A Community Sampler Giveaway - Week #1

Community Sampler Giveaway - Week #1

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Each Friday, throughout the Community Sampler sew-along, which Maureen Cracknell and I are co-hosting, will be a Giveaway Friday. We've coordinated special giveaway prizes with our amazing participating sponsors for each and every week! If you've happened to miss the first Community Sampler posts, take a look back from the first post Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along to get caught up to the present. Feel free to start sewing with us at anytime--it's never too late to join in, and it's free! 

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The Community Sampler Sponsors

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Lady Belle Fabric  Omnigrid   Aurifil Thread  Art Gallery Fabrics 

Hobbs Batting  Dritz  Fat Quarter Shop  Bloc-Loc

Today Maureen and I are kicking off our weekly Community Sampler Giveaway with a prize from the two of us!!!

That's right, this week we're offering the winner a 12-piece Community Garden curated bundle including six gorgeous prints from my Bountiful, Tapestry, and Sketchbook collections for Art Gallery Fabrics. These prints mix perfectly with coordinating prints from Maureen's beautiful new Love Story collection and a favorite from Nightfall also from Art Gallery Fabrics. This bundle will include a fat quarter cut of each of the 12 prints that you see here. 

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This bundle is also available exclusively at Needle in a Fabric Stash! See their online shop for more information and orders will get a bonus fat quarter free to make a baker's (or gardener's) dozen. Plus, don't forget to shop their huge selection of Art Gallery Fabrics and check out the Sharon Holland Sampler bundle with free shipping!


Here's how: Since Maureen and I are taking turns hosting the Community Sampler Giveaway Fridays, this week I'm sending you to Maureen Cracknell's blog to enter!

A BIG thanks to all of you who are joining the 2018 Community Sampler sew-along and to those who enter our Giveaway!  

♡ Sharon

Community Sampler Week #1

Community Sampler Week #1

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Today is the official start of the Community Sampler! My dear friend and Art Gallery Fabrics designer sister Maureen Cracknell and I will be co-hosting this 16-week sew along. You may remember the Sewcial Bee Sampler event we hosted last year? You can still access all the PDFs. tips, and tutorial blog posts from last years block-of-the-week sew along. Begin your adventure with the first post, Start of Something Sewcial. Many of the tips and techniques we used in the 2017 sampler will be used again for this years new sampler plus there will be some new skills to add to your growing quilt repertoire.

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Your first PDF download will be the Introduction packet. In it you'll get an overview of what to expect over the next 16 weeks (that period includes this week), a full material list, and coloring book pages so you can start planning your quilt. You'll also be getting your first look at the quilt layout. Today's post will focus on how I chose my color palette for my sampler quilt. Hopefully you'll get inspired and it will help you when you gather your supplies for next week's block release. 

Download the free Introduction PDF from my Sew Along page. To keep the Instruction download a small file size and your printing to a minimum I have left the pretty cover page off of the Introduction PDF. If you'd like to include and print out our cover, click on the image below and then you can add it to your PDF. 

Fabric Selection

Pure Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

Pure Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

Today's post will talk about how to get started pulling your fabrics for your sampler. With so many beautiful fabric options available it's hard to know where to begin. In the Introduction PDF I suggest you focus on pulling 5 light fabrics, 5 medium fabrics, and 5 dark fabrics to make up your total yardage needed for blocks. You can adjust and sculpt the selection as you begin sewing blocks but it's good to have a basic understanding of what fabric you'll be using from the start. Here's my process for this year's sampler quilt...

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This year I gave myself the challenge to work in only solids for my sampler quilt. Now, that may not sound like much of a challenge to some of you but don't forget, I'm a pattern designer and it's my passion to work with prints! I've only made 3 other quilts--EVER--that were all solids. That's 3 out of hundreds so this is a challenge for me. But, disclaimer here, once my new fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics shows up around April-May of this year, you better believe I'll be making a second quilt! I am anxious to start sewing with my new collection and it will be fun for me to make a print version of this quilt, too.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin when choosing fabrics for a quilt. So, to get over that hump of what colors to use, I turned to Pinterest for help. You can follow me there at ShareDesigns where I've started a Community Sampler board. For my solids inspiration, I used the beautiful images found on Pinterest to help me pick a color story. Here's the mood board I put together for color selection.

