Nancy is the next block in the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-along and she’s… interesting. I don’t know whether it was the cold and flu medication or maybe I was just having a day but Nancy added significantly to my swear jar. For the life of me I could not get this block to work 100%. My flying geese were too small, I ignored the sage advice from Marti Michell on the conversion chart about paying attention to the fabric grain line and so my big triangles got their stretch on. It was just nuts. I had one moment of fussy cutting perfection though when the Statue of Liberty lined up perfectly in my flying geese. Perfectly. Like ridiculously so. (Just wish the cab had have done the same thing!) I spent the whole time either thinking about Sid & Nancy (usually while unpicking and thinking sweary thoughts that would make Sid & Nancy blush) or singing Sting’s “English Man in New York”.
I love my Fat Quarter Shop version and have been referring to it as “kangaroos loose in the top paddock” – which is exactly how this block made me feel. I unpicked one seam in my New York version of this block 7 times and I still couldn’t get it to line up properly. I figured the fabric just really wanted to over shoot that seam line and so who was I to fight it’s natural inclination. It bugs me no end, but I know in the quilting it will disappear.
I had big plans to fussy cut that middle block but given my self-imposed stick to the number of fabrics in the block and therefore make the block I couldn’t settle on a fabric that I liked that would work as a focal point and not look way too jumbled in the smaller piecing. It’s been an interesting experience… I might give it another crack later on…
Tutorial: Block #76 “Nancy”
- 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 by Laurie Aaron Hird – available from: Amazon | Pink Door Fabrics | Fat Quarter Shop | The Quilting Company | Interweave (Affiliate Links). 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: Cutting pieces for this block requires you to use the 9/16 inch mark on your ruler which is a line between your 1/2″ and 3/4″ mark on your ruler. I found this too much like hard work so I’ll show you how I cut bigger and trimmed down and used the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A to work it out for the rectangles. 1. Cutting 76C with the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A: Cut 4 x (2″ x 3″) rectangles of the fabric you wish to use as the background fabric on the block (corresponds to the orange fabric in the block diagram). Please note, using this measurement will result in some wastage. Stack fabric with right sides facing up. Cut 2 of the A7 templates from the stack. Diagram 1b will show how the templates fit on the rectangle.
2. Cutting 76B (A4) and 76E (A6) with the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A: Cut 4 x (2″ x 5″) rectangles of the fabric you wish to use as the background fabric on the block (corresponds to the orange fabric in the block diagram). Stack fabric with right sides facing up. Cut 1 of the A4 templates and 1 of the A6 templates from the stack. Diagram 2b will show how the templates fit on the rectangle. Diagram 2c shows the triangles cut from the rectangle.
3. Cutting 76E (A6) and 76D (A3 modified) with the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A: Cut 4 x (2″ x 6″) rectangles of the fabric you wish to use as the background fabric on the block (corresponds to the orange fabric in the block diagram). Please note, using this measurement will result in some wastage. Stack fabric with right sides facing up. Cut 1 of the A6 and 1 of the A3 templates from the stack. Diagram 3ab will show how the templates fit on the rectangle. Please note: Template A3 does not fit on the rectangle – you are using this template to get the width of the piece needed.
3b. This is how I used template A6 to work out the correct height for piece 76D. Line the long edge of template A6 against the top edge of the rectangle you cut using template A3 in step 3 (as shown by black line in diagram 3b). Line the edge of your ruler up against the tip of template A6 (as shown by the arrow in diagram 3b). Remove the template A6 and using your rotary cutter trim to size as shown in diagram 3c. Be careful with this step so as not to bump the template when lining things up.
4. Arrange pieces to form block pattern as shown in diagram 4. Cutting instructions can be found on the disc that came with the book. Block directions are located on page 235. 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.
5. Making the flying geese units. Join 76C to 76E as shown in diagram 5. You can chain piece this step to make one side of the flying geese unit.
6. Join the remaining 76C to 76E as shown in diagram 6a. You can chain piece this step to complete the 4 flying geese units that make up this block.
7. Join 76D to the top of your flying geese unit as show in diagram 7a. You can chain piece this step to make the 4 units that make up this section.
Please note: I had some “shrinkage” in my flying geese unit due to seam creep. I have my needle positioned normally one click over to the right from the middle to account for my natural sewing position, however for these I think I needed to have it over 2 clicks instead. I could have remade the blocks as they were just a fraction smaller than the width of 76D but I decided not to. Instead I lined up the tip of the flying geese unit with the middle of the rectangle and manoeuvred my fabrics (stretched and pulled) to get the flying geese as wide as I could be stitching them down. It doesn’t bother me, but it may bother you so please work to your own tolerance level. 8. Join 76C to your flying geese and rectangle units as per diagram 8a. You can chain piece this step to make the units that make up this section.
9. Making the sides of the block. Join 76B to the sides of your flying geese section as per diagram 9a. (Remember, you only have to do this for two of the flying geese units not all 4. 2 of the flying geese units will join the middle square.) You can chain piece this step to make the units that make up this section. Repeat for the other side of this section. You will end up with two side pieces as per diagram 10.
10. Join the two flying geese units to the centre square (76A) as shown in diagram 11.
11. Join your side pieces to the middle row. Pay careful attention to lining up the middle seam, as indicated by the arrows in diagram 12 and 13.
12. God Save the Queen, you’ve just made Nancy!
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 – available from: Amazon | Pink Door Fabrics | Fat Quarter Shop | The Quilting Company | Interweave (Affiliate Links).
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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