Project Sampler Quilt: Phase 1

I spent a majority of my night last night, after Doctor Who was over of course (how funny was it to find out that Rory was a Weasley?  And we always knew that Filch was a mean guy but really…what did the Silurians ever do to you Filch?), reading through the first few chapters of my Big Book of Quilting.  The first few pages I could skip because I already had a majority of my tools and that was mostly what it discussed.  I moved into the “planning your quilt section.”

This book is fantastic for someone who is just getting started and I can understand why my aunt had it.  It gives very clear and concise directions on how to achieve certain patterns, tips on cutting, tips on sewing, tips on how to lay it out.  Everything is included in this book and it’s great.

I knew I was ok with the sewing part.  Though I did learn something that I probably should have known – the size of the pieces should be a 1/2″ bigger than the actual piece allowing for the 1/4″ seam.  I think my aunt told me that, I have a feeling I simply forgot.  Good thing I read it or I would have been going insane when I measured and found I was short.

The next part, the difficult part, was deciding on a quilt size and layout.  This part was really intimidating for me.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s because I kept thinking about the end product and how long it was going to take me to do to the quilting.  Do I go small and safe?  Do I attempt to make something a little larger?  I knew that I was not ready to make my queen sized bed fitting quilt.  Though someday I hope to have a beautiful quilt atop my bed and maybe one for each family member who would like one.  It was hard, so I deferred to the book.  They suggested doing a medium-sized quilt.  I am being vague right now and not proving the specific measurements in case I change my mind.

Once that decision was made, I began to select blocks to include in this sampler. For those not familiar with a sampler quilt, it was created as a way for women to remember blocks that they liked.   Since blocks sometimes have very unique names and are often variations on other blocks, it was easier for women to sew a replica of the block they liked to keep it as a reference.  They then would sew them together into a quilt, forever keeping the block in a “library” of sorts.  I like this idea.  It’s kind of neat to think of women doing that and sharing their block patterns.  I’m a sucker for historical things, especially when they involve traditions like this.

A really pretty sampler quilt

Now that I’ve picked out my blocks that I want to do, I am anxious to get started picking out the right colors.  I recently went to an estate sale and the woman who had lived there was an avid quilter.  I mean she had one whole bedroom for her quilting.  Shelves stacked to the ceiling of fabrics, bookcases full of quilting books, completed blocks, halfway completed blocks…it was like a treasure trove of quilting supplies and tools.  I didn’t have enough time or money to go through and get all of the fabrics that caught my eye but, I was able to get some great blues, purples, pinks, and a few prints.  I think that for my sampler, I want to use some of the blues I got.  I need to figure out if I want to do the blues with the pinks or if I want to go get some cream/tan/white colors and some greens.  I am really leaning toward the creams/tans/whites because it think it will look great.  Plus the pinks and purples really look cool with this print I found so I think I’m going to do those as another quilt.  It’s days like this that I really miss my aunt.  She would have gone with me to shop for fabrics and given me some great advice.  I suppose I need to learn to trust myself a little more and know that I learned how to match colors a long time ago.

I can see that this is going to become an obsession.  The planning is fun, the coordinating is fun, the sewing will be fun.  Once I get over the fear of the finishing part, I bet that will be fantastic!

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