Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quilt Along with Me

A few quilters have expressed interest in quilting along with me as I put together two very different sampler quilts from the monthly 2016 block patterns for the Block Lotto. This makes me happy because I love designing sampler quilts.

This post contains more complete information for those who are committed or may be sitting on the fence and provides an introduction to the quilts and a little bit of information about me to those visiting for the first time from Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Thank you Cynthia for featuring my scrappy project this week for Oh Scrap!

If the Block Lotto met the Rainbow Scraps Challenge, fell in love, married and had a couple of kids, they might look like the two very different sampler quilts I have designed using the twelve block patterns we will be making for the Block Lotto in 2016. But you don't have to make lotto blocks to enter into the monthly drawing–everyone is invited to choose one of these babies quilt designs and quilt along with me. 

Graduated Scrappy Sampler Quilt

In this quilt, the only uncertainty is the blocks we'll make.  You'll need to make four of each of the 6 inch blocks each month and sew them together into a 12 inch (finished size) four-patch. Each set of four fits into one of the spaces in the setting. This quilt will measure 60 by 78 inches. 


I plan to make the rainbow-colored quilt on the left as one of my Rainbow Scraps Challenge projects this year. Each month I will make the blocks and cut fabrics for the graduated setting for the band that matches the color of the month.

I think this design would also really work well using a light-to-dark set of graduated fabrics in one color as shown on the right or choosing just two colors for the setting and alternating them from top to bottom.   Blocks could be made in colors that match or contrast with the bands in the setting.

I designed the bands in the setting to be made from a scrappy bunch of large and small rectangles. 

  • Large rectangles are cut 4 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches
  • Small Rectangles are cut 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches

For the top and bottom bands, you'll need:
  • 21 large rectangles  (approximately 1/2 yard total fabric)

For EACH of the six bands in between, you'll need: 
  • 6 large rectangles
  • 15 small rectangles (approximately 3/8 yard total fabric)

Colored squares, cut and organized by color/lineMy plan for making the setting is to cut those rectangles as I am going through my scraps each month for RSC and saving the arranging assembly step until the end or as all three blocks in a row are finished.

I might not find all all the scraps I need in a given color in the designated month, so I'll keep track and as I pull more fabrics from my stash or acquire new fabrics, I will cut a few more squares in the colors I need.

I'll be using the same system I adopted when I was cutting hundreds (and hundreds) of squares for the Tokyo Subway Map Quilt Along last fall and use a small zip lock bag for each band, with an index card on which I will write what I need, for that band/color and note my running total of what I've already cut.

Here's what my progress looks like so far with my January blocks made and some of the blue and purple rectangles cut. This will become the bottom, left corner of my quilt.

The beginning ...

Note: If you aren't a fan of the scrappy idea for the setting or wanted to use something like scrappy crumbs, made into your own pieced fabric for the setting, you could also use a combination of rectangles and larger rectangles and pieced long strips of fabric.

For the top and bottom bands:

  • 1strip 6 1/2 by 60 1/2  
  • 2 large rectangles 
  • 2 larger rectangles cut 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches 

For the middle bands:

  • 1 strip 4 1/2 by 60 1/2 inches 
  • 2 small rectangles 
  • 2 larger rectangles cut 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches

Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler

There is a whole lot less to say about this sampler quilt design–if you have read this far, you're probably glad about that.  Old MacDonald popped into my head as I was designing it and may give you some insight into my vision for this quilt. 

This quilt has no sashing or borders and is made from 99 lotto blocks in a 9 by 11 grid to create a 54 by 66 inch quilt.

You might decide to add borders (or extend the quilt with more blocks) if you want a larger quilt  or feel it needs borders.

The number of each of the lotto blocks you’ll need to make this quilt varies from 2 to 15.

The quilt is a little bit pictorial (a sort of abstracted landscape), a little bit folky and has a lot of leeway in the choice of colors.

If you decide to suspend disbelief and play along, I’ll give you color clues each month to help you choose colors that will work in the quilt and still be “you.”  You may decide to deviate from the Rainbow Scraps/Block Lotto colors for the month in this quilt ... but it will also work if you stick with the RSC/Block lotto colors of the month.

For January, you will need 6 Birds in the Air blocks in colors that suggest a summer sky. I used shades of blue, tinged with purple and aqua, and cream for my blocks. You might choose colors that suggest a sunrise, sun set or even a summer 's night sky. Note that the colors you choose here will influence your choices in future blocks.

I noticed that I had quite a few batiks in my scraps, so decided to make this sampler from batiks only and use only prints in the Rainbow Graduated Scrappy Sampler–it will be interesting to see if my scrap bins will be able to sustain my self-imposed rule . . .

Here are my "sky" blocks.

6 Birds in the Air Blocks

Blog Badge 

I have created a blog badge for the Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler. It links to a page on that contains all the basic info and will be updated each month as the new block is announced.

Join the Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler Quilt-Along

If anyone decided to make the graduated sampler with me and wants a blog button, I can make that happen.

The January Block Pattern - Birds in the Air

Birds in the Air is the January block. For the Block Lotto and these samplers, it is made as a 6-inch finished size block.

The pattern includes two methods for making the block to choose from–your choice may be based on your comfort with working with bias edges–and cutting measurements for making the block in 7 sizes from 3 to 12 inches.

All the block patterns for the Block Lotto (and these samplers) will be free for the first 10 days the month–look for the code you'll need on the first-of-the-month posts on

Birds in the Air Quilt Block Pattern

This Birds-in-the-Air blocks in the snow photo was inspired by Angela's color inspiration for the RSC this month, snowflake.

About Me and Why Samplers?

