Sample the Sampler Class Plan
The Anniversary Sampler Quilt is made using a wide range of skills and thus provides the potential for many skill-based classes. There are opportunities to teach basic rotary cutting and machine piecing skills, along with half-square triangle units, folded corner skills, template usage, hand piecing, curved piecing, set-in seams, diamonds, partial seams, and appliqué.
The variety of skills available provides you with numerous possibilities for classes, from series classes on many skills to short shop demos on individual skills. If you're using the book as the basis for a block-of-the-month program (available at www.donnalynnthomasquilter.com) or a shop sew-along, arrange a series of demo classes to accompany each month's or week's kits or goals.
In lieu of those programs, here's a one-day class that provides students with a sampling of some of the piecing skills covered in the book. Duplicate the idea for subsequent classes to teach other skills not included in this one. For example, you could teach a class using blocks requiring specialty skills such as curved piecing and diamonds, or a class devoted to hand piecing, or one that adds in touches of appliqué. Use the five-block wall hanging as a template substituting blocks that represent the skills you wish to teach. For a class including appliqué skills, use appliqué panels 7 and 8 from the book in the side-set and corner triangles.
Make a simple 32 ½” x 32 ½” class sample using these five blocks from the book: Kansas Winds (p. 57), Posy Basket (p. 34), Folded Box (p. 90), Rosebud (p. 33), and Ann's Pinwheel (p. 74). Feel free to use different blocks in order to reflect the skills you'd like to teach.
Provide the cutting instructions for the side-setting triangles, framing strips, and borders listed below in a class handout.
Frame four of the blocks with a medium-light print and the fifth with a medium-dark print using partial seams (p. 18). The block framed with the medium-dark print will be the center block. Set the blocks diagonally using the cream solid triangles (or fabric of your choosing) listed below. Attach the inner and outer borders to finish the sample.
Cutting the big pieces for the wall hanging:
From the cream solid cut:
1 square 13 ¼” x 13 ¼” cut on both diagonals for four side-set triangles.
2 squares 6 5/8” x 6 5/8” cut once each diagonally for four corner triangles.
From the medium-light green print, cut:
4 strips 2” x 40” cut into 16 strips 2” x 8 ½” for block framing strips.
From the medium dark green print, cut:
1 strip 2” x 40” cut into 4 strips 2” x 8 ½” for the center block framing strips.
4 strips 1 ½” x 40” for inner border.
From the main print, cut:
4 strips 4 ½” x 40” for outer border.
4 strips 2 1/8” x 40” for binding.
Skills to be taught:
• Mastering an accurate ¼” seam allowance
• Basic cutting, sewing, and strip piecing
• Half-square triangle units
• Folded corners
• Making and using templates
Make a pretty five-block sampler quilt while reviewing some of the fundamental piecing skills involved in making The Anniversary Sampler Quilt. Students may finish the blocks into the class sample or hold onto them to put into a larger anniversary or commemorative quilt of their own.
One all-day class of 6 hours or two half-day classes of 3 hours each.
Class Supply List:
Required text: The Anniversary Sampler Quilt
• Fabrics to make the optional wall hanging:
- 1/2 yard of cream solid (this yardage completes the wall hanging, not blocks)
- 1 yard of main print for outer border and binding
- 3/8 yard of medium-dark print for center block frame and inner border
- 3/8 yard of medium-light print for four block frames
- 1 1/8 yard for backing
• Fabrics to make the blocks:
- 1/2 yard of cream solid for block piecing OR you can use many assorted light prints instead of one solid, in which case refer to how much is needed on each block's page
- Small pieces of each of the assorted fabrics required for the five blocks, as listed in the book on pages 33, 34, 57, 74, and 90
• Sewing machine cleaned, oiled, and in good working order, with a new needle (bring your machine's manual and assorted tools, ¼” presser foot, and standard presser foot)
• Slide-on worktable for your sewing machine, if you have one
• 100% cotton threads in a neutral gray, tan, cream, or dark that coordinates with your fabrics
• 12” x 18” or larger rotary mat and rotary cutter with a sharp blade
• 6” x 12” or 6” x 18” ruler
• 6'' or 8” Bias Square™, Bloc-Loc™, or other similar square trim-up ruler with a diagonal line (this will be used for trimming down half-square triangle units)
• 6” x 6” piece of translucent unlined, acrylic template plastic and mechanical lead pencil
• Sandpaper board
• Seam ripper, thread snips, and other regular sewing supplies
• Fabric shears for fabric and craft scissors to cut plastic
Be sure to have all the supplies listed above easily available for students to purchase.
