I have joined the masses (and masses) of people following Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson along on The Splendid Sampler – a 100 Block Adventure. I’ve been hoping to make a sampler quilt and learn a lot more about different quilting techniques. I think this will do the trick!

Pat and Jane are posting 2 blocks per week, on Sundays and Thursdays, until next year. All of the tutorials will be free to download until the end of the sampler. The whole thing is a mystery, which I LOVE! I’m a bit obsessed and can’t wait to see what will come out next. Lots of different designers have worked on the blocks, so I’m looking forward to finding out more about them as well.

I’ve decided to go with a scrappy sampler – mostly because I didn’t decide I was going to do this until I wanted to make the first block. Of course, I don’t have 35 coordinating light/medium/dark fat quarters sitting around – so scrappy it is! I’m looking forward to designing a layout for these 100 blocks next spring!

This first block – Hearts Aflutter – is special. I was searching through my scraps and looked up at the shelf where I stash the fabrics that mean something to me and these jumped out! I have saved the two sewing prints since Cynthia Frenette sent them to me more than two years ago after I pattern-tested her I Can See Clearly Now Pouch pattern. These are not just any old (amazing) sewing fabrics, she designed them! They might even be from her own personal first-run cuts of them, and I can only imagine how hard it would be to part with those.

Cynthia’s fabrics mean so much to me and represent exactly what I wanted in this first scrappy block. First, I love sewing (in case you didn’t catch that!), and so I wanted to fussy cut scissors, seam ripper and a tomato pin cushion into the appliqued heart. The lined up buttons, pattern symbols and measuring tape provide a fun way of working with the 4-patch to make a diamond shape. Plus, I love the red – Thread-Riding-Hood-friendly – dots!

In opposition to my general feeling that quilt block instructions – especially mystery quilt block instructions – should never be altered, I actually changed this first block a bit. The heart is meant to be straight in Pat Sloan’s version – but when I went to fuse it, I didn’t like the look – too symmetrical with the diamond created in the 4-patch. I turned it on its side a bit and it looked so much better. Then it struck me that Cynthia would likely approve! She is such an amazing, talented artist and I can totally imagine her creating her own version of this block too. (Hopefully she doesn’t mind me taking liberties in thinking that I might know what she would do!)

The black gingham corners are from my scraps – one of the other (17,000 odd) quilters did this and it worked really well with Cynthia’s fabrics. That’s a really fun part of this adventure as well – being able to see what other people are sewing, meeting them and gaining inspiration from them. The Facebook group is fun, even if it has become a bit crazy scrolling through my personal FB feed recently – quilt blocks everywhere!

I promise, Thread Riding Hood isn’t going to turn into a quilt blog with posts for each Sampler block – but I will give regular updates so you can see my progress. And hopefully you can keep me accountable! I’m going to need it I’m sure. Right now I’m pretty determined and 2 blocks per week sounds do-able, but in the summer… who knows?!

Are you following the Splendid Sampler along? What fabrics have you chosen?

Oh, and I’m saving all my blocks in this super special box that was my Grandma’s. So good – I’m excited to get started and make lots of memory-type blocks along the way, using fabrics that remind me of special things. That will help narrow down the fabrics I use too. It would be really fun to have a story for each block.