It’s our Splendid Sampler Sew-Along day! Flying geese with Martingale’s Chief

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day to our Stitch This! readers AND to all the “Splendid” stitchers visiting us for the first time!

We’re honored to be the publisher of Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s two best-selling books: The Splendid Sampler and The Splendid Sampler 2. Pat and Jane have united quilters from all over the world with their books and their Splendid Sampler Sew-Along Facebook group, which you can visit anytime for a melting pot of friendship, education, and inspiration.

The Splendid Sampler series

Today’s a special day, as Martingale’s own Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer, Jennifer Keltner, is hosting the delightful quiltmaking journey known round the world as the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along.

At Home Anywhere quilt blockThere’s Always One is the name of the block Jennifer designed for The Splendid Sampler Sew-Along—if you’ve been quilting along since the first Splendid Sampler book, you’ll remember her adorable At Home Anywhere block (right). In The Splendid Sampler 2, she’s created a Flying Geese–style block that reveals a little more about her love of quilting. Here’s Jennifer to tell you more.


Jennifer Keltner“My block is called There’s Always One, because in my life, there’s always one. One more idea, one more thought, one more chance, one more thing I have to complete, one more thing I want to do . . . you get the idea.

In my quilting life, I dream of being a precision piecer with an ultra-organized work surface and all my patchwork pieces lined up with military precision. But my dreams are indeed not my reality. I tell my sewing buddies that I’m a serial encroacher, with my sewing supplies leaking into shared spaces. I like to chain piece, but I also like to see a block come together. Consequently, I start and stop more than I should and scurry between my machine and ironing board and stop to grab a cup of coffee (or two) in between steps. The result? I get to use my seam ripper more than most, because I sew the seam on the wrong edge, or I get the pieces turned the wrong way when I pick them up. It used to drive me crazy. Now, I just accept it as part of being me.

There's Always One quilt block
There’s Always One block by Jennifer Keltner (on page 13 of
The Splendid Sampler 2)

I love to quilt. I love to retreat and sew with friends. I might as well embrace it all! Why not? So rather than stressing when I find an error in my block, I just remind myself that there’s always one.

Friendly disclaimer: If the orderly among you can’t bear the thought of turning that one Flying Geese block upside down, go ahead and sew them all pointing in the right direction. Not everyone appreciates a misfit in the block crowd.

You can piece this block in the traditional sew-and-flip way, but I tried a new tool when making this block. Here’s a little tip I’ve included in the book if you want to try something new.”


I’m not one for sewing with too many gadgets. But after sewing alongside some of the best quilt designers I know, I noticed one gadget that kept appearing on their cutting mats: the Bloc-Loc Flying Geese ruler.

Cutting is my least favorite part of the quilting process; sewing oversized blocks and trimming them down isn’t a technique I’m drawn to. But, I gave it a try, and guess what? The Bloc-Loc Flying Geese ruler gave me a perfectly shaped unit every time. So, if your flying geese aren’t all you want them to be, try a specialty ruler like Bloc-Loc. You might just like it!

Can you spot Jennifer’s block in Pat and Jane’s 100 Blocks + 1 sampler quilt below? You’ll find a link to download complete directions for making four beautiful sampler quilts, both big and small, in The Splendid Sampler 2.

100 Blocks + 1 sampler quilt

Have you been following the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along?

  • Yes, every block, every week, every month since the beginning!
  • Yes, and sometimes I keep up!
  • Not yet but the group and the books sound fun—can I be a Splendid, too? (Of course you can!)

Tell us your Splendid experience in the comments!


51 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Thank you for being part of our Project Jennifer!! I have loved your block since you showed us the sketch, it’s so perfect!

    Pat Sloan on February 14, 2019
  • This is a beautiful block. I don’t do flying geese very well, never seem to get the seam right but this should give me lots of practice. Thanks for this pretty block. Cathy

    —Cathy Barta on February 14, 2019
  • Sorry I have not been keeping up! Life gets in the way sometimes. It is beautiful and I would love to make it at some point.

    —Margaret Hynes on February 14, 2019
  • I have followed along the the Splendid Sampler. I love today’s block from Jennifer. I love Flying Geese and definitely agree. Those Bloc Loc rulers are the best. I also love their triangle in a square ruler.

    —Loris Mills on February 14, 2019
  • I have been following since the beginning but have not pieced the blocks yet. I like flying geese very much.

