City Sampler | 100 Modern Quilt Blocks

My new book “Tula Pink’s City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks” is starting to ship and I am crazy excited! It’s 256 pages of tiny block goodness, if I do say so myself. Like all of my projects this started out as simply a quilt that I wanted to make myself and then I thought “hey! maybe someone else wants to make a quilt like this too!” Luckily my publisher agreed and here we are, a year or so later, and I get to present you with this little book of joyful stitching.

The parameters I set for myself while writing this were simple, to create a book that made a complex and engaging quilt with a minimal amount of effort that even a relative beginner quilter can piece without inducing a headache. The blocks are divided into 6 sections by shape. My main focus was to create interesting compositions within a 6 inch square. I gave myself total creative freedom with three very important rules; NO applique, NO templates, NO funny stuff.

When I first got into quilting I was mesmerized by sampler quilts. A sampler is simply a quilt in which each block is different. I loved how each block had it’s own personality and each had a story to tell. From start to finish I never saw the same thing twice. When I finally decided to make one of these masterpieces I scoured the internet, book rack and anywhere else I could look for a pattern to work with. I immediately hit a road block and one I was not anticipating. I found a few really stunning patterns but they all left me with one of three conundrums.

Conundrum the 1st: Time

The first problem I faced was time. When I sit down to make a quilt I have a limited amount of this crazy little thing called time. I knew that this particular project was going to take longer than my average project but I still wanted to get it done before the Z generation started filling out college applications. Here in lies the first problem I presented to myself to solve: How do I design a visual feast with few repeating parts that won’t take me ten years to make? The answer to this question led me to my second conundrum.

Conundrum the 2nd: Difficulty

The best way to get around a time problem is to simplify the piecing. Every pattern I picked up eventually led me to either applique, a myriad of templates or a special tool or ruler that was essential to completing the project. While I do not shy away from these techniques and they can make the most awesome looking quilts, in general I am a simple girl and I tend to prefer the simple act of cut, sew, press and repeat. While quilting is my “business” so to speak, it is also my hobby, my happy place and my meditation. I work out most of my issues at the sewing machine and I can’t solve too many of the world’s problems when I have to switch up my technique with every block, and it makes it really hard to watch movies while I sew which I assure you is a crucial part of the sewing process. So, the challenge was set to create 100 quilt blocks that did not require a single template, applique stitch or extra tool besides the quilter’s basics.

Conundrum the 3rd: Connection

Once I got past the time and difficulty stages of my pattern selection process I realized one very important component was missing from this epic quilt journey I was about to embark upon… Why I am I making this? I am making this because it’s beautiful and something that I can invest myself in, yes, but what story is it telling? I needed to make a quilt that told my own story, my own history. I needed to make a quilt that could grow with me as my own history unfolded because my personal story is still be told.

I kept these three things in mind while I was writing this book. By keeping the piecing simple I kept the time and difficulty factors in check and worked on the third problem, connection, while laying out the book. Each block is numbered with a space to name the block yourself. I believe that a quilt is more about the maker than the pattern writer. My quilt is about me but your quilt is about you and that may be the most important factor about this book and the one thing that will make this quilt what it will be. On it’s own it is simply a collection of paper, ink and an idea. Like everything that I do in this crafty world, I need you to make the idea a reality.

The book can be purchased at any of your favorite quilt shops and book stores. For a signed copy you can purchase Tula Pink’s City Sampler from my adorable mom’s adorable online shop:

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