Showing posts with label The Splendid Sampler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Splendid Sampler. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery - Slowing Down

The Splendid Sampler post is late this week, and I may not have something to show every week, at least not over the summer. I need to swing into wedding mode and work on new designs for my patterns. In addition to that, summer is upon us, and my friends won't have any Splendid Sampler blocks till later.

I actually did make a teensy bit of progress after dinner last night. I chose two very easy blocks and finished them up quickly - anything to make me feel like I'm getting somewhere. Once again, I need to remind myself that I'm not in school, the blocks are not graded assignments, and I can work at my own slow turtle pace.

The hat is actually a bonus block named "Derby Day" from Pat Sloan. I don't know why it simply begged to go on this background piece, but it was unrelenting. Guess it wanted to be a city hat.

The second block I made is Block 17, "Sweet Candy". I absolutely loved making this one! This is one of those fun little things for those moments when a person craves something fast, easy, and no-fail. It is definitely a sweet little block. Marjorie sent this photo of her latest block. The colors are so springlike and happy! Her quilt will be so much fun when it's finished. She's going on vacation, so she won't be be sending any photos of Splendid Sampler blocks for awhile.

From My Splendid Friends 

Marjorie sent this photo of her latest block. The colors are so springlike and happy! Her quilt will be so much fun when it's finished. She's going on vacation, so she won't be be sending any photos of Splendid Sampler blocks for awhile.

 Marjorie says, 
"This was really a relaxing pattern to stitch.  Sad to say this will probably be my last block for about a month.  It is time to close our Fl home and go to GA for the summer."

Dixie, on the other hand, has so many other projects in the works that she's taking a very long break from the Splendid Sampler. This Baltimore Album quilt in progress simply boggles my mind. Never in a million years would I have the patience to take on something like this! Just WOW, Dixie! This is gorgeous!

From Dixie:

"Several years ago I completed the same designer’s “Baltimore Autumn” quilt, same size, same format. When Keepsake Quilting offered it as a block of the month, all laser cut, I had to jump in.  I have always been fascinated by Baltimore Album quilts, but I knew I’d not have the time nor the patience for all the extra preliminary work.  It took me several years to complete, and then I sent it off to an award-winning long arm quilter in Maine, and the results were stunning.  Wow, I was so happy.

I thought long and hard about doing this “Spring” one.  I don’t have the same energy these days, but I made up my mind to have the “companion” piece in my collection.  As with my “Baltimore Autumn,” this one will be all machine appliqué, a combination of blanket stitch where I can, and, where the pieces are too tiny, I’ll just do raw edge appliqué. I’ll probably take all the blocks down from my wall soon, as, sometimes when I walk into the sewing room, I want to turn around right away and run as fast as I can, as the work looks so daunting!  Slow and steady wins the race, though, and  that’s what I am counting on."
These particular blocks my be slowing down, but even if I have nothing to show from the Splendid Sampler, I'll continue blogging every week about something or another. 

Take Note: 
I love sharing my readers' work. If you have a project of any kind that you'd be willing to share, please send photos and tell us something about it. You can send them through my facebook page, or you can email them to me here: I'll try to post anything you send within a week of receiving the photos. 

Hope you have a truly "Splendid" week!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery. Slim Pickings.

This week I've accomplished nothing at all with Splendid Sampler blocks. Zip, zilch, zero. It isn't that I've been goofing off, but that I've been busy with writing tutorials and a basket pattern.

Dixie has decided to take a break for awhile. Like me, she has other commitments that take precedence over this project.

Now and again we need to step back and decide just what our priorities are. I love the Splendid Sampler and the tremendous variety of blocks in different styles. It's challenging, it's fun, it's filled with new skills for me to learn. In spite of that, I have no choice but to work on those thing that matter most to my family. There are pants and a wedding dress waiting to be shortened, a garden in need of attention, a house that must be cleaned, meals that have to be prepared, and only so many hours in a given day. 

I will catch up eventually. Will I make every single block that we are given? Absolutely not. I love most of the blocks, but there are some I'll skip. Some are too time consuming and others simply don't fit in with my vision of the finished quilt.

But, all is not lost!! 

Marjorie has come riding across the prairie with two new blocks to share!!

And they are beauties, too!

I love the vibrancy of these color combinations. So bright and lively. This will be such a pretty quilt. 

Marjorie's message was short and sweet.

"Hello Karen,  Hot off the ironing board.  Hopefully I am on a roll .  I must say,  I liked working with Solvy.  Will definitely use again.  Happy stitching,  Marjorie"
 Marjorie, I do hope you're on a roll! Your work is lovely.

