October 28, 2015

Chart 10: Parallelograms 101 and Jenny, Block #45 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

Parallelogram:  Any 4-sided shape with 2 pairs of opposite parallel and equal length sides. The opposite corners are also matching angles.


A parallelogram is not a square, but a square is a parallelogram. In addition, diamonds are parallelograms with 4 equal sides.

Right about here, you may be muttering that if you had known you were going to make a quilt, you would have paid attention in geometry class! I'd like to help you become more comfortable with parallelograms and other parts of quilt geometry.

One frequently used quilter's parallelogram is created by joining two 45-degree right angle triangles, or what quilters typically call half-square triangles (HSTs). They can be joined with the straight grain on the legs or on the hypotenuse, depending on the block design.


Jenny needs the straight grain on the hypotenuse. As you follow the conversion chart to make the Jenny block, you will learn to cut a parallelogram with a triangle template and eliminate the seam. You might ask, "If you can just sew 2 triangles together to make a parallelogram, why would you bother to cut a one-piece parallelogram?"

Because you want to…
  • eliminate extra seams, which reduces bulk and work.
  • protect the integrity of fabric designs. No one wants a seam in the middle of a stripe or other directional print, most large prints or fussy-cut designs.
  • turn your patchwork skills up a notch! 
Jenny is the first block in the sew-along that includes parallelograms. However, before you finish this quilt, you will be quite familiar with parallelograms! Parallelograms are directional. Interestingly in this block, they all point the same way, to the upper right. Unless you are working with batiks, solids or hand dyes, once you cut a parallelogram, it cannot be turned to point in the other direction -- so all of Jenny's parallelograms are cut with the fabric right side up.

What if?

What if you forgot to cut with the fabrics right side up?
  • If both strips were right side down, the design will just spin in the other direction. That's fine!
  • If the strips were right or wrong sides together, you will get mirror image parallelograms and you will need to cut again. It is quite common in quilt blocks for pairs of parallelograms to be mirror image units, but in this block they are not. However, when we get to making blocks with mirror image parallelograms, you will already know how to do it!  :)

Introducing the Half-on / Half-off Cutting Trick

Our Jenny conversion chart illustrates placing the template half-on, half-off the end of the strip to begin cutting the first parallelogram for right-handed cutting. If you are left-handed, start at the right end of the strip and position the triangle template the same way, half-on, half-off. Starting this way is efficient; it means cutting each triangle from the strip will be easy and comfortable.

Our cutting techniques are aimed at keeping your cutting hand and rotary cutter properly positioned in relationship to the acrylic tools. That is, typically you will cut more accurately if your hand and rotary cutter are to the right of the acrylic tool if you are right-handed, and to the left of the acrylic tool if you are left-handed.


From Marti Michell templates can perform a lot of cutting tricks, including cutting a shape for which there is no template -- like a parallelogram -- and cutting it the size you need. Some of our methods may seem awkward at first because you are not accustomed to them, but as we sew along, I think you will recognize the benefits of cutting certain shapes with a cutting trick.

Meet Jenny!

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 #45, Jenny

Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the Jenny block:

www.gnomeangel.com

http://shequiltsalot.com/farmers-wife-1930s-tutorial-block-45-jenny/

http://thecraftymummy.com/2015/10/tutorial-rainbow-jenny-block/







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.

October 26, 2015

Chart 9: Mirror Image and Granny, Block #41 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along


We Have Finished Four Weeks!

Can you believe we've finished our first four weeks of the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along?! We've already made 10 blocks! It has been fun and inspiring to see all the different fabric combinations and techniques in the blogs, Facebook group, Instagram, etc. You've had quite a few different piecing experiences with Set A -- and it only gets better!

Heads up! 

Didn’t those four weeks go fast? All of the blocks that use templates in the next four weeks will also use Set A, but after that we are moving to Sets B and D and an occasional Set N piece. So, if you still need those sets, you won’t want to wait much longer.



Mirror Image Alert

When units are identical in form but reversed, they are called mirror image units.


On page 200 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book, Granny is shown with 4 pairs of mirror image units. We have included cutting information for them in the template conversion chart.

