|Six Additional Quilt Blocks|
For those of you interested in making your quilt a bit more of a lap blanket than a wall hanging, I have put together a couple of ideas for you in the way of six additional blocks. This will change the finished size from approximately 41” by 55” for a 6 block sampler to about 58” by 72”.
For my quilt, I have decided to add the Dutchman’s Puzzle, a version of the Log Cabin, Jacob’s Ladder, Honey Bee, the Mexican Star, and Wheels. I did attempt a Kansas Dugout and I found it so difficult, and I had questionable results, so I removed it from my quilt.
Thus, when you see the way I save my block templates, you’ll notice that one of the baggies says Kansas Dugout. Well, those are the templates for that block and they will never be used again!! Hahaha! As I said before, I replaced that one with the Dutchman’s Puzzle and I’m very happy with the results.
guess we might as well discuss each one in the order they are pictured. I have some notes to pass along and of course the templates will be available, but I’m not going into as much detail since by now you guys know what you are doing. You know how to appliqué for the Honey Bee and you understand how to piece triangles along with the correct order of putting pieces together for Jacob’s Ladder for instance.
Dutchman’s Puzzle template
The toughest part about the Dutchman’s Puzzle, as with many blocks is the color selection and placement. Think of this as a four square block, each with two large triangles facing north, east, south and west. More often than not you see the two large triangles within a block in the same color. Generally triangles facing north and south are the same color and those facing east and west are in another color, usually surrounded by an off white or solid. I did mine completely different because I wanted to create a pinwheel design. It took me an hour or so to figure out what colors from my quilt to use. Here you see pieces from my “Extra Quilt Pieces” bag being used to figure out the colors. That is why the triangles don’t look big enough, (because they aren’t) and some of the fabrics are folded over to fit in place. I did surround the pieced with my off white because I needed a light block to replace the Kansas Dugout. I also knew I wanted to add red to the block because that particular color was lacking in my group of 12 blocks.
This photo shows adding the second small triangle to the larger (diamond patterned) triangle. I wanted you to see what the overlap looked like. Make sure the smaller triangles are flush with the bottom edge of the large triangle and extend at the top or point where the two smaller ones will create the ¼” seam allowance at the top. Once you try this, you’ll get it!
Check other example out on the internet when you are selecting your colors. You may prefer the more even, geometric look of the common layout for the Dutchman’s Puzzle.
The reason I wanted to do a Log Cabin block is because it has a square in the center that can become a signature block. I may embroider my name and a date in here…still thinking that one through. As you can see, the card patterned strip is as wide as the center block. The yellow strip is as wide as the patterned strip plus the center block. The caramel diamond patterned strip is as long as the yellow strip and the center block and this continues on around until you have the block completed.
I LOVED THIS BLOCK!! The next quilt I do is going to be all Log Cabin blocks. And it’s especially interesting to note that if you are doing an entire quilt like this, you cut very long strips of your colors and sew the blocks together and simply cut the strip after you’ve sewn it to the block. This makes the whole process go so much easier because you don’t have to measure any lengths! Just picture the yellow strip in this sewing shot continuing on for 44”. After I stitch it to the block I’d cut it off to line up whit the edge of the center block!
The finished block turned out fantastic. Everything lined up and it lays flat so nicely. I will put this block in the lower right corner of my quilt in anticipation of it being a signature block. Hmm, better find the embroidery floss and figure this out!
Jacob’s Ladder template
did use my first quilt experience to help me make better color choices this time. Although I liked the geometric quality of the Jacob’s ladder, I didn’t like my previous color selections. So, this time I limited the number of fabrics and I was happier with the results.
Notice that Jacob’s Ladder is a nine patch block. You put together the four squares, then the triangles, then the next small block. Sew the blocks together, 3 in a row and then sew the three rows together. It’s easy and fun and gives good results and makes you feel like you want to make quilting a career! Hahaha!
ow that I am comparing the old and new blocks with a photograph, I don’t feel as negative towards my first one as I did earlier. And, that is something I want to talk to you about. Use a camera when you are deciding between different color combinations or color layouts. For some reason, it is much easier to decide when you can see them in a picture right next to each other. I have already started on the cornerstones and sashing for my quilt top and I have three different fabrics I am considering for the sashing (the fabric strips between the blocks). I’ll show you in photography how I made up my mind in next month’s article, it’s really interesting!
Honey Bee template
The Honey Bee pattern is a combination nine patch and appliqué. I liked the look of it and thought that another block with appliqué would help round out our selection. Remember, the Dresden Plate used appliqué.
There are many methods of appliqué and I use the iron to help me out. I attempt to iron the ¼” seam allowance to the back but you know how tough that can be around a curve. Do the best you can and let your fingers soften the edges when you pin the piece in place.
Mexican Star template
The Mexican Star design has a lot going for it. There is variety in the number of colors required, the diagonal always makes the blocks look like there is movement so they are more interesting, and by putting the off white “X” in the middle, this block will really stand out in my quilt top.
This block goes together on the diagonal as well. Remember, stitch the smaller pieces together first, then create rows, and finally stitch the rows together to make the block.
The Mexican Star is another one of those blocks that goes together smoothly and looks fabulous when it is completed.
Wheels is a four patch quilt block. Each of the squares is made up of two larger triangles a smaller one and a strip. They can be placed as you see here to create a pinwheel design and you can play with the placement of color to get the effect you are looking for.
Here you see the four patches spun around so the large triangles are in the center. This, of course, gives the block a completely different look. This something you can do with many of the classic blocks. Just spin things, cut a large triangle into two smaller ones, etc, to make custom blocks of your own!
In the end, I went back to the pinwheel design and brought the lighter triangles to the center for even more impact. Yours will look completely different and that’s as it is supposed to be. Make yourself happy with your colors and designs and this quilt will be something you’ll be proud to pass on in the family in the years to come!
So, there’s my six additional quilt blocks. I’ll make sure there are templates available for all of them in case you choose to add them to yours. You can also surf the internet for other quilt block ideas.
And, in case you want to go even further than I am going, a twin quilt will require 15 blocks in a 3 by 5 configuration, a double bed quilt needs 20 blocks in a 4 by 5 design, a queen needs 30 blocks with 5 across and 6 down and a king requires 36 blocks with 6 across and 6 down.
Good luck to you all and don’t forget to stop back for next months instructions on how to put all the blocks together to create your quilt top.
If you are interested in quilting, please visit these two great websites that have all sorts of free quilting patterns, tips and even workshops. Visit http://www.freequiltpatterns.info/ and http://www.victorianaquiltdesigns.com/ these are great websites for quilters of all levels, our thanks to Benita Skinner.