Let's see what next week brings. 
It's been wet, gray, and dismal for long enough now.  

I wish you sunshine and lollipops for May, and a few rainbows and other wonderful things, too. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery - Short Version

This week there is only one Splendid Sampler block to show. Life gets busy, but I think that my friends will likely have blocks to share next week.

I pretty much knocked myself out with the last Kitty Craft applique block this week, so I didn't get around to Splendid Sampler until today. Block 17 was the scarier of the two blocks waiting to be sewn, so I tackled it first. It's a sweet block called "Family Ties", and the stars are meant to symbolize family members.

I really considered fabrics for a long time. We have a very tight little family, and I wanted to show that. The middle star represents my husband and me. I think of us as a unit bound by love and loyalty. The red center of that star represents love and the blue is for loyalty. The other four blocks are for our son, our daughter, my granddaughter, and our grandson. We are tied together by love, and that's why red diamonds connect us all.

Choosing fabrics is one thing, but sewing is another story altogether. Trouble is, those triangles are itty-bitty and downright intimidating for someone who can often struggle to sew a block with tiny squares. The half square triangles are only 3/4" square!

I know my weaknesses, so don't tell anyone, but I cheated. I paper pieced every single unit containing triangles. It took five hours to finish, but those triangles are downright perfect! 

Tomorrow a new block comes out and I'll be two blocks behind! How do people with small children and full time jobs ever manage to get any quilting done? I'm in awe.

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery - Falling Behind

What a week I've had!
  1. I've done the sewing, taken photos, and written two tutorials for the Summer Purse. 
  2. I made two mug rugs and a pattern to go with them.
  3.  Thursday was my monthly book talk day school. I presented 12 books to each of two groups of students and tried to get them excited about reading every single one of them.  This is truly one of my favorite things to do. 
  4. I was in Omaha with my son for most of the day on Friday.
With all of that activity, I fell behind with the Splendid Sampler blocks, but I did manage to make one of them today. That one, though, is a doozy. (Does anyone even use that word anymore? My age is showing again.)

The Splendid Sampler Gallery

 "Family Affair" is paper pieced, and some of these pieces of fabric are so tiny! The white strips are terribly narrow, so getting the whole block to come out perfectly is a matter of patience. I like paper piecing. It usually goes very quickly, but today I really had to slow down. There were moments of frustration when I was putting the four sections together, but now that it's finished, this block is one of my favorites. It has a bit of a kaleidoscope effect.
Block 15, "Family Affair"
What I like about paper foundation piecing:  I love the precision! Those sharp, sharp corners make me happy. It's usually much faster than other methods, and I love the excitement of discovering the unexpected in the finished block. It never looks like I thought it would. in this case it's way better than I'd guessed. A lot of people hate tearing off the paper when the sewing is done, but I really don't mind at all. It's one of those activities that is slow and monotonous so your brain can wander here and there. I try to save it for the end of the day when my energy is low. Tearing the paper helps me to relax.

What I don't like about paper foundation piecing: The amount of fabric that gets wasted. There is waste, and with good quilting fabric costing upwards of $11 per yard, it's hard to toss out so many tiny bits of fabric that are too small to salvage.

 Your Blocks

Marjorie Colleran

Marjorie sent Block 12 to me yesterday. All of those little 1" squares nearly did me in, but Marjorie's block is absolutely perfect. I really do like the blue and white checkerboard effect.

Marjories' Block 12
Marjorie's email made me smile. She's been terrifically busy with family and friends recently, but I have a hunch that she'll be able to find more sewing time very soon.

She wrote, "My 'fabric solvy'  arrived and I'm hopeful that this will be the week for catching up."

Isn't that the truth of it, though? It's easy to find time to sew when you have the perfect fabrics.

Dixie Moore

Look at the progress with these blues! As blocks accumulate we're starting to get a feel for what the finished quilt will look like, and it's starting to get exciting - and addictive, too.
Dixie's email said it all.  " I just sent you a photo of my completed blocks, all but the paper-pieced. Now that I’ve had a day or two to remove myself from the frustration, I’ll try again, a few more times.  Never took a class…never really wanted to learn it.  My fabric life is more about appliqué and regular-pieced quilts.  Don’t mind stepping outside of the box now and then, but if you don’t know what you are doing, this paper-pieced block is daunting."

April is zipping by at breakneck speed and I have a Kitty Craft block to make this coming week. I wonder where the cats will be playing this time. Hmm...

