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1930's Farmer's Wife: Anne

 The Anne block can be found on page 46 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 164 for template instructions.)

The Anne block can be found on page 46 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 164 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Ruth in North Dakota can be found on page 10.

February 1933

February 1933 introduced some odd and deadly new programs in Nazi Germany.  The concentration camp Dachau was opened.  Initially Dachau was not a death camp, but instead used to house political opponents, dissidents, alcoholics and prostitutes.   This led to an intellectual and political exodus out of Germany, including Albert Einstein who emigrated to the United States. 

At the same time Hitler introduced one of his first socialist programs: the People's Car program, or more commonly known as the Volkswagen.  Porsche motors was tasked with the chore of designing a family friendly car that was completely subsidized by the German government.  The Volkswagen has since become of the most easily recognizable vehicles today.

Meanwhile in America, the Great Depression reached it's highest levels of unemployment, nearly 26% of Americans were out of work.  For those who did still manage to hold down a job, the average annual income was around $1,550.  In a few months consumer and employment conditions would worsen when severe drought and strong winds devastated middle-American farmers with the Dust Bowl, which resulted in some 2.5 million farmers and their families abandoning their farms in the hopes of finding employment in a city.  With these farming and employment conditions, it's no surprise that Ruth in North Dakota admits to not being able to afford a radio or her own books to read.

I have to admit, Ruth's description of winter in North Dakota sounds absolutely miserable.  There is a reason I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado and I hear the North Dakota is colder than Wisconsin, like I said, miserable.  And not being able to see friends for weeks at a time, I would die!  I am every bit a classic extrovert and I need people to survive.  North Dakota in winter sounds like the kind of place that Handsomepants would love, he's weird but I still love him.  But despite the lonely cold, I can appreciate Ruth's admissions to keep life simple.  Sometimes we get too caught up in the business of life, keeping up appearances, and running the kids around that we forget the important things in life: quality time with your self, with your family, and with your friends.


The Block

Anne1.jpeg
 Sorry I forgot the D pieces, I don't know what I was thinking when I took pics!

Sorry I forgot the D pieces, I don't know what I was thinking when I took pics!

At first glance I thought that the Anne block was more intimidating that it actually was.  I think it's because of the slight variations of angles, but I got nervous for absolutely no reason.  But because some of the angles are wonky, the pre-cut sizes I list below are over sized.  Be sure to trim your seam allowances after ever seam in order to keep your block neat and organized.    

It's also very helpful to twirl your seams as you begin piecing the templates together or else you will end up with a ball of seams at the center of the block.  The center is going to be quite thick anyway, but twirling will greatly reduce that extra bulk from the seams.

The Pre-Cuts

A (8) 2 3/4 x 2 3/4"

B (8) 2 3/4 x 2"

C (8) 1 x 2 1/2"

D (8) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"


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Anne4.jpeg
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Happy Quilting!

- Rita

1930's Farmer's Wife: Katherine

 The Katherine block can be found on page 28 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 208 for template instructions.)

The Katherine block can be found on page 28 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 208 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Mrs. H. B. C. in Texas can be found on page 12.

February 1931

Some events in Europe began unfolding that at the time might have seemed significant, but would lay the groundwork for some very momentous events indeed.  In February 1931, the Spanish government of Damaso Berenguer fell, leaving  Admiral Juan Bautista Aznar-Cabanas as Prime Minister.  Aznar became prime minister at a time when the Spanish public was split between factions of loyal monarchists, constitutional-monarchists, communists, and republicans.  (Republicans were not like the American party, they were largely a group who advocated for a full democratic political system.)  While Aznar attempted to save the political party of King Alfonso III, the king was still forced to flee the country only 2 months later.  The political tension in Spain would explode into full civil war in another 5 years, resulting in Francisco Franco ruling Spain as a dictator from 1936-1975.

In the United States some interesting events took place.  Serious efforts to begin the repeal of the 18th Amendment and end Prohibition were cropping up throughout the country.  Catholics were able to hear the voice of Pope Pius XI for the first time as the Vatican began broadcasting from it's own radio station, this was quite significant considering the Catholics are still the largest religious denomination in 35 states today.  Over the course of 1931 unemployment rates doubled to 17%, affecting roughly 21,080,000 people.  Unemployment rates continued to grow as the spending power of the American consumer fell, causing manufacturers to close as demand for their products fell.

