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Thread: Need tips on designing a sampler quilt

  1. #1
    Junior Member TAMARATJO's Avatar
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    Need tips on designing a sampler quilt

    I would like to make some sampler quilts, and I am looking for hints and tips on how to create a good design. For example, how best to use color and fabric to unify, how best to lay out the blocks to highlight each one, etc. I am not a fan of just throwing a bunch of blocks together for a scrappy, random look. I am sure there is a science to the design, and would be interested in learning from experienced quilters/designers. Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help.

  2. #2
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Not sure I can answer your questions as I’ve not done this but I would think a limited color palette spread around the blocks would be one thing. Pick a Focus fabric and work off of that. I don’t think every block needs to use all the colors but any color should be used in three or more blocks and the Focus should be in every block.
    Then pick block patterns in a similar way. At least 3 with similar lines, in a very broad way— stars, angles (like wrenches), curves, stripes. Quilter’s Cache would be a good resource for the block patterns.
    Just what I would do. Certainly not the only way.

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltingNinaSue's Avatar
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    I agree with bjchad, quilter's cache has over 1600 blocks all free. I have downloaded a pattern called The Confetti Quilt, sixe 64x82 designed by Diana Lacy, c2006, Rainbow Fabrics. Or use a nine patch set on point with a neutral colored background. I showed my cousin that one for she had never done a quilt before and its quick and easy to do. . Or use a disappearing nine patch just to make it a little different. Good luck and be sure to show us the quilt when you finish.

  4. #4
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    What is your purpose in designing a sampler quilt? I believe that is the first thing you must decide. Is it to learn all the techniques related to the various quilt block patterns. Will it be only patchwork or appliqué or a mixture of techniques. Reproduction or more contemporary , etc., there were many books printed in the 1970' and 80 about sampler quilts. They were basic, while the newer one' s are more detailed.

  5. #5
    Super Member SuziSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAMARATJO View Post
    I would like to make some sampler quilts, and I am looking for hints and tips on how to create a good design. For example, how best to use color and fabric to unify, how best to lay out the blocks to highlight each one, etc. I am not a fan of just throwing a bunch of blocks together for a scrappy, random look. I am sure there is a science to the design, and would be interested in learning from experienced quilters/designers. Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help.
    Tamara, you might want to look into a block of the month/week program. There are a lot of new (free) ones that are starting up this month and the QB has a forum you can check out https://www.quiltingboard.com/blocks-month-week-f9/

    If you want to go this route here are a few links you can check out:
    https://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f...r-t293711.html
    http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/quil...-of-the-month/
    http://www.piecingthepastquilts.com/
    Sue

  6. #6
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    There are soooo many sampler quilts out there, some free designs. Even if you want to design your own, do a google image search on "sampler quilt" and make notes on the elements you like and dislike. There are many different types of sampler quilts.

    just grabbing a few images at random ....


    Some sampler quilts have various blocks that have similarities in design and/or color - each block is the same size with or without sashing, some set straight and some on point. Sometimes there is one large center block with smaller blocks surrounding. Name:  straight no sashing.png
Views: 1294
Size:  1.13 MBName:  on point with sashing.jpg
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    Other sampler quilts have a mish-mash of block types and sizes (including long rectangular blocks). These sampler quilts *typically* share the same background fabric to give the illusion the blocks are all floating on the same background and the blocks typically have color/fabric in common throughout. For example ... a dozen shades of blues with white on a white background.

    Name:  random blocks.jpg
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    And then there are sampler quilts that have a common theme ....

    Name:  theme.jpg
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    Lastly ... there is the mother-of-all sampler quilts ... the Jane Stickle quilt, aka "Dear Jane". You can buy this pattern, along with the software to help you design and make the quilt.

    Name:  jane.jpg
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    So ... what kind of sampler quilt did you have in mind??
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  7. #7
    Junior Member TAMARATJO's Avatar
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    I would like to do a sampler quilt so that I can make several different blocks that I like, but only have to make them one time each. I hope to improve my piecing skills by attempting more difficult blocks. I tend to prefer more traditional blocks. I am planning to make a pieced only quilt. My problem is not finding the blocks, (I have way more blocks I want to make than time to make them!) but making a unified, attractive quilt that is not too busy.
    I have looked at many sampler quilts. I have a hard time limiting my color palette, but may have to do so to get the look I want. I also see that perhaps I need to narrow my block selection down to blocks with similarities. So next problem is the layout. I want to highlight each block, separating them in some way from one another, so that each block can be appreciated on it's own. Maybe a white background with no sashing (or white sashing to give more space between the blocks?) The discussion is great, and gives me things to think about. I really appreciate everyone's thoughts, comments, suggestions and ideas.

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    From what you describe, I think the 1st and 2nd pictures are more what you are aiming for, yes??

    I would start by deciding ... do you want a straight set or on point?
    Sashing?

    You don't necessarily have to stick to one color palette, but perhaps a group of *like* colors ... for example, all primary colors, all pastels, etc.

    Also, I personally like a "balanced" sampler quilt. So choose (for example) star blocks for corners and the center with other blocks filling in the balance.

    Sometimes it helps to go shopping for fabric, find a focus fabric (something you will use in all of the blocks, not as a background, but part of the block), then choose other colors within that fabric in solids or tonals to balance it out, and a complimentary background and sashing if desired.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    For cohesive fabric choices, I would consider purchasing a FQ bundle and pair it with yardage of a neutral background fabric. THe bundle will all be from a specific line of fabric so will all coordinate.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  10. #10
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    Good luck with designing your own pattern. I am not good at that part of quilting. I can search for sampler quilts and copy what others have done, even though I might not like every block in the quilt. Nancy Zieman had a pretty Sampler last year. Hers is done in reds and whites. This quilt would be pretty in any single tone color. I prefer blues or reds. http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/quil...-of-the-month/ And the good news is that it is free and a large 15 inch block.
    Sew a Little, Love a Lot & Live like you were dying!

  11. #11
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Sue, I am drooling over your photos! I've hardly met a sampler I didn't love.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewbizgirl
    Boom 20 Album of Blocks I made to swap https://www.quiltingboard.com/member...bums19942.html
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  12. #12
    Super Member Teen's Avatar
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    I started a scrappy sampler by using the scraps from each quilt I make. I have no color theme except they are all on black background and are different sizes 12 1/2, 9 1/2, 6 1/2. I just make one new block at the end of every quilt. I have no idea how many I have or what I'm doing with them but it's fun. Probably end up with more than one quilt and will likely appliqué mine.

    Sue...OMGosh....your work is stunning. Love them all but absolutely LOVE patriotic quilt. Awesome.
    Quilting therapy for the therapist...
    My Summertime Swap blocks: https://www.quiltingboard.com/member...bums19923.html

  13. #13
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Here's what I did with one of mine. I like the separation of blocks, too.

    Name:  Sampler whole.jpg
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    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  14. #14
    Super Member SuziSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsie View Post
    Here's what I did with one of mine. I like the separation of blocks, too.

    Name:  Sampler whole.jpg
Views: 827
Size:  271.1 KB
    Kristie, that is really cute! Are those from the splendid sampler from Pat Slone?
    Sue

  15. #15
    Junior Member TAMARATJO's Avatar
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    I really like the shadow box setting for your sampler quilt Kristie. The quilt is beautiful. I also really like Teen's idea of using scraps from each quilt she finishes to make a block. I may be brave and buy a bunch of fabric from a fabric story or family as Paper Princess suggests. I tried that once, and was very unhappy with how the quilt came out. But it was one of my very early quilts, so I hope I have learned to design and/or use the fabric better.

  16. #16
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Yup, those are the ones I didn't think would wash well! It was a fun sampler.
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
    Never regret growing older, its a privilege denied to many.
    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

    Kitsie

  17. #17
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    I am doing that sampler at the moment kitsie! It is my introduction to machine sewing/ongoing long project for the year. It is all in pinks and greys and I am planning to do shadow box setting as well I think

  18. #18
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    Name:  on point sampler 12-11.jpg
Views: 774
Size:  219.2 KBOn point sampler with sashing. This was in my pictures section but I did not make it. Name:  20171017_102517_resized_3.jpg
Views: 737
Size:  437.7 KBThis is the one I made. How different it looks with colored framing triangles.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAMARATJO View Post
    I would like to do a sampler quilt so that I can make several different blocks that I like, but only have to make them one time each. I hope to improve my piecing skills by attempting more difficult blocks. I tend to prefer more traditional blocks.
    I make a lot of samplers, for just this reason. Sometimes, I limit myself to specific fabrics (e.g., a bundle of coordinating fat quarters) or even specific color families (e.g., pink and brown scraps). As you will see in the "Dear Jane" quilt above, the blocks are arranged in "Trip Around the World" fashion.

    Here's one I made a few years ago from "Sylvia's Bridal Sampler":
    Name:  Mariannes SBS from 2010.jpg
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    And here's a Civil War sampler using some of the same blocks:
    Name:  civil war sampler.jpg
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Size:  113.5 KB

  20. #20
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    Wow! What a feast for the eyes!

  21. #21
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Wow, all the pictures posted are lovely! Now I feel the urge to make another sampler quilt.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  22. #22
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Enjoy! I actually made nearly all the blocks and the ones in this picture are the ones I knew I wouldn't be washing!! So the other blocks were sent to my Canadian cousin for her group to make into quilts for the needy.
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
    Never regret growing older, its a privilege denied to many.
    Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

    Kitsie

  23. #23
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    My first quilt class (1976-7) had us make a block each week, increasing in difficulty and using a variety of skills. My original group of fabrics was too large and I ended up setting aside all the blocks with a couple of fabrics that didn't look right with the rest. Finished quilt has 20 blocks, 8 fabrics in the blocks, including a light and a dark solid, with sashing between blocks.
    I would recommend 8 or fewer fabrics, making sure any combination of them looks good together. I like your idea of having the sashing match the background of the blocks, but not all pieced blocks have a "background".
    (Six blocks that got pulled out ended up in a quilted jacket.)
    Retired math teacher --
    I CAN FIGURE IT OUT!

  24. #24
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    I did a sampler black and white with yellow. I took each finished block squared it off nicely, then did a square in a square with each block. I used the background white and a gray for that process and set them on point. Came out nice
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

  25. #25
    Super Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    Here's a great book: https://www.amazon.com/Anniversary-S.../dp/1617454559 It has several different layouts for 10 blocks up to 40 blocks. There are different sashings, applique borders or centerpieces, on-point or straight. I'm using it for inspiration for the sampler I'm making.
    Annette in Utah

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