In 2016 I stumbled upon The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along just before it kicked off, and decided to join on the spur of the moment. I’d never done one before but I thought the small block size (6″ finished) and relaxed schedule of two blocks per week seemed do-able. I kept up for most of the year, and then a big patch of travel followed by the winter holidays derailed me a little. In the end, I completed 70 of the 100+ blocks and bonus blocks. I sashed them all and I’m now using quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) to quilt each block before assembling the whole quilt.
When I started I promised myself not to buy new fabric for the top, but to dig into my stash and use up some of that. I selected lights, mediums, and darks that I thought would work together. Partway through I added one or two more fabrics, but I did manage to stick to stash-only. The color choices were hard at times but overall I think I like the effect. My favorite color is blue, and I added the constraint on myself not to use any blue in my blocks. I think that was the hardest part! I did choose blue for the sashing and the backing, though.
As I quilt each block I’ll post it here along with notes about how I quilted it. I’m using a QAYG technique I learned in a Craftsy class by Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World, where you quilt each block and its batting, then piece the top, sandwich it with the backing, and quilt the block edges (or in my case, the sashings) through all layers.
The Splendid Sampler was a great opportunity to try a lot of techniques that were new to me or that I hadn’t done a lot of, including embroidery, machine appliqué, and English paper piecing, as well as practicing techniques that I do more often like paper piecing and hand appliqué. The quilting method I’m using is new to me, too, and gives me lots of chances to try free motion quilting on my sit-down machine. I’m quilting my way through the blocks now and hope to be done with the top in a few weeks. Of course, I’ve also started piecing my next top at the same time… which could slow things down 😉