January 4, 2016

Chart 25: Joy Block #47 in the Farmer's Wife Sew-along

Happy New Year! 

What a Joy to be back with all of the Farmer’s Wife Sew-along quiltmakers. And what a great name for the first block of the year!

Joy is a great word – if you are looking for a word of the year, you might pick “joy.” And it is a beautiful block, one of my favorites. Even better, Joy is a beautiful attitude. So, lets hear a little "joy" for the four mirror-image pairs of parallelograms in this little 6-inch block! What? No love for parallelograms? We need a little attitude adjustment already? Remember, it wouldn’t be any fun if every block were easy. One of the reasons we love to do sampler quilts is because of all the things we learn and new skills we develop (and the variety of fabrics we get to use, of course!). Some people say that parallelograms are like dogs -- they know when you are afraid and they make you pay. Altogether now, let's show those parallelograms just who is in charge!

Our first and most recent parallelograms were in Chart 10 on October 28, 2015, with the Jenny block. Instead of me rewriting all of the basic information about parallelograms, please go back and read that post, “Parallelograms 101.”

Even though I love parallelograms and find JOY in a block with beautifully executed mirror-image parallelograms, the first thing I do when I see them is slow down and give a little extra thought to grainline. Should the straight grain (preferably straight lengthwise grain) be on the short side or long side of the parallelogram in this block? Just like triangles, the answer varies, depending on how the parallelogram is used.

These parallelograms are cut from 1-1/2 inch strips, right sides together, using Set D's triangle template 29 with the legs on straight grain. (Click the image for a larger view.)


The assembly is really straightforward. Carefully follow the sewing layouts for the parallelogram units on the conversion chart. I like to arrange the pieces right side up in the position where they belong. Then, I turn one piece right sides together onto its seam partner and sew. Then I put it back in position to check that they were joined on the correct seam. On this block, we pressed the seams open on the parallelogram units.

My Joy Block

Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link to download the Template Conversion Chart for Joy:

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

More Joy ~ for the Mystery Quilt!

Joy is also your first 8-1/2 inch Mystery Quilt block of the New Year! The From Marti Michell templates used to cut it are B-12 and B-14. Historically, according to Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, this block was first published with the name Joy Bells in Hearth and Home, a popular periodical in the early 1900s.

To measure the 1-15/16 inch strip needed to cut the parallelograms, measure and cut The Marti Way with template B-14. Put the leg against the ruler and let the tip confirm the width as it just touches the trued-up edge of fabric.

Vintage new year clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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. Can't say I love Parallelograms but I do the same in slowing down and think clearly about what I am doing before I plunge in. Thanks for your charts Marti. Gloria

    1. Hi Gloria -- I agree, parallelograms can be a challenge and taking your time can make all the difference. It's kind of like "measure twice, cut once" -- sometimes it helps to arrange the pieces for the block to confirm that they're cut correctly, then sew a pair of pieces and put them back in place as you go.

      This is just one of a few ways we cut parallelograms; it depends on how they're used in the block.

      I'm glad you are enjoying using the charts. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. :)