Half way finished with The Splendid Sampler quilt along.

The last 6 months for me have been defined by one big crafty project.

The Splendid Sampler quilt along.

If you haven’t yet joined the 21,000+ people working on a Splendid Sampler quilt of their own, here’s a little background on the project.

Started by quilting stars, Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson, The Splendid Sampler is a 100 block mystery quilt along running from Feb 2016 - Feb 2017. Each week, on Thursdays and Sundays, a new mystery 6 ½ inch quilt block is released as a digital pattern.

Each block pattern is written by a different designer and uses a technique they’re known for. I’ve been fortunate enough to be the designer for block 11.

So far we’ve seen everything from traditional piecing to embroidery. And also raw edge appliqué, needle turn appliqué, foundation paper piecing, English paper piecing, and combinations of all these techniques.

Right now The Splendid Sampler quilt along is totally FREE.

That means every pattern with a bunch of bonus patterns, all beautifully crafted by some of your favorite designers, is all at your fingertips. Not to mention an incredibly helpful, kind, and inspiring Facebook group of over 21,000 quilters. Some quilting for 50+ years and others making their first ever quilt. All the patterns are free for the duration of the project and then they will be taken offline and turned into a book.

My versions of The Splendid Sampler blocks (clockwise from top left) 32, 31, 15, 18

I love that there may be 21,000+ Splendid Sampler quilts being made right now. Pretty amazing, huh!

Tomorrow marks the halfway point of The Splendid Sampler.

Wow!

Block 50!

I’m making myself a Splendid Sampler quilt and I’m so proud I made it this far. My craftiness temperament doesn’t usually want me to take on large projects (it likes small “quick win” projects), so it was a big leap for me to choose to do The Splendid Sampler.

I’m so happy I did! I realized that breaking the quilt down into blocks, turned the project into a whole series of “quick wins”.

My mom decided to do the Splendid Sampler too, and it’s been so great to have the shared experience of working on the blocks with her.


Mom's "Flip Flopping Challenge" bonus block.

I decided to keep myself accountable by broadcasting Live the process of making every block in the streaming app, Periscope. Every night at 9:30pm central time I broadcast Live and work on the most current Splendid Sampler block. Viewers can comment and ask questions in real time.

At minimum I thought the Live broadcasting would keep me on track by giving me a dedicated time to sew, and I’d be able to help people with the embroidery on the block I designed, block 11.


The block I designed! Block 11.

What I found through Live broadcasting on Periscope was community of new friends, all helping each other to become better quilters. And a group of wonderful people to hang out with every night.

It’s because of my Periscope community, that I’ve gone from a “faking it” quilter that knew just enough to get by, to a confident quilter that could stand up tall in any room of experienced quilters.

One of the biggest rewards for me has been the comments and emails from quilters who’ve watched the Live broadcasts or the replays on YouTube, who’ve said that the videos have helped them make their blocks.

And it’s especially exciting when they decided to try a technique they thought they’d never tackle because they could watch me do it, and it didn’t seem so hard anymore.

That makes me so happy!

The more people trying new things and gaining confidence through crafting the better! Yay us!





To celebrate the 50 block halfway point of The Splendid Sampler quilt along, I’ll be having a special Periscope at my parent’s house. I’ll be laying out all of my blocks like a quilt. The last time I did that was when I finished block 25. The quilt has doubled in size since then!

And even better, my mom is going to lay out all of her quilt blocks as well. You’ll get to see both of our quilts side by side. It’s amazing how different fabrics can totally change the look of a quilt.

After “show and tell” I’ll be starting block 50 Live on Periscope.

I’d love for you to join me in tomorrow’s (Thursday August 4th) 9:30pm Central Live Periscope broadcast “show and tell” to celebrate block 50.

To watch and chat LIVE:

1. Download the Periscope app to your device (IPad users may have to look in the Iphone only apps)
2. Sign in using your Twitter account.
3. Click the Person icon, then click the magnifying glass
4. Search for penguinandfish, and when you see me, Alyssa Thomas, click the plus sign or follow button
You'll be notified when I go live. Click the notification or the title of my "scope" in Periscope to join.

You can also watch online at http://periscope.tv/penguinandfish at 9:30pm central time.

Replays of the Live Periscope broadcasts are on YouTube on my channel, Penguin & Fish Movies: http://youtube.com/penguinandfishmovies. If you want to learn a new technique or need some help making it through a block, that’s the place to be.

You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to join me on Periscope either. I’m there every night! So pop on in tonight while I finish up block 49. I’ll be stitching at my parent’s house and sewing it on my mom’s machine.

