Ali Wilkinson

Penny Sampler

Needle Down

Needle Down

I’ve been meaning to blog about this quilt for some time. I made it in the first few months of 2014 from a class by Rachel at She ran the class in late 2013 but I had a few projects n at the time and so I followed her instructions from the e-book all participants received at the end.

Rachel’s instructions are awesome! She includes lots of step by step photos, especially for tricky stages or finicky blocks.The e-book runs to over 100 pages, it is that detailed!

The sampler teaches different techniques and then provides a number of blocks to use those skills. Techniques used were paper piecing, different types of appliqué, standard piecing, and Y seams. I had never paper pieced before this class but by following the detailed instructions I was able to not only learn but become quite proficient.

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I found it quite tough choosing the fabrics to use. I started by choosing the two large pieces of fabric which were largely untouched and grounded the quilt from each side. These were Tilda prints in a coral and a blue colour. The prints were quite gentle, with one in a pretty damask and the other of hanging Chinese bird cages. These influenced the rest of the fabric I chose, which included some Tula Pink, more Tilda, Art Gallery Fabrics, Carolyn Friedlander and some I have had in my stash for over a decade.

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Where possibly I fussy cut, as can be seen on the mitten and the diamonds on the right of the photo below:

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I used a variety of very low volume creams for the backgrounds. A lot of sashing was made too and called either Penny Candy (like the strip to the right of the teapot above) or Penny Crosses (like to the left of the teapot).

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I made a conscious decision to make the big blocks first and then fill in with smaller blocks and finally the sashing so that I could try to balance the colours and values across the entire quilt. At that stage I did not have a design wall and so laid it out on the floor in our lounge!

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Rachel helpfully provided a chart o the layout which enabled me to use coloured pencils to assist in the colour balance process, and also to label each block as I progressed.

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For a sampler like this it had to be custom quilted and Suzet Pont did the most amazing job. Each block has a different design, and the level of detail still blows me away – the houses in the town block even has smoke coming out of the chimneys! And the teacups have steam rising. Suzet put a few little words on there too “a cup of tea”, “tea for two” and my name.

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These photos are not the best and I will replace them with better ones when I get better light.

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I strongly recommend this class, and point you in the direction of the Flickr group for this class where you can see all different renditions of the quilt and be amazed by the way different colour palettes can change it up while keeping it the same. I don’t know if Rachel will run the class again, but I am sure that you can buy the e-book off her website and from my own experience I can tell you that just working from the e-book will be fine for most people!

5 thoughts on “Penny Sampler

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