I decided that my May UFO would be the Splendid Sampler blocks that have been lurking in my cupboard since 2016. Having made a Dear Jane quilt and being someone who enjoys making tiny blocks, I thought it would suit me well, but life got in the way.
When I started it, I soon realised that I was not going to make a hundred blocks. and I reset my goal to fifty blocks, partly because of limited time and partly because some of the blocks did not inspire me. I chose to make it pink because I wanted to sew it from my stash, and I have a lot of pink fabric.
When I pulled this UFO out of the cupboard at the start of May, I had twenty-six finished blocks and five or six blocks cut out or in various stages of completion.
I started looking for ideas for sampler settings – online and in Sharyn Craig’s book Setting Solutions – and calculating how many 6-inch blocks I would need and what I could do to add to what I had. My favourite idea was the thirty-block faux on point setting from the Splendid Sampler publisher, Martingale. Designed by Pat Sloan, it only needed thirty blocks, set them on point and had twenty nine-patch filler blocks. The only downside of this plan was that the nine-patch blocks were a bit plain, so I borrowed the idea of using flower blocks from the Paducah in Bloom quilt-along. Why only go halfway with pink and floral when you can go over the top!?
The filler blocks brought the finished quilt up to 60 by 72 inches (152 by 183 centimetres), which is not bad for only thirty 6-inch blocks.
From the Splendid Sampler 1, I made:
- Hearts Aflutter by Pat Sloan
- Happy Happy by Jen Kingwell
- Simple Simon by Celine Perkins
- Focal Point by Natalia Bonner (I added a circle in the middle as my colour choices failed to create a focal point)
- Snug as a Bug by Amy Sinibaldi (I pieced the bedspread and added a border to add colour to the embroidery)
- Friends around the Square by Julie Karasek
- Iowa by Sherri McConnell
- Scrap Star by Corey Yoder
- Flying High by Janet Clare
- Pieces of Friendship by Lindsay Mayland
- Sweet Candy by Kris Thurgood
- Hand in Hand by Kari Carr
- Dreaming of Dresdens by Jane Davidson
- Simple Surprises by Amy Ellis
- The Constant Needle by Laurie Simpson
- Inchy Hexagon Club by Jane Davidson
- Vintage Flower Basket by Pam Vieira McGinnis
- Sew South by Jennifer Mathis
- Coneflower by Pat Sloan
- Wild Roses by Pat Sloan
- First Stitch by Kerry Green
- Under the Apple Tree by Brigitte Heitland
- Shining Star by Jackie Kunkel (which I English paper pieced)
- Just for You by Pat Sloan (a bonus block)
- Earth Day by Cheryl Arkinson (a bonus block).
I made two blocks from the Splendid Sampler 2:
- Rose and Dot by Lori Kennedy
- Milk and Cookies by Rebecca Bryan.
I made my own versions of a couple of blocks:
- Local Quilt Shop by Jane Davidson became a house block.
- Summer’s Gift by Karla Eisenach became an appliquéd flower on a pieced background.
Finally, to bring the block count up to thirty, I threw in a churn dash block.
I also made the following six blocks but left them out of the quilt because I did not like my fabric choices:
- Wings by Jane Davidson
- Lots of Love by Melissa Corry
- Checkerboard by Pat Sloan
- Lina’s Gift by Pat Sloan
- the Babylock and Moda sampler block shuffle bonus blocks by Pat Sloan.
The one fabric that was not in my cupboard was the backing. I found the perfect Tanya Whelan backing fabric at Calico and Ivy, where I still work one day a week, but we did not have enough on the bolt. I rang five other quilt shops in my city before making a 70-kilometre round trip to buy the second length I needed from Carol’s of Midland. I love giant florals as backing fabrics, so I think the drive was worth it. Of course, I bought enough that I could match the pattern across the two lengths for an almost invisible join.
This was my May UFO, and it is now August. Why the delay? I finished the quilt top in early June and sent it out for long-arm quilting with a design of roses, of course. It came back in late July, and I added the pink binding. I then waited for the rainy weather to stop so I could take a photo, and it just happens to be wildflower season.
I have now completed six UFOs this year. I am running a little late with my plan of one a month. My July UFO has become my July–August UFO, and I still have most of the hand quilting to do. Oh well. Slow progress is better than no progress.