The best part of stitching at my parent’s house is that you’ll get to hear the frogs outside!

🐸🐸🐸

For more info on The Splendid Sampler and access all the free blocks, check out http://thesplendidsampler.com

And click here to join The Splendid Sampler Facebook group.

If you’re nervous about starting such a big project, start off by stitching my Splendid Sampler freebie bonus project. My BEE BRAVE quilting bee. It will help you muster up the confidence to “BEE BRAVE”!

Click here to get your FREE Bee Brave embroidery.


I’ll see you on Periscope!

Happy halfway point!

best
-Alyssa

________

If you found this post interesting, I hope you'll join me to get weekly emails on how to craft a happy life - and make something cute in the process. For signing up you’ll also get a FREE hand embroidery pattern.

Click here to join (it's FREE too!)


87 comments:

  1. The Splendid Sampler has been a six-month (so far) tutorial in quilting techniques. I've learned basic paper piecing, English paper piecing, and how to SLOW down for accuracy. I've also found, in large part thanks to YOU, how much I love embroidery. So far my skill set is extremely limited, but it is so peacefully fun, and Ijust bought some beautiful embroidery floss to play with. Thank you, Alyssa, for your videos - they've helped out more of us than you could possibly know. :)

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    1. Yay, I'm so happy you're enjoying all the embroidery! So much nicer when you embrace the "slow". I'm so happy you like the vids. Good luck on the rest of your blocks!

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  2. When I began the Splendid Sampler mid February, I had no idea I'd joined a global community of generous and incredibly talented people all willing to share their knowledge, encouragement and stories. At times I sit back, take stock, and am humbled by how blessed and lucky I am by being a part of this Olympian quilting venture.
    I would also like to thank you Alyssa for your informatative and entertaining 'scopes. There have been times where I have avidly watched every moment as you work on a block with a new technique taking on board all you advise. Other times, I just happily sew along with you.
    It's been a wonderful experience and looking forward to what I'll learn and achieve during the next 50 blocks. ��

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    1. I'm happy we can be sewing together. So fun! Onward and upward to the next 50!

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  3. I found your blog and periscope very early in the Splendid sampler roll out. I have loved the process of watching you select fabrics - you've made me think differently about my combinations. I've developed a "fun" side to my blocks. You inspire me everyday! Can't wait to see you and your Mom's blocks. What a treat.

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    1. You're so sweet, Donna! I feel like I've been more playful with my color choices too. I think picking my fabrics beforehand and only using those ones helped me a lot to just try different combinations.

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  4. I have learned so much by doing The Splendid Sampler. I fell in love with two techniques, I swore I would never do. English Paper Piecing and Paper Piecing. A big part of my not giving up is because of your amazing videos. You are a natural born teacher. Even when I watch the videos on blocks I had no trouble with, I often see you do something I've never done or a way I never knew about and my quilting has improved 100%. You've been the most important part of the learning process for me. THANK YOU!

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    1. Eeee, thanks so much! And I'm so happy you're loving everything paper piecing!

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  5. I have been loving the splendid journey. Thanks for being a part of it.

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  6. Returned to quilting after a multi decade gap shortly before the start of the Splendid Sampler journey. Luckily I also figured out how to join you on periscope which has helped solve the "how to" of a variety of mysterious techniques....(paper piecing who thought this up??). Skills and quilty knowledge have increased! Not to mention the joy of gathering these lovely blocks.

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    1. A mad scientist magician wizard thought up paper piecing. Fact.

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  7. I joined Splendid Sampler group after it started several months. So I started behind. After reading that even the designers were behind I decided to go ahead and begin working on the blocks instead of just collecting them. I had purched several pieces of a quilt line that I thought would work for this project so I felt I was halfway there if I stuck with that particular line and just add some blenders or solids. I had fallen in love with EPP so I thought I would start with the blocks that used that technique first and then move on to appliqué and embroidery. Anything i can prep ahead and take with me or do while watching TV with the family. I have never done paper piecing even though i had purchased a video class several years ago. I have decided that will probably be the last set I will do since it will take me longer to master that technique and I will have to use the sewing machine. I have definitely found it challenging but fun to connect with so many people that I don't know but share the same love of creating. Whether it is learning a new technique or getting more practice on others it has been fun. I cant wait to see it all completed.

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    1. Great advice, Donna! I love that you prep ahead for TV and family time. smart!

