Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler Week #15

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You've done it! You're top is pieced and now it's ready to be quilted. My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and can't wait to see your finished quilts.

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Surprisingly we still have a few new Makers joining our sew along at this late point. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present and take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Community Sampler. Both Maureen and I will leave all the Community Sampler downloads up on our blogs for you to download long after this event is done. Also, check out the #Community Sampler hashtag on Instagram, you'll see an amazing array of beautiful blocks as inspiration overload! Soon, you'll be seeing finished Community Sampler quilts too!


Time to quilt and finish your Community Sampler! Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

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The Finishing PDF download will give you cutting and yardage requirements for a Community Sampler quilt with and without borders. If you've modified the pattern by enlarging the size of your quilt you will need to recalculate the number of binding strips needed, backing, and batting yardages.

  • Add 6''- 8'' to the finished dimensions of a quilt (3''- 4'' extra inches on all sides) for backing and batting needs. 
  • To figure binding: Add all four sides of the quilt plus an additional 12'' for seams. Divide that number by 42'' (the width of typical fabric) and the result is the number of strips needed. Round up if necessary.

For my Community Sampler quilt I've pieced my top in Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element solids. But, for the back it's time to add a print! My newest Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Signature is now available at your local quilt shops and online. I chose the Untamed Beauty Daybreak print from my collection because the background has the same soft peach/pink as the Sweet Macademia Pure Elements solids background on the front of the quilt and picks up the coral, honey yellow, and kelly green solid colors throughout the blocks.

To be honest I've not figured out my binding yet but I do know it will be a solid and may just depend on material I have left from the top--maybe a scrappy one!


Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm directing you to the blog post for Finishing that was originally posted during last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. There's where you'll find all the tutorial information for spray basting, quilting, and binding your Community Sampler. The sizes have changed but the concept for basting, quilting, and binding your quilt are the same. As stated in that post, there are many ways to finish a quilt and I am blogging about how I finish my quilts. If you have a preferred method, please do it the way you're comfortable with. If you intend to send your top off to be professionally quilted, discuss with your long-arm quilter how they'd like you to prepare your quilt top and backing for being quilted. 


I'm not a professional quilter by any means. I get by and call my quilting style "organic" because it's not perfect and lines are not straight. Since I've not quilted my Community Sampler at the time of writing this post I cannot say with certainty how I plan to quilt it yet. I have an idea to do a loopy clamshell sort of quilting (see first illustration) but until I sit down to my mid arm machine I really am not sure. 

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Use your coloring book page from the first PDF download with a tracing paper overlay to test out various quilting options. 

I do have a tutorial on my Tutorials page for how to quilt a Baptist Fan pattern that is one of my favorite patterns. You can find tons of quilting pattern inspiration online or through the professional quilters resources I listed earlier. The type of quilting design that appeals to you is the best one to choose. Keep in mind the complexity and your skill level when choosing, so you don't get frustrated.

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Another great option that always looks good is a grid pattern. You can run the grid horizontally and vertically or on the diagonal. 

Keep in mind that different batting types have different properties and quilt spacing requirements. Read the packaging recommendations and plan your quilting accordingly. 

I know this is not possibly enough to answer all your questions on how to finish a quilt. Use the internet, books, and other quilters to help fill in the gaps I've not covered here. I've only written about the steps I use to finish my quilts and there are many other ways to achieve the same end results--find what works best for your skill level and needs.

Next week will be the full reveal of mine and Maureen's quilts and of course our grand finale giveaway prize! 


My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are continually amazed by the joy and excitement each of you bring to our virtual community. Thank you for making this sew along so special. Please visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilt, using her beautiful AGF fabrics Love Story collection. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your blocks to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work! But, please be patient with both Maureen and I over the next few weeks if we don't comment back. Both Maureen and I are preparing sewing samples for our new spring collections and there's just not enough hours in the day (or energy) to get it all done!

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and also on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!