Perhaps it's with this background of knowing a bleak financial future awaits more Americans, I found Mrs. H. B. C.'s Letter to the Editor rather bitter sweet but I don't exactly know why.  I admire how she and her husband worked to make themselves successful farmers and successful parents.  I think we forget how hard farming was at the beginning of the 1900's where electricity and running water were rare.  But Mrs. H. B. C. is writing to share how she can take pride in a fertile farm she helped develop, despite some years of hardship.  She can take pride in a loving family that she raised.   And now she can reminisce all of the good times, and the bad, and relax and enjoy the rest she's earned after decades of hard work. 


The Block

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When you piece together the A and B pieces, be sure to keep your 1/4" seam allowances, or else you'll end up with blunt points.  Look up at the top picture and you'll see when I mean.  Some of the blue pieces aren't so perfect.  But that being said, the Katherine block was pretty fun, quick, and easy to piece together.

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Pre-Cuts

A (8) 1/2 x 2"

B (8) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2"

 

 


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I don't know about how your year has been going, but our family has been through the ringer!  Two boughts of the stomach flu, a sinus infection and step throat all before the end of February!  Handsomepants and I are are worn out and the kiddos a have new mattresses, and I can only hope we avoid the flu.  At least I've had some quality quilting time and hopefully I'll have some more quilt posts up for you guys soon!

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

"Sprinkles on Top" Block Pattern

 This is just a mock up I made of the "Sprinkles on Top" block.  I have an actual quilt top in the making, but I was so excited about the block I wrote this post without finishing it first.

This is just a mock up I made of the "Sprinkles on Top" block.  I have an actual quilt top in the making, but I was so excited about the block I wrote this post without finishing it first.

Earlier this year I took part in the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop hosted by Yvonne, Leanne, and Beth.  It was an awesome experience and a great to discover and be discovered by other new bloggers.  Earlier this month I received an email from Yvonne that she had sent around to those who took place in the NQB Blog Hop, that announced a rebranding of Quilt-Pro Systems, a quilt designing software developer.  

The company was looking for about 100 block designers for a collaborative project called Block Party.  I thought this was an awesome opportunity to make connection in the quilting world.  I had zero experience designing blocks, but I gave it a shot.  And I missed.  My submission wasn't selected for publication, but I had a lot of fun anyway.  And for you, my lovely readers, that means you get a free block design!  

 

SPRINKLES ON TOP

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  • Five white 4 1/2" squares
  • Eight white 3" squares
  • Four dark blue 4 1/2" squares
  • Four teal 3/4" squares
  • Two red 2" squares

These are all of the pieces needed to create the Sprinkles on Top block laid out in their proper locations. 

* Remember to use a 1/4" seam allowance.

STEP 1

On all of the red, teal and 3" white squares mark a line from corner to corner.  These are going to guide your stitches when you piece these square onto the larger white squares.

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STEP 2

Place one teal square right-side down on one white square and piece together along the marked line made in Step One.

Cut excess fabric off from the corner side of the stitches, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press seams open.

 

STEP 3

Place a red square right-side down onto of the teal corner you created in Step 2 and piece together along the marked line made in Step One.

Cut excess fabric off from the corner side of the stitches, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press seams open.

 

This is what your finished square should look like.  If you need to, use a ruler and square up to measure 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".  I don't think you should need to square up, but as you can see from the picture, not all blocks turnout perfect.

Repeat this process to make 4 squares.

  

 

STEP 4

Place a 3" white square in a dark blue square and piece together along the marked line made in Step One.

Cut excess fabric off from the corner side of the stitches, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press seams open.

 

Repeat this process on the opposite corner of the dark blue square so that you have a square like the one in the picture.

Repeat this process to make 4 squares.

 

Lay out all of your squares and piece them together. Press seams open and square up your block if necessary.  Your finished block should measure 12 1/2 x 12 1/2" when finished.

If you couldn't tell, it's play off of a Friendship Star, nothing too fancy, but I've lately been into quilts that show off negative space and I tried to keep that in mind when I thought of this block.

What do you guys think of the "Sprinkles on Top" block? Try it out for yourself, I'd love to see your versions!

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

Simple Sampler Quilt: Cutting Half-Square Triangles

This post you'll learn how to make two different blocks using half-square triangles.  Since half-square triangle quilts are super popular at the moment and they have a long history in quilting tradition, I'll show you how to make 16 triangles at once that can then be arranged in a variety of patterns.  I'll show you how to arrange a pin wheel block and an hour glass block today, but the possibilities are endless when you start to arrange, rearrange, and make variations in combinations.  

