.

Conversion Chart

You can find the From Marti Michell Patchwork Template Conversion Charts by clicking here.

Helpful Links & Videos


This method of block construction is called “Foundation Paper Piecing” however it can also be referred to as “Paper Piecing” which can get confusing as there is also a technique called “English Paper Piecing” (EPP) and it’s often referred to as “Paper Piecing”. I have tried to always refer to the technique as “Foundation Paper Piecing” in the tutorial, however I may slip up and refer to it as “paper piecing”. If paper piecing is mentioned in this post it only ever refers to foundation paper piecing.

How to Make the Block

General advice:

  • 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.

If you are planning to hand piece this block, or even machine piece it based on the templates, you can find everything you need on the disc that came with the book. Block directions are located on page 199.

Printing Instructions: All of the foundation paper piecing patterns that were provided with the book are mirror images of the completed blocks pictured in the book. This is only an issue for blocks that are not symmetrical. This block is symmetrical and therefore you will not need to print it as a mirror image.

Printing Mirror Image: Due to the multitude of printers, computers and programs on the market I’m unable to provide specific support for your particular setup. However here is a tutorial on how to print mirror image for PDFs that also contains useful links. (Click here for the tutorial.)

How to Print Your Pattern: Due to the multitude of printers, desktops and programs on the market I’m unable to provide specific support for your particular setup, however the principles are the same for every program and printer. You need to ensure you’re printing at 100% scale. My printer automatically defaults to 94% when printing the templates and patterns. This is how I change the scale when I print on my Mac and with my Canon printer. The arrow points to where I amend the scale settings by clicking the checkbox for scale and then changing the amount to 100%. If you are unsure how to scale your printing I strongly recommend asking Google (simply type “how do I print to scale for <insert your printer name and desktop (whether mac or windows)>”) or getting a computer savvy friend in to help. Once you’ve worked it out you’ll be unstoppable when it comes to foundation paper piecing!


1. Print out the foundation paper piecing pattern for Block 51 Lily at a scale of 100%. Using paper scissors roughly cut out the foundation paper piecing pieces leaving approximately 1/8th of an inch of spare paper around the dotted line.

Tip: If you’re using Vellum grab each page off the printer as it prints and then lay them out to dry. You’ll want to make sure the ink doesn’t smudge and you really don’t want to get any of that ink on your hands and then on your fabrics.

Please note: For copyright reasons the numbers have been removed from the template pieces in these diagrams. Your pieces will have the piecing order numbers printed on them.

Fabric Measurements

Now for the fun part, adding fabric! To help you out I’ve worked out the sizes you’ll need to cut each fabric piece to cover the pattern sections. Please note, given the nature of paper piecing section shapes and the limits on what shapes can be cut with a ruler these shapes produce fabric wastage. You may be better served using fabric scraps that fit, however for those of you new to the process sacrificing some fabric until you get the hang of it is not a big deal. Cut the following fabric pieces:

Fabric 1 (Background – Green)

Pattern Pieces: D1, E1, F1, G1 = Using a dash of glue from a glue pen attach the pattern to the wrong side of the fabric and cut the fabric to shape.

Fabric 2 (Orange)

Pattern Pieces: A4, A2, C1, C3, B1, B3 = 2″ x 2″

Pattern Pieces: D2 = 4″ x 2″

Fabric 3 (Yellow)

Pattern Pieces: A1, A3, C2, B2 = 2″ x 2″

Tip: If you’re like me and get easily confused looking at the pattern pieces you may find value in using colouring pencils to mark the corresponding fabric colour on both the pattern pieces and the block diagram found at the top of the foundation paper pattern. Again, make sure that whatever you use to add colour to your templates doesn’t bleed on to your hands or fabric.

How To Foundation Paper Piece

In the interest of saving space and making the tutorials as easy as possible I will not be showing you how to foundation paper piece with this tutorial as it’s been covered previously. Instead, here are some links to foundation paper piecing tutorials that you can use to get acquainted with the technique if you’re unsure of how to do it.

Making the Sections

Using the Foundation Paper Piecing technique make all the sections of the block. If you are feeling confident you can batch process (which is a similar way of saying ‘chain piece‘ however as you have to remove each piece from the machine before you can start the next one it’s not technically chain piecing) each addition of fabric to a section.

Tip: If, like me, you want to fussy cut the triangles you can do as I did and piece the sections in the following order: Lay you fabric on the middle section (P1 and C1) (wrong side of fabric to wrong side of pattern) – you can use fabric glue (just a smidge) to stick the fabric to the pattern while you put it altogether.

2. Once you’ve made and trimmed your section lay them out in the block formation. Diagram 1 shows the layout from the back. Given how easily this pattern goes together I will only show you from the back to save any confusion. When foundation paper piecing I always work with the fabric facing down when assembling the block.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.comJoining the Sections

Joining the sections is the same as any other patchwork – right sides together, 1/4″ seam and you stitch all the way from one edge of the section to the other. In this method of foundation paper piecing you will stitch on the dark black seam line.

Tip: When joining sections I normally press my seams open, however with this block I pressed to one side. Before pressing I tear off the paper that is the seam allowance. This is purely personal preference and you can press open if that’s your chosen method. You will press all seams as you join the the sections.

3. Join section B to C as per Diagram 2.

Tip: I used the floating pin technique (you can see more about this in the Block #46 Jewel Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial) to line up the sections each time I made a join.

4. Join section G to B + C as per Diagram 3. Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com5. Join section F to A as per Diagram 4.

6. Now’s the time for your gentle y-seam. This is an easy one, so don’t panic. I used pins to line up my corners of each piece (as per Diagram 5), I then put the piece under my needle and sewed from the arrow out to the edge. (You’ll need to remove the pins before you put it under your machine. This is a great time to use Clover Wonder Clips to keep your pieces in place.) Reinforce your starting point when sewing a y-seam.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of

7. Pivot the top piece of fabric and use a pin to repeat the corner lining up. This time sew from the outer edge into the middle point as shown by the arrow in Diagram 5a. Fold the pieces back out and press.

8. Join the two pieced sections together to form a large triangle as per Diagram 6.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com9. Join the two triangles together to complete the block.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of

10. Turn out the light, Grandmother is done!

Tip: I removed all papers from my block. You can either leave them in or take them out now. Either way, before you quilt the quilt top you’ll need to have removed the papers.

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along Blogger Line up

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.

05/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

06/01/2016: Melissa @ Oh How Sweet & Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat

07/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

08/01/2016: Lucy @ Charm About You

12/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

13/01/2016:  Jodi @ Tales of Cloth

14/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

15/01/2016: Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts & Tonya @ The Crafty Mummy

19/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

20/01/2016: Jess @ The Elven Garden

21/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

22/01/2016: Melissa @ Ms Midge

26/01/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

28/01/2016: Erin @ Why Not Sew & Rachel @ Family Ever After

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!

Book Details


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.

Disclosure: 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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  1. Angie
    Thankyou for the great tutorial. You changed the order of sewing a few pieces together and that made a huge difference to me. I still took longer than 30 minutes but I had sucess!
    Thankyou again

    • Hi Kathleen – I’m so glad the tutorial helped. No matter how long it took, you got there in the end and that’s the main thing! I hope you’re enjoying making the blocks!