IMG_8107-2
, , ,

Summer Sampler Quilt

 

I would like to briefly interrupt your Christmas planning to bring you a bit of summer in December—My Summer Sampler quilt is complete! : )
My mother-in-law had hip replacement surgery last Friday. The surgery had been scheduled for January, which I thought would be good timing for me to make her a quilt. When a spot opened up for her to have the surgery earlier, I thought I might not be able to manage it, because I was already so busy. But then I realized, I had the perfect quilt for her, and it was already very much in progress … my Summer Sampler!
The top and the back were already done, so all I really had to do was quilt it and bind it. But of course, I can never leave well enough alone or make anything easy for myself. I immediately decided that the current size was too small to be useful, and I wanted to make it bigger. So between Wednesday and Monday, I took the borders off the original top, made eight additional sampler blocks and added them, put new borders on, added to the back to get it up to size, basted it, quilted it, and bound it. Whew!
When I decided to add the extra blocks, I wanted to find and choose new block designs quickly, so all of the pictures in the Summer Sampler Flickr group were invaluable to me. Many of my new blocks were inspired by the extra blocks that some of you made. I love Claudia’s beautiful red and aqua quilt, and the additional blocks she chose were brilliant, so many of my new blocks came straight from her quilt. Thank you, Claudia, for inspiring me! : )
Here are the blocks I added:
Another Star of Virginia (tutorial here)
Another Greek Cross (tutorial here), but I changed up the colors/values to give it this octagon shape
This fun star-within-a-star block
My version of the Diamond Chip block, from Sarah Fielke’s book Quilting From Little Things, as seen on Monica’s Happy Zombie blog
Snowblossoms block (free paper-piecing pattern available here)
Another HST-type block
This cute star variation
So here’s how the top started out, before the extra blocks …
And here again is my refashion/completion.
And my MIL seems to just love the quilt. She said it’s beautiful work, cheerful colors, and that she will “treasure it for the rest of her life.” Wow! She’s a very practical woman who isn’t at all prone to exaggeration, so that was a wonderful compliment coming from her and really made me feel great. I’m so glad she can enjoy it while she’s recovering.
So, that’s one major thing off my list. I’ve also got our Christmas decorations up and made excellent progress on my Secret Santa Twitter Swap item, so I am feeling a lot less stressed today! Score one (or several) for me.
Quilt Stats:
Size: 60″ x 74″
Design: From the Summer Sampler Series Quilt-Along, hosted by Kate, Faith, and myself, plus eight extra blocks. For tutorials for the original 12 blocks, click here.
Fabric: Various lines/prints, with background in Kona White
Quilting: Free-motion stippling by me on my home machine
Back: Various lines/prints
IMG_6290
,

Summer Sampler Series: My Finished Top

Summer is winding down—the cicadas are buzzing, summer activities are wrapping up, and the kids are getting ready to go back to school. So it’s only fitting that I’m wrapping up my “summer of the sampler quilt” with a finished sampler top!

I just couldn’t be happier with how this top turned out. I think it’s clear that the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns is a gold mine of design possibilities—I can’t wait to scour it for more gems like the blocks above.

To finish the top, I decided to sash the blocks in white. I wanted the sashing to look more like background than actual sashing. With white sashing, a white border, and a fair amount of white in the blocks themselves, the blocks look like they’re floating in a field of white instead of trapped in block-sized boxes. And all the white keeps the focus on these fabulous blocks, rather than distracting from them. To add just a bit of additional interest, I made teeny pinwheels for cornerstones.

White is still my go-to neutral background color. Yes, even with grubby little hands around. Kona Coal and Kona Stone are fun ways to mix things up sometimes, but I still think there’s nothing like fresh clean white in a quilt. It really brings the contrast like nothing else. Plus, the more a quilt is washed and used, the softer it gets, right?

 

For anyone looking to do something similar for their Summer Sampler quilt, here are some specifics on my sashing and border. You will need 1.75 yards of fabric for the sashing and borders.