The first part of this post I will walk you through how to create 8 squares made of half-square triangles, and then I will demonstrate the lay out and piecing of the pin wheel and hour glass blocks.

To start making the blocks get all of your supplies and tools ready. You are going to need:

  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • quilting ruler
  • sewing machine and thread
  • fabric bundle (I chose Persimmon by BasicGrey for Moda)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Washable fabric marker or pencil

Making Half Square Triangles 

STEP 1

Select two contrasting fabrics and press them flat. Cut the fabrics to the following dimensions:

  • One red square 10-3/4 x 10-3/4
  • One print square 10-3/4 x 10-3/4

STEP 2

Place the fabrics right sides together and line them up together.  Use either a washable fabric marker or pencil to mark strait lines from corner to corner. 

These lines will guide your presser foot as you sew the fabrics together.  

Place the outer edge of your presser foot on the line and sew a strait line on both sides. The lines you've sewn should measure 1/2" apart.  If they do not, or if they slope towards or away from each other, rip the seams and resew. These lines will create the seams for some of your half-square triangles in upcoming steps. 

STEP 4

Using your rotary cutter and quilting ruler, cut along the lines that you drew in Step 2.  You should have 4 triangles that are sewn closed on two sides.  Press the fabrics. 

STEP 5

Take each of the triangles you cut in Step 4 and line up your quilting ruler along the unsewn edge and 45° corner.  Cut along your ruler and repeat for the remaining 3 triangles.

* Before you make your cut, be sure to double     check that your ruler is properly aligned.  

Step 6

At the end of Step 5 you should have 8 triangles.  

Trim off the corners of the seams at at 45° angle.

Press open the seams and you sill have 8 squares made of 2 half-square triangles.


The Pin Wheel

STEP 1

To create a Pin Wheel block, take 4 of the blocks you made and lay them out as pictured.

Before you start sewing, make sure the seams are pressed flat.

STEP 2

To start creating the block, place two squares right side together and line up the 45° seams. Pin the fabrics and sew together.  

 

STEP 3

Repeat Step 2 for the other two squares and press the seams towards the red triangles. (On the top of the picture, towards the left, on the bottom of the picture, towards the right.)

Press the seams flat and lay out the fabrics according to the picture.

STEP 4

Place the top fabric strip and lower fabric strip right side together, and use a pin to ensure that the center seams of the fabric strips are aligned.  

Sew the strips together and press the seams open.  Press the right side of the fabric to ensure a flat block.


The Hour Glass

STEP 1

To create an Hour Glass block, take 4 of the blocks you made and lay them out as pictured.

Before you start sewing, make sure the seams are pressed flat.

STEP 2

To start creating the block, place two squares right side together and line up the 45° seams. Pin the fabrics and sew together. Press the seams towards the red triangles. (On the left of the picture, towards the bottom, on the right of the picture, towards the top.)

STEP 3

Place the left and right fabric strips right side together, and use a pin to ensure that the center seams of the fabric strips are aligned.  

Sew the strips together and press the seams open.  Press the right side of the fabric to ensure a flat block.

There are so many creative possiblities with half-square triangles.  Variations in color values and gradations can change the entire look of a quilt, and the number of patterns that half-square triangles can offer are practically endless.  So if you're interested, have fun making as many triangles as you like and piece an entire quilt top, or you can just make the two blocks I showed you today.  Follow along next week for more of the Simple Sampler Quilt!

Happy Quilting !

- Rita

Simple Sampler Quilt: Criss Cross

Today's block is the Criss Cross, an absolutely gorgeous block when set on a strait layout or on point.  Although it might look impressive, it's pretty simple to piece together.  It will also be an introduction to blocks that incorporate half-square triangles.  

The Criss Cross has become on of my favorite blocks, and although I haven't done much with it yet I have plans to make a full sized quilt out of blocks set on point.  My first plan was to do the quilt in red and white, but lately I've been thinking yellow would be nice too.  I'll have to keep you updated on that if I get other projects done first.  

Speaking of other projects, I tallied my WIPs the other day and I have 22!  Not too bad I guess, but I also have several baby quilts that need to be started and finished within the next couple of weeks.  After last weekend's Quilt-A-Fair in Longmont, I now have plenty of fabric to start sewing more WIPS.

I went a bit crazy at this years Quilt-A-Fair  but it was my birthday and stashes can never be too big.  I bought a new ruler, a jelly roll of Jelly Bean fabrics by Laundry Day Fabrics for Moda, a layer cake of 30's Playtime Favorites by Chloe's Closet for Moda, 6 yards of different prints, 6 1/8 yard bundles, and 83 fat quarters for the grand total of (drum roll please) $108!

