November 2, 2015

Chart 11: The Patchwork Trio & Addie Block #1 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

Welcome to the 11th block in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along, Addie.

Introducing the Patchwork Trio

Patchwork blocks that can be drawn on an even grid, such as graph paper, are generally very From Marti Michell template-friendly. The most common shapes drawn on a grid are a square, half-square triangle and quarter square triangle. In our book, More Bang for the Buck!, we call these three shapes “the Patchwork Trio” because they are also the only shapes used in many blocks -- so many blocks!

Even though Set A has only seven acrylic pieces, it actually includes three sizes of the Patchwork Trio.

Square A-1 plus triangles A-2 and A-3 make up the “big Trio” pieces commonly used in 12 inch blocks.

Square A-5 plus triangles 6 and 7 make up the "littlest Trio" commonly used in 6 inch blocks.

What about square A-3? This size square is part of the set because it is the size square needed to make 3-inch finished size Square Within a Square blocks -- but when you combine square A-3 with triangles A-4 and A-6, you have the third combination of the Patchwork Trio.

So far in our sew-along, all of the blocks except Becky and Granny were designed on a 4 x 4 grid, and the smallest Patchwork Trio in Set A includes the pieces most frequently used in those blocks.

My Addie Block

Front and back. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

Click the link to download the Template Conversion Chart for this block:

for Block #1, Addie
In addition to our template conversion PDF download, you will want to read Gnome Angel's tutorials for these blocks.

A Little Quilt History

Many traditional blocks are known by several names. I was curious to see if Addie had an "alias" so I spent a few minutes looking through a few of my favorite books that help identify quilt designs, like "the Brackman book." In 1973, quilt historian Barbara Brackman began indexing quilt patterns. She self-published a set of paperbacks that soon became the go-to identification books for a generation of quilters, and in 1993 these catalogs of over 4,000 designs were reprinted in one hefty volume by the American Quilters Society.

You might enjoy learning that, according to Brackman, Aunt Addie's Album was published in the periodical "Hearth & Home" published from 1885 into the 1930s by Vickery & Hill Co. in Augusta, Maine. Addie could be over 100 years old -- and she's still looking good!

We Heard You Want More Blocks!

Some of the quilters in the Facebook group for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along have mentioned that they want more than two blocks a week, so we are going to offer a Mystery Sampler Quilt with 8-1/2 inch  square blocks just for quilters who are using our conversion charts. I picked 8-1/2 inch blocks because we can make many 8-1/2 inch blocks with Set A, as well as other template sets that you'll be using to make the Farmer's Wife blocks.

Here are the first four template keys for 8-1/2 inch blocks. (Click on the diagram to see a larger version.) All of the pieces for Addie, except the center square, can be cut for both an 8-1/2 inch and a 12-inch block using Template Set A.

As time goes on we will add a few more 8-1/2 inch block conversions, but we encourage you to also do them on your own. Pick a different fabric style for an entirely different look, or use the same fabric selection for another quilt for the same room. We will give you both a wall hanging layout and a bed size as we get to the end of the sew-along.

A Little More Quilt History

While I was looking at the Brackman [book], I learned that Old Maid is also known by six other names in publications dating from the late 1800s through the 1930s, including the name I've always known it as, Double Z.

Jenny is similar to Spinning Jenny, a block designed by Jeffrey Gutcheon for the book he co-wrote with Beth Gutcheon in 1973, Patchwork Design Workbook (Alchemy Press, 1976). It was a follow-up to their 1973 book The Perfect Patchwork Primer). The design and the shapes are the same as Jenny's; the proportions are different. Beth and Jeff Gutcheon were trailblazers for "the current quilting revival" that began in the early '70s. There were very few books about quilting in the early '70s and most of them were old! Another of my "go to" block identification books is Jinny Beyer's Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns (Breckling Press, 2009). In that book, I could see that Jenny has roots in Nancy Cabot's Spinning Jenny of the 1930s.

There was no Caroline in the Brackman -- but since I'd found 3 of the 4 blocks I picked for our Mystery Sampler Quilt, I was determined to try and find her! Back to Jinny Beyer's Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns (Breckling Press, 2009) where she shows a block called Caroline's Choice. It has 2 Pinwheel units like Caroline, but large squares replace the Hourglass units. Caroline's Choice is also credited with 6 different names and publication dates, including a 1901 "Progressive Farmer" periodical and Nancy Cabot's regular Chicago Tribune column in 1936.

If you're intrigued by this little trip down quilt history lane, you might enjoy searching for the books I mentioned -- we get lost in them whenever we open them! They are so fun to explore.

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.


  1. Thanks for the Quilt History Lesson :) very interesting... I love the Mystery Block Quilt idea and plan on doing it too. I have All the Fabulous MM templates and this gives us a chance to use them again and again... xoxo

    1. Quilt history can be very interesting. It's one of many reasons why we "become" quilters rather than make a quilt and move on to some other handicraft or hobby. Glad you're interested in doing the mystery sampler, too! We love showing the versatility of the templates. They are a little like investment dressing -- a great outfit that never goes out of style is worth having -- and as long as you don't lose a template, you'll find ways to use them for a lifetime, too!

  2. I love the idea of the mystery sampler. :)

  3. Thank you so much for your efforts in this quilt-a-long. I love learning new things, not only the quilting part, but the history is something else I enjoy. For many years, I have not had the opportunity to use your templates. Recently I ordered set A. I have fallen in love with them. They have helped me make a more accurate block. Thank you so much. I too will be making the mystery quilt blocks. Life can be busy but it is more fun with quilting in it.

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the sew-along -- we are, too! -- and I hope you find many more projects to make with Set A.

  4. Marti, I just want to say how much I love the templates. I started using them for the FW QAL and the precision of my piecing is much improved. Yay engineered corners! Thanks also for the 8.5 conversions. I'm also working on the Laurie Hird Pony Club sampler quilt which has 8.5 blocks and will mix some of these in with!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write such a nice comment. Yes, yay for engineered corners! :D

  5. I absolutely LOVE the Alta block! I'm hand piecing and the MM templates make all the difference. I'm enjoying the piecing and not worrying about keeping up. I'm going to have to bump Alta up in line. Just can't wait to make her!!!! Thank you for all you and Gnome Angel are doing for us all!

    1. Thanks, Susie, glad to hear the templates are your go-to's with hand piecing, too. We're enjoying the sew-along -- I'd rather be quilting than doing anything else! :)

  6. What do I do to get the conversion chart to print full page? My page prints only from the middle of the page over and so I get only half of the page. I know there is something I need to change, but don't know what!


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Sherry -- Your browser may be giving you a preview of the PDF and it looks normal but it's not saved to your computer. Roll over the icons and click on the one that says "download" so the PDF will save to your downloads folder and then open it on your computer. It should print fine then. The other possibility is you may have to specify US letter size for paper size in your printer specs. I hope that helps.

  7. i love the quilting history. Thank you for doing the research Marti.