Pat and Jane started The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along in February 2016 to bring the whole world together to quilt. More than 25,000+ quilters from all walks of life joined the sew-along, and more are still joining today (you can join too!). One hundred quilt blocks, 80+ designers, and a year of sewing fun—and we’re overjoyed to be the publisher of the beautiful companion book!
All 100 block patterns from the sew-along are included (with close-up photos of each design; see right), along with ideas for setting your blocks. Make a few blocks or make them all! The Facebook group and the Splendid Sampler website are still going strong, so get the book, share your progress, and experience the joys of quilting with a very special community of quilters.
We asked members of the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along Facebook Group what they’d most like to ask Pat and Jane about their splendid journey; Pat and Jane share their answers below. You can learn even more about Pat and Jane’s experience in Pat’s weekly podcast for American Patchwork & Quilting—the splendid chat starts at 29:38!
Stitch This!: How did you come up with the idea for The Splendid Sampler? And did you have any idea how successful it was going to become?
Pat: I had an idea for creating a project with a lot of designers, and I knew it would be more fun to run it with a partner. Jane is experienced at managing large projects, so I asked if she wanted to do the project with me, and she did!
From there we sent lots of emails. When we met at Spring Quilt Market in 2015, we had a wonderful time working through the idea over coffee. It was Jane’s idea to make 6″ blocks and to design 100 of them. You can listen to our podcast chat for more details.
ST!: What were the easiest and most challenging parts of creating and managing the Splendid Sampler group, and of creating The Splendid Sampler book?
Pat and Jane: The easiest part was asking the designers to work with us. We both know a lot of people, so we made up a list of designers to contact. A wonderful array of “Yes!” emails came back.
The most challenging part was getting everything ready so that the book could come out soon after the sew-along ended. We had to hustle to write patterns and make quilts, most of which were done before the sew-along even started. There was so much going on behind the scenes before we even revealed the first block!
ST!: Do you have any favorite blocks? And did you, as seasoned quilters, learn something new?
Pat: Oh, not a fair question! Our designer friends really knocked it out of the park for us. The book includes embroidery, English paper piecing, paper piecing, patchwork, and appliqué. The creativity is amazing! So to pick one is hard. But I think I’ll pick Jane’s pencils. I love how creative the block is, and how it’s a tool many of us started our quiltmaking with, drawing or sketching designs.
Jane: Please forgive me, Pat! While I love all your blocks, my favorite was Anne Sutton’s block, Sunday Best. What can I say—I love bunnies and the challenge of needle-turn appliqué. I find appliqué very relaxing.
ST!: Did you require the designers to follow guidelines, or did you just let them bring their own ideas to the table?
Pat and Jane: We gave the designers only two rules: use a technique that you’re known for, and let sewing and creativity inspire the theme of your block. This allowed the designers to explore sewing, quilting, and creativity in their own ways.
A closer look at some of the patchwork blocks from The Splendid Sampler
ST!: What was the easiest and the hardest part about working together?
Pat: Jane and I have talked about this. The easiest is that our skill sets turned out to be super compatible. You don’t know how things will go until you work with someone, but we trust and respect each other. We’re also both good at delegating and working on teams. So our team of two rocked this project! We had our own tasks and then cross-checked and helped each other out with other tasks.
The biggest challenge we faced was the time-zone difference. Jane, in Australia, wakes up at about 3:30 in the afternoon my time. My evening is her daytime. Often we couldn’t chat much in a day. We wished that we lived near enough to each other to have gotten together in person to experience things, at least a little bit.
ST!: Once the book is out, do you still have plans to continue the Splendid Sampler Facebook group? What will you be doing there during the next year?
Pat and Jane: Yes! We are super excited—now that the book is out, we already have our amazing Facebook group up, running and vibrant! In a few weeks we’ll start assigning one block a week from the book to sew—sign up for our newsletter to be notified of those details. Now is the perfect time to tell your friends and your local quilt shop that you want to have a sit-and-sew to work on Splendid Sampler blocks. Along with making friends online, many quilters have started groups in-person and enjoy sewing together. We can’t wait to see quilts being made for years to come!
Pat and Jane, it’s been an incredible journey—thank you for sharing your part of it with us!
And now it’s time for a . . .
SPLENDID GIVEAWAY! Pat and Jane called on their industry partners to put together a BIG giveaway today:
Enter today’s giveaway and you could win . . .
• One of FIVE prizes from Moda Fabrics: five winners will receive a fat eighth bundle or a Jelly Roll plus a charm pack! Bundles feature fabrics from Minick & Simpson, Lella Boutique, Sweetwater, Kate Spain, Blackbird Designs, and BasicGrey—all contributors to The Splendid Sampler!
• One of TWO prizes from Reliable Irons: two winners will receive a Velocity 200IR Compact Vapor Generator Iron—the water is heated internally so it turns into steam before it reaches the sole plate—the steam it delivers will astonish you! (Please note: Reliable Irons prizes are for US addresses only.)
• One of FOUR prizes from Schmetz Needles: four winners will receive two packs each of Schmetz Microtex (Sharp) Needles, Schmetz Quilting Needles, and Schmetz Universal Needles, plus a handy pocket guide to home sewing-machine needles!
And of course, each winner will also receive a copy of The Splendid Sampler book from Martingale!
That’s 13 lucky chances to win—why not throw your hat in the ring? To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments:
a) The patchwork chapter
b) The appliqué chapter
c) The foundation-piecing chapter
d) The embroidery chapter
Or have you already been sewing along?
We’ll choose 13 random winners one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck to all! And remember, when you buy The Splendid Sampler at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll instantly be able to download the eBook for free. Get started on block #1 (or #21, or #61, or #91) today!