May is Block 61 of Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt

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

I hope you’re sitting down because today’s block comes with a healthy 8 y-seams in it. Yep, 8! Now, don’t throw your hands up before you’ve even started and say you can’t do it. If I can do it, you can totally do it! These aren’t soft y’s either, they’re hard and they can be tricky. The key here is to go slow, baste if you need to and don’t give up! Plus, I’ve also filmed a little video to show you how I made these seams bow to me in submission. It’s such a great trick and it’ll take all the pressure off!

Part of me suspects that Laurie selected this particular letter to accompany this particular block because she knew it might be a little swear word inducing. So while you’re sewing the block, keep A Mother in your thoughts and remember to let anyone see you smiling.

All jokes aside this is a great block to show off some of your favourite fabrics as the 4 middle pieces are such a big slice of this block. I think it took me longer to decide on what fabric to use for this block than it did to actually sit down and sew those 8 y-seams.

Thoughts on the Letter

I love that quote, “A day without laughter is a day wasted”, and it’s true. Laughter is so overrated, and I’m positive that if we all laughed more the world would be a better place. Whether it’s learning to not take ourselves too seriously, seeing the humour when things go wrong or just laughing from a good joke – we need more of it. I consider my day to be a success if we all laugh together as a family at least once. Some days it comes really easily and then other days I struggle. But I know that if I take the time to share a laugh with those I love my day will be better for it.

Tutorial: Block #61 “May”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

Take a Class

If you’re struggling with Foundation Paper Piecing, or maybe you’d like to take these new found skills and try out something a little more involved why not check out the Start Foundation Paper Piecing on Craftsy – click here to enrol (Beginner) or how about Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing on Craftsy – click here to enrol (Advanced).


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 220.

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 the required block 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

Tip: When Foundation Paper Piecing I use a Sewline’s Glue Pen to hold my pattern to the paper where there is only one piece to the section, such as pieces P1 and Q1 in this pattern. Just use a little dab of the glue to secure the paper while you work.

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 (Feature Fabric)

Pattern Pieces: A1, B1, C1, D1 = Use a Sewline’s Glue Pen to attach these pattern pieces to the wrong side of your fabric and trim to the size of the pattern piece.

Fabric 2 (Red)

Pattern Pieces: E1, F2, G1, H2, I1, J2, K1, L2 = 3″ x 2″

Fabric 3 (Pink)

Pattern Pieces: E2, F1, G2, H1, I2, J1, K2, L1 = 3″ 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.

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.

Joining 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.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com3. I’m not going to lie, this part is a little daunting but I know you can do it. Just go slow and if you need to set your stitch length to 3.5 and baste the pieces in place before stitching them with the smaller stitch. Diagram 2a shows the order in which I stitched the sides of the y-seam. I found that snipping the paper (only the paper!) in the seam allowance of the sections that had 2 pieces (the out side pieces of the unit) at the indent made it easier to turn the piece to stitch the second side of the y-seam.

Join F to D, G to D, H to C, I to C, J to B, K to B, J to A and E to A. This will make 4 large triangles, as per diagram 2.

To help you I’ve filmed the following (very rushed) video this morning. After filming this I tried this method without trimming either of the pieces and it worked a treat. Once you’ve joined all the pieces just trim your seam allowance (be careful not to snip through the block!).

The three items that made this so much easier to do: Clover Wonder Clips, Fiskar Micro Tip Scissors and extra long pins.

Y-Seam Tutorial: If you’ve not done a foundation paper pieced y-seam before than click here for a great tutorial from Melissa at Ms Midge.

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.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com4. Join K + B + J to I + C + H. Join G + D + F to E + A + L. This will make 2 larger triangles, as per diagram 3.Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Learn to make the blocks with Angie Wilson of GnomeAngel.com5. Join the 2 triangles across the middle, as per Diagram 7, and now go pour yourself a cold one because you’ve just conquered May!

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.

02/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

03/02/2016: Tina @ Emily Ann’s Kloset

04/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

05/02/2016: Rachel @ Wooden Spoon Quilts

09/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

10/02/2016: Peta @ She Quilts Alot

11/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

12/02/2016: Sherri @ A Quilting Life

16/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

17/02/2016: Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat

18/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

19/02/2016: Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

23/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

24/02/2016: Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting

25/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell

26/02/2016/2016: 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!

Get Your Free Pattern Now!

Sign up to the GnomeAngel Newsletter and you can access your very own free pattern. Get the latest news, stay up-to-date with sew-alongs + events and receive the occasional free offer! Simply add your details below!

I respect your privacy and I won't send you spam. You can unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit