But you know what else I love? That very same long tradition. I love that women have been quilting for hundreds of years—taking a craft that was born of necessity and turning it into an art form. I love being next in a long line of creative people putting their own modern spin on it now. I love taking blocks that quilters have been making for decades and injecting them with a little freshness. And I love the fact that quilting, this most traditional of pursuits, is now thriving online.
Apparently I'm not alone. Between the wildly popular Farmer's Wife Quilt Along, traditional quilt exhibits all over the country, and the modern takes on traditional blocks that are popping up all over Flickr (like this one and this one), it seems that many modern quilters are looking to incorporate traditional piecing into their designs. So when Kate of Swim Bike Quilt and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts had the idea to do a sampler quilt-along based on traditional blocks from Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns, and they asked me to be a part of it, I jumped at the chance! I knew whatever these talented ladies came up with was sure to be amazing.
So welcome to the Summer Sampler Series! For the next month, Kate, Faith, and I will post weekly step-by-step tutorials on the traditional block designs seen above. We'll also be telling you a little about the history of the blocks, and then we'll put them all together into a small sampler quilt. I'll be doing my sampler scrappy, while Kate makes hers from Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope line (one of my absolute favorites!), and Faith will be using solids. Each block is 12.5" unfinished.
Some of the blocks we've chosen may look challenging, but once you break them down into their individual elements, they really aren't as complicated as they seem. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised! The first five blocks consist entirely of squares, rectangles, and half square triangles. We will also be doing a little bit of paper piecing, sewing some equilateral triangles, string blocks, and diamonds. But what better way is there to learn and stretch your skills?
Full quilt-along details are below. We can't wait to get started. We hope you'll join us to make your own sampler—or at least tag along for the ride while we do the work!
The Katie Jump Rope Sampler
Mondays at Swim, Bike, Quilt: July 11, 18, 25, & August 1
The Solids Sampler
Wednesdays at Fresh Lemons: July 13, 20, 27, & August 3
The Scrappy Sampler
Fridays at Freshly Pieced: July 15, 22, 29, & August 5
Fabric Requirements: We estimate that each 12.5 inch (unfinished) quilt block will take the equivalent of a fat quarter to make; three yards of printed fabric and two yards of solids should be more than enough.Summer Sampler Quilt Along Flickr Group: We'd love to see your fabric selections, process shots, and answer any questions through the flickr group!
Based on blocks found in the book Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns, by Barbara Brackman