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Farmer’s Wife 1920’s Quilt: Block 53 – Jackknife

Jackknife is Block 53 of the Farmer’s Wife 1920’s Sampler Quilt. This block made me love geometry just that little bit more. Who knew you could cut away a large triangle to make a line? If you’ve got the From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template set you’re going to have fun with this block.

Block information

Block Number: 53

Block Name: Jackknife

Where to Buy the Book: The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired by Laurie Aaron Hird – available from: Amazon | Book Depository (Affiliate Links)

Fabrics: Riley Blake Confetti Cottons in Riley Lime, Lilac, Orchid, Riley Purple and 1/4″ Black Stripe

Construction Method: From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates

From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates Used: From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set B and From Marti Michell Patchwork Templates Set D.

Where to Buy Supplies: Click Here

Facebook Group: Click here to Join

The blocks contained within this book can be constructed using 3 techniques: machine piecing, English Paper Piecing and Foundation Paper Piecing. I have constructed these blocks with a range of these techniques and the tutorials reflect this. The principles of construction do not change between blocks therefore you can use the information provided in the various block tutorials to make your blocks using whichever method you would like regardless of the specific method used in the tutorial. For basic introductory tutorials on the 2 alternative methods for constructing this block please see below.

Before You Sew

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 prerequisite of making this block that you have a copy of the book, The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired by Laurie Aaron Hird. Measurements can be found in this book and it’s associated media.

using from marti michell templates

The fabulous Marti Michell has developed a conversion system for using her Perfect Patchwork Templates and Rulers to replicate the pieces used in making these blocks. You can access these charts for free by signing up to her mailing list by clicking here.

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.

The photos below show you the step progression of making this block. Please read the accompanying text before starting to make your block.

Block Assembly Steps

Using the From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates

The following table show the Farmer’s Wife template and it’s corresponding From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template.

Farmer’s Wife Template1132050
FMM TemplateB-12D-29B-14B-13*
*indicates cutting is a modified version of the template

Tutorial images are labelled with the Farmer’s Wife Template number.

1: Cut all block pieces

2: Make Corner Units

The corner units are made using 2 triangle templates and cutting the excess away.

  • Consists of 2 – #50 and 2 – #13
  • Tutorial picture STEP TWO shows how to position the triangles on top of each other, stitch and then trim away to create the two halves of the corner unit. Repeat to make 8. These are corner triangles.
  • Join 2 corner triangles to create the square corner unit. Repeat to make 4. [See tutorial picture STEP THREE to see the completed corner units.]

3: Assemble Rows

You’re now going to make the rows that form this block.

5. Complete Block

  • Join the rows to complete the block