November 4, 2015

Chart 12: Margaret Block #57, Milly #62, and our Mabel! in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

The 2015 Houston International Quilt Market and Houston International Quilt Festival shows are over for another year. (We have never missed either one since the shows began!) Those 12 days in Houston are both exhausting and exciting. It was absolutely wonderful to meet and talk with so many Farmer’s Wife Sew-Along participants! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and kind words! It was lots of fun meeting three of the Farmer's Wife Sew Along bloggers, too! (I am short, and these gals are tall! They're not standing on boxes, but maybe I should have! :)

Farmer's Wife guest bloggers Kerry Goulder (Kid Giddy),
me and Peta Peace (She Quilts Alot)

Chatting with Nedra Ridgeway (ellis & higgs)

Another Two-fer!

Now, time to get back to reality! Today is another two-block day. It is also an A-6 triangle day because all 32 pieces in each block are cut with the A-6 triangle template in Perfect Patchwork Template Set A. And, because there are so many seams meeting at one corner, we are going to talk just a little about pressing.

Margaret and Milly are both constructed with 16 half-square triangle pairs (HSTs). But, twist a few squares or add another color and the blocks look so different! Instead of arranging the squares into four rows and joining the rows, we chose to assemble them in four 3-1/2 inch quadrants with swirl-pressed centers. When 6 or more seams come together at one intersection, pressing becomes more complicated. There aren't rules for what's right or wrong, just personal choices.

To illustrate that, we actually stitched and pressed Margaret two different ways.  Do you remember the swirl pressing we did with Caroline (FMM Chart 4)? You will get more chances to practice swirl pressing with these blocks. Harriet, my studio associate, rarely misses a chance to swirl press! The seams in each quadrant of her block were swirl pressed clockwise, as viewed from the back in the center photo, below. Then the center seams were pressed counter-clockwise for a total of 5 swirl-pressed intersections.

On my Margaret block, above right, I pressed the final seam of each quadrant open and only swirl pressed the 8 seams that come together in the center of the block to make a pinwheel.

Both swirl pressing and pressing seams open can be used to reduce bulk where so many seams come together. Of course, when you cut with From Marti Michell templates, you have already eliminated so much excess fabric with the template's engineered corners.

Meet Milly's Neighbor, Mabel

In Milly, all of the triangles are arranged to make pinwheels with eight seams coming together in the center of every quadrant -- perfect for swirl pressing! If you look closely, you will see that, instead of Milly, I chose to make a small change so I could have 5 distinct pinwheels. We call the new block Mabel, after my long-time “neighbor to the West” when I was growing up on an Iowa farm. (More about the farm in my next post!)

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

for Blocks #57 Margaret and #62 Milly and the Mabel variation

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


  1. I'm so envious of Peta, Kerry and Nadra. I can't wait to "run into you" one day soon at Market. I'm really loving these blocks and being able to make them with the templates has just been so amazing. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful with us! <3

    1. :) We'll be meeting one day soon, Angie, I'm sure! We're happy to be part of the sew along with you and the other girls -- so glad you're using the templates to make your blocks, too! Thanks for helping spread the good word about them!

  2. Your patterns and templates helped me to recover from a severe stoke 7 years ago. The depression began to lift as I started a block of the month class using your templates. I loved them so much, I made not one, but 10 quilts of that pattern, all in different color combinations. Now I'm in to the Farmer's Wife blocks and still loving my passion for quilting. Someday I hope to meet you Marti!

    1. That's wonderful, Teri, glad you're doing well and continuing to enjoy quilting. And you made 10 BOM quilts! It's gratifying to know that our tools are "good helpers." Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice comment.

  3. Thanks for showing the pressing information each time! Good points are all about the templates and the right pressing instructions! I am catching up and sharing soon!