– For borders, cut 2 strips 4″ x 54,” and 2 strips, 4″ x 48″

– For sashing, cut 15 strips, 2.5″ x 12.5″

– For pinwheels, from background/sashing fabric, cut 12 squares 2″ x 2″, and from prints, cut 12 squares 2″ x 2″ (2 squares each from 6 prints)

Use the 2″ squares to make half-square triangles, and trim the HSTs to 1.5″ square. Sew together the HSTs to make 2.5″ square pinwheels. Assemble blocks with sashing and pinwheels, then add borders, starting with the longer border strips along the long sides of the quilt.

1. SSS12, 2. Summer series block 8 , 3. Untitled, 4. SummerSampler.FlowerGardenPath, 5. Evening Star Block for Charity Quilt for KMQG, 6. Minnesota, 7. Block # 12: Kansas Dust Storm, 8. Star of Virginia Block, 9. sharp., 10. SummerSampler.GreekCross0001, 11. SSS8, 12. Summer Sampler

I want to thank each and every one of you for quilting along with Faith, Kate, and me! You all are a huge part of what made this QA so enjoyable. Above are just a few of the fabulous blocks from the Flickr group. Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see all your finished quilts!

IMG_6217
, , ,

Summer Sampler Series: Kansas Dust Storm

Welcome to our last block in the Summer Sampler Series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and you’re ready for the big finale! But before I get to today’s block, I want to thank Kate and Faith for coming up with such a fabulous quilt-along idea, and for inviting me to join them in hosting it. I’ve really enjoyed it!

This is Kansas Dust Storm, block #3596 in the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Much like Faith’s “Rocky Road to Kansas” block, this block got its name from a very specific time and place in history. The block pattern was published by the Kansas City Star in December 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl (April 1935 saw some of the worst dust storms in the history of the U.S.). Not surprisingly, quilting thrived in the 1930s—families often needed to make use of every scrap of fabric they had, and that usually meant making quilts. So this block is representative of an important era in the history of the craft.

As I was choosing fabric for my block, I realized that Kansas Dust Storm is actually quite similar to the Evening Star block that Kate posted about on Monday. They’re both eight-point stars, just oriented a little differently. For that reason, I reversed out the prints and did the star points in my background white, putting more focus on the secondary design that forms around the star. And I love how it turned out—somehow it really does remind me of a weak sun shining in the hazy Dustbowl sky.

For this block, you will need three templates: Template A, Template B, and Template C. You’ll need four copies of each of the three templates. Sorry about the three templates, but this was the only way I could come up with that avoided Y-seams. And if you’ve come this far in the quilt-along, you’re a paper-piecing expert by now. So I know you can do it! If you haven’t done paper-piecing before, I recommend checking out Faith’s tutorial for the Star block first, as that’s a great introduction to this skill.

Kansas Dust Storm Block Tutorial

1. Cut your fabric as follows:
• Center (my floral print): 3.5″ squares – cut 8 (I fussy-cut mine)
• Green squares: 4.5″ squares – cut 8
• Orange-dot corner triangles: 4″ x 6″ – cut 4
• White star points: 2.5″ x 3″ – cut 8
• White background: 4″ x 6.5″ – cut 8

2. Cut the 4.5″ squares (my green print) in half diagonally, so you now have 16 triangles.

3. Take 4 (only 4!) of those 16 triangles and cut them in half again, as shown, to make 8 smaller triangles.

4. Place one of the 12 larger triangles on the back of Template A, so that it covers Section 1 (but on the back of the template). Hold it up to a light source to check that your piece is in the right place, and adhere with double-sided tape, a glue stick, or a pin.

5. Lay one of the 4″ x 6.5″ background pieces over the top of the center triangle, right sides facing. Match up the long edge along the line between Section 1 and Section 2.

6. Sew along the line (using a shorter stitch length to help perforate the paper) and press back the background piece.

7. Do the same thing for Section 3, with another 4″ x 6.5″ background piece.

8. Now it should look like this.

9. Add one of the 4″ x 6″ corner triangle pieces.

10. Sew and press into place, then trim the excess fabric, using the paper template as a guide for where to trim. Your Unit A should now look like this. Repeat to make three more Unit As just like it.

11. Now we’ll move on to the B and C templates, which are exactly the same, except that they are mirror images of each other. Start by adhering a 2.5″ x 3″ background piece to the back of each template, covering Section 1.

