Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Tutorial – Block 69 Mrs Keller

Hello there!  I’m back with another tutorial for the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quiltalong.   Today I’m sharing my rotary cutting tricks for Block 69 – Mrs Keller.


At first glance Mrs Keller looked like a relatively simple block to make, its just a few half square triangles, easy corner triangles and a nine patch right?    But, and its a big but, we’re sewing 6″ finished blocks and 6 divided by 5 doesn’t exactly give a nice fraction
for rotary cutting the pieces.   I was pretty determined to rotary cut this one though so I devised a little plan using the templates in the book that I hope helps if you decide to make your block the same way.

Here’s what you are going to need:
• Template plastic
• a ruler (not the good one you use when cutting fabric)
• a permanent marker
• the template sheet from the book, remember to print at 100%

Before I start the tutorial I wanted to let you all know about a product that I’ve been using that I’ve found makes pressing all the teeny pieces in the Farmer’s Wife blocks so much easier.   Last year at Quilt Market the lovely Brenda from Marti Michell introduced me to the Steady Betty team.  Kathy was so lovely and gave me one of these 12″ Steady Betty Black Beauty pressing boards to try.   It’s absolute brilliant and I’m really not sure how I did without it!     If you see one in your local quilt shop I thoroughly recommend taking a look and grabbing yourself one.     If your local quilt shop doesn’t carry them you can get them online by clicking here.


Back to the tutorial…

Place the template plastic on the square template, make sure you line up the bottom and side and then, place your ruler on the opposite side and draw a line that extends well past the square template shape.


Turn the ruler around and trace off the top of the square template shape.


Next pop the template plastic over on the the long template shape as shown and mark the top seam allowance on the template to make a rectangle.


If you’ve used template plastic before you’ll know that it tends to slip and slide all over the place, I use small pieces cut from a Ruler Betty strip attach to the back and it really helps!

SheQuiltsAlot FW1930's Steady Betty

Cut out the template plastic ruler you’ve just made and use it to cut strips of each fabric (1).   Just a quick note on fabrics – I’ve used three fabrics for this block but you only need two if you want your block to be the same as the one in the book.  Cut 8 squares for the easy corner rectangles as shown in 2.   You can then trim off the square from the template plastic ruler.  You’ll need it later so set aside somewhere safe after you have drawn a diagonal line on it as shown in 3.    Cut 4 rectangles for the easy corner rectangle borders.

SheQuiltsAlot-FW1930's-Block-69You will also need to cut 3 extra rectangles of each fabric to make the 9 Patch unit for the centre of the block and 2 squares of each fabric  1″ wider than the ruler for the half square triangles.

Let’s start with the easy corner border strips.   Start by drawing a diagonal line on the wrong side of the squares with a pencil.   Sew just adjacent to the line.


Trim 1/4″from the drawn line.


Press and then repeat on the other side taking care to ensure that the easy corner triangles are facing the same way (i.e. towards the middle of the block).  Make 4.SheQuiltsAlot-FW1930's-Block-69

Using the extra three rectangles of each fabric sew strips together to make two strip sets as shown.


Use the template plastic ruler to cut 1 rectangle from one of the strip sets and 2 from the other.    Join the rectangles to make the nine patch unit for the centre of the block.


Last but not least, you need 4 half square triangles.   On the back of two of the large squares (1″ wider than the ruler) draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the squares with a pencil.   Sew 1/4″ from the line on both sides.


Cut along the drawn line and then press open.   Grab out the template plastic square you drew a diagonal line on.   Place the diagonal line on the join between the two fabrics and trim around all 4 sides.


All you need to do to finish the block is sew the units created above together, I recommend having the book close by to make sure the half square triangles are oriented the right way.   Don’t be like me in the photo below and have those half square triangles around the wrong way!  (And yes, I had sewn the block before I realised so had to do some serious seam ripping before I was able to finish it!)



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; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Don’t forget to stop by these other great blogs for tutorials coming up later this week and next week…

11/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
12/02/2016: Sherri @ A Quilting Life
16/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
17/02/2016: Nathalie @ Les Ouvrages de Nat
18/02/2016: Angie @ & Marti @ Marti Michell
19/02/2016: Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

It’s been a while since I have shared my block progress so (brace yourselves there are quite a few!) here goes…









Have a great week (and a coffee after getting through all those blocks!)


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