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Make a Scrappy Sampler Quilt

So with this pandemic thing and all, quilting has really grown in popularity. Whether you were inspired to finished up a bunch of works in progress or you picked it up fresh, if you are like me, you've accrued quite the pile of scraps. On a discussion somewhere I saw someone ask how others stay on top of their scraps/stash? Responses ranged from cutting your new scraps into strips or squares to be easily used later to how to sort and store your scraps. My favorite reply was from an experienced quilter: "make every third quilt a scrap quilt". While I can't say I've followed this advice exactly, I can say that by throwing in scrap quilts every now and then I stay on top of my scrap pile AND I come away with a unique quilt.

I'm going to walk you through how I put together this warm and cheery sampler quilt without a pattern...or much of a plan at all really...using nothing but scraps.

I started out with a simple idea: I wanted to create a scrappy quilt where I would stretch myself to make new types of blocks. I find myself gravitating towards the same type of block over and over again. Here, I wanted to try some classic blocks I'd never made before.

Before I started sewing, I decided on a size for my blocks: I went with 12.5"x12.5" blocks (that's the unfinished size). This is a common size for quilt blocks. It also meant that I wouldn't have to sew up a lot of smaller blocks to make my finished quilt.

Then I sorted through my scrap fabrics and pulled out as many coordinating fabrics as I could. I recently made three quilts with very similar color schemes so this wasn't too hard for me! (Again, I am very consistent with what I like).

Some of the blocks I designed myself while others I perused the wealth of free blocks online. I spent a lot of time admiring quilts on Pinterest and Instagram. There are so many crazy talented quilters out there! I absolutely LOVE the paper pieced block I pulled from Wombat Quilts (bottom left block in the picture below). They have a ton of free paper piecing patterns. I had a hard time choosing just one of them.

New to me were the pineapple block, log cabin, variation on the disappearing nine patch, and the two paper pieced blocks.

In researching different types of blocks, I learned to love the videos put out my Missouri Star Quilt Company. I chose the Winter Star block to include in this sampler. This tutorial made it so easy to make.

While I am really happy with how all of the blocks turned out in this sampler, I think my favorite has to be this paper pieced "Storm at Sea" block. It looks like there are curves but everything is actually a straight line: gotta love optical illusions! You can find free instructions here. This block looks cool by itself but check out the instructions to view some seriously awesome layouts.

Once I made sixteen blocks, my fabric options were getting a little slim so rather than making more blocks to enlarge my quilt, I opted for a couple of cute borders. I added these one at a time using backing (108" wide) fabric I trimmed from around the edges of quilted quilts. I did spice up the borders by adding one that was pieced.

As I was making this quilt top, I definitely questioned myself at times. I wasn't always sure that I was going to love the final product and I actually put it away for a couple of months. It can be a little intimidating to make something without a pattern. I'm so glad I got it back out and finished it. It truly surpassed my expectations and taught me a few new tricks along the way. I hope this quilt inspires you to get making on your own!

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