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  8. Thoroughly enjoying this journey. I appreciate your broadcast on periscope, it was a big help on that first embroidery block. Took me forever to get it done, and am still working on the last two hand embroidery blocks, but the rest are done. Thanks for being part of this fun.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I'm behind on at least 3 embroidery blocks right now. No worries.

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  9. I loved your embroidered crochet. I used to crochet doilies so this looked like the odd crocheting me combined with the new quilting me. Thanks

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  10. Thank you for your shared enthusiasm! and so pretty to Boot! You are lovely. Thank you again!

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  11. I joined the Splendid Sampler as a brand-new quilter. I had just retired after many years in education, and our daughter thought I should embrace just one more hobby...well, the rest is history! I am loving every step of this wonderful learning process, and you, Alyssa Thomas, have been the reason why I have made it this far. If it weren't for you walking me through all those steps with clarity and humour (very important) I would have given up long ago. Now I am, if not totally at eae, but at least familiar with so many skills! I have changed from having a total phobia about paper piecing, to loving it! Yes, both foundation and English paper piecing! I am still not crazy about all the appliqueing, but that's because I have not yet mastered how to make my macine do some of it, and doing it all by hand gets tedious. But I'll get there on of these days. My blocks are totally scrappy, as nearly all of my fabrics were either given to me or thrift store buys - being on a very basic pension means being frugal - but I am having a blast. No, not up to date due to some medical stuff that is keeping me away from my machine right now, but catching up on all the handwork is good! Here's looking forward to the second half! And Alyssa, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

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    1. Thanks so much, Irene. You're so lovely! I feel the same way, like I went from just getting by to actually feeling like I can hold my own. Good luck on the rest of your quilt. Glad there's lots of handwork to keep you busy! And scrappy quilts are the best! There's something so wonderful of making something from nothing.

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  12. I love your videos <3 I watch them on youtube so I can pause when I need it :)

    Did you know it was you and Christa Watson who taught me paper piecing? I watched your tutorials (I mean I watched you doing paper piecing blocks of the Splendid Sampler) and I started with the scrappy heart she designed and I had no problem with my first paper pieced block!
    Now I love paper piecing! You're adorable!

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    1. Yay! That's awesome. I'm so happy you like paper piecing. It seems like some crazy puzzle until you know the steps to do it.

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  13. I joined your site back when your block was introduced, and I'm not an embroiderer (?is that a word), but after a week to 10 days of stitching during TV time, gotter done!! Glad I've been able to keep up for the most part, and have enjoyed your videos. Thanks for all your instructions and wonderful sense of humor!!

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    1. Hah hah, yup. Took me about that long too. Thanks for your sweet comment, Sandy!

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  14. I so enjoy hanging out with you in the evenings while I'm sewing.. thanks for sharing with all of us. I'm new to embroidery and have enjoyed learning from you while doing the Splendid Sampler blocks.

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    1. Thanks for being there, Cathy! I appreciate it!

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  15. Alyssa, truly this Splendid Sample journey has enriched my quilting life. Thank you for keeping ME accountable with your 9:30 pm daily show - truly, it has helped. 50 and counting - too excited.

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    1. heh heh, I think it's you keeping me accountable! I wouldn't get any blocks done if it wasn't for hanging out with my Periscope peeps. Best of luck on the next 50!

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  16. Thank you for the free pattern, it's beautiful.
    Warm hugs, Ruthie
    ruthie.peterburg@gmail.com

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  17. I've checked in with you on a few videos for help with a block or two. Thanks so much!!!!! Excited to work on the next 50 with everyone, so much fun.

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    1. I'm so happy I could help. Good luck with your next 50!

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  18. I have been enjoying watching you on Periscope! It's fun to watch your process, as you work your way through each block. I haven't actually started yet, but I have been making copies of each block, and I think I am ready to jump start this project, and get sewing!!!
    Keep up the good work, Alyssa!

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  19. Alyssa,
    I've been keeping up, for the most part, with the sampler blocks. I am 3 behind. Which I think is pretty good. After your block, I have been following you. I love your e-mails! Thursday I'm going to join you for the 1st time via Periscope. I want to see you Mom's blocks and yours. This project is infectious! In a good way, like laughter. See you tomorrow on Periscope.

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    1. Wow, only 3 behind is fabulous (I think I'm up to 11 behind)! Oh, I love that description. "The Splendid Sampler is infectious in a good way, like laughter!!!" So awesome.

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  20. How fun you and your mom are sewing along!

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  21. Hi - thanks so much for broadcasting your how-tos - I really appreciate the videos - you helped me to learn how to paper-piece - can't thank you enough - I am boldly attempting the bonus paper-pieced butterfly block - lovin every minute of this 'splendid' journey - thanks for participating and sharing - love your block - got to refresh my embroidery skills.

