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Introducing the Summer Sampler Series

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You all probably knew this about me, but I love modern quilts. There’s nothing like a bold, geometric, minimalist quilt design to stop me in my tracks and make me “ooh” and “aah.” It’s what originally drew me to quilting, and I enjoy that it’s such a departure from the long tradition of the craft.

But you know what else I love? That very same long tradition. I love that women have been quilting for hundreds of years—taking a craft that was born of necessity and turning it into an art form. I love being next in a long line of creative people putting their own modern spin on it now. I love taking blocks that quilters have been making for decades and injecting them with a little freshness. And I love the fact that quilting, this most traditional of pursuits, is now thriving online.

Apparently I’m not alone. Between the wildly popular Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along, traditional quilt exhibits all over the country, and the modern takes on traditional blocks that are popping up all over Flickr (like this one and this one), it seems that many modern quilters are looking to incorporate traditional piecing into their designs. So when Kate of Swim Bike Quilt and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts had the idea to do a sampler quilt-along based on traditional blocks from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns, and they asked me to be a part of it, I jumped at the chance! I knew whatever these talented ladies came up with was sure to be amazing.

So welcome to the Summer Sampler Series! For the next month, Kate, Faith, and I will post weekly step-by-step tutorials on the traditional block designs seen above. We’ll also be telling you a little about the history of the blocks, and then we’ll put them all together into a small sampler quilt. I’ll be doing my sampler scrappy, while Kate makes hers from Denyse Schmidt’s Katie Jump Rope line (one of my absolute favorites!), and Faith will be using solids. Each block is 12.5″ unfinished.

Some of the blocks we’ve chosen may look challenging, but once you break them down into their individual elements, they really aren’t as complicated as they seem. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! The first five blocks consist entirely of squares, rectangles, and half square triangles. We will also be doing a little bit of paper piecing, sewing some equilateral triangles, string blocks, and diamonds. But what better way is there to learn and stretch your skills?

Full quilt-along details are below. We can’t wait to get started. We hope you’ll join us to make your own sampler—or at least tag along for the ride while we do the work!

The Katie Jump Rope Sampler
Mondays at Swim, Bike, Quilt: July 11, 18, 25, & August 1

The Solids Sampler
Wednesdays at Fresh Lemons: July 13, 20, 27, & August 3

The Scrappy Sampler
Fridays at Freshly Pieced: July 15, 22, 29, & August 5
Fabric Requirements: We estimate that each 12.5 inch (unfinished) quilt block will take the equivalent of a fat quarter to make; three yards of printed fabric and two yards of solids should be more than enough. Quilting Basics: There are many helpful online tutorials for beginning quilters—Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! has a great series here: Quilt Making Basics
Summer Sampler Quilt Along Flickr Group: We’d love to see your fabric selections, process shots, and answer any questions through the flickr group!

Based on blocks found in the book Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns, by Barbara Brackman

29 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Count me in! Sounds like fun and I love the blocks.

    Kiera
    kiki-itssewkiki.blogspot.com

    having trouble posting w/my google account

  2. nicolette
    nicolette says:

    Oh wow, I’m about to finish the Supernova quilt and still didn’t get started on the Farmer’s Wife quilt-along. I guess I love this one even better! What a great idea!

  3. Marg
    Marg says:

    Oh I so want to do this, I'm going to try very hard as it looks like a fabulous project and I could do with some skill building and stretching. I'm just not going to promise yet.

  4. Lynne (Lily's Quilts)
    Lynne (Lily's Quilts) says:

    What a wonderful QAL you gals have cooked up – I'm coming into summer and with four kids at home, I can't play but will have fun watching all the blocks coming flooding in – fabulous!

  5. angela
    angela says:

    I love the blocks you chose! I may jump in on this one. The idea of doing it in a line, scrappy, and solids is a very cool idea. It will be fun to see how different the results are!

  6. Traci
    Traci says:

    This looks absolutely amazing. I love the blocks you have collectively chosen! I will definitely come back to this once my over-committed summer is over!

  7. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    I love the ideas of the solids. I'm sure going to try to keep up. It's hard to believe some of those blocks are 'traditional!' Very cool…

  8. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Okay, I have to admit the illustration, while gorgeous, is a little intimidating! I'd love to learn how to make these blocks, and the thought of making them in solids is very appealing. So I'm on the fence! 🙂

  9. Teje
    Teje says:

    Hi Lee! That is just a great idea! Those pictures look really exiting and I'm waiting to follow your journey – hopefully join for quilting too!
    Thank you for inspiration!
    xxx Teje

  10. Erin
    Erin says:

    Very Cool! Love the idea of using solids. I need to come and shadow you for a day or two and find out where you find the time to do this! I'm so jealous!

  11. Tara
    Tara says:

    This looks so exciting! While I am just a novice quilter, I will be unofficially following along and trying not to frustrate myself TOO much! Here's to hoping! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  12. Anna
    Anna says:

    This does look like some fun. I'm like you, I love the modern aesthetic (isn't that a great word) but I love tradition too. I don't know if I'll have time to participate, but it will be fun to have this in a saved place for future reference. Also great since I'm the block of the month coordinator for the fall for the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild. Yippee! Saw you on GenXQuilters and thought I'd drop by. Sew glad I did!
    Anna

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