I have wanted to make a sampler quilt for quite awhile but could not decide on the designs or fabric so I kept putting it off. I even contemplated tackling a Dear Jane® quilt, but then came to my senses.
About a month ago, it dawned on me how I could make the perfect sampler. My parents will celebrate their golden 50th wedding anniversary in a couple of years and I can make them a sampler quilt as gift. I will call it the Golden Sampler.
I think I subconsciously got the idea for the sampler quilt from a friend who is in the process of putting together a sampler quilt to tell the stories of her mother’s childhood.
Each year of my parents’ marriage will be represented by a block. There are 51 “year” blocks when you include the first year of marriage, year 0. The name of each block and the fabric motifs in each block will reference events/milestones/interests of my parents from that year. My dad was in the Air Force and they moved a couple dozen times, so there will be many themes and memories to showcase.
Since 51 blocks is an awkward number to turn into quilt top, I am adding three bonus blocks to fill out a nine by six layout; one to represent my dad’s childhood, another for my mom’s childhood and the third to show their family tree now with all of the grandchildren.
I planned to keep this project a secret from my parents but quickly learned that I would need their help so I would know how to properly illustrate their history together.
My plan for the quilt is really coming together. I have been researching and drafting block patterns practically non-stop. As I get history details from my parents, I put them in a dedicated Moleskine squared notebook. The notebook is also where I am figuring out the dimensions for the block parts.
Initially, I checked out Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book from the library, but have since bought my own copy since I know I will reference it for years to come. I only have a handful of quilt books, but this one is by far my favorite. Almost all of the quilt block designs that I am using are from this encyclopedia.
I am really looking forward to seeing this quilt come together. I hope to get a couple of blocks done each month. I will probably post photos of the blocks as I make them. I am waiting on some fabric to arrive and once it does, I will get started on the first couple of blocks, representing 1980 and 1984.
If I did not have this project to work on, I am sure that I would have joined in a sampler quilt-a-long just starting up to feed the ‘sampler’ bug I was feeling. Also, Barbara Brackman (author of the encyclopedia mentioned above) has an interesting blog commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War with a block of the week. It is interesting to read about the history of our country in addition to which fabric colors and patterns were used 150 years ago.