I’m so excited to participate in this year’s APQ Quiltalong! This is my third year doing the quiltalong and every year I’m overwhelmed by my choices! This year has 4 (seriously!!!) amazing projects to choose from. I made the pillow project to start (you can get instructions here), then decided to tackle one of the quilts (get more quiltalong info + see the featured projects here.)
I pulled inspiration from Grand Total, the stunning Pat Bravo quilt on page 46 of the American Patchwork & Quilting April 2016 issue (shown above). Pat used a slash-and-sew technique to add strips to squares, then joined all the squares to create one mega plus sign! I fell in love with this quilt the first time I saw it, but knew I wanted it smaller than the original. The original quilt uses 729 squares total. My smaller version uses only 144.
This quilt gave me an excuse to play with my mini charm squares. The original quilt used 3″ squares, but I chose from my 2-1/2″ squares for a no-cutting quilt design! I separated my charms by color and decided on this rainbow palette. Then I narrowed down my selection to my favorite prints (trust me, it was hard to choose!). I decided to arrange the colors so they made a gradient across my quilt in a counterclockwise direction. It look my hours to find the right arrangement. I took a lot of photos with my phone, and used the photo to see which prints stood out too much and which ones didn’t look right in their placement.
After arranging the plus sign colors, I choose scrappy neutrals for my background. I pulled mostly from one white-and-gray polka dot print, but added a few tan squares and a few gray squares to add interest. I added a few pieced background squares in each background corner for a fun burst of color.
The squares were just begging for straight-line quilting, so I did a cross-hatch design in the white corners and a chevron design in the plus block. I finished the quilt off with black-and-white binding! The fabric is the fun Sketch Basic Whiteblack from Timeless Treasures. I think the binding really helps the colors pop for a standout look I love!
Are you joining in our our Quilt Along? Share pictures of your progress with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #APQQuiltalong!
–Lindsay Mayland, multimedia editor
Sunday is Valentine’s Day. While many women may be waiting for chocolates and flowers, I’m excited to start The Splendid Sampler! The first block is released that day and I’m in LOVE! If you’re like me then you’re definitely too excited to wait that long (I know it’s only four more days, but still…). There are a few things you can do to get prepared, though, and it’ll help you get off to a flawless start when The Splendid Sampler starts.
Step 1: Choose your fabrics. The fabrics I chose are above. They’re the Lizzie’s Legacy collection by Betsy Chutchian for Moda Fabrics (they’re being released in March, so if you want them, hold tight!). My favorite colors for quilts are blues and browns, so this palette (with its pops of yellow, pink, and red) is perfect for my traditional taste. The fabrics have a variety of creams (perfect for background prints), both light and dark fabrics so I can play with value, and a mix of large and small prints to add texture and interest. If you need more guidance picking fabrics, there is a great blog post on The Splendid Sampler site with tips for choosing fabrics + other supplies you should gather before the Sampler starts!
Step 2: Be prepared to learn. The 100 blocks include traditional piecing, but also paper-piecing, English paper-piecing, embroidery, and appliqué. I’m very much a traditional piecer and have never ventured into any type of paper piecing. I may be a little nervous, but I’m approaching this Sampler as an opportunity to learn new skills and practice them. It’s very easy to learn new skills when it’s on one 6″ quilt block. That way, I can take my time to learn and if I mess up, it’s not a large investment in time or fabric. If you need more encouragement, here’s a great blog about being open to learning AND where to find resources if you need help.
Step 3: Mark your calendars! Blocks will be released every Sunday and Thursday from February 14, 2016 — February 2, 2017. (You can see what designers are posting each day here. Our day is April 7!) Block patterns will be available for free until March 2017, so make sure you’re downloading them and sewing along!
Step 4: Get to know the designers. There are 83 amazing designers participating! They have such talents and I’m so excited to be working beside them on this project. Make sure to visit their blogs, “like” them on social media, and follow them along the way. There are fun tips from each designer on The Splendid Sampler blog, so you can get to know them. You can read our tips here! Also, make sure to “meet” our fearless leaders Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.
BONUS! Want to start sewing right away? Jane and Pat designed this bonus project that’s also super useful for this Sampler! It’s a cute folding block station, which includes a design board, a pressing station, and a pocket for your 6-1/2″ square ruler. While this project is totally optional, it’ll be handy for keeping small pieces in place while making your blocks. Get the free pattern here.
How do I get involved?
- Visit the official The Splendid Sampler website and sign up to receive email notifications when new blog posts are made.
- Take a tour of the participating designers’ websites via the links on the right side of the website.
- Join the Facebook group for inspiration and news!
- Use hashtag #TheSplendidSampler to tag photos you share on Instagram.
We can’t wait to get started sewing and we hope you join us! Our editor Lindsay Mayland will be blogging frequently and posting pictures on her Instagram, so make sure you follow her at @lindsmayland and us at @allpeoplequilt to see her progress!
–Lindsay Mayland + American Patchwork & Quilting