Here’s what I’d like to start this weblog with: a new quilt with new possibilities. Let’s call it the ‘Sampler Quilt’, until it grows into something with an obvious name. It’s been too long since I started a new project with the express aim of learning how to do something new, and I think I’ve hit upon an idea.

The plan: To make a sampler quilt in the style of the Jane A. Stickle Civil War era quilt which lives at the Bennington Museum:

Jane A. Stickle's quilt, Civil War era

and the anonymous Sundial Coverlet (dated 1797 by the maker, though heaven knows it must have taken longer than one year – I’m guessing she finished it in 1797) held at the Victoria and Albert museum:

Patchwork Quilt, maker unknown, 1797. Victoria and Albert Museum collection

Mine will be a sampler with many small blocks (probably 15cm each), each of which presents an individual challenge. To learn how to sew and quilt neatly by hand. To learn new styles of patchwork, applique and quilting which lie outside the range of your traditional American quilt (but certainly not excluding that style). To figure out how to make the blocks work together elegantly without planning every block and colour before I begin sewing (boring!). To do it all without buying an armoury of new tools and dooverwhackies. I have a computer with drafting capabilities, a cutting mat, scissors, differently sized needles, threads, thimble, quilting hoop, and I don’t want to buy much more. Above all – to put it all on the web and ask for your advice and help as I go along – to benefit, I hope, from knowledge that lives a long way from my home in Melbourne, Australia.

One more ground rule – I won’t be updating regularly, because I have work to do and quilting is a temptation which could take over if I set myself posting deadlines. If I make three blocks in a day, I’ll post them all. If I make one a month, that’ll have to do.

So, here we go.