Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of quilting… The thrill of appliqué and piecing, and the occasional agony of un-sewing… the quilter quest of quilt completion… this is Pat & Jane’s Most Excellent Adventure!
You may know Jane as QuiltJane of Australia, and Pat as the “Voice of Quilting”. Both are Moda designers, prolific quilters and authors, teachers and all-around really nice ladies. They are the creators, brains and driving force behind The Splendid Sampler – the amazing Year-long Sew-along and now, its official, they are the authors of The Splendid Sampler. The book. Officially published today – April 4th, 2017.
Because a project like this was two years in the making, we wanted to know how it all came about. So I started asking questions.
Virginia. Brisbane, Australia. How did your partnership come about? Was there a “magic moment” where you saw each other across the convention center at Market and realized… “this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship-partnership”?
Pat: I met Jane when she e-mailed me to ask if I’d like to participate in her Desperate Housewives Block a week. From then on, we followed each other’s work, chatted by e-mail and met-up at Market with lots of big hugs and visiting.
I think we both realized that we’d found kindred spirits. We both love the quilt industry, and we love to collaborate with and celebrate our fellow designers. It’s been uplifting to share the work of others and help build this amazing community. We also both seem to love big projects.
In early 2015 I had an idea for a large project that would involve many designers, and many people that we knew. But I wanted – and needed – a “partner in crime” so I was very lucky that Jane said “yes”.
Splendid Sampler by Laila Nelson.
How did the idea for the book come about? Was it something that evolved from knowing you wanted to work together? Or was it a bolt-of-lightning idea – bam! this will be splendidly awesome?
Jane: I think it grew from ideas being thrown back and forth – how about doing a “mega” sampler quilt that introduced quilters to techniques that they either didn’t know much about, or might have shied away from. We knew we wanted this to be challenging, enjoyable and enlightening, and it grew into a community of quilters who couldn’t wait to download each new pattern.
Pat: The 6” finished blocks were Jane’s idea! She was inspired by an antique Australian quilt and the rest, as they say, is history. (To hear more about the antique quilt and how it inspired the Splendid Sampler – Pat interviewed Jane for an APQ podcast.)
Did you divide up the work-load or did you both work on every aspect of it together?
Jane: Both. We worked together and separately in developing the book, running the project, and promoting the Splendid Sampler™.
Pat: While we discussed every aspect of the project, there were tasks that each of us was primarily responsible for. We each have strengths that let us handle some tasks more easily than the other. But as it is with a great partnership, in the end, we both feel it was an equal effort.
Splendid Sampler “Almost There” by Gail Hall.
Were there any challenges created by the international aspect of this? Or did you find that technology has made communication so easy that it wasn’t even an issue?
Jane: Nothing is difficult in the day and age of the Internet. We worked well even with the international date-line/time issue.
Pat: I agree! We did have an occasional designer who would post their block before we had it on the website. That actually made for “fun hunting” as people would go to the designers’ website to see if the block has been shared! But for the most part, having an international community of quilters and designers worked beautifully.
Dream big – the sky’s the limit but deep down, did you think it would become as huge as it did? Was there anything about its popularity that surprised you?
Jane: We started joking about it being bigger than Ben Hur – which it kind of was!
Pat: Since Jane and I are not new to large community building projects, we honesty believed that a lot of people would be excited. We also knew that asking over 80 people to write about it on the same day, to all their followers, all over the world on several social media platforms, would generate quite a bit of interest. And it did!
There are over 26,500 Members in the Splendid Sampler Facebook Group, with thousands more signed up for the newsletter or just sewing along by checking the Splendid Sampler website each week.
What’s the next step with the book now available?
Jane: We have hundreds of new Members to the group each week, quilters are still finding out about the Splendid Sampler™. So this May, we’ll be starting a new sew-along to “Sew the book”. Each week we’ll announce which block we’re making and sharing tips and new blocks.
Pat: During this first year there are some people who finished their quilts, so we’ll be putting in a quilt gallery for them to share at on the website.
But so many others either did a few blocks and got side-tracked. They can join the newcomers and be re-energized to finish their quilts. This is a journey with no end, and our vibrant, prolific and helpful quilt community will be around for years to come. We’re planning all kinds of fun things for them!
Splendid Sampler by Heather Kosbab – The Happy Appliquér.
Do you think the popularity of sew-alongs is just beginning? Waning in popularity? Or it depends on how good the project is?
Jane: Sew-a-longs are like any other commodity. People want fresh and challenging ideas and they want to do it with a whole lot of people.
Pat: Having quilted for over 20 years, the idea of a sew-along has stayed fresh, for me and for so many others. I started a Solstice sew-along at Christmas and we already have a huge group of quilters sewing blocks each month. I agree with Jane that sewing with others on the same project while learning new things, is addictive for most quilters. We can’t seem to get enough of it!
Splendid Sampler by JitkaDesign.
Giveaway… Because we want you to enjoy The Splendid Sampler book, we’re going to share two copies of the book, along with Layer Cakes of Pat’s Sunday Drive collection and Franny & Jane’s Manderley collection.
To enter, just leave a comment by Midnight CT on Friday, April 7 telling us if you made any Splendid Sampler blocks, or if you’ve ever made a sampler quilt.
Aurifil! Be sure to read the Aurifil blog – Auribuzz – for a Moda Monday feature on Pat and the book. There’s a giveaway – a Sunday Drive Jelly Roll and an awesome box of Aurifil’s 50wt. thread, as curated by Pat.
Thank you Jane and Pat!
You can find Pat on her Blog, Instagram and Facebook. Jane? Jane’s Blog, Instagram and Facebook. For more inspiration – blocks, WIPs and finished quilts – #thesplendidsampler. Be sure to check The Splendid Sampler website for Bonus Blocks and Projects.