The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (2023)

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The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (1)

If you’ve been a part of the quilting world in any form of social media, chances are you’ve heard of the Splendid Sampler. If not, let me introduce you. You are in for some fun!

The Splendid Sampler is a year-long quilt-along hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Each week they will provide 2 new 6″ x 6″ quilt blocks, designed by dozens of different designers. You can read more about the Splendid Sampler here as well as visit the Splendid Sampler Facebook Group to see all the fun that’s been going one.

The new pattern released today is designed by me! I’m kind of excited to share!

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (2)

My block is called Goose on the Loose as a play on the Flying Geese motif. I made this block with my four kids in mind. I have two boys and two girls – each has their own totally distinct personality. Hence the four different quadrants of the block. When they were all little I sometimes felt like I was running in four different directions, trying to keep up with everyone’s needs and things felt wild (hence, the ‘goose on the loose’.) Have you ever tried chasing a two-year-old on the run when you’re 8 months pregnant? You get the idea…

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (3)

Sewing was my sanity – the thing that stayed done amid lots of important, but repetitive,motherhood tasks. Now as they’re getting bigger and doing more outside the home, I findmyself wanting to gather them together as much as I can before they’re gone. I have loved their support for me in this hobby over the years – “helping” me choose and layout fabrics (aka sometimes playing hopscotch or simply just walking over laid out patchwork squares), playing fabric store with my stash, and acting like it’s totally normal for your house to be overrun with piles of fabric, pins on the floor, and at least three sewing projects at a time on the dining room table.

At the same time, I’m also seeing that all of those small repetitive mothering tasks really do have a remarkable outcome.

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (4)

I made my original blocks with this fun combination of Moda Fabrics from the collections Little Miss Sunshine and Fig Tree Quilts. As you can see, I had fun playing with contrasting white backgrounds, low-volume backgrounds, different fabric combinations, etc.

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I also got to use some of my favoriteAurifil thread for my piecing. I love their variety of neutral blenders that work with all of my piecing needs.

As you can see, this block is paper-pieced. While I love paper-piecing for it’s accuracy and clean, neat piecing and points, I also know that it can be a little bit intimidating and a whole different way of thinking. Here’s my advice for paper-piecing:

  • Take it slow and practice. It will come more naturally, the more you do it.
  • Cut your fabric pieces extra large – this will give you some wiggle room. If you’re like me, you hate the thought of wasting excess fabric, but I’ve gotten over that. The results are worth it.
  • Use a school glue-stick (cheap, washable ones) to stick your first piece in place – this will give you some piece of mind as you get that first seam in place
  • Always remember you’re building right-sides up on the back-side of the printed paper.
  • I also like to pre-fold my pattern on all the lines that will become seams.This will help when you are trimming your excess fabric at ¼″ seam allowances and make it easier to tear away the paper later.
  • Set your stitch length small (1.5 – 2) – this will make it much easier to remove those papers
  • Practice some more. Soon you’ll be able to do it without having to think and you’ll love the skill it adds to your repertoire.

If you learn visually, check out Jennifer Mathis’s video tutorial for paper-piecing – she’ll walk you through all the steps!

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (6)

We are now up to Block 22 of the Splendid Sampler. You can visit the Splendid Sampler website to get a free download of each of the previous patterns. New patterns are released every Sunday and Thursday. Here are a few of the blocks I’ve pieced so far. I’m especially smitten with the patchwork blocks. I got a little bit behind after my crazy deadlines this month, but I’ve started printing out patterns and piecing more blocks. I’m excited to catch up and make a fun little collection of 6″ x 6″ quilt blocks.

You can download my free block here.

Finally, while we’re at it, here are a few tips that I’ll share for making sampler blocks

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (7)Squaring up Half Square Triangles

Half-Square Triangle Short-cuts

The Splendid Sampler - Free Quilt Block Patterns - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog (8)Tips and Tricks for Quilters


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Reader Interactions


  1. Maria

    I love your block!!
    Thank you so much!!


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  2. Gale

    Love your block and the beautiful color options you sewed up. Can’t wait to start mine. So loving this sew along.


  3. artisticsharon

    I really like this block and the fact that it’s paper pieced is even better! can’t wait to start on it tonight!


  4. Catherine Parker

    Just completed your block. It turned out very nice but my block’s finished size is only 5″ . What did I do wrong?


    • Amy Smart

      Hmm – possibly your printer resized the templates? Make sure the printed templates measure 3″ x 3″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance on all four sides.


  5. PatSloan

    thank you Amy!!!!! We love that you joined us and your block is so fun!


  6. Brynne

    I really, really love this one! Thanks!

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  7. Tammy Dennis

    I really like the look of the block, but I am still so scared to try paper piecing. I still haven’t done the last one yet. I will try watching your tips and see if it makes it easy to understand.


  8. Sharon Gibson

    Glad someone else’s dining table is covered in sewing stuff, I feel less guilty now. Thanks for this it looks fun. Take care Sharon x


  9. Kathryn

    I didn’t realise we were going to get a Splendid Sampler block from yourself. How wonderful. Have watched the video you linked to about paper piecing and it was great. I’m a beginner quilter but loving this opportunity to learn from all the blocks.

  10. doubledee11

    I love this block and cannot wait to make it.


  11. Judy in Idaho

    Love your Block! … Identify with your cute story … so true 🙂 … thanks for the Great Tips for Paper Piecing! ..xoxo


  12. Bev

    Thank you Amy, love your block! You are amazing!


    • Amy Smart

      (Video) Simple Gift Quilt Block Tutorial and Free Pattern

      Thank you. xoxo


  13. Deanna

    Very beautiful block! I also love hearing the inspiration and symbolism for it is based on your children. I just had my third baby and have definitely chased a toddler while 8 months pregnant 😉 we’re certainly in the wild stage of family right now. It’s nice to know all the mothering and work I put in now will pay off. I know im going to blink and my kiddos will be grown. Im going to make this block for sure!


    • Amy Smart

      Best wishes with that new baby! Enjoy those baby and little-people snuggles while they last. I used to think people were crazy when they’d lament how fast time flies, but now I get it. 😉 I think parenting just keeps getting more fun as they get older.


  14. Mary

    Those are wonderful, Amy. It would make a beautiful full sized quilt. Thank you.


  15. Erica

    I love your block! AND fabric choices! And boy, do I understand how much quilting can save your sanity when you feel like you are drowning in diapers and dishes! 🙂


    • Amy Smart

      Yep! Creative therapy makes for a more sane, happier mama, if you ask me!


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  16. Stacy

    I love your block! Thanks for the paper piecing tips too.


  17. Jamie

    Your block is awesome (as is the pic of your blocks so far!) and I liked reading the story behind it. I have 4 kids myself but not much time to sew lately! Maybe next year…


  18. Savvy

    Thanks Amy- and esp tips/tutorials! My quilting buddies tell me I’m really a FS collector..started while flying two weeks ‘everymonth’ for 20++ years, and visiting quilt shops/shows on the way!! PLANS to use my rotary cutter in 2017, restore and rebind quilt my grandmother made for me while I was in HS. In the meantime, HMQS/SLC opens today!!


  19. Donna Dv

    I LOVED your block!! It sewed together really well and was fun to do. I even did 2 blocks. 🙂



    You’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your lovely blocks.


  21. Catherina

    Goose on the loose….wat a name !! Love it immediately !! Gonna try tat with jelly rolls. Thanks for sharing !


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