12. Place one of the 8 remaining large green triangles over the white background piece. One of the short sides of the triangle should line up with the line between sections 1 and 2. Flip over, sew along the line, and press into place.

13. Continuing piecing the B and C units, using the smaller green triangles and the floral octagon pieces. When the units are completed and trimmed, they should look like this.

14. You should now have 4 A units, 4 B units, and 4 C units. I removed the paper at this point—from here out, I found it easier to piece things accurately without the paper. Take one B unit and one C unit and sew the short sides together to make a larger triangle, like this.

Not like this! This is an easy mistake to make with this block, as you can see! (I wish I could say I did this solely for educational purposes, but it ain’t so.) This way even looks right. But it’s not.


15. Join your pieced B/C triangle to an A triangle, as shown, to make a square.

16. Then piece your four squares together to complete the block.

And there we have it: 12 completed sampler blocks. I’ll be sashing the blocks and putting the top together in the next week, so come back here next Friday to see my completed top! I’ll post yardage and cutting requirements for my sashing at that time, in case anyone is interested.

Huge thanks to everyone who quilted along with Kate, Faith, and me this past month (and to everyone who may do these blocks in the future!). I had so much fun doing this quilt-along with all of you. The blocks that have shown up in the Flickr group are absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see all of the finished quilts!

IMG_6106
, , ,

Summer Sampler Series: Minnesota Block

Welcome to another block in the Summer Sampler Series! Today we’ll be making the Minnesota block. I just love the vintage charm of this block.

Minnesota is block #1979 in the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It is in the “Unequal Nine Patch with Small Center Square” pattern category—a huge category with an amazing variety of designs represented. This block originally appeared in the magazine “Hearth and Home,” which was popular with women in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hearth and Home published a series of 50 quilt block patterns, one for each state (there is a book that collects all 50 state block patterns, which you can buy here). I couldn’t find any information on whether there is design significance to each state’s block (I’m guessing there isn’t). But Wisconsin’s is pretty interesting too, so you might see that one from me one of these days! It might be kind of fun to make a “travel quilt” of blocks for all of the states that I’ve been to over the years.

Minnesota Block Tutorial

This is another block that combines traditional piecing and paper piecing. But if you’ve made it this far in the quilt-along, I promise you’ll think this one is a piece of cake. No, seriously!

1. Cutting:
• (4) 6.25″ print squares for hourglass units
• (4) 2.5″ x 5.5″ pieces for diamond units
• (1) 2.5″ square for center diamond
• (8) 3.5″ x 4.5″ pieces for background of diamond units
• (4) 2″ squares for background of center diamond

2. Let’s start with the paper-piecing this time. You can download the paper-piecing template here. (Please note: Printing directly from Google Docs can cause your template sizes to be inaccurate. To avoid this, download the PDF to your computer and print it from Acrobat—for information about how to do this, see this Flickr discussion.) You will need 4 copies of the rectangular template and 1 copy of the small square template.

3. Starting with the rectangular templates, adhere the 2.5″ x 5.5″ pieces to the back of the templates, right side facing out, so that your fabric is on one side and the printed template is on the other. I use double-sided tape to put my fabric onto the template, but you could also use a glue stick, fabric glue, or pins. Your fabric pieces should be the same size as the template and should completely cover the back of the template. In the photo above, mine are all adhered to the templates.

4. Take your 3.5″ x 4.5″ background pieces and cut them in half diagonally, so that you have 16 triangular pieces.

5. Position a background triangle onto the back of your template/fabric, right side facing, as shown.

6. Flip the entire thing over, so that you’re looking at the printed template. Hold it up to a light source to check that the triangular background piece is in the correct position. It’s hard to tell in this photo because my fabric is black, but at least 1/4″ of the triangular background piece should be above the line you’ll be sewing on, and the rest should be below the line.

7. Sew directly onto the line between Section 1 and Section 2, as shown. Be sure to use a shorter stitch length to make it easier to tear off the paper later. I’m using 1.4 on my machine.

