State Fair Sampler - 2020 Block of the Month

State Fair Sampler 2020 Block of the Month Quilt.jpg

Today I am kicking off registration for my 2020 Block of the Month Club! The State Fair Sampler was inspired by a mosaic of quilt blocks found on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Going to the fair is one of my family’s favorite summer activities and when I saw the mosaic, I knew I had to make a quilt based on it. Now you can make it too!

The State Fair Sampler is made with 36 quilt blocks in 6 different sizes. Simple enough for the confident beginner while still offering a challenge to the experienced quilter.

Each month participants will be sent a PDF pattern for 3 quilt blocks via email. We will start with the largest block (36”) and work down to the smallest (8”).

Not sure you’ll really make all the blocks? Not a problem! Life happens. I am providing three layout options so you can make all or some of the blocks and still have a great quilt.

The layout sizes are:

  • Queen with 36 blocks (96” x 92”)

  • Throw with 16 blocks (48” x 60”)

  • Baby/Crib with 8 blocks (32” x 36”)

Are you in? If so, click below!
Not sure? Keep reading for more info.

jacobson center iowa state fair sampler quilt.jpeg

The Backstory

Let me tell you how this all got started…

In 2009, a new arena, the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, was being built on the Iowa State Fairgrounds and the Planning Committee wanted to incorporate some design features that would reflect the history and heritage of Iowa. After rejecting themes featuring corn and pigs (there are a lot of those in Iowa!), they decided to incorporate quilt block tiles into the exterior brickwork of the arena. Each of the 99 counties in Iowa was invited to submit a block design and Creative Edge Master Shop, was hired to cut and assembled the quilt blocks.

Leila Gardunia showing her children quilt block mosaics at Iowa State Fair copy.jpg

In 2011 my family got lost on our way to the Sheep Barn and ran into the new Arena. When I saw the quilt block frieze running around the outside of the building, I knew I had to make a quilt based on those blocks! The State Fair Sampler uses 36 of the tiled quilt block patterns with quilt blocks ranging from 8” to 36” in size. I changed the colors to give the quilt a summery feel, but choose to stick with solid fabrics to mimic the tiles.


The Blocks

The blocks are made with both standard and foundation paper piecing techniques. When necessary, I modified the piecing to avoid all inset, or Y, seams. The patterns are basic enough for confident beginners while still providing a challenge for advanced quilters. The blocks are made with both traditional and foundation paper pieced units.

There are:
(1) 36” block
(1) 32” block
(5) 24” blocks
(3) 16” blocks
(15) 12” blocks
(11) 8” blocks

Scrappy State Fair Sampler by Emily Vardeman  @vardewoman_quilting  This is seriously one of my favorite quilts ever. Emily can do scrappy like no one else!

Scrappy State Fair Sampler by Emily Vardeman @vardewoman_quilting This is seriously one of my favorite quilts ever. Emily can do scrappy like no one else!


Fabric Requirements

Queen Sized (96” x 92”)

You will need 4 1/2 yards of background fabric and 12-14 yards of various prints and solids to make the queen sized option. (This could be a great stash/scrap buster! Check out Emily’s quilt above.)

I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids in my quilt. To make the quilt as pictured you will need:

4 1⁄2 yards
Bright White 

1 3⁄4 yards
Shell (coral pink) 

1 1⁄4 yards

1 yard
Tangerine (orange)
Berry (fuchsia)
Sailor (blue) 

3⁄4 Yard
Bubblegum (pink)
Lemon (yellow)
Mango (yellow-orange)
Clementine (red-orange)
Limeade (yellow-green)
Spa (mint-green)
Apple (green) 

1/2 Yard
Seafoam (light blue-green)

7/8 yard binding fabric – Tangerine (orange)
3 yards 108” wide fabric for backing OR 9 yards 45” wide fabric pieced
100” x 104” piece of batting 

In the US, you can find Cotton Couture Solids at Hawthorne Supply Co. and Stitch Supply Co.. In Australia, you can find them at Clair’s Fabrics. (And check at your local quilt shop!) I haven’t been able to find a good source in the UK/Europe. If you know someone who carries a wide variety of Cotton Couture Solids, let me know.

state fair sampler throw quilt layout.jpeg

Throw Sized Quilt

The 48” x 60” throw will require approximately 2 yards of background fabric and 4 1/2 yards of various prints/solids.

state fair sampler baby crib quilt.jpeg

Baby/Crib Sized Quilt

The 32” x 36” baby/crib quilt will require approximately 1 yard of background fabric and 2 1/2 yards of various prints/solids

Note that the yardage estimates for the Baby and Throw sized quilts are approximate and actual amounts needed will vary based on which blocks are made and how efficiently the fabric is used. Estimates are intended to give you more than enough fabric.

Cotton couture quilt state fair sampler.jpeg

Upon Purchase:

When you purchase this pattern, a download link containing the yardage and supply requirements will be sent to the email you provided. After that, on the first of every month in 2020, you will receive a PDF pattern for three blocks via email.


  • You will not be mailed a physical paper pattern.

  • Fabric is not included in the Block of the Month.

  • This is a One Time Purchase. No reoccurring monthly charges. Yay!

EU customers, please help me to stay VAT legal by purchasing patterns in my Etsy Shop. Thanks!


Download a Pattern Sample

Want to check out the quality of the pattern before signing up? Not a problem! I am committed to giving you a high quality pattern - accurate, clear, and beautiful. Plus, at the end of the year, you will have a State Fair Sampler ebook. Click below to see the Introduction and Material requirements.

Jill , @justjillquilts , made the quilt in the original tile colors and won a prize at a quilt show!

Jill ,@justjillquilts, made the quilt in the original tile colors and won a prize at a quilt show!


But that’s not all!

I am also going to sprinkle in some fun fair facts, historical tidbits, and my family’s favorite Iowa State Fair activities. You’ll learn about my favorite free snack, crazy thrill shows of the past, and how we make time to stomp grapes every year. Funnest thing ever!

Leila Gardunia and daughters at the Iowa State Fair.jpg

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments,
then hop on over to my shop and sign up for a Block of the Month that is as fun as the State Fair.

Well…maybe not quite as fun, but there are fewer crowds :)

You’ll love it!

EU customers, please help me to stay VAT legal by purchasing in my Etsy Shop. Thanks!