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1930's Farmer's Wife: Mother

The Mother block can be found on page 156 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 224 for template instructions.)

The Mother block can be found on page 156 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 224 for template instructions.)

January 1933

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Wiser of North Dakota can be found on page 9.

While international events were setting the ground work for World War II, America was feeling the affects of the Great Depression but the foundations of great American icons were being laid.  Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco and the "Lone Ranger" debuted on the radio station WXYZ Detroit.  Political changes were also taking place with Congress granting independence to American territories in the Philippines. 

The 20th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, which changed the start and end dates of a presidential term from March 4 to January 20.  While this doesn't sound too exciting, it decreased the amount of time an exiting president spent as a lame duck.  The first president to take office on January 20 was Franklin D. Roosevelt after his second election in 1936.

The letter "Her Secret To Happiness"  only demonstrates the state of some Americans.  A family of seven living in a dig out house, relying on the land and a single part time labor job.  Money was tight.  But one has to admire the determination and pride in self reliance and responsibility demonstrated in the mother.  I think we can all learn a little something about the happiness that comes with disconnecting a bit from society and being content with what we have rather than focused on what we want.

The recipe I tried was the Southern Rice on page 16.

The Block


When designing the Mother block, I moved away from the example Laurie Hird shows in the book.  Laurie uses the same fabric for the strips I labeled D1, D2, and C2.  This gives the block more of a Nine Patch feel.


I wanted to demonstrate the addition triangles she gives in the templates to change the look of the block.  This made for me being a little more particular with my piecing, but I think it was worth it.  I'll admit though that I messed up somewhere along the way.  Some of the corners of the center star are not even!  I'm not exactly sure how this happened, whether I miscopied the template or whether the template is like that already I'm not sure.  If you look at the pic at the top of the post, you'll see the A4 pieces don't add up.

Pre-Cut Sizes

A1 (1) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4"     B1 (2) 1 1/2 x 3 1/2"    C1 (2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"     D1 (4) 1 1/4 x 2 1/2"

A2 (1) 2 x2" cut 1/2   B2 (2) 1 1/2 x 3"        C2 (4) template        D2 (4) 1 1/4 x 2 1/2"

A3 (1) 2x2" cut 1/2                                                                  E1 (4) 2 1/4 x 2 1/4"

A4 (2) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4"

To make the C2 template I simple copied the shape on the paper piecing template, added 1/4" seam allowance, and individually cut out the pieces of fabric.  You can make your own at home.  


The one thing that might be off putting about the Mother block is the Y seams.  If you're familiar with Y seams in paper piecing, you can skip this part.  If you're not familiar read on, because they are not a scary as they seam.


All you need for accurate Y seams are two pins.  Line up the shortest seams of the two templates and pin in the "corners" (the top of C2/D2.) The other parts of the templates probably won't line up, but that's ok.  Using an anchor stitch on both ends of the seam, stitch along ONLY that short seam between the pins.

Remove the pins and manipulate the templates to line up the long seams and pin in the corners (the top of D1/E1.)  Pin the "corners."  This might require bending or folding other parts of the template, don't worry about that, the seams and fabrics will press flat and smooth as long as the fabrics along the seams are evenly placed.

To make sure the seam is smooth, start sewing from the "inside" of the template, at the corner of C2 and D1 and sew outwards towards the pin.  Remember to use an anchor stitch!   Starting from the inside out rather than starting at the edge of the template will prevent any puckering that might occur if the fabric and template are not evenly aligned.  Press the seams together to prevent them from pulling apart.  


Happy Quilting!

- Rita