    —Peggy on February 14, 2019
  • Yes, I have been following the Splendid Sampler Sew-Along. Sometimes I keep up but much of the time I come in behind. I also believe I could use more practive on making the flying geese block.

    —Ann West on February 14, 2019
  • I hadn’t even realized it but I have been avoiding flying geese – after one not so great attempt. I think this is just what I need to move past this geese road block. Thanks for the tips!!

    —Kiki on February 14, 2019
  • I have not followed along, but this was very interesting. Thanks.

    —Darliss Peabody on February 14, 2019
  • I have been following and downloading the patterns but I’m so far behind sewing the blocks. Hope to catch up some day.

    —Elaine A on February 14, 2019
  • I haven’t started but love the project.

    —fFran Claassens on February 14, 2019
  • I haven’t been following the sew along. But, I love the blocks. Flying geese is not my favorite block to make. Perhaps I’ll be able to make them your way with a lot less swearing and ripping in the end.

    —Sandra Alfano on February 14, 2019
  • As hard as I have tried, I cant keep up.
    Your block is wonderful! I know it will get finished this week! I like that there is an obvious imperfection! It makes it much more interesting! Thanks!

    —Judy lawrance on February 14, 2019
  • Not yet but the group and the books sound fun. So many blocks.

    —carol on February 14, 2019
  • Unfortunately family demands have taken up most of my time for some months now but I definitely have this book on my wish list!

    —Robin on February 14, 2019
  • I’m not part of it but it sounds fun!

    —delinda on February 14, 2019
  • I love this but need practice making flying geese.

    —Barb on February 14, 2019
  • I have been following along for a while. I even bought book 1! But I haven’t made any of the blocks yet.

    —Amy Mills on February 14, 2019
  • I have somewhat been following, all the blocks are
    so interesting!

    —laura mitchell on February 14, 2019
  • No not yet, but would love to if I had the book

    —Carol on February 14, 2019
  • Not yet but it does look like fun

    —Hilda Krebs on February 14, 2019
  • I’ve been sewing every week with SS2 from the start, and I’ve even purchased the SS1 book to add a few of my favorites from that book into my quilt. While I’m more into oversized modern blocks I have found I really love the precision of these smaller scaled blocks. Every week has been a lot of fun. As to the ‘there’s always one’, I think that describes me! I’m glad that Martingale has supported the idea behind this project. It’s a community coming together, and I have definitely broadened the group of quilters on social media who I follow and whose work I admire. Thanks Jennifer and everyone at Martingale!

    —Michele A Bender on February 14, 2019
  • Have been following along from the beginning. What an amazing journey. So far l have learned that l am not very good with needle turn, and my embroidery needs help. Lol. That has not stopped me from going forward. The flying geese block is wonderful,nice to meet someone that really knows how to use a seam ripper, like myself..Lol!

    —Janette on February 14, 2019
  • I am trying to keep up, not having much luck tho since Xmas break..lol. But I have to say that this winter has been the best since I’m sewing along with all your SS2 blocks and Pat Sloan’s sew alongs! 😍

    —Pat R on February 14, 2019
  • I’m a hand stitcher. I tried my first flying goose black a couple of weeks ago. I really wasn’t that hard. I am looking forward to doing lots more.

    —Lisa Porter on February 14, 2019
  • I have been following along, watching, but have too much other responsibilities on my plate right now. Would love to have the book to be able to do myself when life settles down

    —Geri on February 14, 2019
  • Yes, I’ve followed since the beginning, but sadly haven’t been able to keep up making all the blocks.

    —Susan L. on February 14, 2019
  • Just ordered the book! Can’t wait to get started. Hope to catch up! LOL

    —Joi Stenroos on February 14, 2019
  • I’ve made several blocks from the first book and used them in different projects but haven’t made blocks from the second book but like the different blocks a lot.

    —A. Bouwman on February 14, 2019
  • I am not one but I would love to give it a try and quilt a block.

    —bethd. on February 14, 2019
  • Not participating in the SS2, but I periodically check and see what is going on. I do own the first book and have made small quilts using some of the block designs. Happy Valentine’s.

    —SandyMay on February 14, 2019
  • I have been curiously reading the links and viewing the blocks for the Splendid Sampler for the past two months. Well, drawn in I’ve ordered the book and will take up the challenge to work on this sampler. Blocks are really creative and I’ve enjoyed the designers stories. I’m off to a new challenge!