However, we prefer a method that incorporates a cutting trick with template A-2 and a little appliqué. Making the block this way reduces the number of pieces to cut and sew from 16 pieces to 8 pieces! And, even better, it eliminates having to think about mirror images. Look for our method in the right hand column of the conversion chart.

The conversion charts for our next two blocks have opportunities to learn more about mirror image units.

"Meet My Granny"

Fronts and backs are shown. Click on the image for a larger view. Please read the following short discussion before downloading the conversion chart.

On the back of my block halves, you will see that "one of these things is not like the others" for illustration purposes. On the right side of the back of the block, we cut 2 red mirror image pieces and joined white triangles to them, then we sewed the 2 units together and pressed the seam allowances open.

On the gray side of that half of the block, we created the same visual effect using full triangles with small black appliquéd triangles. After they were joined together, we pressed the seam open. It's an improvement, but we knew we could cut one triangle to take the place of two.

The result of our method is shown on the left side of the back. We cut 2 large triangles and joined them. Then we cut and joined 2 contrasting 1-1/2 inch squares and appliquéd them in place. You can see the reduction in the number of seams and how much less bulk there will be if you choose to join the block halves.

Click the link below to download the Template Conversion Chart for Granny:

for Block #41, Granny

End of Row Blocks

If you are using Laurie’s layout given in the book for your final quilt, there will be some end-of-row blocks that are half blocks, regardless of what size quilt you make. I made a short list of potential blocks that have a diagonal seam from corner to corner that I might use as half blocks. (I'll talk about them as we get to them.)

Since Granny is the first one I have decided for sure I will use at the end of a row, I have left it in two halves. Of course, if I change my mind about the layout, I can still sew the halves together.

Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the Granny block:

http://gnomeangel.com/granny-is-block-41-of-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt/

http://woodenspoonquilts.blogspot.com/2015/10/grannytutorialblock41.html







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.



October 21, 2015

Chart 8: Piecing Tips and Katherine and Susannah blocks, Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along


Cutting Trick

This conversion chart features another “we don’t have that template” cutting trick. I admit to being easily amused, but I always think it is fun to discover a new template trick. Before this quilt is made, maybe some of you will come up with template tricks we don’t know. That would be so cool!

Strip Technique

When I need a lot of four patch units, I have a great way to make them with templates - faster than with strips!! However, when I only need a few simple 2-square units like this, I would not cut individual squares, but would use a strip technique, shown in the conversion chart PDF (below).

Piecing Tips

I can’t believe we got this far and I haven’t mentioned thread, needles and a single-hole throat plate — three of my favorite tips for accurate piecing. I also talked about these things in the Tip #4 Video for the Farmer's Wife Sew Along:


  • Thread. I use Aurifil Mako 50wt/2ply. It is made from extra, extra long Egyptian cotton. So while it is fine, it is also strong. A fine thread makes a big difference in the ability to sew an accurate 1/4-inch seam allowance. I love it so much I might quit piecing if someone took away my Aurifil thread!
  • Needles. Dull needles can push fabric slightly out of position and prevent nice smooth stitches. I don’t think I know anyone who actually changes needles often enough - especially if they insist on sewing over pins - which you can tell by my attitude, I don’t recommend.
  • Single-hole Throat Plate. As a rule, the more expensive your machine, the more you need a single hole throat plate…UNLESS you happen to have one of the newer machines that has an automatic adjustment. 

    Let me start at the beginning. First, there were only single-hole throat plates. Then zig-zag stitching demanded an opening big enough to accommodate the moving needle. Next came decorative stitches, and then wider decorative stitches, and every “advancement” meant a wider opening or hole in the throat plate.

    The result is that the pressure of the needle -- especially dull needles -- pushes fabric down into the big wide hole and the resulting stitch is not as smooth or straight as desired. It doesn’t sound like much, but can prevent a really crisp seamline.

    Introducing my Katherine Block…


    …and her cousin Susannah!


    Click on the link to download the Template Conversion Chart for both of these blocks:

    For Block #49 Katherine and Block #94 Susannah

    Visit these blogs to see how Angie and Tina made their blocks:

    http://gnomeangel.com/katherine-is-block-49-of-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt/

     http://www.onelittlepooh.net/quilting/the-farmers-wife-sampler-quilt-sew-along/

    Thanks for being part of the sew-along!  How do you like it so far?






