Not your average Sampler quilt

A couple of years ago I took a sampler class to learn more piecing techniques.    I selected southwest colors (turquoise, rust, & brown) and fabrics with the intent of making a new quilt for our guest bedroom (queen size).

Traditional Sampler layout






After I finished the twelve 12″ blocks (+2 extras) I put them in a UFO box.   I didn’t really want to just add sashing to make the traditional sampler quilt.

In January,  I pulled it out of my UFO project box and started looking at ideas on the internet for sampler layouts.

I finally landed on a Moda design (Modern Building Blocks) that I really liked.   The layout was free online:

I also bought the pattern as the pattern required some really BIG blocks and I didn’t find BIG blocks online.

I started adapting the pattern/layout for my design.

12″ blocks extended to 18″ blocks



Phase 1 – the design only needed nine 12″ blocks and I had fourteen.   It did need five 18″ blocks, so at a quilt retreat I took five of my 12″ blocks and extended them to 18″ blocks (with the color/design input from my quilting retreat friends).

36″ BIG block



Phase 2 – Make BIG blocks.   I made a two 36″,  one 30″, and a 24″ block.    I did make some measurement errors and one of my 36″ blocks turned out to actually be 38″.

Phase 3 – Make a mix of smaller blocks to fill in the design.






Phase 4Layout.  I arranged my blocks on floor.   I did use some fillers (strips) to place between block and to assist in the connection of blocks.

Favorite block


Phase 5 – Quilting.   Donna volunteered to do stippling and use a quilt-as-you-go technique.   It was a busy quilt so I didn’t want the quilting to be the star and felt that simple stippling would be good.   In order for her to quilt it more easily on a domestic machine, I sewed the blocks together in 3 large sections.   Then she could quilt the 3 separate sections before attaching them together.



Here’s the finished queen size quilt.

Finished Quilt

On the bed in our guest bedroom.

My finished quilt is not exactly like the pattern.   I used the pattern more as inspiration and tweaked the layout to meet my blocks and the size I wanted.   I learned a lot on this project and am happy with the result.    I’m also happy that another UFO is complete.

I plan on making some decorative pillows for the futon (in the same room) with some of the leftover fabric.

Happy Stitching’,


Ps.   This is my favorite block in the quilt






5 thoughts on “Not your average Sampler quilt

  1. Wow! That is a ‘masterpiece’ quilt. I find samplers really hard to get my mind around. So often they ‘fail’ at unity of feeling and just look like some kind of scramble. This one has plenty of drama (those BIG blocks!) but it all goes together beautifully. Bravo!

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