January 4, 2018

Tools Used for the 2018 Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along

The 2018 Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew Along is underway, and we love that our Perfect Patchwork Templates can be used to make all but seven of the blocks in the book. If you're a From Marti Michell tool user, thank you for believing in them and making them your go-to tools! You may already have the most commonly used templates for making these blocks. The complete list of blocks and links to tutorials are on my block here and on the Gnome Angel's blog here. Be sure to read both blogs before making your blocks so you don't miss any sewing tips and tricks along the way. From start to finish, Angie and I have both added lots of details, photos and illustrations along with extra bits of info to help you make your Farmer's Wife quilt.

Below you will find info about the Perfect Patchwork Templates and tools that Angie and I used to make our Farmer's Wife blocks.  It looks like a lot of tool sets -- we introduced Sets A through E in 1995 and have been adding new sets ever since.

Scroll down a bit for the most commonly used tools and click on the bold/colored tool name to get more details about it and ordering info.

If Acrylic Templates are New to You

You might want to start with Set A and make the first group of 16 blocks listed in my blog post dated January 1, 2018. Triangles and squares have never been easier to sew together for accurate results! (Click photo above for a larger view.)

Suggested grainlines are silkscreened on each piece so the edges of all your sewn units will be on the straight grain. This also means the edges of your completed block will be on straight grain, and that ensures a nice, square block that won't stretch when you press it (especially important when making small blocks). Following suggested grainlines also means that when blocks are sewn into rows, the rows also have straight grain on the outside edges, and that means your rows will stay "square" as you press and measurements will be accurate. All this easy accuracy adds up to a quilt top that's the desired size and is nice and flat for easier quilting.

The Most Commonly Used Template Sets

Our tools are designed for use with a rotary cutting system. Start with a good rotary cutter (some people like to switch to the small 28 mm size to cut small pieces) and a small cutting mat, 6 x 9-ish, or small rotating mat. In addition to a big mat, a small one makes nipping off the dog ears with the engineered corners on our templates easier and more accurate. (Eliminating the dog ears at this stage reduces bulk, makes sewing more accurate – triangles and squares automatically fit together – and units press better.) We did a quick little introductory video about From Marti Michell templates on our website -- http://www.frommarti.com/our_products.shtml

If you want to make your blocks in the numerical order given in the book and your want to cut your blocks with our templates, you will want to have the most frequently used template sets on hand early on. They are Sets A, B, D and N. Additional tools that are very helpful are discussed in subsequent paragraphs below. Blocks are listed in numerical order in my blog post dated January 1, 2018 and on Angie's blog, too.

Set A - #8251
Set B - #8252
Set D - #8254

And Set N - #8956

Optional Starter Tools

#8064 - Corner Trimmer -- A corner trimmer isn’t necessary if you are cutting with the templates, as they all have engineered corners. But if you want to try ruler-cutting the squares and half-square triangles, the corner trimmer allows you to trim away dog ears and match the engineered corners for sewing.

#8217 - Deluxe Corner Trimmer -- Especially nice if you are planning on doing any hand-piecing, as this tool makes it easy to mark dots for “dot-to-dot” sewing and draw a 1/4 inch stitching line on rotary cut pieces.

#8973 - My Favorite 6-1/2 inch Squaring Up Ruler -- Every completed Farmer's Wife block should be 6-1/2 inches, including seam allowances. There are many other times you will use this ruler to square up sections as you go. It’s perfect for cutting 6-1/2 inch and smaller squares, too.

#8972 - My Favorite 3 x 18 inch Ruler -- If not this ruler, make sure that you have a “standard” ruler that is shorter than 24 inches and longer than 6-1/2 inches, as a ruler in that size range is much more convenient and accurate when working with smaller pieces of fabric.

Sets That are Used Less Often

#8166 - Set S -- Specifically designed for cutting finished 6” blocks that are designed on a 5 x 5 grid. 6 inches divided by 5 plus 1/2 inch seam allowance equals what? That is why you will love Set S - no math required!

#8955 - Set M is Set S’s big sister -- for inch blocks designed on a 5 x 5 grid. It is used in several blocks in this quilt, but the 2 sets are companions in the rest of your quilting life and we do give a price break when you buy product # 8172 Sets S&M together.

#8037 - Log Cabin Ruler -- for cutting 1-1/2 and 3/4 inch finished strips. You may be surprised how we use this! ;)

#8289 - Multi-Size Peaky and Spike Triangle Set -- If you own Set C or Set D or the Sashing Star  Ruler you can probably use them - I’ll blog about how to adapt those pieces to these blocks when we get closer.    

Other Handy Tools

#8253 - Set C -- These are the companion pieces for Set A and they come in handy in several blocks if you already own it. While I recommend this set all the time, don’t buy it just for this quilt!

#8641 - The Small Kaleido-Ruler -- used to true-up some pieces and in several optional substitute blocks.

#8158 - Kite Ruler -- used in 2 or 3 blocks.

#8212 - Set Q -- used in 2 blocks.

#8255 - Set E -- used in 1 block

#8105 - The Small Diagonal Set (No-Flip) Triangle Ruler -- If you are using the quilt layout in the book, this ruler is perfect for cutting the setting triangles and corner triangles. As soon as you have decided your background fabric, you can start cutting and adding setting triangles to opposite sides of each block and be that much closer to getting your quilt done!

Our Product Line is Like a Family

And family parties are always more interesting when the aunts and uncles and cousins add to the fun! We've teamed up templates and companion books to help make Perfect Patchwork Templates your go-to tools for all the quilts you make! 

More Bang for the Buck book #8352 - Once you use From Marti Michell templates you will want to use them on more projects and get more bang for the bucks you’ve spent!  This book is full of info to help determine which templates are perfect for other quilt designs. And when you want to know how many pieces of a particular template size you can get from one strip of fabric, this book can tell you -- for any of our template sets that include a square or right triangle. We included a section on how to figure yardage for a quilt, too.

Encyclopedia of Patchwork Blocks, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 - Even though part of the fun of a sew along is making the same blocks at the same time with quilting friends all around the world, there may be blocks you don’t want to make. After all, it is your quilt and you can personalize it with substitutions if you want! Or you might want to make a second, bigger quilt with different sampler blocks. If you run short of ideas for that, these books feature dozens of 6-inch blocks you can make with the template sets you already have. And when you have completed your Farmer’s Wife quilt, they are a great source of inspiration for new quilts made with blocks in other block sizes using the same templates.
Volume 1 #8342 Set A or B
Volume 2 #8343 Sets A and C or B and D
Volume 3 #8345 Set E (Eight Pointed Stars)
Volume 4 #8346 Sets L and M - 12 inch Set M blocks are easily translated into 6 inch Set S blocks.

Why Most of the Template Sets Have Letter Names

If you are new to From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates, you may not realize that our template sets multi-task. Each set includes 7 to 11 size-specific acrylic shapes that fit together many different ways to make square (or hexagonal) blocks. Because they were planned around the concept of popular finished block sizes, designs and a grid system, the template sets are very versatile. The same acrylic template might be used as the smallest piece in one block and the largest in another.

So, if we named template sets with block names like 12-inch Evening Star, 12-inch Clay’s Choice, 12-inch Rambler, etc. we would have made dozens of sets and they would all have many of the same pieces! Hence, they are named in alphabetical order in the order in which they were introduced, starting in 1995 with Sets A, B, C, D, and E. We quickly realized that we would run out of letters, so we started naming new templates sets for specific designs they are used to cut, such as Drunkard’s Path, Winding Ways and Dresden Plate. We most recent template set we named was Set T in 2011 – 16 years after Set A -- so far, so good!

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