    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.



    October 19, 2015

    Chart 7: Cutting Efficiently and Old Maid Block, Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along


    What fun! Here is a block where you sew the same size triangle 3 different ways.

    Great Cutting Idea

    Which would you rather do…cut 5 pieces or 20?

    Look how much easier and quicker it is to cut 5 stacks of pieces from 4 strips of fabric and trim the corners of each stack than it is to cut 20 pieces and trim 60 corners from a single layer of fabric.


    It's funny, but I always feel like a stack of four strips of fabric behaves better than just one strip, too. The catch is that you can only take advantage of these cutting techniques if you actually do it. Keep reading for some great tips!

    This is My Old Maid Block

    Click the photo for a bigger image.



    Click the link to download the Template Conversion Chart:

    for Block #78, Old Maid

    Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for more about the Old Maid block:

    http://gnomeangel.com/old-maid-is-block-78-of-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt/

    http://ouvragesdenat.com/n78-old-maid/

    If you haven’t watched this short video Introduction to Set A, Video 2,  Cutting, please do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Tf8ImWYYg



    Top Tips to Improve Your Rotary Cutting Skills

    I have had people in my classes who insist they can only cut one layer of fabric at a time. If you feel that way and don't like the feeling, here are some tips to improve your rotary cutting skills.

    1. Learn to cut the “Marti Way”. We always cut strips this way, no matter what template set or From Marti Michell tool we're using. Set A is illustrated below.

    • Generally you will want to cut with strips on the lengthwise grain, so that the longest straight dimension of a piece is on lengthwise grain—less raveling, less stretch, and firm, flat patchwork
    • Measure with a second tool in the dominant hand. Cut against your standard ruler.
    • To more easily cut the exact-size template shapes, place a small mat or rotating mat under the strips.
    • If you don’t use our tools, at least sample the benefits with our corner trimmers.
    • Download a PDF on cutting the Marti Way. 

    2.
    Stack fabric advantageously. Fabrics for half-square triangles or any matching shapes that will immediately be sewn together along one edge should be placed right sides together.

    3. Take advantage of cutting multiple layers. When cutting a quilt, for example, cut by the block, not the piece. If the pattern says you need 100 triangles, and you can see there are 4 triangles in each block, stack 4 strips and make 25 cuts to yield 100 triangles = one stack for each block.

    4. Start each cut with the blade next to the acrylic and near the edge, pierce the fabric and pull the cutter back off the edge, then go forward.

    5. Keep your blade perpendicular to the mat and touching the acrylic.

    6. Determine your personal slip-proofing needs—but don’t overdo it. For slip resistance, we recommend the Ruler Betty strips (available on our website) or Omnigrip™.

    7. After cutting strips, start sub-cuts from the end opposite your dominant hand. Don’t forget to put a rotating mat or small mat under the strips. Sometimes the tool will be half on, half off, the strip for the first cut.

    Respect Your Rotary Cutter!

    Rotary cutter blades are very sharp. Cut away from your body. Keep the guard closed when not in use. Keep rotary cutter(s) out of children’s reach. Understand different cutters. Some ergonomic cutters can only cut left or right-handed.

    Change your blade frequently and properly. Make sure you only have one blade in your tool at a time, as blades in multi-packs often stick together!

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Of course, the #1 thing you have to do is practice! Practice on a couple of fat quarters. It would be better if you use two fabrics that contrast with each other and look okay together -- After all, this practice exercise may end up as a pillow for your cat!

    1. Put the fabrics right sides together and trim off the selvages.


    Then cut 2 strip sets on the lengthwise grain (parallel to the freshly trimmed edges) 18 inches long and as wide as square 1 in Set A (see the Marti Way strip cutting diagrams above). Stack the two strip sets.

    2. Start cutting #2 triangles at left end if you are right handed or the right end if you are left-handed. Cut the first stack and nip off the dog ears. Do not separate the triangles.


    Cut 8 stacks of 4 triangles, rotating the template on the strip to cut the next stack.