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    1. Oooo, good luck on the butterflies. My mom made them and they're some of my favorite blocks!

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  22. Your vids have helped me see how to make many blocks I wouldn't have made, so thank you very much!

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    1. Yay! I'm so happy you gave them a go. Good luck on the next half of The Splendid Sampler.

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  23. I have watched your videos, althought usually when you are not live, as I work odd shifts. Thanks so much for your help along the way.

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    1. I'm so happy I can help out! Thanks Heather.

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  24. Alyssa, I was thinking a few days ago how I can't believe how important this whole social media quilting thing has become to me!i was a quilter and crafter for many years. In fact, I owned a small quilt shop withy mom an d sister in the late 80s and early 90s. The quilt shop was in my grandmother's old farm house which was adjacent to my parents home. But my mom and dad was in a fatal car accident and I could never return to my quilting. The loss was so great and the heart ache so crippling, I never thought I would ever start again. Then I was dealt another hard unexpected blow. I was diagnosed with a chronic, incurable disease which my doctors feel was manifested from the stress of my loss of my parents. I was bed ridden for an entire year, with many stays in the hospital. Almost losing the fight twice. Now I am home, but disabled ,unable to work or interact with the public. It has been very lonely. But somehow I came across information regarding Pat Sloan and The splendid sampler. It had to be by Gods grace. I made myself start the first block. Ohhhh how hard it was to dig through my stash, my tools, and all the things from the past. I could not find comfort. But again through the grace of God, I stuck with it. It was difficult because one of the side effects of my illness and health problems is a struggle to remember. But when I found you doing the blocks and you encouraged others to join you, I began remembering how to do some of the things. I didn't even know how to use Facebook, you tube or what the heck was a periscope?but, I spent hours figuring it out.in the past, I actually sold quilts that I made pieced, hand Appliqued-Needle Turned, paper pieced. I taught children and adult classes.I did it all! I have also been so tickled when I have been able to comment when you are live, and you do my suggestion and say what a good idea. I felt like the teacher's pet. i know I am just a small little speck in this big cosmos, but just wanted to tell you and Pat, and all the others participating, you have been a life line and now I do have that comfort that I had lost. Using my mom's sewing machine, her books, and some of the fabrics we carried in our shop and I kept, I can breath and sew again.

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    1. Hi Pam. Thanks SO MUCH for sharing your story. I so appreciate our time together on Periscope. I'm happy you're finding comfort again in quilting and using your mom's materials. I can't imagine what you've gone through, but I know I always feel close to my grandma when I use her crochet hook and thread. Thanks again, Pam!!!

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  25. I am having so much fun doing the Splendid Sampler. Some of the blocks have been really challenging and I've been using my seam ripper a lot. I've learned so many new things to add to my sewing and quilting skills. I especially love the blocks with embroidery and appliqué.

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    1. I always get a little nervous when I see a block that looks challenging. But once we did in it always becomes manageable and fun!

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  26. You are a huge confidence builder. The time and kindness you are showing through this Sampler is amazing. I admire your dedication and you gave me courage and confidence to try techniques that I had no clue where to start with. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :)

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  27. While I have been downloading the blocks, I have yet to start on them. I did make the first block, but shipped it off to become part of a quilt for the friend of a "Splenderette" who was battling cancer. She has since been declared cancer free. I'm enjoying seeing everyone's blocks posted. One of these days, I will have the time to start. It is a bit intimidating though, seeing everyone's creativity with color choices, embellishments, etc. I'm glad to see that your tutorials are available on Youtube, just in case I get stuck when I do finally start. My previous forays with embroidery were many moons ago and I probably will need a refresher. Thanks!

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    1. I'm so happy your friend is cancer free. Did into The Splendid Sampler at your own pace. Sometimes it's helpful to start with the block that looks most fun or that you're most comfortable with doing. No need to go in order. thanks for the comment, Laurie!

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  28. Thanks Alyssa - everytime I get stuck on one of the blocks or feel less than confident about it, I watch your videos so thanks so much for doing them.

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    1. I'm so happy I could help out! Good luck on the rest of the blocks!

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  29. Hi I've watched your periscope videos and thanks to you I can now do paper piecing. Happy half block to you keep on keeping on!

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  30. I thank you for your tutorials. I've gotten a bit bogged down with the hand embroidery blocks.

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    1. Yup, me too. I think I have 3 unfinished embroidery ones. But they'll get done sometime!

