The Sweetest Things Sampler – the story behind the quilt

Sweetest Things Sampler - Dawn - Honeybee Cloths

It’s very nearly complete, just quilting on the border, the binding and label to sew on 🙂  – I have really loved making this quilt, so many lovely stories bound up in it, both in terms of the things which inspired it, and the lovely friendships formed throughout the course of our year long quilt-along. I’ve especially loved seeing your Sweetest Things Sampler quilts grow 💛 and how sweet this past year has been! So many stories come to mind – where to begin? 

Community

Key to this quilts story is the lovely sewing community which has grown round it, as without you, and you’re being part of it, there would’t be a quilt-along.

Over the past year my heart has skipped several beats seeing the stunning Sweetest Things Sampler blocks and quilts online friends have been making in places I can only dream of visiting one day – Australia to Alaska, and lots of places in between!

Our shared #SweetestThingsSampler page fetches together the beautiful quilts we’ve been busy making – it’s a real pleasure to see your quilts growing, and friendships forming on the way – doesn’t the internet make the whole wide world a much more reachable place! 

As well as our lovely online friends, four legged and feathered friends are very much part of our Samplers too. Block 4 – Nest  is inspired by our little feathered friends’ who put so much care and effort into nest building, weaving twigs, moss, and feathers together, just like the loving care which goes into making our quilts….

Nest block - Honeybee Cloths

While the little hedgehog in Block 8 – Prairie Point Hedgehog is actually inspired by a lovely Instagram friends @JenthePiecemaker, and the beautiful photos of her visiting hedgehog. 

Prairie Point hedgehog by Dawn


Helping, inspiring, encouraging

One of the most precious parts of the Samplers story is how much makers have helped, inspired and encouraged each other. It’s been a very strong thread running throughout our year long quilt-along.

Both myself and Michelle at CreativeBlonde designed six Sampler blocks each, for the Sweetest Things Sampler. Having Michelle along to co-host, as well as design and prepare tutorials for six beautiful blocks made the world of difference to me, and our quilt-along – a huge, huge thanks to Michelle from CreativeBlonde blog  💛

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the blocks and Michelle’s January block, the 12th Sampler in our sew-along with it’s lovely little sewing machine, and cotton reels (that seem to me, to be doing a joyful jig) really is the essence of “sewing a little happiness.” 🙂

Block 12 – Sew Happy

Block 12 made by Dawn, designed by Michelle Roberts

Little moments of wonder

Another theme which pops up time and time again throughout the Sampler blocks, is finding happiness in the simple things, those little moments of wonder, which happen when you’re least expecting them. 

Like, in winter, when trees have shed their leaves, there’s something kind of wonderful in the big bunches of mistletoe, hugging the tree branches…

Block 10 – Mistletoe and Mittens

Mistletoe and mittens by Honeybee Cloths

And how, even in the depths of winter, you can still find those little moments of wonder. It might be the bright winter sunshine, shimmering snow, the shy doe in the woods, or perhaps the little snow globe which shimmers when shaken….

Block 11 – Deer in the Snow

Deer in the snow

While Michelle’s blocks “Basket of Strawberry Sweetness”  and “Quench your thirst” reminds me of the nice warm, sunny days to look forward to….

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Basket of Strawberry sweetness, designed by Michelle. Made by Dawn

 

Busy little bees

Going back to the very beginning, when the quilt-along was just a twinkle in the eye – a certain day in the height of summer, sitting quietly and listening to the little bees busily buzzing and thinking how lovely it would be to make a quilt, have a quilt-along.

Block 6 – From our little hive to yours

cropped-from-our-little-hive-to-yours-x-honeybee-cloths4.jpg

It’s over a year and a half since that light-bulb moment – seeing the quilts makers have made, is for me the sweetest thing, seeing them pop up online is an absolute joy, brightening up the days. Thank you so much for following, it’s really truly lovely to have you along. 

Sending a quilted hug to each and everyone.

From our little hive to yours

Happy sewing

Dawn x X

Honeybee Cloths
Sweetest Things Sampler

ps. You can still find our free templates and tutorials for each block on the Sweetest Things Sampler page of Honeybee Cloths. 

One year on, 12 Sampler blocks and almost there…

It’s growing – in quiet moments I’ve been piecing Irish Chain and Sampler blocks for the Sweetest Things Sampler, which we begun a year ago.

dawn's sweetest things sampler quilt - joining the blocks

I’m especially loving the little beehive peeking out there, and Michelle’s strawberry basket – reminding me of warm, sunny days 🙂

Both myself and Michelle at CreativeBlonde have designed 6 Sampler blocks each, for the Sweetest Things Sampler. You can find our free templates and tutorials for each block on the Sweetest Things Sampler page of Honeybee Cloths. Including the twelfth block – “Sew happy” by Michelle, which is especially sweet.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the blocks and Michelle’s block, with it’s lovely little sewing machine, and cotton reels (that seem to me, to be doing a joyful jig) really is the essence of “sewing a little happiness.” 🙂

Block 12 made by Dawn, designed by Michelle Roberts

Now all 12 Sampler blocks and 13 Irish Chain blocks are complete, it’s time to join them together.

In preparation, lay the Sampler blocks out in order you’d like them, interspersing them with Irish Chain blocks.

COMPLETE Sweetest things Sampler Title sheet cropped

 

Next, working from the top row down, we’re going to sew the 10.5″ blocks in each of the rows together, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

If you’re using the Quilt As You Go technique using a 3 Layer Quilt sandwich, (Method 2 in the Quilt Construction notes PDF). Then blocks are joined in 3 steps….

Step. 1 Peel back the top layer of each quilt sandwich along the edges to be joined. Pin top layers right sides together and sew.

1. Joining top layer of quilt sandwich

(I used a couple of safety pins, to keep the wadding / backing away from the edge being joined.)

Now, the top layers of both blocks are joined, press the seam.

2. Pressing seam QAYG

Step 2. Next, smooth the wadding over the seam. You’ll find the wadding overlaps, so trim one edge of wadding so that when smoothed flat the edges of the wadding touch. Overstitch the edges to hold in place.

7. Joining quilted panels

Step 3. Finally, smooth over the backing pieces, folding under the backing edge of one block so that it overlaps the backing of the neighbouring block. Pin, then hand-stitch the backing in place.

3. QAYG Sewing quilt sandwich

Join the 2nd row, and subsequent rows in turn, till you have 5 rows, each measuring approx. 10.5″ x 50.5″

2 rows

Using the same technique (Steps 1 to 3) sew the rows together, to form a quilt top, measuring approx. 50.5″ x 50.5″

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If you choose, you can add borders to make a 60″ x 60″ quilt, cut:

  • Border fabric
    (4) 5.5 ” x 62” strips
    (4) 5.5 x 52″ strips
  • Cotton wadding
    (2) 6″ x 62″ strips
    (2) 6″ x 52″

To sew the borders on the quilt, I used the following shortcut, for each of the 4 border sections, attaching the shorter border sections to either side of the quilt first:

  1. Pin both front and back borders along the edge of the quilt sandwich, both front and back, making sure border pieces and quilt sandwich are right sides together.
  2. Next machine through all layers (borders and quilt sandwich in one go.)
  3. Sew the wadding onto the seam allowance, then fold top and lower border over the  wadding.

We are almost there. Just the binding left to do, which is for next time 🙂

Till then, from our little hive to yours

Happy sewing,

Dawn  x X