    3. Chain piece pairs of triangles to make 16 3-1/2 inch half-square triangle (HST) units.



    4. With the HSTs still chained together, press the seams in one direction (usually the darker fabric).  Here's a neat trick for perfectly pressed units:


    5. Confirm the 3-1/2 inch size of your HSTs using template A-1.



    If the pieced squares don't look so hot, do it again. If they look great, practice again with smaller triangles. Use triangle A-4 and measure the strips with square A-3.

    Want to Try 8 Layers?

    You don't need 2 full 18-inch strips to cut the squares.  After the first 6 stacks of 4 triangles, cut the remainder of the strip sets in half.


    Stack them and you will have 8 layers.


    As long as your rotary cutter blade is sharp, I think you will agree, there is very little difference between cutting 4 layers and 8!

    When you're happy with your HST units, arrange them as desired and make a pillow top 4 units across by 4 down.






    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.


    October 14, 2015

    Chart 6: Eliminating Seams and Coral, Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

     

    Make Flying Geese the No Waste Way

    In the previous block, Belle, we added some seams, but in this block we definitely recommend reducing the number of seams. By replacing eight A-6 triangles with four A-4 triangles, we can make classic Flying Geese units and eliminate the extra bulk created where seam allowances would meet.


    Most of the Flying Geese Units in this quilt will be made with size-specific templates as in this block. (Please read the information following the link to the conversion chart about our Multi-size Flying Geese Ruler.) 

    My personal grainline goals for any quilt are:
    • Straight grain on the outside of the sub-units whenever possible
    • Straight grain on the outside of the block whenever possible
    • Definitely straight grain on the outside edges of the quilt
    Why?  To prevent rippled edges and stretching.

    Straight grain can be either lengthwise or crosswise. Obviously, you can't have lengthwise grain on all 4 sides.

    Having said all that -- Design overrides grain!  The only reason I can think of where you "need" a bias edges on the outside of a unit or a block, is when you want to make a statement with a directional fabric such as a stripe.


    The A-4 triangles in the Coral block will be cut with the hypotenuse (long side) on the lengthwise grain, which is parallel to the selvage, for the firmest edges.

    Measure the strip width "the Marti Way" using square template A-5.


    Here's my Coral Block    



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

    for Block #24, Coral

    Visit these other Farmer's Wife Sew Along blogs, too, for sewing tutorials and other info about the Coral block:

    http://gnomeangel.com/coral-is-block-24-of-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt/

    http://whynotsew.blogspot.com/2015/10/block-no24-coral-farmer-wife-1930s.html

    Speaking of Making Flying Geese Units

    We make a specialty Flying Geese Ruler with which you can use to cut both the small and large triangles needed for five popular finished Flying Geese sizes, from 2-1/2 x 5 inches to 4-1/2 x 9 inches.


    This ruler will also cut the triangles needed for the zig-zag layout Laurie has selected for this quilt, starting on page 260 in the book.

    Cut strips the perfect width, then use the same ruler to cut the small triangles…

        …and the large triangles!



    Making Flying Geese units couldn't be easier or more accurate.

    For smaller sizes of Flying Geese units, we recommend using the size-specific templates, as in this block. In fact, if you own our book, More Bang for the Buck, you will see on page 29 a chart with 26 additional sizes of Flying Geese, cut with right triangle templates in various Perfect Patchwork Template Sets.




    October 12, 2015

    Chart 5: Elimnating Set-in Seams and Belle, 1930s Farmer's Wife Sew-along


    Cutting Trick

    Where is this template?

    One of my favorite things to do with the templates is to show people how to cut a shape that looks like a shape for which they know they don’t have an exact size template. Your From Marti Michell templates know a lot of tricks! The Belle block features the first “cut-away” cutting trick of this quilt, in step 1 of the template conversion sheet.

    Modification to Eliminate Set-in Seams

    If you followed the first Farmer’s Wife conversions, you know I love to eliminate unnecessary seams.  I always say, “If you can eliminate a seam, it is one less piece to cut, one less seam to sew, one less seam to press and” a class member usually breaks in at this point to say, “one less place to mess up!” And, of course any seam you can eliminate makes a quilt easier to quilt.

    So, it is a surprise when I choose to add a couple of seams. I chose to divide the #13C squares in the book into four A-4 triangles and make 3 straight rows in the block rather than deal with several set-in corners.
     

