Block Tutorial for Block 39: Grandma

Welcome to Daydreams of Quilts! Today I am pleased to bring you a quick little tutorial for sewing block 39 of the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt in the Quilt Along hosted by Gnome Angel and Fat Quarter Shop.

I am (so far) building all my blocks the same way by using the paper templates that come on the CD in the book. I printed all my template sheets out ahead of time so they would be ready to go whenever the mood to sew struck or, more often in my case, the time became available to sew. When printing your sheets make sure your printer settings are set for 100% (no scaling, do not fit to page) and check the 1″ line on your print out to make sure it measures one inch.

Block 39: Grandma – I must have Christmas on my mind.

This Grandma block has 36 pieces. To speed up the cutting process I layered my fabric into four layers. I laid my paper template on top keeping the right angle of the triangles with one side on the grain line. This way I can cut four triangles at once. I cut two sets of four and then opened my fabric to be two layers for the remaining two triangles needed of the “B” triangle. Then, while I still had just two layers of fabric I cut the two triangles needed of the “A” triangle. I make sure to cut off all the little notches on the corners exactly as the template is printed as this helps in lining up the pieces when sewing together the block. I repeated the process for each of the three colours in the block.

Paper template on four layers of fabric.

I line up my quarter inch line on my ruler with the solid line on the template to make my cuts.

Lay out all your pieces referring to the diagram in your book. The diagram shows how to piece the triangles together to make the block.

To make this simpler for myself I broke the block up into steps:

Step 1: The sets of three triangles around the outer edges. I sewed all of those together first. When sewing, continually check the diagram in your book to make sure you have your pieces in the right layout. The green triangle at the top of these photos is in the wrong place and I caught that before I went to my sewing machine because I looked at my book first.

Step 2: All the sets of two triangles for the corners of the block.
Step 3: The sets of two grey and red triangles for the centre of the block.
Step 4: Sewing the larger grey and red triangles together and the larger green to the pieces from step 3.

Then Step 5 is to sew the four centre squares together, add the sets of three triangles to the sides of the centre square and finally add the four corners made up of the grey and red triangles sets from Step 2.

A note about pressing:

To speed up the process a bit just finger press the seams in your sets of two and three triangles around the outside instead of taking them to the ironing board every time.

To facilitate quickly piecing this block, as my 14-month-old will only tolerate being in the Exersaucer in my sewing room for so long, I finger pressed my seams during step 1 and 2 and then pressed them with the iron when they were all sewn together. This also saves on possibly distorting your pieces due to the bias edges.

Another way to save time and still press with your iron if you prefer is to have your ironing station right by your sewing machine at table height so you can just turn in your chair to press your pieces.

When I had two sets of two centre squares sewn together I pressed the centre seams in opposite directions to create nesting seams. When I added the sets of three triangles to the to the sides of the centre square I pressed away from the centre square. Likewise for the corner triangles. In the end I had all the seams toward the outer edges of the block. Pressing your seams open would also work well.

Please check out Lisa’s tutorial and Gnome Angel’s Tutorial for their take on putting this block together.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. Happy Sewing and Farmer’s Wife-ing!

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