Have a super duper week!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery and Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm the only one sharing Splendid Sampler photos this week, so I've added the recipe for yummy peanut butter cookies to the end of this post

The Gallery

In spite of the new pattern and working on my second purse, I actually managed to keep up this week! Three new blocks have joined my collection. One of them was even a bonus block. 

Block 13, "Scrap Stars", is one of my very favorites so far. Once again I had to face those itty-bitty pieces that plague me. I did cheat a tiny bit and used paper foundation piecing for the flying geese to get my points precise. I managed the rest of it the old-fasioned way. the combined techniques worked well for me. 

I loved Pat Sloan's bonus block! It's simple and elegant. With no tiny triangles to make, the piecing was quick and  easy. The designers have thoughtfully balanced the tricky blocks with quick and easy ones.

"Flying High", block 14 appeared in my inbox Thursday morning. The birds are beautiful, but they almost did me in. I was determined to applique these three silhouettes by hand. I've never been successful with hand applique, but everyone says that it only takes practice. I ruined the first three birds with needle turn applique. I'm not a quitter, and I wasn't about to give up so easily. I got out the freezer paper. This is supposed to be surefire. 

Forty-five minutes later another three birds hit the trash. By now half the morning had gone by, six birds were headed for the landfill, and one 7" square of background fabric was beyond repair. I gave up. I got out the fusible web and whipped those babies onto a background in no time.  Thank you, my trusty machine blanket stitch.You never let me down.

After all of that I went upstairs and baked a batch of peanut butter cookies. I ate two cookies while they were still warm. They were delicious, and I'd earned them.

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the sugar butter mixture.
2 Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
peanut-butter-cookie-2.jpg peanut-butter-cookie-3.jpg
3 Preheat oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork. 
*4. Bake until light brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for 15 minutes.

*Note: After 10 minutes my cookies were still slightly uncooked in the middle. I gave them the full 15 minutes, and they were perfect. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery and Floss, Before and After

The Gallery

I've learned that two other participants are using the same Mon Ami fabric line that I'm using. I've really enjoyed seeing how we each interpret the blocks. It's surprising that the same fabrics in the same blocks can look so different.

Two new blocks came out this week, and we were also given two bonus blocks. It was quite a chunk for just one week, and between sewing a purse and working on a tutorial, I was really pressed to keep up. I'm afraid I decided to skip one bonus block altogether. I've done it before and I'm sure it won't be the last block I skip or postpone for later.

These are my three blocks for the week. They're out of order, I know, but the one that came first ties into the before and after floss pics, so I've placed it third.

I enjoyed this bonus block from Pat Sloan. It was easy and fun. I spent more time choosing fabrics than I did making the block!
Bonus Block: Just for You

The 1" checkerboard was so good for me. Lots of little pieces are still a challenge, but at these were all squares, so it went smoothly. Finding that scant 1/4" is tricky. I've finally chosen the only quarter inch foot from my collection that is accurate, and I refuse to use any of the others. I had no idea there could be so much variance - just a hair, but that hair can really throw measurements off.
Block 12: Checkerboard

Block 11 was a learning experience. First I learned that if you try to use any old embroidery floss you just might have to unpick a big section of floss that clashes and ruins the entire effect, and that unpicking takes a looong time. I ended up with an emergency trip to Michael's. Then, while I was getting the matching floss I picked up a floss organizer and a couple of other items. What a difference an organizer makes! I have no idea why I didn't buy one years ago.
Block 11 Crocheted Thoughts

Floss, Before and After

I spent several evenings winding floss while listening to music or watching Netflix. Where did all the pink and green come from?



Your Blocks

Dixie Moore

I thought I was doing well until Dixie sent in a photo of all of her blocks together. Remember how busy she was last week with a bargello quilt and a slew of spring mug rugs? I can't believe that she caught up and hasn't yet missed a single block! The Easter block in the second row and the middle block in the top row of her photo are two of the bonus blocks I've missed so far. 

Dixie has summed up the feelings of most of us participating in the quilt along.  
" Blocks in semi-finished state. Want to add something to pale blue heart...words or maybe a small flower. Pat Sloan's Checkerboard is probably too somber, so I cut out a new set of squares to be sewn together. This project is turning into a most enjoyable activity. Love thinking, love the anticipation, and I enjoy seeing how others interpret the designs."

Dixie's first 15 blocks. The blues are working out so nicely!
The Easter block in the second row and the middle block in the top row are two of the bonus blocks I've missed so far.  

Marge Colleran

Marge continues to work at a pace that feels comfortable. She has her priorities in the right place. This isn't a race. It's meant to be fun!

