I lived in Saskatoon when I first started sewing and I didn’t have a sewing machine to begin with, so I stitched everything by hand. Then for my birthday one year I asked for a sewing machine, and I mostly wanted one so that I could participate in a block swap in a Livejournal group. It turned out I was basically terrible at sewing, even with a sewing machine. I didn’t know the first (or last!) thing about accuracy or how piecing worked and I didn’t know basic sewing terms, so when the swap group said we’d make 9.5″ blocks, I thought that meant the finished size was supposed to be 9.5″ and did you know there aren’t any blocks out there that come out to 9.5″… (strangely enough), so I sized up a shoo fly pattern with an extra half inch in the centre units. (No lie.) And I also didn’t have any money, so I was using cheap and (worse) ugly fabrics from Walmart. The blocks I sent out were appalling.
So I learned to paper piece, but I still wanted to learn to piece properly and I let myself get sucked into buying Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks from Periwinkle Quilting. In 2005/2006, the Saturday Surprise Sampler was done using primarily Robert Kaufman’s A Thousand Flowers line. It was 20 blocks and they were really tough, but I learned A LOT about accurate piecing (all of which I think I’ve forgotten since):
I kind of forgot about this project, but I was down in the basement the other day and decided to empty some drawers of crap I have down there, and what should I find but my 20 pieced blocks, all the setting squares and triangles to put the main part of the top together, and fabric that I think I intended to be borders.
There is about a metre of the orange fabric, but only 2 fat quarters of the purple. I also found a bunch of notes and a drawing of the border treatment I intended to use, but man are they some nonsensical notes! (Seriously: my notes on block placement included things like, “really hard mostly green one”.) All this fabric was from 2005 or so, so I doubt I’d be able to find any more. Here’s hoping 2 FQs and a metre of fabric will be enough to finish the job…
I also fished up the beginnings of the next year of Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks, of which I only bought 9 (and never made any) before stopping:
The patterns look just as complicated – yikes! But the worse problem was that the fabric wasn’t remotely to my tastes. I bought these first nine block kits and had thought to make something for my Grandma, whose house was (still is) decorated in avocados and golds.
I just don’t foresee myself ever making these blocks, though. They’re just… too much not what I like to make. If anyone out here would like these block kits, please just leave a comment below and I’ll mail them out to whoever asks for them first. The patterns all come with just enough fabric to cut out all the pieces for one block, so if you mess up your cutting, you’d have to swap in something with a similar colour palette, but it’s pretty well just autumn colours, so I don’t think it’d be a terribly difficult thing to do!
Linking up with Molli Sparkles: