Granny is a deceptively tricky block from the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt. I have to admit that she caught me out and I had to recut 3/4 of my block because of it, so pay careful attention to the tutorial steps! I really love the optical illusion that this block creates through the use of only 2 fabrics. It’s also one of the only blocks that I think really needs to be set on-point to add that little extra kick of impact.
Thoughts on the Letter
Like most parents my folks worked full time jobs to provide for our family, this meant there were times when my Nana would come to stay with us to keep an eye on me and my Brother. I remember as a teenager thinking it was a little overkill to bring Nana in when I was quite capable of looking after myself. What I didn’t see at the time was that these moments of having my Nana around where a very rare and precious gift.
I got to spend more time with my Nana then a lot of my Cousins and a lot of my friends did with their Grandparents. I got to go one adventures with her, spend time just hanging out with her and I got to soak in the love that she had to give. The whole reason I’m sitting here today writing about quilting is because my Nana, for whatever crazy reason, decided to give me (the kid who’d flunked sewing at school) her sewing machine when she could no longer use it. That sewing machine started this whole crazy journey. (Well, that sewing machine and the gifts, wisdom and lessons that my parents imparted to me during my upbringing.)
I’m very blessed to have my Nana still in my life (I sometimes think if there’s a nuclear war it’ll be her and the cockroaches left looking after the place!). I’m blessed to have had her meet the loves of my life (my Husband and my Son). have her at my wedding, have her see me grow up and most of all just have her in my life.
Tutorial: Block #41 “Granny”
- 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.
- 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.
Please note: This tutorial shows how to use the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A to make this block. Using this method will make your 41A pieces slightly larger than the pieces provided by the book template (the block will still be 6.5″ unfinished) but provide you with the same look as the block in the book. If you are not using the Mart Michell templates you will find the template for cutting this shape in the information included with your book.
1. Cutting 41B and 41C with the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A: Because I didn’t want to fussy cut these pieces and the pattern calls for mirror images I decided to cut the shapes by stacking my fabrics. To do this cut 2 x 4.5″ squares as pictured in diagram 1.
2. Stack these squares on top of each other, right sides (print) facing up on all pieces. Cut out template A2 by positioning in bottom left hand corner and then once cut flip the template and cut out top right hand corner. This method will give you the 4 pieces you need. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for other 41A fabric.
Tip: You can use this same method of stack cutting with the printed template from the book. Just use the printed template in place of the Marti Michell template.
3. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut all remaining 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 200. 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.
4. You’ll need to be fully awake for the next steps. I’m not going to lie – I didn’t pay attention and I made 6 of these joined pieces incorrectly and had to go back and recut all the pieces again. You will have to trim these blocks down so before you cut make sure you’ve sewn them on correctly!
Pay careful attention to the direction of 41A. I remembered the direction by thinking that the longest side of 41A had to run parallel to the right angle corner of 41B, as shown by the black lines in diagram 4a and 4b. Note how the engineered corner of 41A lines up with the bottom of 41B (as per the arrows at the bottom of diagrams 4a and 4b).
5. Join 41A to 41B with a 1/4″ seam from the edge of 41A as per diagram 5. Once attached flip 41A over and confirm fit before trimming. I strongly recommending giving this seam a light finger press to hold the pice in the flipped over position and lining all your pieces up to confirm you have them going in the right direction before trimming. Learn from my mistake! Once you’ve confirmed the correct placement trim off the excess, as per diagram 5a. This step can be chain pieced to make all 8 triangle units that make up this block.
Tip: You can chain piece this step if you wish, you could also chain piece the entire block if you feel comfortable doing so.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to make the remaining 6 triangle units as per diagram 6.
7. Join Unit 1 to Unit 2, join Unit 3 to Unit 4, join Unit 5 to Unit 6 and join Unit 7 to Unit 8 (as per diagram 7a). Pay careful attention to lining up the angled seam as indicated by the arrow in diagram 7a. This step can be chain pieced to make the 4 large triangles that make up this block.
8. Join Unit A to Unit B and join Unit C to Unit D (as per diagram 8a). Pay careful attention to lining up the angled seams as indicated by the arrows in diagram 8a. This step can be chain pieced to make the 4 large triangles that make up this block.
9. Join the two halves together to complete your block (as per diagram 8a). Pay careful attention to lining up the seams as indicated by the arrows in diagram 9a. To ensure a straight angled seam I pinned at the right angle corner of the triangle making sure the seam was lined up across the block.
10. Ta-dah! You just made Granny!
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
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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