My “Splendid Sampler”

7 03 2017

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!)



Vacation Sewing

17 08 2016

Do you like to take along a sewing/quilting project when traveling on vacation? I do! I usually reserve hand appliqué projects for down time when I’m away from home because I tend to be more motivated for slow stitching when away from my high speed machines. If I anticipate I’ll have time for machine sewing, I’ll pack the Featherweight Singer inherited from my grandmother.


Last week while visiting relatives in Pennsylvania, I machine sewed the FQ friendly baby quilt I posted about on Monday. In addition, I sewed a bunch of blocks for my Splendid Sampler project. I managed to hand sew the hexagon block on the road, and the others were sewn a few each day in between other family projects and outings.


For me, a vacation week is successful if hubby and I break out of our normal routine and relax. And I also like to have something to show for my week out of town. My handful of 6” blocks is my tangible take away.

Back in town again, we are excited to see progress on our house building project. Our contractor thinks it may be complete by the end of October!

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What type of sewing project did you take along on your summer vacation?

July Fat Quarter Challenge – Sampler Samples

15 07 2016

Due to family activities and summer travels, my fat quarter challenge usage report for this month involves two on-going projects rather than a newly completed baby quilt. I would love to see and share pictures of your fat quarter projects! (aby dot quilts at gmail dot com)

DSCN7909This summer I’m working sporadically on 6” blocks for my Splendid Sampler. Admittedly, I’m not making every official block in this year-long quilt along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Instead, I’m selecting the blocks that coordinate well with my “Chocolat” fat quarters, and I’m adding other tried and true patchwork designs. Click the Splendid Sampler icon in the right hand column to link to the website where you’ll find instructions for all official blocks.

DSCN7912As if one quilt along sampler isn’t enough to keep up with, I joined the “30 Somethings” bee group hosted by Debby, a Tarheel Quilt Guild friend. Our first project is a sampler quilt of blocks from Lori Holt’s Vintage Farm Girl book. 1930s repro fabric is so charming and cheerful, and Debby’s enthusiasm is so infectious, I couldn’t resist joining the group! The goal is to work our way through the book, making four blocks per month, either 6” or 12.” I purchased a jelly roll of 30s prints and solids from Loving Stitches, figuring I could make most of the 6” blocks with the 2 ½” width. And I added some old and some new fat quarters to the fabric pull. Sew far, sew fun!

Have you seen the new 30s repro prints from Moda, Marcus Brothers, Wilmington Prints and other manufacturers? What project are you tempted to make with them?