    Note:  If you want to make your block in rows like I did, choose a print that won't be disrupted by the seam across the center of the "square" where the large light triangles meet. You'll see in the photo of my block (scroll down a bit) that I used a tone-on-tone print with a small scale pattern.

    Fussy Cutting? If you want to fussy cut the #13C squares but you still don’t want set-in seams… can do! Divide all of the #13A squares on opposite corners of the block, make 4 big quarter-square triangle units, and join them into a 6-inch block.


    Flying Geese Units

    If you are modifying as we did, this will be the first block in this quilt with Flying Geese units. However, the next two blocks also have Flying Geese units. I hope you will be pleased with how easy exact-size pieces are to sew with our engineered corners. We call our Flying Geese the “no-waste, no gimmick” method of making Flying Geese. You just cut the three triangles and sew them together.

    Are you familiar with this popular method for making Flying Geese? Using this method means cutting and discarding almost twice as much fabric as needed for each Flying Geese unit! It’s cheaper, and easier, to cut and sew three triangles rather than throw away four!


    My Belle Block

    Click the photo to see a larger version. Clink below to download the next template conversion chart:


    for Block #13, Belle



    Be sure to check out Angie's Belle tutorial at http://gnomeangel.com/belle-is-block-13-of-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt-2/

    and stop by Ms Midge's blog to see how she made her Belle block:

    http://www.msmidge.com.au/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sew-along-13-belle-paper-piecing-y-seams/

    I hope you're having fun making your blocks with From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates! This is just a reminder: Angie Wilson has all the details for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along are here on her Gnome Angel blog. Angie will have a new block tutorial on her blog twice a week, and on the same days, at the same time, we'll be posting a new template conversion chart for you to download. Come back again soon!

    And every week on Wednesdays and Fridays, a different blogger in the sew-along will be posting about making the same blocks we are, sharing lots of tips and favorite techniques.



    October 7, 2015

    Chart 4: Selecting Fabrics and Caroline in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along


    Selecting Fabrics

    Experience, they say, is the best teacher so, in this article I would like to share some things I’ve learned about fabric selection for sampler quilts.

    First, something I learned about fabric selection when making the 1920’s Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. Assorted fabrics or a “scrappy look” goes hand in hand with making 100 different blocks. You may have decided to use the 50 fabrics Angie curated for Fat Quarter Shop, Civil War prints, only blues and white, batiks or an assortment of ‘30s reproduction fabrics. However, looking at the comments and pictures in the sew-along's Facebook group, many of you have 50 fabrics or more that you plan to use. And that's great!

    Even though I am very experienced at making both sampler and scrap quilts, I have most often made 12- to 20-inch or larger blocks and selected from 20 to 25 fabrics. When I started to make 100 six-inch blocks for the original Farmer's Wife sampler quilt, I began to feel I would need more fabrics, so I pulled every tray and basket that had any possible fabric I could use from my shelves! My cutting table looked like this when I started the first blocks on the 1920s quilt.


    After all, how could I make the best decision if I didn’t have every possible fabric to choose from?! Then I started pulling from these fabrics to start making my blocks.


    I made 10 blocks this way, using 3 or 4 different fabrics on each block. It got messier and messier on my cutting table.


    But then, as I was putting away 3 or 4 fabrics when I was done with them, I got smarter and thought, why not sort out 12-15 fabrics that might go together and have them ready to make the next 6 or 8 blocks?


    And that's what I suggest you do. From the big group of fabrics you've selected, put about a dozen  into a cute little basket so they are handy.


    Then it is easy to select and cut fabric for 1 or 2 blocks at a time. After making a few blocks, change the mix with a different group of 12 or 15 prints, or just refresh the basket with a few new fabrics that will play well with the others. I took out a few blues and transitioned greens into my yellows.


    As long as they still fit into the basket, you can pick fabrics for a few blocks quickly and easily! But if they don't fit into the basket, you've got too many fabrics!




