January 13, 2016

Chart 28: Mrs Brown and Lucy in the Farmer's Wife Sew Along

The letter in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book on page 103 that corresponds to the Mrs. Brown block is one of my favorite letters in the book. I hope you will read or reread it. The last sentence sums it up beautifully: “Pictures or people, the best light is the one that emphasizes virtues rather than faults.”

Mrs. Brown and Lucy are offered as a “two in one” day to emphasize recognizing that they are “built” on the same basic framework. In the book, each is made with only 3 fabrics. In my blocks, I added some fabrics and changed the coloration. You might say I was trying to “see them in a better light!”

Let’s examine the basic framework first. They are both made with nine square sub-units. The sub-units they have in common are the 4 corner squares and the four square-within-a-square units on the center of each side - to a degree.

The differences are easy to identify. Mrs. Brown has a 5th square-within-a-square unit in the center square and 4-patch units fill Lucy’s square-within-a-square sub-units.

Just a few slight changes in fabric position allowed Mrs. Brown’s star to shine brightly. Lucy could have also had a bright star, but she insisted she was too old for mother-daughter matching outfits. Instead, she chose a star, albeit more subdued, and emphasized the matching center square and corner pieces to pay tribute to her classic Churn Dash heritage.

Fussy Cutting Note. We talked about fussy cutting a little with the last block. Here again, you can see how much the op-art polka dot square adds to Mrs. Brown. However, the careful positioning of the tiny white heart clusters and plus signs on Lucy’s red fabric is so subtle you probably hadn’t noticed until I pointed it out. If you have read much of my blog, it won’t surprise you that I love that kind of attention to detail. I am also quick to note, that detail doesn’t keep the person who eventually sleeps under the quilt warmer, but it is also important to warm the heart of the quiltmaker.

My Mrs. Brown Block


Click the images for larger view.

And My Lucy Block

Click the link to download the Template Conversion Chart for Mrs. Brown and Lucy:

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

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


  1. I am having such a great time hand piecing these blocks (not keeping up, just sewing along!) I've hand pieced before, just not with the FMM templates. I am ecstatic about the accuracy I'm getting!!!!!!! Makes it all fun and no frustration! Nice to have a project to work on while watching a movie etc.

    1. It is gratifying to know that you are enjoying hand sewing your blocks with template-cut pieces and seeing a positive difference in your results. Thank you so much for your comment!