As a person who has worked in and around technology throughout my career, when I began quilting in 2000, I immediately went online looking for other quilters.  I joined many, many online fabric swaps and block exchanges and led more than a few myself.  Like my profile says, quilting is one of the "high touch" things I do to balance my "high tech" work life.

I started the Block Lotto on a quilting forum in 2002 as both a way to try a new block or technique or color/fabric combination without having to make enough blocks for a quilt on your own and an activity to help new quilters who wanted to join block exchanges to practice following rules to make blocks.

When it comes to quilting styles, I am an omnivore and love learning and trying them all.   If you click around my blog, you will find traditional, modern, and art quilting . . . and everything in between.

So, when I choose or design blocks for the Block Lotto, each year is a collection of styles and techniques, but I also think about how well the blocks will play together in a sampler quilt. If only in my head, each year has an overall theme.

This year, all the blocks will be 6 inches square (finished size). They represent a mix of traditional, improvisational and original pieced designs. Some are more abstract/geometric, some are pictorial and one is a Block Lotto favorite that we’ll revisit in a new color way. All the blocks can stand on their own in quilt settings, but many also do interesting things when 4 blocks are sewn together.

Most years, I have designed a sampler for the blocks, began a sampler of my own from the blocks and ... some years I even finish my sampler quilt.

This is my scrappy black & white sampler made from the 12 inch blocks from the first year of the Block Lotto ... I am still using it.

Perfect for a cold but sunny day

And here is my queen-sized Mod, Mod Sampler quilt from 2014.

It's a Mod Mod Sampler Quilt - Finished

You can find other examples of the Mod Mod quilt (along with other eye candy) in the Block Lotto Gallery. 

In terms of construction, the Graduated Scrappy sampler is more like my first sampler and Old MacDonald's mystery is similar to the second.

You can read more about the Block Lotto here:

About the Block Lotto

And, if you like the Birds in the Air block and want to join us, the details for January are here:

New Year, New Block and Birds in the Air

I am joining the link list parties for:

Scraptastic Tuesday (January edition)
Rainbow Scraps Challenge


scraphappy said...

So much exciting news! Love all the samplers and wish I could start them all. Sometimes I have to finish something though, and this is the year for that. Enjoying all the ideas you have to share.

Ellen said...

You do have so many great ideas for blocks and quilts. I think I will join in the Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler. I think it will be fun!

Katie Z. said...

I love your samplers; it will be great fun to watch them develop.

Nicky said...

What great scrappy projects and inspiration for others! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

Kate said...

Love the ideas for both samplers. And I'm so tempted to play along. I already have 7 new quilts on this year's list, so I'll just have to enjoy watching your progress.

Karen said...

This looks like a fun sampler quit. But I am going only watch as everyone else makes the sampler. I am trying really hard not to start any new projects that can't be completed in a short time. I need to finish all my UFO's first. Good luck with the sampler project.

Grandma said...

Wonderful samplers, like the design for the rainbow quilt.

Bridget said...

Wow, I am overwhelmed with the ideas here, Sophie and even though there are so many works in progress, I may give one or both a whirl. I am not a linear person: so many balls are in the air and I'm juggling like crazy.

But both look totally neato, so I may just calendar this and get going.

On another note: The Chicken River MQG is hosting Becky Welch, who is a teacher in Albuquerque on March 11 and 12. On Friday the 11th she will do a trunk show (or a talk about using color--this is still being discussed) and on Saturday the 12th she will be teaching her pieced birds. This week we will come up with a flier to advertise this and share with more people, but I thought you'd like to know.


Bridget said...

I should clarify: Becky Welch is a teacher from ABQ who will be coming to Las Vegas for this event.

There. That's better.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Love the re-design and fresh look -- and thank you for all that you share with the rest of us! I've grabbed the Old MacDonald button. Need to pull fabrics for the first six blocks - love the pattern delivery system BTW.

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like such fun. I love your completed samplers and it looks like this year is off to a great start too.

gayle said...

Old MacDonald is sooooo tempting... I'm asking myself "What's one more project?" - the problem is that I've already asked myself that a LOT of times.
I'll continue to teeter on the fence for a while. 8)
But I'll definitely be watching closely!

PeggyinNO said...

So much quilty goodness! I am trying to resist putting anything else on my plate this year, but you are tempting me!!!!! We'll see!
All of your blocks look wonderful.

Cathy said...

Wow! I dot know how you have time to work and run the Block Lotto! Your blocks are lovely!!

Deb A said...

Such a great post. I wish I didn't have 30+ UFO's waiting for some movement this year. Hopefully I will be successful in finishing things this year (instead of making oodles of blocks!) and can join in the fun next year. Love your first choice..... my scrappy BITA is so different from the crisp ones you have made. Darn it... something else to put on the to do list for someday =).

Quilter Kathy said...

Definitely a scrap lovers post! So many fun projects on the go!
i really admire your ability to organize all these projects!

Anonymous said...

I love your so-far on the RSC sampler, and I'm still sitting on the fence about which way to go! I did post your QAL on Quilt Block of the Month, though, for others who might want to follow along. Cute button! Thanks for such an interesting post!

Jennie in GA said...

Amazing work you have put into these quilts. Especially like the first one.

Teresa Springer said...

I must be doing something wrong. I tried to order the Birds in the Air on Block Lotto and then here but, regardless which code I used at Payhip in the coupon code, it came back Oh Snap that doesn't exist. This happened on Jan. 2 from Block Lotto and now from here. Thanks!

sophie said...

Teresa, I wish I could help, but your account is "no-reply" and so I have no way to reach you. My guess is that you re accidentally including a space in the coupon code and that Payhip is looking for a code that includes that space.

Nann said...

I love the idea of BL and RSC 'getting married and having a couple of kids.' I think I am going to play along with this year's sampler. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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