If you love Half Square Triangles (HSTs) than this block from the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt is going to send your heart into overdrive. We’re releasing two blocks today and both of them are HST heavy. If you’ve got the time (and desire) I would strongly recommend reading both tutorials first and then cutting both block out at once and chain piecing them at the same time. I made four of them at the same time and it made the process so much easier. The only thing I would caution is to make sure you have some way of keeping them laid out properly so you don’t lose your placement. I use 4 thin boards that I had “left over” from building an Ikea shelving unit (whoops!) but you can totally buy design boards from Fat Quarter Shop or make your own following this tutorial from Lori Holt.
Thoughts on the Letter
What a picture of home life this letter paints. I’m not sure if the modern day equivalent with it’s addition of personal devices would paint quite the same vision. Some times I find myself longing for simpler days, but then I remember how fond I am of running water, fully functioning sewerage and modern dentistry. I like to think when reading this letter that Mom is in the background keeping the family ticking over and making sure that they can have this time together to forge their bonds and share in their lives. I must admit that the language in this letter (referring to Mom as a duck and bear) had me a little perplexed and amused. It makes me wonder what words the future generations will find amusing and perplexing when they review our history. I love that this letter is a little time capsule of 1935 that sends a beam of love and light into the present through the simple sharing a family moment.
Tutorial: Block #57 “Margaret”
- 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: I made this block and Milly both while really ill with a sinus and chest infection and they both came out pretty good. I’m not too fussed on the edges, but I can live with that and hide the uneven seam allowance in the joining at the end. I’m sharing this with you because I know it can be daunting when you see all the half square triangles, but I promise if I can do it with lack of sleep, a horrible cough and dosed up on antibiotics and still get pretty good points you can totally rock this! Promise!
Tip: Cutting instructions can be found on the disc that came with the book. Block directions are located on page 216. 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.
1. Cutting 57A with the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A: Margaret uses 3 fabrics in total and to cut the triangles using the Marti Michell templates you will need to identify each fabric you’ve selected as either Fabric 1, Fabric 2 or Fabric 3. You will need to allocate a fabric to a colour in the block diagram on page 216 of your book. In my example Fabric 1 (which corresponds to the brown triangles in the block diagram) is my black checker-plate print (as identified in diagram 1). My Fabric 2 (which corresponds to the pink triangle in the block diagram) is the grey floral print (as identified in diagram 1). Put Fabric 1 and Fabric 2 right sides together and cut 3 strips of 2″ x 6″. You will end up with fabric strips as per diagram 1.2. Keeping the strips in order (Fabric 1 + Fabric 2 right sides together on top of Fabric 1 + Fabric 2 right sides together) cut 8 pairs of triangles (4 cuts) using template A6. Line the template up as shown in diagram 2. Continue to cut all necessary triangle by rotating the template (as shown in diagram 3).
3. Diagram 3 shows the final cut triangles in the position that the template needs to be against the strip when you cut out your triangles. You will have 1 strip of Fabric 1 and 1 strip of Fabric 2 left from step 1.
4. My Fabric 3 (which corresponds to the red triangle in the block diagram) is the red stripe print (as shown in diagram 4). From Fabric 3 cut 2 strips of 2″ x 6″.
5. Stack the fabric as follows, paying attention to pairing the fabrics as stated: Fabric 3 (right sides together with) Fabric 1 (wrong sides together) Fabric 3 (right sides together) Fabric 2. Cut 8 pairs of triangles (4 cuts) using template A6. Line the template up as shown in diagram 5. Continue to cut all necessary triangle by rotating the template (as shown in diagram 6).
6. Diagram 6 shows the final cut triangles in the position that the template needs to be against the strip when you cut out your triangles. You have now cut all the required 57A pieces to make Margaret.
7. Diagram 7 shows the placement and layout of Margaret using the triangles you’ve just cut. Unlike previous tutorials I have not numbered the blocks in this diagram as they are all template 57A, instead I think it is more important to show you the placement of these pieces. The conversion chart advises you not to pull apart the pairs of triangles but to chain piece them together in their cut pairs, however I found that given the complexity of the design I pulled them apart and laid the block out so that I was confident I had them right. It’s purely personal preference.
8. Join your triangles together in pairs as per diagram 8. You can chain piece this step to make the 16 half square triangle units that make up this block.
9. Join your half square triangles together in pairs as per diagram 9. You can chain piece this step to make the 8 rectangle units that make up this block.10. Join your rectangles together in pairs as per diagram 10. You can chain piece this step to make the 4 small square units that make up this block.
11. Join your squares together in pairs as per diagram 11a. Pay careful attention to your seam lines and where the points of your triangles are. 12. Join your two rows together as per diagram 12a. Pay careful attention to your seam lines and where the points of your triangles are.13. Wham bam, thank you Ma’am you’ve just made Margaret!
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along Blogger Line up for Month 2
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.
05/11/2015: Cat @ Cat + Vee
06/11/2015: Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts
11/11/2015: Nadra @ Ellis and Higgs
18/11/2015: Jemima @ Tied with a Ribbon
20/11/2015: Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins
25/11/2015: Cassie @ Cassandra Madge
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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