December 5, 2016

Chart 80: Slightly Modified Widow, Block 99 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew Along

15 Blocks to Go! We are in the Home Stretch!

Here we are on Post #80, almost done. For those of you who are making every block you can with the templates, but at the same time, you are only making the blocks that are in the book, there are still 7 blocks for which template conversions aren’t appropriate. As we are on the home stretch, when they come up, I won’t always be blogging with a substitution.

I was almost positive that we had already provided 7 extra blocks that could replace the 7 I’m not converting. There was Mabel, chart 12; Alta and Aimee Chart 13 (Aimee is also featured with templates in my 11/13/15 post); Pat’s Basket, post 32; Poppy and Pippa post 54; the Dimensional Carrie, post 58; the modified Mollie (Lorna) post 59, and several still to come. Sure enough when I counted, I have 98 actual blocks I’ve made and have blogged about or will blog about.

Of course, Angie and at least one of the other bloggers will still be blogging about the 7 blocks and, as always, we will link to their blogs on the appropriate days.

But just in case you are looking for more blocks, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of our design specific template sets that make great 6-inch blocks. I’m not including patterns or writing instructions because if you own or want to own these sets, the instructions for rotary cutting and making the blocks are included with the templates. But, I have made the blocks to share with you.

Set F Sunburst

Follow the instructions included with the template set to make one-quarter of the full Sunburst Block. Click the images for larger views:

The cover of “Sunburst Quilts to Make” book shows another way to use the quarter-block in a quilt:

The Starry Path Block

This is our newest template set. The set is multi-size and you can make 6-, 9- or 12-inch finished blocks with one set.

The 6-inch House or Schoolhouse, Set J

I actually went to a one-room country school for kindergarten and half of first grade. Then the school was closed and we were sent to school in town. The school sat at the top of the hill about a quarter-mile east of our house and we could see it, silhouetted just like this little block, from our yard. (The same house block can be made at 12 inches finished with Set K.)

Now––On to Today's Block, Widow

Make 8 Units with Strip Techniques

As much as I love the Perfect Patchwork Templates, I would never walk away from an opportunity like this to use strip techniques. In fact, you may have heard me say that I think the templates are just an extension of strip techniques. Some of you may have even started quilting in the late 1980s or 1990s and used my best selling book, Quilting for People Who Don’t Have Time to Quilt (over 750,000 copies were sold). I love it when people tell me it was their first quilting book! In 1998 ASN asked me to do an enlarged and expanded version and in 1998, Quilting for People Who Still Don’t Have Time to Quilt! was published. Both books are out of print and often available on eBay.

It is easy to see that Widow is made with 9 equal size units or what is often called a nine-patch layout. Next, the four corner units are actual nine-patch blocks. The four side center blocks are basic Fence Rail blocks. Fence Rail and Nine Patch are two of the easiest blocks to make using strip techniques. The question is what size strips to cut.

Since Widow is a 6-inch finished block each of the 9 finished square units is 2 inches. But a 2-inch square divided by 3 is 2/3 of an inch -- oh, no! how do you measure that? Don’t forget to add 1/2-inch for seam allowances. The answer is a full 1-1/8 inch or a few threads beyond 1-1/8 inch.  One again, if you happen to have a metric ruler, 30mm is a perfect width strip for the Nine Patch and Fence Rail blocks.

No matter which way you measure, we suggest cutting strips for the Fence Rail first and then using the #12 square template in Set B to cut the square and true-up the width of the strips, if necessary.

Simplify or Paper Piece the Center Unit

I’m a big believer in the question “is the result really worth the effort?” So, since it is my quilt, and I had some appropriate ribbon handy, I chose to simplify the center unit of this block.

My Widow Block 

Click on the image for a larger view. Click the link below to download the Template Conversion Chart for cutting and making Widow:

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

Giveaway Just For People Who Read This Far!

Make a comment below to let us know you are still reading and win your choice of the 3 template sets shown today. One comment will be chosen by a random picker on December 13, 2016. Be sure to check back on that date to see if you won! If so, contact us with your mailing address so we will know where to send your prize.

COMMENT #13 was picked -- Jewel, you won!

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'm still reading!
    Not many blocks to go now :-)

  2. I've always loved the Sunburst block.

  3. I wouldn't miss reading. I have found your instructions so helpful on this QAL. Thanks for the opportunity to win some more templates.

  4. It's been a long, tough ride. But with your helpful hints by my side, it has been possible. Thanks.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I'm still reading.
    Thank you for your the Farmer's wife explanations.

  7. lori Jarnagin PlummerDecember 6, 2016 at 6:59 AM

    I read it all, some of the new blocks look awesome!

  8. I'm still reading ,and downloading the blocks.

  9. Marti,
    I'm still reading, downloading, and enjoying every block.
    Pamela Williams

  10. Marti, I love how helpful and encouraging you have been! This has helped so much making the blocks! Thank you so much, Dayna Driscoll

  11. I'm still reading and learning so much!

  12. I have loved learning these techniques. Thanks so much

  13. Yes I am still reading this great blog!

  14. Wow! I haven't done much with templates but if I won some id love to give it a try!

  15. Your blog is my "go to" for every block! I have printed out everyone of your conversion charts. I love you ribbon idea. I am going to use it, too. The sunburst set looks great.

  16. I'm still contemplating this project. I made 100 blocks of the Farmers Wife blocks. I enjoyed the FWQ challenge. Love the blog.

  17. Hello Marti,
    Yes, I am definitely still reading and following along with the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt. I appreciate the conversion charts that you and your creative staff produce. Your books are wonderful and I have a few of the older books and they are a treasure to have.
    Thank you so very much,

  18. I am still reading. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your tutorials! I have used your templates for years. Last year I broke down and replaced my A set; the old ones wore out. I subscribed to a monthly delivery of fabrics for my 1930's quilt so the fabric has been coming for five blocks each month but they are consecutive (fabric for block 1-5 then 6-10 next month etc) With the tutorials coming out in a random order keeping up has been challenging. Sometimes I have fabric and no tutorial and other times the tutorial is published and I don't have the fabric yet. Eventually I will get it all caught up...I believe my last bit of fabric comes next month. I am making 2 of each block, the second set have a focus fabric from Colonial Williamsburg. I previously used your tutorials for Laurie's first Farmer's Wife book and made 2 of that quilt design blocks. Thank-you for all your work on these tutorials.

  19. Oh yes, the reading never stops.

  20. I am ready to start this project in January. Retired and getting organized. Joyfully!

  21. I too am still reading, sewing, and learning new techniques with every block.

  22. Your tips and advise has been extremely useful as some of the blocks would've proved to be almost impossible without your help. A Hugh thank you.

  23. I read to the end because it is interesting. And I would love to win.

  24. Марти! Я до сих пор читаю Ваш блогер. Сейчас занята подоставкой подарков к Рождество и Новому 2017 г. Осталось немного сшить блоков к FW.
    Спасибо за полезные инструкции.

  25. Здравствуйте, Марти! До сих пор читаю Ваш блог. Спасибо за ценные инструкции. FW пока не дошила, осталось немного блоков добиться.
    Готовлю подарки на Рождество.

  26. Hi Marti!
    I´m still reading your Blog,and sewing with your Templates.But it´s not so easy to get them here in´s a lot of fun to patch with these Templates.
    Thank you.
    Tina Stauverberg