The Splendid Sampler – Free Quilt Block Patterns


If you’ve been a part of the quilting world in any form of social media, chances are you’ve heard of the Splendid Sampler. If not, let me introduce you. You are in for some fun!

The Splendid Sampler is a year-long quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Each week they will provide 2 new 6″ x 6″ quilt blocks, designed by dozens of different designers. You can read more about the Splendid Sampler here as well as visit the Splendid Sampler Facebook Group to see all the fun that’s been going one.

The new pattern released today is designed by me! I’m kind of excited to share!

Splendid Sampeler Amy Smart block

My block is called Goose on the Loose as a play on the Flying Geese motif. I made this block with my four kids in mind. I have two boys and two girls – each has their own totally distinct personality. Hence the four different quadrants of the block. When they were all little I sometimes felt like I was running in four different directions, trying to keep up with everyone’s needs and things felt wild (hence, the ‘goose on the loose’.) Have you ever tried chasing a two-year-old on the run when you’re 8 months pregnant? You get the idea…

Amy Smart Spelndid Sampler

Sewing was my sanity – the thing that stayed done amid lots of important, but repetitive, motherhood tasks. Now as they’re getting bigger and doing more outside the home, I find myself wanting to gather them together as much as I can before they’re gone. I have loved their support for me in this hobby over the years – “helping” me choose and layout fabrics (aka sometimes playing hopscotch or simply just walking over laid out patchwork squares), playing fabric store with my stash, and acting like it’s totally normal for your house to be overrun with piles of fabric, pins on the floor, and at least three sewing projects at a time on the dining room table.

At the same time, I’m also seeing that all of those small repetitive mothering tasks really do have a remarkable outcome.

Little Miss Sunshine Moda

I made my original blocks with this fun combination of Moda Fabrics from the collections Little Miss Sunshine and Fig Tree Quilts. As you can see, I had fun playing with contrasting white backgrounds, low-volume backgrounds, different fabric combinations, etc.

Aurifil Thread Splendid Sampler

I also got to use some of my favorite Aurifil thread for my piecing. I love their variety of neutral blenders that work with all of my piecing needs.

As you can see, this block is paper-pieced. While I love paper-piecing for it’s accuracy and clean, neat piecing and points, I also know that it can be a little bit intimidating and a whole different way of thinking. Here’s my advice for paper-piecing:

  • Take it slow and practice. It will come more naturally, the more you do it.
  • Cut your fabric pieces extra large – this will give you some wiggle room. If you’re like me, you hate the thought of wasting excess fabric, but I’ve gotten over that. The results are worth it.
  • Use a school glue-stick (cheap, washable ones) to stick your first piece in place – this will give you some piece of mind as you get that first seam in place
  • Always remember you’re building right-sides up on the back-side of the printed paper.
  • I also like to pre-fold my pattern on all the lines that will become seams. This will  help when you are trimming your excess fabric at 1/4″ seam allowances and make it easier to tear away the paper later.
  • Set your stitch length small (1.5 – 2) – this will make it much easier to remove those papers
  • Practice some more. Soon you’ll be able to do it without having to think and you’ll love the skill it adds to your repertoire.

If you learn visually, check out Jennifer Mathis’s video tutorial for paper-piecing – she’ll walk you through all the steps!

Splendid Sampler Blocks Amy Smart

We are now up to Block 22 of the Splendid Sampler. You can visit the Splendid Sampler website to get a free download of each of the previous patterns. New patterns are released every Sunday and Thursday. Here are a few of the blocks I’ve pieced so far. I’m especially smitten with the patchwork blocks. I got a little bit behind after my crazy deadlines this month, but I’ve started printing out patterns and piecing more blocks. I’m excited to catch up and make a fun little collection of 6″ x 6″ quilt blocks.

You can download my free block here.

Finally, while we’re at it, here are a few tips that I’ll share for making sampler blocks

half-square-triangle-short-cutsSquaring up Half Square Triangles

Half-Square Triangle Short-cuts






quick-quilting-tricks-and-tipsTips and Tricks for Quilters


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  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I love your block!!
    Thank you so much!!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Love your block and the beautiful color options you sewed up. Can’t wait to start mine. So loving this sew along.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 6:30 am

    It’s a fabulous design. Looking forward to making it….only my second go at pp!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I really like this block and the fact that it’s paper pieced is even better! can’t wait to start on it tonight!

  • Reply
    Catherine Parker
    April 28, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Just completed your block. It turned out very nice but my block’s finished size is only 5″ . What did I do wrong?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      April 28, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Hmm – possibly your printer resized the templates? Make sure the printed templates measure 3″ x 3″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance on all four sides.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 10:10 am

    thank you Amy!!!!! We love that you joined us and your block is so fun!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I really, really love this one! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tammy Dennis
    April 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I really like the look of the block, but I am still so scared to try paper piecing. I still haven’t done the last one yet. I will try watching your tips and see if it makes it easy to understand.

  • Reply
    Sharon Gibson
    April 28, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Glad someone else’s dining table is covered in sewing stuff, I feel less guilty now. Thanks for this it looks fun. Take care Sharon x

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I didn’t realise we were going to get a Splendid Sampler block from yourself. How wonderful. Have watched the video you linked to about paper piecing and it was great. I’m a beginner quilter but loving this opportunity to learn from all the blocks.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I love this block and cannot wait to make it.

  • Reply
    Judy in Idaho
    April 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Love your Block! … Identify with your cute story … so true 🙂 … thanks for the Great Tips for Paper Piecing! ..xoxo

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you Amy, love your block! You are amazing!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Very beautiful block! I also love hearing the inspiration and symbolism for it is based on your children. I just had my third baby and have definitely chased a toddler while 8 months pregnant 😉 we’re certainly in the wild stage of family right now. It’s nice to know all the mothering and work I put in now will pay off. I know im going to blink and my kiddos will be grown. Im going to make this block for sure!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      April 29, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Best wishes with that new baby! Enjoy those baby and little-people snuggles while they last. I used to think people were crazy when they’d lament how fast time flies, but now I get it. 😉 I think parenting just keeps getting more fun as they get older.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Those are wonderful, Amy. It would make a beautiful full sized quilt. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Cheri Barker
    April 29, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Love your block!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I love your block! AND fabric choices! And boy, do I understand how much quilting can save your sanity when you feel like you are drowning in diapers and dishes! 🙂

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      April 29, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Yep! Creative therapy makes for a more sane, happier mama, if you ask me!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I love your block! Thanks for the paper piecing tips too.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Your block is awesome (as is the pic of your blocks so far!) and I liked reading the story behind it. I have 4 kids myself but not much time to sew lately! Maybe next year…

  • Reply
    May 5, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Amy- and esp tips/tutorials! My quilting buddies tell me I’m really a FS collector..started while flying two weeks ‘everymonth’ for 20++ years, and visiting quilt shops/shows on the way!! PLANS to use my rotary cutter in 2017, restore and rebind quilt my grandmother made for me while I was in HS. In the meantime, HMQS/SLC opens today!!

  • Reply
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    August 5, 2016 at 5:30 am

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  • Reply
    Donna Dv
    August 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I LOVED your block!! It sewed together really well and was fun to do. I even did 2 blocks. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 28, 2016 at 9:07 am

    You’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your lovely blocks.

  • Reply
    Happy Valentines Day + a Splendid celebration - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog
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  • Reply
    August 18, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Goose on the loose….wat a name !! Love it immediately !! Gonna try tat with jelly rolls. Thanks for sharing !

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