Have you ever participated in a Saturday Sampler?
Samplers aren't usually my thing; I love how repeated blocks work together to form interesting patterns. But, I have to admit that I think Saturday Sampler programs are really awesome. My friend invited me to do a Saturday Sampler at American Quilting with her. She was so excited because it was a Halloween theme, and even though I'm not super excited about Halloween, I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't do it. I'd never done anything like it, and didn't really know what to expect, but immediately loved it. I attended the demonstrations and learned so much that first year. And the quilt ended up so darling! I get so many compliments.
I really hated doing the applique on the trick or treaters, and it took me almost a year after the sampler ended to actually finish it because I dreaded doing it. In the end, I raw-edge machine appliqued them on, reasoning that it only comes out for a month each year and isn't getting "loved" like a normal quilt, so it shouldn't need to be washed. And now that it's done, I really love the quilt.
I think my favorite line is the bottom because of how the two different blocks work together. I also really enjoyed adding the embroidery details and lettering. I may hate turned applique, but I love embroidery.
I did the Saturday Sampler program at American Quilting twice and I'll post about the second year's quilt in another post. But, in case you are considering doing a sampler program, either at a brick and mortar or online, let me encourage you to jump in! Here's what I loved about my experience at American Quilting.
First, I got to go to the quilt shop every single month! They have sales on sampler Saturday and I probably spent much more than I should on fabric while I was participating in samplers.
Second, the samplers I have participated in were diverse and were skill builders. I made a large variety of blocks with many different techniques. I made an effort to always attend the demonstration, and I think participating in the sampler really helped my skills improve quickly. I learned different ways to construct flying geese, square in a squares, half-square triangles, whack and stack stars, and several different methods of applique, among others.
Third, because there were so many different blocks and methods, I got to try things out in a low-risk way. I learned that I really love paper piecing, but don't love applique. I didn't have commit to a big applique project to figure that out. And since it came with demonstrations, I didn't go into it blindly. After two years of samplers, I've tried most standard techniques and don't feel intimidated by most patterns.
Fourth, it got me sewing regularly. I found myself much more likely to work on other projects because I was spending more time in my sewing room.
I really loved the class-format of the sampler and I loved learning and improving my quilting techniques. If you're considering a Sampler program, do it! I may do another one in the future, but have so much in my quilting queue that it's not a good time for me. But, I loved it and highly recommend it to others. Let me know in the comments if you've done sampler programs and how you liked them!
Approximate completion date: summer 2013