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!
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…
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.
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.
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 ¼″ 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!
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.
Finally, while we’re at it, here are a few tips that I’ll share for making sampler blocks