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  31. Alyssa,
    Ive been joining you for about the last 25 Periscope views. It was my first time to use Periscope and my first time to join a BOM. I just wanted to tell you that I would have never been "brave" enough to start this without watching you and your encouragement!

    Thanks so much for doing this and I look forward to the ones to come!

    Hugs,
    Gina

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    1. Thanks so much, Gina!!! I'm happy you dove in. Btw, it's my first BOM too. I never thought I could stick with such a big project, but hanging out with you guys on Periscope has kept me going!

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  32. I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching on Periscope if only for a few minutes each night. My boyfriend knows the sound of your voice and says "there's that sewing lady again". I went out and got some sticky washout print embrodiery sheets and am so excited to be doing the embrodiery blocks I thought I would skip. THANKS !!! You are AWESOME

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    1. hah hah, that's awesome!!! Maybe he'll start sewing too. He can get your embroidered blocks started for you. 😂

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  33. I enjoy watching as you make these blocks along with us - thanks so much for doing all that you do and for all the help you offer

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  34. Thank you for your contributions as a designer and as a QAL buddy with the Splendid Sampler! I don't always tune in to your videos but when I need a little support you don't disappoint :) One of my favourite aspects of this QAL is seeing everyone's completed blocks -- looking forward to you and your mom's accomplishments...Tamara :)

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    1. Thanks Tamara! Seeing everyone's blocks is one of my favorite things too. It's amazing how different they turn out!

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  35. Thank you for your very helpful broadcasts!!! I also enjoy your e-mail newsletter!
    Alice Thomson, thomsonact@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks Alice! I appreciate that a ton.

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  36. Your block is so pretty, seeing it close up. How clever to use the lazy daizy stitch, now I really want to make this block. Hand embroidery was the first thing I learned; and enjoy seeing it resurface in so many quilting projects. Sharing with quilters from around the world is so creative and inspiring.

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    1. I love that we all can share what we're doing. There's so much creativity in our not-so-little group.

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  37. Thank you for offering your past "live feeds" of the Splendid Sampler blocks on You tube. Maybe that will help me with some of the blocks I've been holding back on doing. I haven't done hand embroidery in YEARS (like since I was 9 or 10 years old). I do machine embroidery now instead (I know the lazy way to do things). I have never found hand work to be relaxing but instead to be very tedious and worrisome--probably due to the way my mother and grandmother made me feel while doing it because they were always so good at it and expected me to be that good automatically. I think they forgot that they had already had 50-70 years practice on me at the time!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Shelly. I hope you try out some of the hand embroideries (no pressure). Sometimes I have to ignore the "trying to get things just right" with embroidery and just settle in to the rhythm of making stitches. If I can do that then it gets enjoyable again.

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  38. I am so happy that I found you and your blog and inspiration through the Splendid Sampler project. I am a little late getting started -- My fabric just came in this week. More than a little late I would say. I've got to do double time to catch up. LOL

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    1. heh heh, no rush! I bet that was a happy mail day when you got your fabric.

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  39. Thank you so much for your block! It looks like crochet - wow! And your videos so helpful. It's like a teacher right by my side!

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    1. Thanks Bonnie. So happy I can help out!

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  40. Okay, out comes the embroidery stuff! This bee is just adorable!

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  41. Seriously you are the MVP of he Splendid Samed. THANK YOU for what you are doing. Your broadcasts have made such a difference for me and kept me from getting frustrated. I really have so much appreciation for what you do every single day for us!

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  42. Hi Alyssa, Thank you for contributing your time & talent for the Splendid Sampler!!

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  43. I was fortunate to find you on YouTube that opened a great Pandora box of fun times on Periscope. I haven't started the Sampler yet! But with that said, I am going to be starting really soon! I will start with this brave bee pattern you are allowing us to get started with! Your positive attitude, friendliness, helpfulness, and dedication to the project at hand is very inspirational to me! I get nervous on starting big projects myself. I usually psych myself out and become a hoarder of things unable to muster up the courage to dive fully in. However, session after session on Periscope has made me feel like I just need to get in the trenches and start making these blocks along with you! Even if I am starting technically starting late in the game I still feel like it would be worth it! Thank you for being such an amazing person! Thank you for sharing your journey with us all! You have really impacted my life in a positive way! Keep up the great work!

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    1. I'm the same way with big projects. I wasn't sure I wanted to jump into The Splendid Sampler, but I'm so happy I did. I've learned so much and it's just been a joy. Even on the blocks that take a long time. And don't worry about starting late. It's all good and there's no rush.

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  44. very nice information, Thanks for posting

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