Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler borders 2.jpg

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.

CS Promo banner 2.jpg

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.

Community Sampler borders 1.jpg

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. 

Artboard 1loops quilting.jpg

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.

Artboard 1grid quilting.jpg

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!






Guest On American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast

Guest on American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast

Graphic courtesy of American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

Graphic courtesy of American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

It's always a big honor when Pat Sloan of American Patchwork and Quilting asks if you want to be on her radio podcast - um, of course, YEESSSS!!!!!

I love talking with Pat, she's so knowledgeable about this industry and genuinely a wonderful person. This is my second time on her show--I could talk with her all day long!. Listen to my first live podcast interview on episode #336 which aired April 10, 2017 where Pat and I talk about fabric design and style of quilts. 

The new episode #373 will air March 19, 2018 sometime after 4 pm Eastern on Patchwork and Quilting Radio.

Or on Pat Sloan's website under Radio Shows.

Episodes can also be heard at the All People Quilt magazine's website.

Photo by Sharon Holland

Photo by Sharon Holland

In new episode #373 interview, Pat and I talk about my Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book for Landauer Publishing and what it means to create a utility-style quilt as well as the behind the scenes makings that went into the book and it's photography.

Bobbin quilt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

Bobbin quilt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

There's so much that goes into a craft book. Of course, first and foremost is a concept for the book then comes the making of the projects and writing of the manuscript. For me it snowballed into even more...

Goose Chase from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

Goose Chase from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

I soon found myself behind the camera shooting the type of life-style photos I wanted depicted in my book. Really, the behind the camera is a happy place for me in my multi-passionate career--I just wish I had a bit more time then was given to meet the 2-week press deadline.

I found surprising and creative solutions for capturing the look I wanted for this book and thank goodness for my wonderful friends that let me trash their homes to get that perfect shot! Hear more on that behind the photos on the podcast interview with Pat.

Star Crossed from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

Star Crossed from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living quilt book. Photo by Sharon Holland.

I like to give each quilt a personality before I even begin and by doing so, it also helped me streamline how the quilt was to be photographed. Star Crossed has a tween-girl storyline for me and was a fun quilt to style. Pat and I talk more about my process behind selecting which fabrics to use in my quilts and how I came up with the different utility quilt looks for my book.

Fabric stack photo by Sharon Holland

Fabric stack photo by Sharon Holland

When you listen to the podcast interview, I tell Pat my concept behind this book and how I want to encourgage quilters to find their voice and make beautiful quilts that give you permission to use them everyday and love them to pieces. 

This book is geared toward the beginner but a seasoned quilter will love the quick-make quilt projects and the freedom to explore design. Basically, this book is an excuse to go through your fabric stash and have fun sewing!

I had a ton of fun digging into my stash of fabrics for my 12 quilt projects in my book. Many of the fabrics used are vintage gems I've been holding onto for a long time and I'm so happy they are now in quilts that I can use and enjoy rather than the fabrics being stashed away in a closet.  

See what others are sewing using the patterns in my book by searching the hashtag #UtilityStyleQuiltsforEverydayLiving on Instagram! 



H-Block Quilt

H-Block Quilt


Some time ago I did house cleaning on my Free Patterns page to clear out PDFs that were not up to my current formatting and pattern writing standards. Unfortunately, the H-Block baby quilt pattern was one that was pulled. I have been intending to bring this pattern back but it's hard to find the time to devote to a free pattern or get excited about remaking a quilt when new projects keep cropping up! 


Well, I got a whole bunch of motivation not only to publish a new version of this free pattern but to make a baby quilt for a new grand baby coming this spring! Now I was ready to remake this quilt with renewed love and excitement. 

BG0A4049 2.jpg

The H-Block quilt it simple but so much fun and rewarding to make. It would be an excellent use of jelly roll strips because all the pieces are 2-1/2"-wide. I selected an assortment of prints from my various Art Gallery Fabrics collection: Gossamer, Coastline, Tapestry, Bountiful, and Fusions reprints (of my prints and other designers like Bari J. and Bonnie Christine) from Bachelorette, Woodland, and Floralia. I've also added in AGF Smooth Denim for a lovely departure from solids. See my Fabrics page for online shops that carry my collections.

My quilt uses 8 dark fabrics, 8 medium fabrics, and 6 light fabrics. My daughter wanted an earthy-boho look too the quilt and goes beautifully with her eclectic style of decorating. I couldn't be happy with how the quilt came out!

Download the free PDF H-Block pattern from my Free Patterns page.

H-Block Close sm.jpg

The finished size of this quilt is 46'' x 58'' and a great snuggling size as baby gets bigger. I used a very simple free-form half circle with a loop machine quilting design that was fast and easy to make. I didn't mark out the design ahead of time--just free motioned it and it's not perfect but I love it! 

H-Block 2 sm.jpg

For the batting I used my all-time favorite Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting. It's incredible in every way. The batting handles like cotton but it light weight. The drape of the quilt is exquisite and will be warm and soft for years to come. I machine washed the quilt before brining it to my daughter this weekend and dried in the dryer on low. There we no noticeable shrinkage of the quilt so this makes an excellent product for a baby quilt. 

Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

Designer Collage.jpg

It's been so difficult keeping secrets but the news is finally out that Maureen Cracknell and I will be co-hosting another virtual sewing bee! The 2018 sew along is called Community Sampler. We gave it that name because of the amazing community that grew out of last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler event. The response was incredible and so were the many friendships formed over a common love of quilting. So, to everyone that joined us last year and made the sew along such a success and to all the new friends that will be made with our new sampler--this one's for you!

Next week on Wednesday, February 21st around 9 am Eastern. Maureen and I will be posting to our blogs and release your first PDF download. This sew along is a free event and all you need to do is follow along on this blog and Maureen's blog to find the new PDF release each week, enjoy tips and tutorials, block inspiration, and weekly giveaways. 

With our new name (and new look!) starts a new hashtag pool in Instagram. Grab either or both of the buttons above for sharing on your blog or social media platforms to show your support for the Community Sampler block-of-the-week sew along. When posting your makes to your Instagram account, use the hashtag #CommunitySampler and then you can connect with all your fellow CS Makers by following the hashtag--it's that easy!

Public Instagram accounts will enjoy the added bonus of automatically being entered into the weekly giveaway drawings each and every time you post and use the official #CommunitySampler hashtag. We'll give more details on that as we get underway next week. Remember, this is just a sneak peek and the full reveal will be next week, starting with the Introduction PDF download. 

Sponsors Graphic Use-01.jpg

The Community Sampler is proud to announce these generous sponsors:

Lady Belle Fabric


Aurifil Thread

Art Gallery Fabrics

Hobbs Batting


Fat Quarter Shop


We look forward to you sewing along with us. Next week cannot come soon enough so to keep yourself busy, finish up all those UFO projects!