Friday, October 7, 2022

Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along - Week 4

Hope some of you are keeping up with the 4" blocks for the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along. You're halfway there and by now should have completed 3 sets of blocks for a total of 18.  You'll be making blocks for three more rows in coming weeks, six blocks per week. You'll keep sewing until you finish 36 blocks.

There are so many blocks to choose from for making your row quilt. But if you have trouble selecting and getting started, why not try picking a few easy blocks? They stitch up pretty quickly and you'll have 3 sets of six blocks finished in no time to get all caught up. 




Since it's really all about the fabric, choose colors that will give depth and a richness to your blocks. Or choose a theme -  like blue and white.

If you're just getting started, there are some good tips on pages 8 - 9 of the Schoolgirl Sampler book for making sure your blocks are sewn correctly. Slow down and take your time. If you're a beginner, then, as I mentioned above, choose easy blocks. You can always make your blocks interesting by using lots of varied fabrics in different colors for a rich, scrappy look. 

Choose a variety of appealing prints in some of your favorite color combinations. Add some interesting prints instead of using mostly what I call "quiet" prints. 

I've slowly gotten used to making more quilts with brown fabric, which can sometimes be dull except when you use prints that have other colors added for depth and interest. 

Try some interesting prints with small details combined with "quieter" prints to give your quilts depth. Too many "loud" or busy prints placed together in the same block will distract the eye. So pair your busy prints with less busy prints for a calmer look. 

Beginners -  if you're nervous because your blocks may not be perfect, pin them onto a design wall (or just hang up a large piece of batting) and stand back to view. From a couple of feet away you may not even notice any imperfections. That's the wonderful thing about making scrappy quilts -  they're very forgiving. Relax and enjoy the process!

Friday, September 30, 2022

Sampler Sew Along Week 3

So sorry - I missed last week to remind you to keep going on your blocks for the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along that's taking place in my Facebook group. Quilters are making 6 blocks each week for 6 weeks and sewing along with others to make a row quilt. You choose the blocks you want to use from the Schoolgirl Sampler book. See my earlier blog posts for more details if you're not in the FB group


                         Six blocks per week is not too difficult. Especially if you choose simple ones.


Pick some of your favorite blocks and your favorite fabrics and get started.

It's a simple and fun quilt to make and I love using it as a small lap quilt on my sofa or draped over a bench.  We did this as a Mystery quilt project in my groups a few years ago and I got quite a few requests to repeat it. 



                                                                        *  *  *

Here's a friendly reminder that Ye Olde Schoolhouse quilt shop is starting their Little Quilt Club next week. They're meeting up on Fridays and Saturdays. And using the quilts and blocks in my Schoolgirl Sampler book for inspiration. YOSH (Ye Olde School House!) is located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The cost is only $40 for the year. Give them a call at 262-377-2770 if you're interested in joining the club. Sounds like great fun, doesn't it?  


Here's Jeanie's row quilt. She sells kits on her website

                                                              Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Ready, Set, Sew a Few Blocks

Today begins the first week of the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along in my Sampler Facebook group.  

We'll be using blocks from my Schoolgirl Sampler book to make the quilt and do a little bit of sewing each week for 10 weeks. (You'll need the book to follow along and make the blocks.)


If you have the book and want to make the quilt, just follow the schedule below. Each week I'll give you a little nudge to get some sewing done: 

For Week 1 - choose your first block from the book and make six blocks using your choice and color of fabric. You have a week to complete all six blocks. 

Here are some tips to help you get started - 

  • Clean off your sewing or cutting table. This always helps me to prepare for working on a new project and stay organized.
  • Choose a theme (Christmas, fall, two-color quilt, etc.) 
  • Pull some fabrics

After you  choose your first block (or all of the blocks you'll be using), check the FB group files for the tips for the blocks you've picked. They're all numbered. You might remember that when we did the Schoolgirl Sampler Sew Along, we worked on blocks 1 - 72 for 12 weeks and made 6 blocks each week. So the file for Week 1 included tips on making blocks 1-6. Week 2 included tips for blocks 7- 12. And so on. 

That's it. After you've made your 36 blocks in 6 weeks, I'll show you how to set them with background fabric to make the rows. (You'll need about 1/4 yard of background fabric for each row.) 

If you're in my Sampler Facebook group we'd love to see your block progress. It's always inspiring to see the fabrics some of you use and how you choose to put them together. 

Week 2 of the sew along begins on September 23.