8. Fold back the triangular piece and press into place, as shown. (My paper is curling in the photo above, due to the nine-thousand percent humidity we’re currently having.)

9. Sew the other three pieces into place in just the same way. When you’re done, you should have something that looks like this.

10. Using the paper template as a guide, trim off the excess fabric.

11. Tear off and discard the paper templates. Fold back the background triangles and carefully trim off the excess fabric underneath. (So I’m trimming off the black fabric from underneath the white fabric.)

12. You should now have a diamond unit that looks like this. Repeat the process to make a total of four diamond units.

13. Now follow the same process one more time to make the center diamond. Use the 2.5″ square paper template, your 2.5″ square of fabric and your 2″ square background pieces. After sewing and trimming, you should end up with a unit that looks like this.

14. Now that your paper-pieced diamond units are complete, we’ll use traditional piecing to make the four hourglass units that complete the block. Start by cutting the 6.25″ squares in half diagonally, and then in half diagonally in the other direction. You should now have a total of 16 triangles like the ones above.

15. Match up one triangle of each print and sew them together along a short edge. Don’t sew together the long edges—if you do that, you’ll end up with an HST, and we actually don’t want any of those this time! : ) I pressed my seam allowance to the side, toward the blue print.

16. Do the same thing with another pair of triangles, but this time, swap the sides the prints are on. Yes, it does matter which sides the prints are on, so pay attention to that. Again, I pressed my seam allowance toward the blue print.

17. Join the two triangles together for a completed hourglass unit. Pressing your seam allowances to the side should give you those “locking seams” that will help you nicely align your points. The completed hourglass unit should measure 5.5″ square. Repeat to make a total of four hourglass units.

18. Arrange all 9 units as shown, join into three rows, and then join the rows together to complete the block.

See, that wasn’t too bad, right? And look what you’ve made (and learned!) in only three weeks! My blocks are above—I can’t wait to round them out with the final three blocks. I hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am! Stop in at Swim, Bike, Quilt on Monday for Kate’s final block in the series, and don’t forget to upload photos of your progress to the Flickr group. I have been so impressed and amazed at the wonderful creations that have been showing up there! Happy sewing!

IMG_5842
, , ,

Summer Sampler Series: Arkansas Traveler Block

Welcome back to the Summer Sampler Series. Are you ready for block #6? It’s a very unique block, and one of my favorites in the quilt-along!

This is the Arkansas Traveler block, #3912 in the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It’s also known as Cowboy’s Star, Travel Star, or “Teddy’s Choice.” It’s from the “Other Stars” category of patterns in the Encyclopedia.

Arkansas Traveler Flag Quilt – featured on Earlene Fowler’s website

Not much is known about the history of this block, but it likely dates back to the 1800s, since it shares its name with a popular 19th century folk song. There are several quilt blocks known by the name Arkansas Traveler—the others are variations on spool designs. Arkansas Traveler quilts were sometimes made up of more than one type of Arkansas Traveler block, like the flag quilt above (from writer Earlene Fowler’s website).

I’m doing a more modern variation on this block, using 60-degree diamonds instead of the narrower diamonds often used in traditional Arkansas Traveler blocks. Since Faith did such an excellent job of introducing us to paper-piecing with Wednesday’s Star block, I thought we’d make this block by combining traditional piecing and paper piecing. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds!Arkansas Traveler Block Tutorial

Cutting
• For diamonds: 2 5/8″ x 9″ strips – cut 8 (Stash Trad bee members: Cut these strips to 3″ instead.)
• For background: 3″ x 6″ strips – cut 8; 3″ x 9″ strips – cut 8

Cutting and Piecing the Diamonds

1. Place your ruler on an angle over the end of one of the 2 5/8″ x 9″ strips, lining up the 60-degree mark with the bottom of the strip, as shown, and cut.

2. Slide your ruler over. With the 60-degree mark still lined up with the bottom of the strip, line up the 2 5/8″ mark on your ruler with the angled (cut) end of the strip, and cut again. (Stash Trad members, again cut to 3″.)