Marge explained it well. 
" I stitched a little each day and am sending my latest blocks to you.  Friends around the Square may have to be redone and others still need some embellishing.  I am always looking forward to the next block."

Block number 13 comes out tomorrow. I hope I have time to work on it right away, but my to do list is growing by leaps and bounds: A purse tutorial to work on, a second new purse, more than a dozen requests for a particular apron pattern, block 4 for the Kitty Craft quilt along, a new round of fifth grade book talks, and I really want to work on a mug rug. Somewhere in there we'll have to eat, too. 

It's good to have goals, but we all need to take time to smell the flowers. 
I won't get everything done as quickly as I'd like, but I definitely won't lose sleep over any of it. 
Besides, tomorrow is Easter.

Wishing all of you a beautiful Easter!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery, Something New, and Watson

Something New
For several weeks I've been trying to find time to make a new purse, and I finally feel caught up enough to start. The fabrics will be leftover from the "Kitty Craft" quilt along. They are such pretty fabrics, and it only makes sense to use those instead of buying something new. 

So far I've only decided on how to make the front pocket. I'm placing three hexagons on it. This will definitely be a design-as-I-go bag. It's my mystery quilt bag.

The Splendid Sampler Gallery

I love the variety in the Splendid Sampler blocks! Each one is so different from every other that has come along. Most of all, I relish learning new tricks and struggling with new challenges. We all have our specialties, but we only grow through accepting challenges that take us beyond our comfort zones.
Block 9, "Local Quilt Shop"
 Blocks 9 and 10 were given to us this week. Block 9  is one of my very favorites so far. I have such a weakness for quilted houses!
I'm not sure that I like my interpretation of the block. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I don't care for it at all. It much too busy for my taste, so I will quite likely remake it. That's at least the fourth one to land onto my list of blocks to redo so far. At this rate, if I actually do remake those less than happy blocks, I'll have two quilts and one will be made of all the discards. 

Block 10, "Iowa" with Block 9

Block 10 looks so easy, and it would have been quick and slick if I hadn't go myself all in a muddle with it. As it was, my seam ripper got a great workout. All's well that ends well, but I do hate wasted time.

Your Blocks

Keeping up with the pace of the blocks isn't easy. Lives fill up with other things, and we often need to slow down.

Marge Colleran
Marge has sent a photo for Blocks 5 & 6. They are perfectly precise! She's stitching these blocks at a pace that's comfortable for her, and that's just the way it should be!

Dixie has also slowed down a bit on The Splendid Sampler, but her sewing machine is getting a real workout! Look what she has been doing these past two weeks! A bargello quilt workshop and nine spring mug rugs!! Quite enough, don't you think?

This next week may the one that slows me down. I know I won't get Sunday's Splendid Sampler made on Sunday because I'll be hosting a meal for my family. That includes the newest member, whom I've yet to meet.

 Watson, my daughter's new baby.

Watson, there's a strip of bacon waiting for you at my house! Shhh...

Happy First Day of Spring!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery, Messing Up, and a Sneak Preview

What a week! Between working on the new block for my own quilt along and keeping up with the Splendid Sampler, I've hardly left my sewing room.

First, a Sneak Preview

The third pair of blocks for "Kitty Craft" will be published next week. Kitty found the sewing room! We all knew that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Her she sits grooming herself. Or is she getting ready to go for the pincushion? Hard to tell, isn't it.

The Splendid Sampler Gallery

I love the Splendid Sampler! It's making me stretch and grow. This week, though, the blocks were easy. And, I messed up on both of them! I know better!

Lesson 1: Measure twice, cut once. 

I was so excited to find that Block #7 was designed for embroidery. Embroidery was my gateway drug to sewing, the skill I begged to learn at the age of four, the one that put the very first threaded needle in the grip of my chubby fingers, and the beginning of my lifelong sewing romance.

So, I played an entire day with my pretty threads. I tossed in applique, decorative machine stitches, and hand embroidery. So much fun. It was late in the evening when I took the completed block downstairs to square up and trim. I must not have been paying close attention, because I cut it too narrow on two sides! I'd started out with an extra large piece of background fabric, so I was able to add to the remaining sides to get a 6 1/2" square block. Now, it was the right size, but off balance.  I managed to salvage it with some extra embroidery on the larger sides. It will do.

 Lesson 2: Fabrics of similar value run together. 

