The Splendid Sampler | Staff Blog

The Splendid Sampler

5 posts.

Special Sampler Block: Pillowcase Palooza!

Get the free block pattern here.

To most of us a pillowcase may not be a big deal. It’s something we barely notice as we lay down to sleep each night. But for some, they can be a great source of comfort and joy during a time of stress and uncertainty. Whether it’s a piece of home in a sterile hospital room, a little return to normalcy for those in homeless shelters or women’s shelters, or just a reminder that someone else in the world cares, a pillowcase can make a huge difference in your community.


We started our One Million Pillowcase Challenge in 2010, and in just a few years quilters and sewers all over the world have donated more than 689,000 pillowcases to those in need! That’s 689,000 smiles and sighs of relief! We’ve heard countless stories of how this Challenge has changed lives in communities across the country, as well as given many quilters a community to share a great cause with. This special block for The Splendid Sampler celebrates those quilters and aims to spread awareness about this cause!


Thanks to everyone who has donated pillowcases over the years! No matter how big or small your donation is it really does make a huge difference in another person’s life!


Want to help? Check out the links and information below!


Learn more about the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Find a list of suggested charities.

Find shops in your area that collect pillowcases.

Get free patterns.

Add your pillowcases to our count!

50 Block Celebration Tour: The Splendid Sampler

Can you believe we’re halfway done with The Splendid Sampler? We’ve made 50 beautiful blocks! That’s more than five months of learning new techniques, meeting new designers, and sharing our projects with others. And I’m having a blast doing it! Seeing all my blocks laid out together brings me so much happiness (and I have to admit, I’m a little proud, too.) I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with the schedule, but every time a new block comes out, I read the designer’s story and feel so inspired to start sewing. (We were block 16! Did you make ours? See the block + a special project using it here.)



We’re doing a giveaway to celebrate reaching the 50th block! Three lucky readers will win a free pattern from our online store Comment on this blog by August 6 and tell us how many of The Splendid Sampler blocks you’ve finished. Also include “#giveaway” to be eligible to win.


*No purchase necessary to enter or win. Subject to Official Rules here. The Splendid Sampler Giveaway begins at 8:00 a.m. C.T. on 08/03/16 and ends at 11:59 p.m. C.T. on 08/05/16. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, 18 years or older. Limit one (1) entry per person using only one (1) email address. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Meredith Corporation.


Follow Along On the 50 Block Celebration Tour

Aug 3
* Cheryl Arkison 
* Pat Sloan 
* Christa Watson 
* Kim Niedzwiecki 
* Lindsay Mayland (that’s us!)
* Amy Ellis 
* Lynn Harris
* Geta Grama 
* Katja Marek 
* Kari Carr 
* Alyssa Thomas

Aug 4 – Joanna Figueroa is Block 50

Aug 5
* Melissa Corry 
* Joan Ford 
* Kathy Schmitz 
* Michele Foster 
* Sara Lawson 
* Lynette Anderson 
* Jacquelynne Steves

* April Rosenthal

* Laura Flynn 

* Amy Smart

Aug 6
* Charise Randell 
* Celine Perkins 
* Gail Pan
* Sherri McConnell 
* Sarah J Maxwell 
* Jane Davidson 
* Janet Clare 
* Pat Wys 
* Di Mill 
* Jennifer Reynolds 
* Anne Sutton



How do I get involved?


We can’t wait to see your blocks! Our editor Lindsay Mayland will be blogging regularly 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

Our Splendid Sampler Block!

I’m so excited to release our The Splendid Sampler block, Pieces of Friendship, today! When I first started working at American Patchwork & Quilting I couldn’t sew (I know, it’s crazy!). In my years working for the magazine, I’ve not only learned to sew from my talented co-workers, but have become an avid and passionate quilter. I owe that passion to the American Patchwork & Quilting community. I love seeing what our readers are creating, what they’re inspired by, and what they’re learning! As the online editor, there are so many talented quilters that I get to interact with every day, and their different interests inspire me, push me out of my comfort zone, and teach me so much. I had that diverse community in mind when designing this block. Just like the different colors, patterns, and shapes come together in this block to form something beautiful, our quilting community also comes together in an amazing way to support each other. This block goes out to our lovely readers!