Tea Leaf Quilt Pattern

To celebrate my birthday month, I'd like to give you a gift with a new free quilt pattern! If you remember, back in August, I wrote a post about a quilt I made just because I wanted it. That may sound strange but actually, most of the sewing I do is for other reasons rather than for my personal enjoyment. Not that I don't love everything I make, but my personal wants are not usually factored in when I sew. My Tea Leaf quilt was just for me! My August post has a little tutorial about how to figure cutting sizes for half-square triangles (HSTs) of any size. 

Today, I share the free PDF download pattern for the Tea Leaf quilt along with a little tutorial about how to draw and stitch a fan or Baptist Fan quilting design on the finished top.

Tea Leaf by Sharon Holland

Tea Leaf by Sharon Holland

I've always admired this traditional quilt block called Tea Leaf. I love the movement of the block and have a thing for triangles in quilts. I also have a thing for leaf designs, so when it came time to make a quilt just for me--this was the one!

I used prints from 3 of my 4 fabric lines for a scrappy look and included Art Gallery Fabrics White Linen PE-408 solid. Gossamer, Coastline, and Tapestry prints in soft fall tones are the perfect look for my living room where this cozy throw resides. I used wool batting for drape, warmth, and definition of the quilting stitches. 

I love how some of the prints almost fade away, giving even more interest and energy to this quilt. This is a 60" square quilt--just a small throw-size quilt. If you want the quilt to be larger, just make more blocks and add on. Remember, you will also need to increase yardage requirements for blocks, backing, batting, and binding if going larger. 

The Fan or Baptist Fan quilting design in one of my favorite quilting designs. I feel it goes well with just about any quilt top. I love how it is an independent design placed over what's already happening in the quilt, adding yet another layer to the overall effect.  

Probably the only hiccup with a fan design is that it needs to be drawn out on the quilt top and does slow down the finishing process. However, once it's marked out, the quilting can be stitched in continuous rows and goes relatively quickly so I think it evens out in the end. 

How to Draw and Quilt a Fan Quilting Pattern

1. Use a non-permanent fabric marking tool (I like the ceramic lead pencils that have a screw on tip). Test marks on scrap material to make sure they can be removed with water or washing before proceeding. Read manufacturer's instructions for marking tool, as some can become permanent after exposed to heat such as an iron.

Determine how far apart you want the radiating fan arches. I used 2" spacing for my Tea Leaf quilt but have also used a 1-1/2" spacing on other quilts which I also like. Your batting choice may also influence how far apart your arches should be. 

Cut a 13" length of embroidery floss (light colored works best). Lay the floss out against a ruler and mark 6 evenly spaced segments starting about 1/2" from the end. Cut a 1/2" to 1" tail after the last mark.

Slightly unscrew the tip of the marking tool and wind the floss around the marking tool tip just so the last mark is secured in the tip once tightened. If using a marking tool without a screw tip, use tape to hold the floss in place at the mark. Note: You may need to re-secure the floss as you work, just pay attention if your fan designs start to get a little out of shape.

You now have an odd number of marks showing on your floss. The reason to have an odd number of arches to the Fan quilt design means you will now be able to stitch with a continuous quilting line. See Step 4.

2. With the floss attached to the marking tool. Hold the first mark on the floss at a corner starting point on the quilt top. While holding the floss with one hand, mark an arch with the marking tool. 

Move the second mark on the floss to the corner starting point and make a smaller arch in the same manner as the first. Continue adding arches for a total of 5 concentric rings.

3. To add additional fan, repeat Step 2, starting and the base of the large ring of the previous fan. Continue adding fans till the end of the row. Start the next row directly above where you started the first row.

4. To quilt, begin at the small arch of the first row. Follow the black dashed line arrows. The red dashed line arrows indicate bridge stitching and where you will need to backtrack over earlier stitching to keep a continuous line flow to the quilting stitches. Each arch will be quilted the same direction till you reach the end of the row. Remove the quilt, and start at the beginning of the second row, quilting in the same direction as before. 

5. To remove the marking stitches after quilting and binding, I like to gently wash my new quilt in the wash machine. I use Woolite on wool setting and very low heat dry. Remove when still a little bit damp and hang dry or press top if desired.