Block #8 was a very traditional pattern that was easily pieced. I made it twice. The first time around I thought that the prints in my green fabrics might be different enough that they would contrast. I've been quilting for quite awhile, now, so how could I have suddenly forgotten all about value? I know the rules. I teach the rules, for goodness sake. Contrasting values are the magic to making a quilt pop. I managed to get it right on the second attempt, so now I have another extra block. I seem to be acquiring quite a few extra blocks.

Your Blocks

From Dixie Moore

No mistakes from Dixie! These blocks are perfect! 

Spring is almost here!! 
Have a lovely week!


Friday, March 4, 2016

The Splendid Sampler Gallery and Making a Paper Pieced Pattern

I'm having too much fun with this quilt along. I mean that literally! I need to make the next block for my own "Kitty Craft" quilt along, and I desperately need a new bag or two.

Tomorrow, I work on those. Tomorrow.

The fifth block for Splendid Sampler came out on Thursday. It's a divided 9-patch, slice and dice, and it whizzed together in no time. Now and then, something easy and relaxing is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Block #5

And then came the sixth block in the quilt along. Oh, my. I had to make it twice. I saw too many possibilities with the layout, so I sewed it with completely different values the first time around. Once again, I was working with tiny triangles, and though I am learning and getting better at this, it was a struggle to get the points right.

I wasn't finished, though. I like the original, and I wanted one similar to that as well.  So, I made it again. This time, I chose the easy way out, and paper pieced it. Slick! With paper piecing I was able to eliminate some of those tiny triangles, too.

It's hard to believe that these two blocks are from the same identical pattern!
Block #6

Your Blocks

From Marge Colleran

"I am using my stash and am having soooo much fun."

Marge's first four blocks

From Dixie Moore

Dixie has sewn her first five blocks all over again using a totally new group of fabrics. Such a difference!

From Dixie:
"... my two favorite blocks thus far are #4 and #5.  Who doesn’t like appliqué, for one, and the Simple Simon block was just a delight to stitch.  Now that I am settled in with my Civil War fabrics (these come from my flirtation with a blue and white Dear Jane quilt in 2010), I can dig in and enjoy this project as much as many of the other gals seem to.

What I’ve come to know thus far is just how sensitive the fabric is to rotary cutter and board. Each cut moves the fabric a hair; the fabric must be coaxed back to the line each time. When I do original appliqué or make mug rugs, being a hair off is not an issue. The other thing that fascinates me is just how powerful our machines are as we slip fabric under the foot pedal.  I am employing my oldest and smallest machine for these blocks. I think my larger machine would eat the blocks in the blink of an eye. Moreover, while I am a pinner, I can see the value of just carefully nesting the pieces into each other with the opposing pressed seams.  A small pin can distort, and quickly, sabotaging the careful work that came before.

I expect to be a much better piecer by the end of this journey, and that delights me."

Dixie's Blocks #1 - #5

Dixie's Block #6
A Tutorial

Make a paper piecing pattern for Block 6


Print off the block diagram that came with the pattern. Choose your fabrics and locate where each will be placed. I wrote the letters right onto the diagram.

Fabrics as shown on the pattern: 

There are three basic pattern sections for the block..  I've shown the pattern measurements with sketches made on graph paper.  If you aren't comfortable with a computer drawing program, you can draw your pattern like this on graph paper.  I made the final pattern in color with the drawing program on Microsoft Word. I've numbered the pieces to show the order in which fabric pieces are sewn.

1. The Center Section

Draw a square 2" x 2". Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the next. Draw another square that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".  Make 4.

You will need to sew two of each color combination. The numbers indicate which fabric is placed first. 

2. Short Side Section

 Draw a rectangle 1" x 4". Divide as shown below.  Draw another rectangle that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 1 1/2" x 4 1/2". Make 2.

Color placement and numbers to show the order in which fabrics are added is shown here.

3. Long Side Section

 Draw a rectangle 1" x 6". Divide as shown below.  Draw another rectangle that is 1/4" larger on each side. The finished pattern is 1 1/2" x 6 1/2". Make 2.

 Color placement and numbers to show the order in which fabrics are added is shown here.


The block is assembled exactly as shown in the original pattern. Use 1/4" seams throughout. I laid the sections out before sewing together so that I could keep my colors matched correctly. 

I removed the paper before sewing the sections together, but it can be left in place until the block is completed.

1. Sew the four 2 1/2" squares in the center together to make a 4 1/2" square.
2. Sew the short side sections to either side of the center squares. Be careful to line up the colors the way you want them to be.
3. Sew the long side sections to the opposite sides of the block.

That's it! 

Any questions can be left in the comment section of this blog
 or they can be sent to me via email.