3. You now have a 60-degree diamond. Continue cutting diamonds, two from each strip, until you have 16.

4. Pair up two diamonds, right sides facing, and so that the edges intersect 1/4″ from each point (right where your seam will be). This results in little triangles sticking out on each side called dog ears—see them? Make sure those dog ears are showing, and that they’re even on each side.

5. Sew and press seam allowances open. Sew together a second pair and press.

6. Put your pairs together, right sides facing, as shown above. Again, make sure the dog ears are correct.

7. Sew and press seam allowances open. You should now have a diamond unit that looks like this. Repeat the steps above until you have four diamond units.

Paper-Piecing the Diamonds into the Background

1. Let me start by saying that if you’ve never paper-pieced before, and you haven’t yet made Faith’s Star block, I recommend you do that first. Faith did a great job introducing the skill of paper-piecing, and I don’t want to repeat too much of what she explained in her post.

2. Okay, all set? Print out 4 copies of my paper-piecing template for this block, which can be found here. Be sure to set page scaling to “None” or “100 percent” when printing, and after printing, check the 1″ scale to make sure it’s accurate. Trim the templates.

3. Attach one of your peiced diamond units to the back of the template, lining up the diamond seams you sewed in the previous steps with the “pre-sewn line” marks on the front of the template (as much as you can see them through the paper). I flipped down the edges of the diamond unit to make sure the seams were lined up, but don’t stress about it too much. Since those diamond seams don’t line up with anything else, it’s not crucial that they be exact. I used double-sided tape to attach my diamond units to the back of the paper—I prefer that over pins. You could also use a glue stick.

Tip: If you have a certain color/print that you want in the center, place the diamond unit so the center print is between 4 and 5 (where my blue and green floral print is in the photo below), rather than between 2 and 3. This will give your seams an outward radiating pattern.

4. Hold up your template to a light source to visually check that your diamond unit is placed correctly and that there will be 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around. This diamond unit is piece #1. You’ll add piece #2, a background piece, next.

5. Place a 3″ x 6″ background piece along the edge of the diamond that borders section #2. Make sure right sides facing and the edges are approximately lined up, as shown. Now turn over the whole thing and sew on the line, through the paper, as Faith showed on her blog. Remember to lower your stitch count to perforate the paper better—I use 1.4.

6. Press back the piece you just sewed and trim any excess seam allowances. Repeat the steps above to add additional background pieces, in order, according to the numbers on the paper template. You will use the 3″ x 6″ pieces for the first two background pieces, and the 3″ x 9″ cuts for the second (longer) two pieces.

7. Once you’ve sewed on all four background pieces, it should look like this.

8. Turn the whole thing over and trim around the edges of the paper template. DON’T tear the paper off yet!

9. You now have the first of your four star units. Repeat the steps above to create the other three quarter-block units.

10. Arrange two of the star units as shown.

11. Put the units together, right sides facing, with the paper still on.

12. Sew the two units together on the template’s outer line, as shown. So you’re now sewing through two star units and two paper templates. There will be a lot of seam bulk where the center points meet, but the paper will give that area some structure, which should keep the fabric from bunching up. It will also help you match up the points more accurately, in spite of the bulk. If your machine gets hung up at that corner, you may need to gently push the units/paper through. You could also try adjusting your presser foot to make it less tight (if your machine has that option) or using a walking foot if you’re still having problems.

When you’re done sewing, here’s what it looks like on the other side. Your sewing should come through the other side right on the other template’s line (mine isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough!)

And here’s what it looks like when you’re done (the paper is still on the back).

13. Repeat with the other two star points. Finger press the seam allowances open. When you’re ready to join the two pairs with the final seam of the block, you can take the paper off if you’re worried about the paper making too much bulk in your machine, or leave the paper on and piece it the same way you did the previous two seams.

14. Once the entire block has been pieced, remove the paper and press seams open.

And with that, we are now halfway through this quilt-along! Here are all 6 of my blocks together. I can’t wait to see your blocks, especially Arkansas Traveler, so please post pictures to the Flickr group.

On Monday, the Summer Sampler Series will be back on Katie’s blog to kick off our second half. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

IMG_5536
, , ,

Summer Sampler Series: Mosaic Block

Welcome to our third block in the Summer Sampler Series quilt-along! I’m so thrilled to be sharing another fun traditional-to-modern block with all of you. Feel free to join in any time—a complete list of the posts is here.

