12 + 12 = 1 Sampler Quilt

Posted by on October 5, 2015 in block lotto community | 6 comments

I was looking at a calendar recently and noticed that there are (almost) 12 weeks until Christmas.  I wondered if I could make a sampler quilt, organized in 12 rows (of our 12 monthly blocks) in those twelve weeks.  It seemed doable to me.  I started thinking:

  12 rows
  12 weeks
  1 Sampler Quilt


I decided that I would post weekly and share some of my thought process as I worked through my sampler quilt. If you have been making extra blocks and thinking about a sampler, I hope you will share your progress.  If you create a post here, please use the category block lotto community and the tag my sampler for your posts … until it’s ready for show and tell in the gallery.


Even if you haven’t been making extra blocks,  now that you’ve seen most of the blocks for the year, you might think about if like them enough to make a sampler of your own. You might want to adopt the 12 + 12 = 1 attitude and join me.

Whether you are making a sampler quilt or not, everyone is, of course, encouraged to read along, offer their comments and hold me accountable as I work through my rows.


Choosing a Theme or a Feeling for my quilt


Each year, when I start thinking about lotto block choices, I ask myself what haven’t we done that could be interesting?  This year, I started with the notion of making blocks that could have a Folk Art feeling.  I will admit that I probably strayed a little too far from that original idea in my block choices for this year, but it was still with me when I couldn’t resist a fat quarter bundle of Alison Glass Handcrafted offered by Massdrop to use in a sampler quilt of this year’s blocks. I thought the simple, primitive motifs and the complex colors conveyed the folk art feeling I had in mind.

When I attended the AQS show in Albuquerque in January, on impulse I picked up some shot cottons in colors that I thought would work with my fabrics.

UpcycledFabricIdeaFast forward a few months until, a couple months ago, when I was moving across town, I came across a bunch of these small draw-string sacks, that had been acquired for a recycling challenge with guidelines that I probably initially misunderstood. The sacks didn’t fit the guidelines and they were packed away.  When I pulled them out of a drawer in the studio to pack for the move, I wondered if they could become the background for my folk-art-feeling quilt.

I found these in the supermarket when I lived in Texas–they are cotton drawstring bags which held frozen tamales.  They came in two sizes and were printed in 5 colors (one for each of the flavors).  They look like cotton muslin; they went through the washer and dryer OK, but I doubt they are 100% cotton (and may not be cotton at all.)  They are really well-sewn.  After carefully unpicking the stitching on about a dozen of them, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to do so, because the thick thread (and likely large needle) used to sew them left large holes that I feared would always be there.


Quilt Design


Last April, I shared some album quilt design ideas and mentioned that I planned to make a row quilt.

ColoringPageImageHere is a sketch of my planned layout.  There will be two more rows (November and December blocks) at the bottom. I removed all the color and created a Printable Coloring Page to create a blank slate for anyone who would like to play with the idea. The blocks, from top to bottom are:

  1. Made Fabric Star
  2. Arrow
  3. Double 9-patch
  4. Appliqué Flower
  5. Many Triangles
  6. Tulip
  7. Twinkle Star
  8. Bargello 9-Patch
  9. Quilter’s Choice (Pets–you can tell what I’m planning)
  10. Plaid 9-Patch

If you make a row quilt from our blocks (one block per row) with nothing in between the rows, it will be 90 inches tall, which puts it in bed quilt-sized territory. What size bed is determined by how many blocks you decide to make for each row.  I will be making 7 (of the 9-inch square blocks) which will make my quilt 63 x 90 before any borders are added.


Getting Started


Fabric Test - Tulip BlockAfter making a half-dozen tulip blocks for the Block Lotto and 25 more for my scrappy tulip quilt, that block pattern still felt fresh in my muscle memory so I started there.

Because the block is made from a lot of relatively small pieces, I thought it was a good one to see what was going to happen with the relatively large-scale design of the Allison Glass fabrics.  It was also a test of what those tamale sacks would do when cut and used as fabric.

My initial reaction was that I loved it.   And so, I made 6 more blocks and sewed together my first row.

If you look at the quilt sketch, you’ll notice that I didn’t start at the top–which would have been, perhaps more logical.  I could end up creating the rows and deciding on the order later … or I might just start in the middle and work my way up and down adding rows to the top and bottom of the tulip row in the middle of the quilt.




Thought for the Week


Fresh BladeStarting a new project?  Why not start with a new blade?

I tend to use my rotary cutter until it feels like it just won’t go on … but before I started this project, I changed the blade. It felt like a treat. If you haven’t changed yours in a while, why not treat yourself?




  1. I love your ideas. I haven’t participated in the Lotto for a long time because of time restraints, but I follow it and enjoy it very much. This month’s star is awesome!

  2. Thank you for the sweet compliment. I have a feeling you aren’t alone in the group of people who follow, but have no time to play along.

  3. I love this plan you have begun…and I do also like the alison glass fabric (I have some, too) with the feedsacks
    Will be watching how this comes together hugs, Julierose

  4. I love your idea and I love your blog which makes it easy to get excited. The only problem for me … I am still working on my 2010 sampler. Sigh. I am not very prolific. Sigh again. But you are encouraging me! Thanks, Christa

  5. This sounds like fun – I hope I can find/make time within our reclaiming our house. I have been searching the site for the list of the blocks for THIS year and can’t seem to locate it. I can find the previous years, but, maybe this year’s blocks aren’t listed in one place anymore? Or am I just not seeing the link. It feels as if I’ve clicked on every link… :+}

    Thank you for any help you can give. Corinne in Forks

    • I created a list of links to the posts you’ll need to download this year’s blocks here.

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