    My Caroline Block and Your Next Conversion Chart



    Click to download the next PDF:
    For Block 20, Caroline


    Use Templates to Confirm Sizes of Pieced Units

    Another thing I want to mention about making six-inch blocks like this one is that templates can be used to confirm accurate sizes on pieced sub-units. For example:

    Two A6 triangles joined to make a square should be exactly the same size as the A5 square:

    And 4 of those units pieced squares sewn together to make the pinwheel should be the exact size of the A1 square.

    Likewise, 2 A4 triangles sewn together on their legs should be the same size as an A2 triangle and two of those sewn together should be the size on an A 1 square.






    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.



    October 5, 2015

    Chart 3: Cutting HSTs, Swirl Pressing and Betty, Block #14 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along


    Cut Half-Square Triangles Right Sides Together

    This method will save time and increase accuracy.

    The half-square right angle triangle is probably the most frequently used piece in patchwork. Learn to cut the triangle pairs at the same time by putting the fabrics that are to be sewn together right sides together before cutting strips on the lengthwise grain. Here is a short video on Why I cut Strips on the Lengthwise Grain.



    Then cut the triangles. Never forget to nip off the corners. Do not separate the triangles, they are ready to chain piece. Sew an accurate 1/4-inch seam. Press toward the dark- most frequently.

    If you haven't watched our short video Introduction to Set A, Video 2 Cutting Tips, we really recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Tf8ImWYYg

    I'd like to reiterate something I said in the video -- start with smaller pieces of fabric,  the size of a piece of computer paper is good, but no bigger than a fat quarter. Then, if you are using a fat quarter, don’t be afraid to cut a strip the full 18-inch length. Just use what you need and put any leftover strip in your basket of fabrics because the same widths are used repeatedly and that strip will be pre-cut.

    Quarter-inch or 6mm Seam Allowances

    All of our templates and tools include a 1/4-inch (6mm) seam allowance. That means, for your blocks to finish at 6-inch (6-1/2 inches including seam allowance), you must sew an accurate 1/4-inch seam. The smaller the pieces, the more important that is. A 1/16 inch error on two sides of a 1-inch square makes a big difference, but on a 4-inch square that discrepancy would hardly be noticed.

    Some people say that making these 6-inch blocks is great for perfecting a 1/4-inch seam allowance! We have a short video on our website with a quick seam allowance tip:
    http://www.frommarti.com/vid_check_seams.shtml

    Or you can read a short article here (there's a PDF you can download, too!):
    http://www.frommarti.com/quarter.shtml

    Another way to make a seam guide is using sticky notes and our Deluxe Corner Trimmer #8217. In the photos below, I used red wool thread in the machine so you can see it. It looks like the corner trimmer is floating! It's not; there is a clear table insert around my machine. Remove the sewing machine foot and put the needle into the hole in the template.


    Tear off a stack of 8-12 sticky notes (keep them together) and align your ruler on the sticky side at about 3/4-inch. Trim off the excess and discard the loose papers. Align the sticky stack with the trimmer template and stick it to your sewing machine.


    Remove the template and begin sewing perfect 1/4-inch seam allowances!


    We Love Swirl Pressing

    Well, actually we love a well-pressed block and we reject any inference that it is a mental problem for someone to take pleasure in a well-pressed quilt block! LOL That said, one of our favorite pressing tricks is swirl pressing, detailed in this block.

    In the right hand column of the conversion chart, you will also see some extra notes about pressing. “Press to the dark” is just the first rule most people learn in patchwork pressing.

    The reason we are showing both the front and backs of the blocks is so you can see the pressing. Betty has wonderful swirl pressing examples in the units with the smaller triangles:


    And it also has a perfect example of a block that just doesn’t have a “perfect” way to press every seam! You can see where we “twisted” the center seam just beyond the bulky center area to prevent piling up seam allowances and creating a bumpy, bulky spot in the quilt.


    P.S. I use steam all the time - the more the better! But remember, I am very grainline conscious, which means I rarely have a stretchy edge, which can be disastrous with steam.

    And Here's Betty! 

    This is my Betty block, front and back to show you how we pressed. Click the photo for a larger view):


    Click to download your next PDF: 

    for Block 14, Betty

    Visits these blogs in the sew-along for other Betty tutorials:
    http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/2015/10/block-14-betty-tutorial-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quilt/



    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.