Today we’re making a Mosaic block, block #2475 in the Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. (It is officially known as “Mosaic #6,” “Mosaic #4,” or a “Zig Zag Tile” block.) This block is from the book’s “Square In a Square” pattern category, meaning it has a center square which is then built up into a larger square with the addition of triangles, strips, or other shapes.

Mod Mosaic 15 blocks on design wall
Incredible Mod Mosaic blocks by capitolaquilter, via Flickr

“Mosaic” might be one of the most popular names for traditional quilt blocks, with no less than 46 mentions in the index of the Encyclopedia alone. However, the term “mosaic” applies to huge variety of block designs, from the square-in-square style shown here to hexagons and stars. So while there is no common denominator among mosaic designs, the usefulness of the term extends right down to modern day quilting. Just witness the popularity of Elizabeth Hartman’s “Mod Mosaic” design—a modern spin on a traditional concept.

Photo courtesy of the Illinois Quilt History website

This particular mosaic block is attributed to, among others, Nancy Cabot. Nancy was the Needlework Editor for the Chicago Tribune and wrote a syndicated daily quilting column in the 1930s. As a quilt blogger and a former newspaper reporter, I found Nancy to be very interesting—not only was she an early career women, she was a forerunner of the modern quilt blogger. Her columns were written in a casual, conversational format called “kitchen table style,” which I’m guessing would sound familiar to most blog readers. Over the years, she designed at least 200 quilt blocks, and no doubt inspired thousands of quilters. And in another nice parallel to modern times, Nancy Cabot wasn’t even her real name (it was actually Loretta Leitner). I guess she wanted a little anonymity, something else that probably strikes a chord with modern bloggers. I bet if Nancy were still around today, she’d dig blogland as much as I do. : )

Now here’s how to pay tribute to Nancy Cabot by making your own Mosaic block. There are at least three ways that I can think of to piece this block, but I’ll take you through the method that I think is easiest and wastes the least amount of fabric. As is often the case with traditional blocks, switching up your colors and contrast can dramatically change the look of the block. For example, you could swap the background and colored pieces, or you could give this block more of a circular movement by making the inner ring one color and the outer ring another color.

1. Start with 16 – 4″ squares. You’ll need 8 background squares (I’m using white) and 8 colored squares (my prints).

2. Using a pencil, mark the diagonal on the back of your colored squares.

3. Pair up each colored square with a background square, right sides facing. Sew 1/4″ away from the marked diagonal, on each side of the line.

4. Cut on the marked lines. You should now have a total of 16 half-square triangle units (HSTs).

5. Press the HSTs open. I always press bias seam allowances open.

6. Trim your HSTs down to 3.5″ square, using the 45-degree angle on your ruler or cutting mat.

7. Pair up your HSTs, and sew each pair together so that you have 8 sewn pairs. Make sure all of your HSTs angle in the same direction, as shown above. I accidentally reversed the blue HSTs when I originally sewed this block, and had to tear them out and re-do. The block won’t come together correctly if you mix it up!

8. Now pair up your newly-sewn double-HST units. Lay them right-sides facing. Sew your pairs together so that you have four 4-patch units that look like the one above.

9. Now arrange your completed 4-patches as shown above and sew, to complete your Mosaic block. Your block should finish at 12.5″ square.

Here are my previous two blocks—you can find the tutorials at Swim, Bike, Quilt and Fresh Lemons Quilts. And don’t forget to add photos of your own blocks to the Flickr group. I’ve been blown away by all the gorgeous blocks showing up there—you guys rock, as always!

Join us on Monday on Kate’s blog, Swim, Bike, Quilt, for our next block in the Summer Sampler Series.

IMG_5496
,

Summer Sampler Series Starts Today!

Just a reminder that the Summer Sampler Series kicks off today, on Kate’s blog, Swim Bike Quilt.

Head over there to learn how to make our first block, the Star of Virginia block. And don’t forget to visit the Flickr group to watch everyone’s progress!

download-1
, ,

Introducing the Summer Sampler Series

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