    —Mae R on February 14, 2019
  • Yes, every block, almost every day,every week, every month since the beginning! I am up-to-date to today! Love this amazing quilt!

    —Lynn Geisler on February 14, 2019
  • Yes, I have been following Splendid Sampler 2 from the beginning and I love making the blocks even if they don’t turn out exactly 6 1/2 inches. Have managed to keep up until last week; fell behind a little bit. Want to order the first book too.

    —Sue Piraino on February 14, 2019
  • No I haven’t been following but it does look like fun.

    —Rilla Burnham on February 14, 2019
  • I have been a Splendid person since the first block from book one was introduced 3 years ago today. Sometimes I get the weekly assignments done, lately it’s weakly. Flying geese challenge me but, I’m getting better. Like your block and look forward to stitching it when I get the sewing room put back together, new windows have disrupted my life.

    —Judi Casias on February 14, 2019
  • Have not been sewing from the Splendid book, but thinking about trying this Summer. Looks like it would be fun.

    —Vickie on February 14, 2019
  • Haven’t started yet, but would really like to.

    —Mary Brott on February 14, 2019
  • No. I don’t think I could keep up. But the blocks are interesting. So maybe I will try a few of them.

    —Barbara on February 14, 2019
  • I started out keeping up really well but it has been harder since we switched to sewing 4 blocks each week. A death in the family, Christmas, and a planned vacation put me behind but I’m working hard to catch up!

    —Dee Davis on February 14, 2019
  • I love the block “There’s Always One” sums me up in many different ways! I have been with the Splendid Sampler since the day one of first book. Although I haven’t finished all the first, I’m still making them & the second at the same time. But life threw a curve ball! But I’m still working them in.
    My thoughts on the Sampler… well, it’s probably the biggest gathering of people working on the same goal ever!
    It’s a community like I’ve never seen! It would really be something if the communities in real life, were as good to everyone and kind & helpful as we are to each other in the Splendid Sampler 1& 2!! I commend Pat Sloan & Jane Davidson for coming up with this great idea, & seeing it through twice over! And Martingale & of course Aurifil for backing them so good! I thank every participant who designed a beautiful block to be a part of such a wonderful thing!
    As far as the block “There’s Always One “ I love flying Geese! I think they look Grand in a quilt. And the “One More…”
    Isn’t that just typical of anyone’s day or life! Great name too! Thanks Jennifer Keltner, for participating & for your lovely block (s)

    —Jan Ward on February 14, 2019
  • Not yet. I usually can’t keep up with quilt-alongs. The book would be great to have, because I could then work at my own pace. (I’d have to throw in some "misfits" along the way!)

    —Teri D. Gailey on February 14, 2019
  • Not yet but maybe I will join in.

    —Christi on February 14, 2019
  • I started when Splendid Sampler, the first book, was new and I sewed two blocks a week and finished the quilt with 110 blocks. I’m one of those people that starts and never finishes anything and I’m very proud to say that I stuck with it. It made a gorgeous sampler quilt and every block reminds me of the story that went with it. I love to show the quilt to people and they stand and look for a long time at each block. Life got in the way and I could not start on Splendid Sampler 2. I am so thankful for Pat and Jane and have put their names on my quilt label. Thank you to all of the designers that made it possible also!!

    —Marsha on February 15, 2019
  • I love this block

    —dorris dale on February 15, 2019
  • I want so much to make this quilt but as one of the other ladies said life gets in the way. I would like to join the group and get started

    —Marty on February 15, 2019
  • Hi, I participated in the first Splendid Sampler and thought that the second one would probably be the same but love the new blocks and talent so I am going to join in the fun next week.

    —Helen Bowie on February 15, 2019
  • Thank you for a great block!

    —Darlene on February 15, 2019
  • I believe I have splendid quilt in the six tubs of blocks left over from years of quilting. I like my lay out to flow like it has more of a balance and not look out of place from it neighbor block. I am making Linus quilts from my mess.

    —Linda Christianson on February 15, 2019
  • Yes, I’ve been following. Since the start with sampler #1 I don’t have all the blocks made, too busy is my excuse and I’m sticking to it,

    —Stephanie Woodward on February 15, 2019
  • I haven’t been following but since retirement is just around the corner, more time at the sewing machine and making more quilts.

    —LizAnn Lizotte on February 16, 2019
  • Love the Flying Geese block! I like to turn 2 geese sideways when I make tablerunners. Sometimes creative minds think alike!

    —Linda Towers on February 16, 2019

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