January 6, 2016

Chart 26: Lily Block, in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along

Or Lillian, Our Simplified, Very Template-friendly Version Named after Marti’s “Auntie,” her Aunt Lillian

Lily, as shown, was designed on a 7 x 7 grid, and 6 inches divided by 7 + 1/2 inch for seam allowances results in sizes that are very hard to cut and not template friendly. Easy solution: let’s do a quick redesign! I thought that basket of lilies looked awkward on the tiny little base in the corner and surely it would tip over the minute you set it down. So, I decided to get rid of it and the skinny strips on two sides of the block. That made a 6 x 6 grid design with a nice new balance. Woo-hoo! And 6 inches divided by 6 + 1/2 inches is easy to cut.

The Same, But Different! 

When deciding on the best order for the blocks, I wanted this block to follow Joy because they are the same, but different. This is a bit of a quilter’s curve ball. At first glance, it looks like this block has mirror image parallelograms, like we just made for Joy.

Look again! The sooner you can dissect this block and realize that each of the 3 lilies in the block is made with 2 mirror image units like the one unit in Joy, the easier this block will be to make.

The best name I can give this arrangement is a “double mirror image.”


We recommend cutting the parallelograms with matching color right sides together and with the legs of the triangle you are using to cut the parallelogram on straight grain. However, they then need to be separated so the units are sewn with one of each color. (Technically, because the first units you sew have one parallelogram of each color, you might not call them true mirror image units, but they are mirror image shapes.)  It is these units that then become mirror images of each other.

After Cutting

It is much easier to get the sewing right the first time if you separate the pieces and lay them out right side up as they are arranged in the block. Then make the left half of all 3 units followed by the 3 right halves. 

My Lillian Block

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

From Marti Michell Template Conversion Chart #26

For Lily, Block #51 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-along
In addition to our template conversion PDF download, you will want to read Gnome Angel's tutorials for these blocks.

About Lillian

I come from a line of relatively small families, so I didn’t have many aunts. There was Aunt Dolly, Aunt Gladys, Aunt Virginia, Aunt Edna, the other Aunt Edna who we called Just Edna, and Auntie. Auntie was my mom’s sister, Lillian. She and Uncle Carson had no children so she doted on her nieces. She was the closest aunt geographically and because she and Mom were also very close emotionally, we spent more time with her than any of the other aunts. In our minds, she didn’t need the secondary identification of Aunt Lillian, she was "Auntie." I guess today she would be called the Alpha Aunt of the family.

As my sister Mary and I had children, we honored our Auntie by becoming Auntie Marti and Auntie Mary to each other’s kids.


  1. Just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying the Farmers Wife 1930's sew along that you are doing! I enjoy doing the individual blocks and I also am learning a lot by using the templates and following along with the conversion charts. My piecing is much more accurate using them! I also purchased your book and hope to learn how to use your templates in other piecing projects. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Lisa, I'm so glad to hear that. You'll find that your templates can be used in many future projects, too. Happy quilting in the new year!

  2. I will say "Ditto to what Lisa above says". I have been having so much fun with this sew along and believe me, I would NEVER be able to do this without your help. These templates have made all the difference. I actually bought my templates A B C at a garage sale for 75 cents each and as I did I thought to myself, well if I never use these at least I didn't pay much for them. I buy templates and special rulers all the time and use them once and never use them again. I am so happy I bought these. I have also bought your book and the other templates for the Farmer's wife. Thanks again!!

    1. Hi Sue, We're glad the Farmer's Wife Sew Along rang a bell for you about Sets A, B and C so you could use them and see how great they are! I hope they become your go-to tools for all your quilting projects. <3