About this time last year, I decided to join the “Splendid Sampler” quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Did you also sign up to receive the 100 emailed pattern instructions? They have published two 6″ blocks per week; over eighty quilt block designers contributed to the project. The official QAL is nearly complete, and you can still access the patterns online by clicking the “Splendid Sampler” button in the right hand column of this blog page.
At the outset of the QAL, Pat and Jane showed samples of their bright, modern fabrics and promised that a variety of techniques would be employed for the sampler blocks. You can read about my fabric selection on this blog post. As the weeks progressed, I began to realize that not all of the patterns were suitable for my muted traditional fabrics from the “Chocolat” line by Moda. At some point, I decided to make only the blocks that correlated well with my fabrics, and to include other favorite patchwork designs.
After making 56 blocks, I decided to set the blocks together. I am sure the desire to finish the project prior to moving into our new home weighed heavily in my decision. My quilting buddy, Karlene, suggested that I arrange the blocks with darker tan background all around the edges of the quilt. I really like the effect! The darker blocks act as a pieced border of sorts. After arranging and rearranging the blocks on my design wall, I sewed the vertical 2″ x 6 1/2″ sashing strips between the blocks in each row as you can see in the photo below.
Tip (from my daughter, Trinity): Prior to joining the rows together, measure and sew the top border strip above Row 1, and sew the bottom border strip below the last row. This means less “heavy lifting” work when adding the borders after the rows are sewn together.
I added horizontal sashing rows and left and right border strips. Now to find the perfect print for an outer border.
Later: Again, my friend, Karlene, came to my rescue. She gave me a yard of paisley “Chocolat” fabric. Since it is a large scale print of muted colors, it doesn’t draw attention itself. The viewer’s eye is rightly focused on all the patchwork and applique blocks in the quilt’s center. I draped the quilt top over the kitchen porch railing of our new home. (We are hoping to procure the certificate of occupancy this week and move in!)