Have a fun weekend! 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along


Quilters - I'm excited to let you know that I'll be hosting a new sew along in my Schoolgirl Sampler Facebook group beginning on Friday, September 16, 2022 called the Sampler Row Quilt Sew Along. 

Row quilts have been very popular for awhile now. Some of you might remember this as a Mystery Quilt (Aunt Addie's quilt) I did several years ago. But those who are new to my blog, books and patterns probably missed it. Over the past couple of years, I've been asked by those who missed out to re-release the patterns. I decided that having another sew along might be a better alternative. All of the blocks used for making this quilt are ones that are now in the Schoolgirl Sampler book and we'll be using that book as a guide. FYI - it's on sale right now at (Of course, if you'd like a signed copy : ) those are always available on my website or in my Etsy shop. )


I've designed this new sew along as a 10-week project. Making the blocks together on a weekly basis worked well for many of you when we did the sew along for my Schoolgirl Sampler quilt and that's what we'll do again in the group. Mind you, this quilt is smaller and will take much less time. There are only 36 blocks - six blocks per row set in six rows with sashing and borders. The finished quilt will measure approximately 44" x 50". If you make six blocks per week, you'll have all the blocks finished in six weeks. Pretty doable. Then the next four weeks will focus on sewing them into rows and then sewing the rows together with sashing and, finally, adding the borders.

I know many of you loved making the Schoolgirl Sampler quilt and this is another opportunity to work with your favorite small blocks and make something a little different.

Note: we'll sew along in my Schoolgirl Sampler Facebook group. If you're already in this group and you haven't made this one yet, then join in the fun. (Note: You will need to acquire the book for the block patterns before you join the group.) Those of you who already have the book but are not in the Facebook group can just follow the directions to make the blocks.



Here's the fun part - make your quilt using your favorite 4" blocks and favorite scraps. It does not have to be exactly like mine. If you are interested in making a quilt exactly like mine, here are the blocks I used from the book: Blocks 4, 14, 21, 36, 47 and 70. 

This was one of my favorite Mystery Quilts! 

There are quite a few options: Make the row quilt with green and red fabrics for Christmas. Or try a two-color quilt in red and white or blue and white. Orange, rust and warm colors for fall?? Lots of possibilities. If you're up for this, just join the sampler Facebook group for more info. We'll get started on Friday, September 16.

*  *  *

Here's a little more fun Sampler news - one of my favorite quilt shops, Ye Olde Schoolhouse in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, is hosting a monthly Little Quilts stitching group on Fridays and Saturdays using some of the small quilts from my Schoolgirl Sampler book beginning in October. Check the website for more details and times. The shop is a little north of Milwaukee and easy to visit if you're in Wisconsin or northern Illinois. Looks like Jeanie made her own row quilt!


If you've wanted to but haven't gotten around to it yet -  here's something you might be interested in - Stitchin' Heaven, a quilt shop in Texas, is doing my Schoolgirl Sampler quilt as a Block of the Month starting in February 2023. I've heard that their BOMs have great fabrics (in case you're a quilter who doesn't have any fabric or scraps - Hah!). Might be fun to sign up and get fabric in the mail every month to encourage you to make the blocks. Here's the info. 


It's a simple and fun quilt to make and I love using it as a small lap quilt on my sofa or draped over my bench.  Hope you'll join us. 

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Make a Little Nine-Patch Quilt

I love the simple nine-patch block. And little quilts made from them. 

I love blue too, as you probably know. This sweet little quilt was made for me by Jennifer M. a few years ago. She sewed some 3" antique quilt blocks together with blue reproduction fabric.                          

I had a few minutes in my sewing room the other day and just happened to have a box of 1 1/2" cut scrap squares nearby. I always save 1 1/2" scraps and use these periodically for my small quilts. Pencil boxes from the Dollar Store are perfect for things like this - they're cheap and don't take up much room.

Since I already have the blue and white one, I decided to make a few little scrappy nine patches and see what happened. It's a nice break from sewing the corners and triangles on my Dear Jane quilt. Sewing squares together mindlessly . . . .

Finished with a light shirting fabric for the background.

Getting ready to hand quilt mine. I added another border. 

I like to pin baste my small quilts because they're usually too small to use a hoop. I begin quilting at the center, taking out pins and smoothing as I move outward. Then I pin the borders. I use Quilters Dream Request cotton batting (nice and thin, easy to quilt through), YLI hand quilting thread in light brown, Richard Hemming size 9 quilting needle. 

