I love this block because it reminds me of two seahorses facing each other, shame I didn’t think to use fabrics to make them really look like that! I love the graphic nature of this block because it looks complicated but it’s totally not. I must confess that I spent more time than I’d planned on unpicking it to get those points crisp, but it was totally worth it.
Tutorial: Block #78 “Old Maid”
- 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.
1. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut all 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 237. 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.
Tip: Be mindful of how you cut your fabrics if you are using a directional print for this block. If possible, and your desire, aim to keep the direction of the print traveling in the same direction for all pieces.
2. Making the middle quarter square triangle unit. Join one 78A to 78A to make Unit 1. Repeat for the other side and make Unit 2. See diagram 2 for clarification.
Tip: For this tutorial I’m going to be showing you how it would come together if you chain piece each step. You could chain piece the entire block if you feel comfortable doing so.
3. Join Unit 1 to Unit 2 (as per diagram 3) to make Unit 3.
Tip: Pay attention to lining up the seams so you get a crisp hourglass shape.
4. Now we’ll make the 2 flying geese units. Join 78B to the side of 78A as per diagram 4. Diagram 4a shows how to line up the edge of your pieces if you’re using the From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set A templates to cut your pieces.
5. Join the remaining 78B to the other side of the 78A piece as per diagram 5a to make Unit 4. Repeat for the other side to make Unit 5.
6. Unit Unit 4 to Unit 3 as per diagram 6a. Repeat for the remaining side to make Unit 6 (as per diagram 6c).
Tip: This block gets it’s impact from the crisp points of all the triangles. When joining the flying geese units be mindful of where your stitches are going, you want to stitch the “line” in diagram 6b. If you need to it often helps to move the needle one to two positions to the left to give you a scant 1/4″ seam.
7. Lets’ work on the top and bottom row. Join 78A to 78A as per diagram 7. Diagram 7a shows how you use the engineered corners to line up your pieces. Repeat this step for the corresponding pieces in the top row.
8. Join the other 78A to the units you just made as per diagram 8a. Repeat for both the top and bottom row.
9. Join 78B to 78A as per diagram 9a. Repeat for both the top and bottom row.
10. Join 78B to 78A as per diagram 10a. Repeat for both the top and bottom row. This will complete the top and bottom rows of the block.
11. Join the top row to the middle row.
Tip: Pay careful attention to the seam lines – this is where the impact comes from. Note the edge seams (where the arrows are pointing in diagram 11a) and ensure they’re lined up with the flying geese seams. Also be sure not to cut off your triangle point so aim to sew as per the line in diagram 11a. I used my pin to ensure the point of the middle triangle in the top row lined up with the point in the quarter triangle square.
12. Join the bottom row to the block.
Tip: Pay careful attention to the seam lines – this is where the impact comes from. Note the edge seams (where the arrows are pointing in diagram 11a) and ensure they’re lined up with the flying geese seams. Also be sure not to cut off your triangle point so aim to sew as per the line in diagram 12a. I used my pin to ensure the point of the middle triangle in the top row lined up with the point in the quarter triangle square.
13. Step back and admire your work because you just made an Old Maid!
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).
Disclaimer: 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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