Grandma's Sampler Quilt
Here are step-by-step instructions for Grandma's Sampler quilt blocks. Instructions provided courtesy of guest Nancy Raschka-Reeves.
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Begin by selecting three or four fabric color families. For example you may choose rose, blue and brown for the basic color families. Once colors are chosen, pick out several prints of each color, selecting variations of the value to keep the quilt interesting. Value in the rose color family would include a range of prints from medium pink to a deeper rose. Also choose prints that vary in scale — some busy prints and others that are more plain. To achieve the antique quilt look, first look for reproduction prints available in quilt shops. Finding a few of these will help get the color families started. However, there's no need to limit to using only reproduction prints. Many other prints can be used as well. As you add to the quilt's color collection, include some prints that aren't a perfect color match. This will add interest to the blocks and help lend an antique look.
Materials and Tools:
two fabric prints plus a background fabric for Underground Railroad block
four fabrics for Courthouse steps block
four assorted 5-1/4" print squares for the border blocks
five assorted 4-1/2" print squares (different prints)
1-1/2" half-square triangle paper
Miniature Underground Railroad block
2-3/4" x 5-1/4" background rectangle
2-3/4" x 5-1/4" rectangle of one of the prints
1-1/4" x 13" background strip
1-1/4" x 13" strip of the second print
a section of 1-1/2-inch triangle paper to 1 square x 2 squares
2. To make the triangle units, put the 2-3/4" x 5-1/4" background and print rectangles right sides together. Place the 1 square x 2 square piece of triangle paper on top and pin through all layers. Stitch on the dotted lines of the triangle paper. Cut apart on the solid lines. Remove the paper and press the seam allowance toward the print. This will yield four matching half-square triangle units. They should measure two inches including seam allowances.
3. To make the four patch units, sew the 1-1/4" x 13" strips of background and the second print together with a scant 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seam allowance toward the print. Measure the set after sewing — the two strips sewn together should measure two inches including seam allowances. Take the time to check this measurement.
4. Cross-cut the set at 1-1/4-inch intervals to yield 10 cuts. Use these pieces to make five, four-patch units measuring two inches including seam allowances.
5. Use the half-square triangle units and the four-patches to assemble an Underground Railroad block. Experiment with the placement of value in the block. Changing the values of the two prints can make the block appear quite different.
Tip: You can use these same units to create many other traditional block patterns.
Courthouse Steps block
1. Select four fabrics to use for the Courthouse Steps block — one for each side of the block. Cut a 1-1/4" x 40" strip of each.
2. Decide on the position for each print in the block. Two prints will be used for the vertical "logs" on two sides of the block and two prints will be used for the horizontal logs at the top and bottom of the block. Begin with the two prints that will be used for the vertical logs, and cut each of the 1-1/4-inch strips up into five-inch, 7-1/2-inch and 10-inch lengths. Cut the horizontal log print 1-1/4-inch wide strips into 7-1/2-inch, 10-inch and 12-1/2-inch lengths.
3. Use the Underground Railroad block as the center of the Courthouse Steps block. Add the log strips to the Underground Railroad block, taking care to use a scant, 1/4-inch seam allowance. Begin by adding a five-inch vertical log to one side of the block. Next, add a five-inch vertical log (in a different print) to the opposite side of the block. Press the seam allowances away from the center. After adding these two strips, measure the block. It should measure 7-1/2 inches from side to side including seam allowances. Next, using the 7-1/2-inch strips from the horizontal log groups, add a log of one print to the top of the block and a log of a different print to the bottom of the block. The block should now measure 7-1/2 inches square. Next, go back to the first two prints that you used in the block and add the 7-1/2-inch vertical logs to the two sides of the block, matching the prints that were used in the first round. Continue assembling the block, adding the 10-inch horizontal logs to the top and bottom of the block, the 10-inch vertical logs to the sides of the block and finally the 12-1/2-inch horizontal logs to the top and bottom of the block. The finished block should measure 12-1/2 inches.
Note: Plan the second block in the row so that you will be using the same print on the side of the block that will touch the first block.
1. Cut four assorted 5-1/4-inch print squares. Cut five assorted 4-1/2-inch print squares (different prints).
2. Select two of the 5-1/4-inch squares and place them right sides together. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of one of them. Stitch a scant 1/4 inch on each side of the diagonal line. Cut on the diagonal line and press the seam allowance either direction. The resulting half-square triangle unit should measure 4-7/8 inches. Repeat with the other two 5-1/4-inch squares for a total of four half-square triangle units.
3. Place each half square triangle unit right sides together with another half square triangle unit so that the seam allowances wedge. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side one unit in each pair. Sew a scant 1/4 inch on each side of the diagonal line. Cut on the diagonal line and press the seam allowance either direction. The completed quarter-square triangle unit should measure 4-1/2 inches. Note that all four triangles in each unit should be a different print.
4. Make an assortment of these units for a scrappy look in the border.
5. Lay out border blocks, alternating the quarter-square triangle units with the 4-1/2-inch squares that you cut above. The blocks for the border should measure 12-1/2 inches.
6. The border units are planned to be the same size as the blocks in the quilt so that the border units can be added to the ends of the rows before the rows are joined together. This eliminates the problem of a pieced border that is either too long or too short to fit the quilt.
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