Collage by Sharon Holland of images pulled from Pinterest

Collage by Sharon Holland of images pulled from Pinterest

I tried not to over think things but also wanted to be receptive to incorporate new colors I wouldn't normally use. I just chose a palette that spoke to me and gave me enough colors to play with in a quilt without being overwhelming. Really, my color palette in the mood board appears rather limited but instead of selecting a ton of different colors I decided to gain variety and unity by expanding each color further with shades and tints of that color. Luckily, Art Gallery Fabrics has a wide range of gorgeous solids to choose from. I picked the core colors then added in tints and shades to build this 16-color fabric pull. Here's the result: Blush pink, peach, coral, copper, chocolate, kelly green, mint, jade, denim, navy, teal, honey, white, off-white, and cream. All these glorious solids are Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements (which feels like percale, btw) and below are the sku numbers of the exact palette I will be using. 

Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics

Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics

Even if you're not using solids but going with prints or a mix of prints and solids it can be overwhelming where to begin. Starting with a fabric collection takes all the guess work out of it for you. The designer has already done the heavy lifting and coordinated the colors, scale of prints, visual textures of busy and blender prints, light and dark fabrics, and put it all together in one beautiful range. Supplement with solids, if necessary, and let the main focus print with the most colors clue you in to what colors to add in. Many fabric collections come in two or more color ways for an emphasis on a warm or cool side of the color wheel. We each have a preference to warm or cool colors and this just helps to narrow down and get to the heart of what speaks to you. 

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Maureen and I would love to see your fabric pulls and selection process. After reading this blog post, pop over to Maureen's post and see her mood board and fabric pulls for her sampler quilt. If you're on Instagram and use the hashtag #CommunitySampler when posting your sampler photos the entire Community Sampler community can see your work and inspiration. Did you know you can now follow hashtags on Instagram??? Yes, it's a fabulous new tool for not missing a single thing of what you want to connect with on IG. Every time you post to our #CommunitySampler hashtag pool (and have a public account) you're automatically entered into the weekly drawings and every post compounds--furthering your chances to win. This Friday I'll post details about the first giveaway--so start posting away! Don't have anything to post yet? Don't worry. Grab the "I'm a Community Sampler Maker" button below and post that to your IG account. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag!

A Word About Copyright

I want to take this time to remind everyone about copyrights and what copyright infringements to avoid. I apologize up front for all the Do's and Don'ts in the following paragraphs. Unfortunately it's a necessary evil to remind everyone to respect the work of others. 

All the graphics, illustrations, photography, instructions, tutorials, logos, etc. posted on this blog and in the PDF downloads are copyrighted materials and are for your personal use only. That means they are not to be distributed in any way whatsoever without written permission by (me) Sharon Holland. Kitting and fabric bundles are allowed but direct your patrons to my website to download the PDFs. Classes are not allowed. Do not post the PDFs on your blog or distribute them. Instead, direct your readers to this site to download the PDFs where they will find the added supportive tips and tutorials from my blog posts. This is a free sew along provided by myself and Maureen Cracknell and our only compensation for the time and money we have put into hosting this event comes from readers finding our blogs. Please remember to give proper credit and direct links when blogging about the sew along. 

If you display your finished quilt in a show or competition, please credit "Sharon Holland" for the quilt design as well as reference the Community Sampler. Of course, the blocks you make are your creation and feel free to post about those--just mention the source and tag Maureen and I. Again, personal use only and not to be used for profit.

The PDFs and posts for this sew along will remain up on my site long after this event ends and all the copyright rules will apply. Thank you for being considerate and respectful of copyrights.

Community Sampler Sponsors

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and also on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway from her blog this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time. Until Friday, happy fabric sourcing!



Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

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It's been so difficult keeping secrets but the news is finally out that Maureen Cracknell and I will be co-hosting another virtual sewing bee! The 2018 sew along is called Community Sampler. We gave it that name because of the amazing community that grew out of last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler event. The response was incredible and so were the many friendships formed over a common love of quilting. So, to everyone that joined us last year and made the sew along such a success and to all the new friends that will be made with our new sampler--this one's for you!