Tip: If you're new to hand quilting, make sure your batting and backing fabric are thin so the needle glides through the layers easily. A thick layer of fabrics or a dull needle can cause problems. I will sometimes use a "sharp" if I'm having trouble using a "between" quilting needle.

*  *  *

There's a pattern for this cute little blue and white quilt in my Facebook group files. But here are the directions if you aren't in the group and want to make one - it's very simple. If you're not a fan of blue, try it in your favorite color or maybe go scrappy like I did. 

 Cut 1 ½”  x  1 ½”  squares for the nine-patch blocks. The squares can either be matching or   scrappy.  For the blue and white quilt shown, cut 16 light print squares and 20 blue print squares. 

Cut 1 square 3 ½”  x  3 ½” for center

Cut 2 squares 3”  x  3”. Cut each square once on the diagonal  for 4 corner triangles.  

Cut 1 square 5 ½”  x  5 ½”. Cut twice on the diagonal for 4 setting triangles.   

Cut 2 strips -  2 ½”   x  9”  - for the top and bottom borders.

Cut 1 ¼" strips for binding

1.   Make four nine-patch blocks. Using the quilt diagram as a guide, sew the blocks in diagonal rows.  Add the 4 corner triangles. Sew the top and bottom border strips onto the quilt. I drew the quilt with different blues so you can see the construction a little better. 


                              Fits perfectly on a small doll bed. Can't wait to finish the scrappy one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Signature Quilts

Some of my favorite quilts are signature quilts. That's probably because they have such a sentimental element to them. I posted a picture of one that I made in my Facebook group the other day and then remembered a post I wrote here several years ago about these types of quilts.

Friendship Is a Sheltering Tree quilt from A Prairie Journey book

Linda Otto Lipsett, the author of the book Remember Me, Women and Their Friendship Quilts, tells us "Not until I made my own family  friendship quilt, however, did I realize the full depth of what I am doing - that in piecing blocks, gathering signatures, and signing cloth we are connecting with women's spirit of the past."  

The sentimental quilter in me also loves the stories some of the antique friendship or signature quilts tell. Besides names, they often held loving messages from friends and family. In 1853, Susan Tenney wrote on her signature quilt - "To Mrs M -- , "Remember all who love Thee and all who are loved by Thee.' "

Sometimes Friendship blocks came with wonderful long verses: 

"Accept my friend, this little pledge
Your love and friendship to engage
If ere we should be called to part
Let this be settled in your heart
That when the little peace you see
You ever will remember me."

                                 -  M.E.A.

This is the very first signature quilt I made (from my book Prairie Children & Their Quilts).

Here's another little signature quilt called Sisters Signature quilt. Replace the middle shirting fabric strips with muslin for signing.

* * * 

I've arranged or hosted several signature block swaps in my online groups over the years. These are wonderful ways to bring quilters together to share and preserve memories of friendships. By making, signing and exchanging quilt blocks. They're also a great way to celebrate special occasions or family events. 



In 1847, a woman named Betsey Wright opened an envelope addressed to her. She carefully unfolded a lovely quilt block with this inscription:

"Accept this trifle that I send,
Not as a stranger, but as a friend."

                      - Charlotte N. Follett,
               Hubbardson, Mass., 1847

You can imagine what a special gift that was to her and how it touched her heart, to hear from a dear friend who lived in another state. Over the years, I've often had a similar experience receiving signature blocks from members of some of my groups. But, like 50 times over, LOL. And some from different countries. 

Quilt made with blocks from all over the world. (pattern is in Civil War Sewing Circle book)

Someone in my group mentioned that they were going to try to do this among some of  the members in her sewing group. The blocks in a signature exchange do not have to be complex. Sometimes simple is better if you're making numerous blocks. I've participated in signature block swaps with over 50 members.  



                      Some blocks I've sent.


            Some blocks I've received. 

What strikes me is how special quilts like these can be and that we are, in some way, connecting our own spirit with the spirits of other women through our quilting. In the case of online groups, the signed blocks allow us to connect with quilters we may never have even met, not only from all around our country but perhaps the world as well. What a wonderful experience this can be for many. I hope you all get a chance to participate in making a signature or friendship quilt someday. I know I'll always treasure mine.

                                                                            *  *  *

Some of you e-mailed me that you would be interested in purchasing a pattern for the small needle case I made and posted last week.  I wrote a pattern and put up a listing in my Etsy shop. Sweet and simple. And small. I really love this one.


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