• Consider making project kits for the sampler quilt in a variety of colorways, with all the fabrics coordinated and included.
• Offer pre-coordinated block kits in a variety of colors for students to buy à la carte.
• Provide assorted sewing guides, such as New Leaf Stitches CPAs or C&T's Sewing Edges, and other tools that help students master an accurate ¼” seam allowance.
• Pre-cut half sheets of template plastic and package them with the book, a pencil, small ruler, and sandpaper board.
• Provide adequate table space for each student to have room for a mid-size mat, their sewing machine, and space to take notes.
• Arrange for several ironing stations with spray bottles and Mary Ellen’s Best Press so that no more than 3–4 students have to share one iron.
• Provide a demonstration table with space for your teaching materials that is large enough for students to gather around and clearly see the demos, whether all at one time or in smaller groups.
• Cut and provide each student with 6 strips 1 ½” x 3” long for the strip test on p. 9.
• Provide supporting handouts as needed.
Students will work on three blocks in class. The remaining blocks use skills taught by the first three. Teach the blocks and skills in the following order. The goal is not necessarily to finish blocks in class but to sew enough to master the skills being taught.
Kansas Winds (page 57):
Allow about 1 1/2 hours for this unit of instruction.
• Use this block to teach the fundamentals of mastering an accurate ¼” seam allowance. Since all the blocks are 6” finished size, an accurate seam will ensure student success and reduce frustration, allowing them to enjoy the creative process. Refer to page 9 in the book.
• Use this block to teach basic cutting, sewing, and strip-piecing skills.
• Any students who finish early may begin cutting the pieces for Ann's Pinwheels on page 74.
Ann's Pinwheels (page 74):
Allow about 1 hour for this unit of instruction.
• Use this block to teach students how to make and use templates to cut out odd shapes (pp. 13–16.).
• Students will make Template R (pull-out page) and use it to cut out the diamonds.
• Point out some blocks in the book that require templates.
Break here for lunch for the six-hour workshop.
Break here for the two-session version of this class.
Student homework is to finish Kansas Winds and Ann's Pinwheels blocks, accurately cut the pieces for the remaining blocks (or at a minimum for Posy Basket), and cut the block framing strips.
Begin day two by answering questions, reviewing homework, and letting the students show their blocks.
After Lunch or Day Two
Posy Basket (page 34):
Allow about 1 1/2 hours for this unit of instruction.
• Teach how to make folded corners (pp. 10–11).
• Teach how to make oversized half-square triangle units (pp. 9–10).
Framing the blocks:
Allow about 15–20 minutes for this unit of instruction.
• Use the framing strips to teach the concept of partial seams (p. 18).
• If time is short, demonstrate only, as it's a simple concept to show. If time allows, let students begin framing one of their blocks after the demo.
• Show how to trim the blocks back to a consistent 8 ½” so all blocks will be exactly the same size.
Quilt Top Assembly:
Allow about 20–30 minutes for this unit of instruction.
• Review and show how to arrange the blocks and triangles into the rows of a diagonal quilt set.
• Review the differences between the quarter-square and half-square triangles used for the side-setting triangles.
• Show how to trim the quilt top to ¼” from the points before adding the borders.
• Review cutting and measuring border strips to fit the center dimensions of the quilt.
• Answer questions.