Mod Sampler Quilt: Stars & Stripes Forever

The pajamas are done for now; I'll have an update with photos sometime soon.

You may have noticed the quilt-along button on my sidebar this month -- it links to Oh, Fransson!'s Mod Sampler quilt-along, which started back in March. I thought this would be a good learning and practice piece to try before tackling the Bahama Breeze quilt (the kit I bought at the Quiltfest in March).

The instructions for the quilt-along are clear and I like that the approach doesn't dictate that one way of doing something is better than another method. I've been following along, reading the posts and comments and finally about a week ago, I was ready to get started.

I wanted to use fabrics from my stash, but picking a theme and color palette was a challenge. At first I wanted to use bright blues and greens, but couldn't decide how to pair them up. Eventually I decided that the finished quilt would be used as a throw blanket in our "great" room, which changed the color theme completely.

When I was getting started on the slipcovers for my old couch, I mentioned that one of my inspiration pieces for decorating that room was this set of storage boxes with stars and stripes. By the time I finished the slipcovers, I was pretty happy with the room, but thought it needed more pops of red and white. A throw blanket would be just the thing.

In my fabric stash, I had quite a few red, white and blue and patriotic fabrics. The difficulty was in narrowing down and choosing pairs of fabrics for this Mod Sampler Quilt. At first I tried pairing either red or blue with white, but then the choice of sashing was too hard for me.

At last I matched the blue and red fabrics together and left the white for the sashing. I tried to match the pairs so that one fabric with stars was paired with a stripe or solid:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Some of the pairs interpret this plan more obviously than the others, but overall I liked the match-ups. And as I put the blocks together they seemed to make more sense.

Block A:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Block B:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Blocks A & B were fairly straightforward and I managed to put them together in one evening.

Block C:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Block C was a bit more challenging, but breaking it down into 4 sections and staying organized helped keep it in order. I used the 1/4" clear piecing foot with a guide to sew all my blocks and I was amazed at how little squaring up I needed to do in the end, especially with this block.

Block D:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Block E:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Block F:
Mod Sampler Quiltalong

Blocks E and F were a little confusing for me at first. I realized that I had cut my pieces all the same size, but I should have cut some sizes in one color and some sizes in the other color. Fortunately, I could mix and match and cut down larger pieces to the sizes I needed. Even though I squared up each time around, the outer edges are just a touch off.

Stitching the sashing between the blocks wasn't too bad, but sewing the rows together and keeping the columns lined up proved more challenging. It took me a couple of days to get through piecing the top together, but it turned out pretty well:

Mod Sampler Quiltalong

This is spread across the full-size bed in our guest room (just to give an idea of the size).

Piecing the back was also challenging, mainly because of the large sections of fabric being joined together:

Mod Sampler Quiltalong

The top section is the same red/white strip used in my blocks and the bottom is a larger print stars on navy. I can't even see the seam where I had to piece the bottom together.

I've made my quilt sandwich and have it all pinned together, ready to get started on the actual quilting. I'm going to try free-motion meandering or stippling on a sample piece first, and I'm going to try and use my Fabric Mover. This will be the first time I've tried to use it on a large piece, so I'm hoping it will be a good test drive.

It may be a week or so before I have another chance to post an update on my progress, but if I can, I'll upload photos to Flickr as I go along.

Here's a link to a slideshow of all my Mod Sampler Quilt photos

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