This is the story about how I designed my first quilt pattern, the Scrappy Sampler, and how many years and many pattern designs later, it was taken out of retirement and reborn.
How my career in quilt and bag design began
In the early 1990’s my friend Brenda Dolbear invited me to join a quilting guild located about an hour from our home. This was in the days when I earned my living as a Realtor® selling homes for Century 21 in the Strathroy area. Brenda was my co-worker and later when she became a Broker she became my boss.
Once a month on a Tuesday morning Brenda and I, and whoever else in the area needed a ride and was free, would drive north to Kirkton, Ontario. It was time to take a breather from work and meet with other quilters at the Huron Perth Quilters Guild.
Thinking about it now, if I had not been a Realtor back then, I would likely not be a pattern designer now. After all, who else but a Realtor could take a half day off work to kick up her heels with a bunch of talented people and absorb all that wonderful quilty knowledge?
Don’t tell anyone, but Brenda and I even went so far as to set up a sewing and pressing room in the office. That way we could sew if things got really slow! Talk about catching the quilting bug!
Hands-on demonstrations and teaching
What I really liked about the guild was their demos, (not to mention all the delicious baked goods served at break). After the business part of the meeting was over we’d fill up on cookies and then the program gal, Susan Christie, would have us rotate between tables, where various members would demonstrate everything from cutting bias binding to paper piecing to how to make cathedral windows.
I’m a hands-on kind of person and to have somebody show me how to do something correctly, efficiently and with pizzazz was total bliss. Susan was especially bubbly and fun and her demeanor was contagious.
A helper for the program committee
After I had been part of the guild a few years I decided to answer the call to be a helper for the program committee. I figured I’d learn a lot from the pros as I helped with some basic duties. There were a couple of program people in place and they needed about 2 people to be helpers.
Somehow (don’t ask me how now because it was too long ago), one of the program people moved and the other one was called away for some reason or another. That left me, the lone helper, to run the program for our 60 plus members in the years 2006 and 2007. Yikes!
The Scrappy Sampler is born
I decided to design my own pattern for a sampler quilt that could be demonstrated over 10 months. Like my teacher friend Shirley had once told me, to be a teacher you only had to keep ahead of the students by one step, or in my case, by one month.
That’s how the Scrappy Sampler quilt pattern came to be.
Later on, when I was the chair of the Piecemakers Quilt Show committee, it was very gratifying to see about 10 of the guild members’ Scrappy Sampler quilts displayed in our show. Each one looked totally different. Some had used larger borders, some members had used unique fabrics. All of them were lovely and left me feeling like I was surrounded by old friends as I walked the display floor.
A retired pattern gets new life
Early on in 2016, I decided to retire some of my older patterns, and with reluctance I included the Scrappy Sampler in that list. It wasn’t a week later that Clothworks, a fabric manufacturer in the US, contacted me wanting to cross promote the Scrappy Sampler with a new line of fabric they were producing called the Fall Feast Collection.
As you can see, it’s perfect for this pattern.
Scrappy Sampler, made with Clothworks Fall Feast Fabric by Barb Tourtillotte
They had heard about the Scrappy Sampler from one of their sales reps, who in turn had it recommended to them by a shop that had used it as a block of the month program. Isn’t it funny how things turn out?
Long live the Scrappy Sampler! Enjoy the pictures below of Scrappy Sampler quilts.