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  • Writer's pictureKaren

The Rise of the Sampler Quilt

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

This week in Karen's Quilt Circle, I spoke with Barbara Brackman, author of Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It was such a fascinating interview about the history of quilt blocks, and I couldn't help but reflect on my own experience with sampler quilts.

My very first finished quilt was a sampler quilt. It was a Block of the Month series from my local quilt shop, Sew-Sisters. It was made from Northcott Stonehenge fabric. And inexperienced me, thought making a King sized quilt as a first quilt made sense since my bed was a King. Though I never cared for the fabrics individually, they came together very nicely. I had so much fabric leftover, I used it all up in the back making my first Afterquilt. My longarmmer took both the sampler front and pieced back, both on point and she somehow made it all work. It resides on my bed to this day, and it’s nice switching between traditional and modern depending on my mood.

I have made other sampler quilts since then. The Farmer's Wife (1920), Aviatrix, Jen Kingwell’s Long Time Gone and Tula Pink’s City Sampler.

As this week’s Kinship Fusion Sampler QAL kicks off on July 1st, I realized how much the sampler method suits me. I like the variety as I bore easily with repetitive work. I like how you can play with colour layouts and fussy cutting. And if something doesn’t work out, no problem. There will be a different block tomorrow. I also like checking items off the list - crossing the days off feeds my momentum.

My goal for this year’s #100days100blocks is to use my Tula Pink fabric stash.

As I auditioned different fat quarters, I had to laugh at myself. Initially, I thought I was using up the complete stash. I now realize how large it is and I’ll now be happy just to make a dent. My colour palette of purples, blues and lime green will be new for me. And once I had my colours I spent a night playing with Prequilt playing with block layouts

I have spent the last month finishing off projects so that I have the space to enjoy myself. I had to make some executive decisions on certain items like this quilt. It was a travelling quilt project. I had always hoped to add one last border on it but I decided it was fine as it was and loaded it up on the long arm. I had a backing piece and batting that fit it perfectly.

As I mentioned earlier, this week’s Karen’s Quilt Circle interview is with Barbara Brackman, author of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Barbara has been collecting quilt block patterns for over 30 years and her new book is a must for anyone that likes sampler quilts. All the variations are amazing. You can purchase your copy here (amazon)

So I’m off to put my first blocks together. Looking forward to seeing the blocks that you come up with too.

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