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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
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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.