Let me start by saying how Blown Away I was at the response I got after posting a video on facebook of one of my binders filled with quilted samples. I just assumed that other quilters had already thought of the idea. You can find the video here.
Well for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about let me explain......
When I first started quilting in 2002, like many other quilters, I would take a large piece of muslin and quilt it to death. Trying out every design I could think of. I wanted to get good enough FAST, so I could start quilting for others. Because my ultimate goal was to quit my career and stay home with my two babies. So 3 weeks after I got my machine I started quilting for friends and family, who had been waiting ''not so patiently'' on my list. One year later I quit my career. Yay!!
I know......what does this have to do with a binder?......I'm getting to that part ;)
After weeks of practicing, my new dog (Snoopy) had acquired plenty of practice quilts to sleep on. So I started creating different (smaller) quilted samples. Eventually, I was too busy working for customers to quilt for myself (which is when I would practice) So with the aid of my zipper leaders, I started quilting small samples that I could put in a binder. This became a great resource for both my customers and myself.
It has been many years since I have added to my collection. So recently I quilted up the 9 samples below. These are all based on my stencil grid designs found in my Delectable Diamond Design book or the Making Connections book and some new ones I am working on. I'll post more about those designs later.
This is how I do it.....
Start by collect the following:
*Leftover muslin, white or light solid fabrics for the top. Cut 9'' x 11''
*Scraps/leftover batting pieces. Roughly cut 10'' x 12'' or larger. Collect all kinds/brands of batting and label them. Wool, Poly, Cotton, 80/20, 70/30, 50/50.....Legacy, Quilters Dream, Hobbs, Warm n Natural...Whatever you have.
*Design ideas. Draw a sample on paper or mark pages in books of designs you would like to try.
Now if you want to practice designs that use a stencil, then mark the stencil onto the practice fabric at this time, using a blue water soluble pen. The designs should be no bigger than 8'' x 10''. Center the design, keeping in mind that you will be trimming this piece down when you are finished.
When you are ready to start quilting the samples, find some darker fabric for the backing (I like a solid color so the thread will contrast and you will get to see the design clearly) For both the top thread and bobbin, use a thread that matches the color of the top fabric.
You can quilt 9 practice pieces with 1 yard of backing. Load the backing fabric with the cut edge pinned to the leaders, not the selvage edge.
Keep in mind this book of quilted samples does not have to be made all at once. You can make a few samples at a time then just keep adding to the book as you have time. Also, Zipper leaders work great for this project because you can baste down the practice pieces then zip it on and off when you want to try a design.
After all 9 pieces have been quilted (or however many you decided to do) trim each piece down to approximately 8 1/2'' x 10 1/2''. Serge or zigzag around the outside edge and put in a protective sleeve. I use a 4'' wide binder to store the designs. Sort them however you want. Add dividers to separate different categories.
Of course you could also create this binder by quilting a large piece of fabric, then cut out your favorite sections and put in the binder.
*Write the brand and kind of batting used on a paper then pin to the sample or write it directly on the sample with a permanent marker.
*Make samples of small/med/large filler designs (like stipple) then write the price per inch on each sample.
I hope you will create one of these books of quilted samples, then share pictures on FB or IG to inspire others. Be sure to tag me, I would love to see what you have created. @foreverquilting #bookofquiltedsamples