Thursday, 9 June 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Sunny Sampler

When I came across the Throwback Thursday link-up in my wonderings through quilt-blogland, I thought it was a great idea, because I made most of my quilts before I started the blog. It would be fun to share some of them with the online community and I think it makes sense to start from the beginning - with my officially first quilt I made in a basic patchwork course I took at the Silk Road craft school in Kharkov, Ukraine.

The Sunny Sampler

I have so many fond memories connected with that course, my group mate Olya and our wonderful teacher Svetlana - it's impossible to recount everything, I'll just show you some of the blocks. 

Basically, in each 3-hour class we studied one technique, made one 30 cm block, and then could practice this technique at home, making another block or two.

We started with the simplest: learning how to use mat, ruler and cutter by cutting some random strips and piecing them together. They were intentionally "scrappy" not to stress out too much about precision in the beginning:

The Sunny Sampler - crazy strips block

Then the strips had to become straight and precise as we tackled the Log Cabin...

The Sunny Sampler - log cabin block

... and some strip-piecing variations:

The Sunny Sampler - strip piecing block

The Sunny Sampler - trip around the world block

Sure enough, we did half-square and quarter-square triangles:

The Sunny Sampler - HST block

That in itself is enough to master most traditional quilting blocks, but we went boldly further to do foundation piecing...

The Sunny Sampler - monkey wrench block

Machine-piecing Y-seams (this is perhaps my favorite block in the sampler, although they all are in a way)...

The Sunny Sampler - tumbling blocks block


The Sunny Sampler - fans block

English paper piecing...

The Sunny Sampler - EPP block

Dresden Plate...

The Sunny Sampler - dresden plate block

and Mariner's Compass to crown it all!

The Sunny Sampler - mariner's compass block

Not only did we learn how to piece all of these blocks, we also learned how to do all the maths and  make your own templates and how to "read" a quilt to understand how it's made. 

I actually made more blocks than I needed for my chosen layout, so I still have some of them neatly folded somewhere.

As I chose such a bright palette (to match our bedroom wallpaper, actually), the name "Sunny Sampler" kind of stuck to it long before it was done, so I decided to take it literally (I take everything literally, this is my problem ;))) and made a sun centerpiece for it:

The Sunny Sampler - center sun block

Then I had an idea - to continue the sun rays into the border - so the border is strip-pieced at different angles, and to let the rays go on indefinitely into the space I had to do without binding, so the quilt is faced.

The Sunny Sampler - border

The Sunny Sampler - facing

AND I quilted it (mostly in the ditch) on my domestic Janome (because there was no other option available). To make my life more difficult, I decided to quilt the central circle in a spiral, and, as it was before I learned free motion quilting, I had to rotate the whole 2.10 meter squared through the machine - picture that ))

After trying all that in my first quilt, I am afraid of nothing the world of quilting can throw at me)))

The Sunny Sampler  took part in our family shot a couple of years ago, when it was young and fresh, and it still spends its days on our bed, although the bed and the bedroom are different now and there is no wallpaper to match - it makes the rented flat feel so much more like home))

Please do visit the link-up and have a look at other people's quilty memories))


  1. Hi Olena: This sampler quilt was such a great way for you to learn so much about quilting, different blocks and techniques. I think you had a very good teacher because all your blocks look well constructed.

    1. Exactly, Lisa, I feel so lucky to have had such a great teacher - a great boost forward.

  2. How fortunate for you to learn in easy stages and to be taught the essential basics before learning shortcuts. The sun rays in the border were the first thing to capture my attention -- very inspired!

    1. I feel proud of that sun and rays - it must be my first quilt design idea)) To be honest, though, they do not "read" so well when the quilt is on the bed with the edges hanging down.

  3. I'm so glad you found Jenn's Throwback Thursday link. Your quilt is amazing! What a wonderful teacher you must have had to use this sampler to teach you so many techniques!! And your work is so neat. Truly a first quilt to be proud of! Please do link up again.

  4. From a distance, your quilt looks very modern. There's something about a sampler that's timeless. Thanks for linking up with Throwback Thursday @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!

  5. So bright and beautiful, I love it! And all of those techniques, what a treasure you've created.


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