A lot of the fat quarters that I chose are reminiscent of civil war fabrics, perfect for an EPP project I've been working on.  But most of the fabrics I bought simply because they were pretty and only made plans for them once I got home and actually looked at them.  But enough of my bragging, let's get back to the Criss Cross block.

Before we jump into the instructions for the block, I will say that it does require a little more attention to accurate piecing than some other blocks in order for the point to come out clean. While piecing the fabrics, don't feel discouraged or  disappointed if you need to rip some seams and resew a seam.  Practice makes perfect is a rule that we all follow .

To make the Criss Cross block you will need the following:

  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • quilting ruler
  • sewing machine and thread
  • strait pins
  • fabric bundle (I chose Persimmon by BasicGrey for Moda)
  • Iron and ironing board
 

STEP 1

To start, select two fabrics from your stash. To make the design pop, select fabrics that highly contrast one another. Cut the following pieces:

Blue Fabric:

  • five  2-1/4 x 5-3/4" rectangles
  • six 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" squares

White Fabric:

  • four 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" squares 
  • four 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" triangles
  • eight 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares 

The eight white 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares will have to be cut in half to create the triangles that form the edge of the block.  

To do this, simply line your ruler up with two points of the square and cute a strait line. Try to make the cut right on the corners and keep the sides of the triangle 2-1/4" in length. I've used a different fabric in the example on the left so you can better see how to line up your ruler and fabric.

STEP 2

Once all of the eight triangles are cut, lay out the fabric pieces according to the picture.  

I always lay out the fabrics in the pattern of the block.  It is time consuming, but this gives you a preview of what the finished block will look like and allows you to make changes and adjustments to the arrangement of the block.

STEP 3

To star piecing the block, begin by sewing together the three blocks on either side of the center blue rectangle.  Press the seams open.

The pieced squares should be 5-3/4" long, the same length as the blue rectangle.

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STEP 4

Sew together the square strips and the blue rectangle.  Take care to line up the ends of the fabric so that they are even and strait when the seams are pressed open.

Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.  The square should measure 5-3/4 x 5-3/4"

STEP 5

Next we'll start piecing the corners of the block.  Line up the 45° angle of the white triangles with the bottom corners of the blue square and sew together.  

When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square.  Trim these off to make a clean seam.

Repeat this process for all four corners.

STEP 6

Now sew on the triangles that will create the actual corners of the blocks.  Line up the long side of the triangle (the side that creates the 45° angles) with the short edge of the blue square strip and sew together.  

Press the seams away from the center of the block.  Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.

STEP 7

There should still be four unsewn blue rectangles and four unsewn white triangles remaining.  

Sew together the blue rectangles and corner pieces. The 45° angle corners of the blue square strips will overlap the edges of the blue rectangle.  Make sure they overlap evenly before sewing together. Press open the seams.

Choose two opposing corners of the block to sew on the remaining four white triangles.  In the picture they are the upper right and lower left corners.  Line up the 45° angle of the white triangles with the bottom corners of the blue rectangles and sew together.  

When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square.  Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.

STEP 8

Now we will begin assembling the corners and center of the block together.  Set aside the two corners that you pieced in Step 7.  

One at a time sew the remaining two corner pieces to the center square you created in Step 4.  Press the seams open.  

Use your ruler to check the sizes of the squares.  They should each measure 1-3/4" wide.  If they do not, double check the size of your seam allowance and sew then again if necessary.

Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.

STEP 9

Now sew on the two corner pieces you created in Step 7.  Line up the long side of the corner pieces with the edge of the center of the block.  The corners of the white triangles should overlap the edge of the other fabric.  Make sure the corners overlap evenly before sewing.  

When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square.  Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.  Use your ruler to trim off all of the dog ears.

The finished block should measure 10-1/4 x 10-1/4"

Just to give you an idea, here's what the block would look like when set on point.  Sometimes a simple alteration can really alter the look of a block.  Imagine the possibilities when you start to add sashing and sashing elements like stars or squares, or if instead of contrasting colors you used related colors such as pink and red.  

I hope you like this block as much as I do, I'm thinking about creating another tutorial for creating this block en mass, so I'll let you know if that's going to be a project I'm going to under anytime soon.

Join me next week as we continue our journey through the Simple Sampler Quilt!  

Happy Quilting!     - Rita