If you’ve been following my The Splendid Sampler blocks on Instagram so far, you know I’m using Lizzie’s Legacy by Betsy Chutchian for Moda Fabrics. (Brown is my favorite color, so I can’t say no to a deep and rich color palette.) But I  couldn’t resist the Summerfest collection by April Rosenthal of Prairie Grass for Moda Fabrics. Since my block is being released at the start of spring, I wanted to play with something bright and happy!



Piecing tip: If you’re like me, you like to be safer than sorry when piecing triangles. I cut my coral squares 4″ before cutting them into triangles, so I had a little extra wiggle room when trimming them down.


Piecing tip: I always use leader strips when working with triangles so my machine doesn’t eat my triangle points (and yes, I didn’t forget a few times and had to rip out a few stitches!).


I love the secondary design this block makes when you have multiples sewn together. Pinwheels are so fun for spring! Want to make the mini shown above? Here are the instructions!


You will need:

  • 4 — Pieces of Friendship blocks (get the block pattern here)
  • 2 — 4-1/4″ squares of Fabric A (light yellow print). Cut twice on the diagonal to yield 4 small triangles.
  • 2 — 4-1/4″ squares of Fabric B (dark yellow print). Cut twice on the diagonal to yield 4 small triangles.
  • 4 — 3-1/2″ squares of Fabric D (blue print)
  • 4 — 3-7/8″ squares of Fabric E (red print). Cut once on the diagonal to yield 8 large triangles.
  • 8 — 3-1/2″ squares of Fabric E (red print)


Note: Fabric A, fabric B, and fabric D correspond to the fabrics in the block pattern download.



1. Using Fabric A small triangles, Fabric B small triangles, and Fabric E large triangles, refer to Block Pattern Steps 1 and 2 to make eight square units total.

2. Sew together four Pieces of Friendship blocks in two rows. Join rows to make the quilt center.

3. Referring to photo above for placement, sew together Fabric D squares, Fabric E squares, and pieced square units to form borders. Sew short border strips to opposite edges of the quilt center. Add long borders to finish quilt.

Finished quilt: 18″ square


How do I get involved?


We can’t wait to see your blocks! Our editor Lindsay Mayland will be blogging regularly 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

The Splendid Sampler Materials

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?


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


The Splendid Sampler

We’re so excited to be participating in The Splendid Sampler Adventure! Sponsored by Aurifil, Martingale, and Moda Fabrics and lead by the absolutely wonderful Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson, this adventure will be a blast for any quilter who loves a little mystery and lots of fun with quilters around the world!


Where did this idea come from?

Two friends sat down over a splendid cup of coffee and came up with the idea to do a project together. Two hours later a project is born. Pat writes: “At the end of that wonderful chat we decided that not only did we want to do a project together, we wanted to connect people. Jane lives in Australia, I live in the United States. We have designer and Industry friends around the world.”


What is The Splendid Sampler?

It’s a year-long, 100-block adventure of quilt making. A total of 83 talented quilt designers (included us!) have designed blocks to share. We’ll also be sewing along so you can see our progress and fabric choices!


What size are the blocks?

The blocks finish at 6″ square. They include a variety of techniques, from pieced to appliqué to embroidery to paper piecing.


When will the block patterns be released?

Starting February 14, 2016, two blocks will be released a week (exceptions are Christmas Day and New Years). The blocks will be posted on Sunday and Thursday of each week. The patterns will be free until March 2017, at which point the blocks will appear in a book from Martingale!


What fabrics do I need?

We’ll be showing quilts in two colorways (a traditional one and a brighter one). You’ll need approximately 30-35 fat quarters for the blocks. You can read more about fabric requirements here. We’re using a specific line of fabric for our blocks, but you can pull from your scraps or combine a few fabric lines.



How do I get involved?


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!

–American Patchwork & Quilting + Lindsay