Next week on Wednesday, February 21st around 9 am Eastern. Maureen and I will be posting to our blogs and release your first PDF download. This sew along is a free event and all you need to do is follow along on this blog and Maureen's blog to find the new PDF release each week, enjoy tips and tutorials, block inspiration, and weekly giveaways. 

With our new name (and new look!) starts a new hashtag pool in Instagram. Grab either or both of the buttons above for sharing on your blog or social media platforms to show your support for the Community Sampler block-of-the-week sew along. When posting your makes to your Instagram account, use the hashtag #CommunitySampler and then you can connect with all your fellow CS Makers by following the hashtag--it's that easy!

Public Instagram accounts will enjoy the added bonus of automatically being entered into the weekly giveaway drawings each and every time you post and use the official #CommunitySampler hashtag. We'll give more details on that as we get underway next week. Remember, this is just a sneak peek and the full reveal will be next week, starting with the Introduction PDF download. 

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The Community Sampler is proud to announce these generous sponsors:

Lady Belle Fabric


Aurifil Thread

Art Gallery Fabrics

Hobbs Batting


Fat Quarter Shop


We look forward to you sewing along with us. Next week cannot come soon enough so to keep yourself busy, finish up all those UFO projects!  

Are You Ready to Sew?

Are You Ready to Sew?

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Great news everyone, there's going to be another free sew along this year! May co-host, good friend, and Art Gallery Fabrics sister designer Maureen Cracknell and I will be hosting another block-of-the-week sew along and it's going to start February 21st! Be sure to follow us both on our blogs, Instagram at @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell for all the upcoming details. Next week we will give you your first peek at the new name, new look, and a Maker button to share on your blog and/or Instagram feed. Everything you loved about the Sewcial Bee Sampler will be there plus we took into account all the wonderful feedback from last year's survey. We're hoping you'll love this new sampler even more. 

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

In preparation for all that sewing you'll be doing I wanted to give you a little pre-flight checklist so your sewing experience can be a good one. 

Machine Maintenance 


Having your sewing machine in tip-top running condition is a must. Not only does it protect your investment but it makes for a hassle-free sewing session. Check out my past tutorial on how to clean your machine and help it perform at it's best. 

Accurate Sewing


You heard me say it a million times last sew-along "sew with an accurate 1/4'' seam allowance." I'm going to always stress that point and it's the number one reason beginning and seasoned quilters get wonky blocks and clipped points. Make sure you're starting out on the right foot and review my Perfect Patchwork tutorial

Pressing Questions

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Pressing is always a question every quilter has. The answer is, "Yes, and often." I press my fabric before I cut it and after every time it's been stitched. I especially think it's important to press before cutting apart units like Half-Square Triangles, Flying Geese, etc. By pressing the fabrics before cutting apart it not only flattens the unit but sets the seams and helps for a sharp edge once the unit is opened. Read more on the Perfect Patchwork tutorial page. You'll also find my favorite sure-fire, easy pinning method. 

Stip Cutting

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Another must for making your patchwork effortless is starting with accurately cut strips and shapes. Even the small amount off will cumulate once pieces are sewn together and your block again can be wonky or way off the mark. Review how to straighten the edge of your fabric before cutting strips and how to cut the right size strips and shapes for your blocks here

Directional Prints

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One of the things I noticed about last years sampler blocks was the desire for quilters to have their chosen prints all running the same direction. In the past I've not been overly concerned about that because I think of a quilt as an object that is seen from all directions and not static. But, it was a good eye-opening for me to realize that others did find this something they wanted to achieve in their work. To help with that problem, especially when making units like Half-Square Triangles and Flying Geese I put together a little tutorial for controlling the direction of prints

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

You have a little less than two weeks to dust off your machine, finish up UFOs, and get ready for some sewing fun with Maureen, myself, and the amazing other Makers online that take part in our virtual sew along. I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful makes and reconnecting. 

With love,