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bed pillow covers customized rustic pillow covers Quilt Basics - Quilt Blocks from Squares, Rectangles & Triangles - Part 3 of 5

2019-09-18 04:23:29 custom gift for housewarming

You saw the appropriate tools and other stuff needed for basic quilting in Part 1. You leaned how to properly (and safely) rotary cut your fabric for patchwork piecing in Part 2. Now, you get to discover how to use those pieces you cut (squares, rectangles and triangles) to create some of the most popular basic quilt block patterns. We'll also teach you how to design a custom block of your very own.

It’s safe to say there are hundreds, actually thousands of different quilt blocks you can select from to make a quilt top. As we discussed in Part 1, many blocks have a prominent place in history, while others are inventions of today’s modern quilters. In general, the type of quilt block directly relates to the type (and theme) of the quilt you’re making, such as patchwork pieced, appliqué, paper-pieced, embroidery, etc. Of course, a quilt can have all of the above!

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Regardless of the stylebed pillow covers, every quilt starts with a quilt block made up of pieces or units (two pieces sewn together). Some quilt blocks require many pieces or units, others just a few. In the end, when sewn together in a specific order or pattern, the quilt blocks create the quilt top.

Remember, we are discussing the basics here. If you don’t see a design you like today, don’t be discouraged. There are so many quilt designs and patterns available at local retailers, in books and online. Soon enough, you'll move from trying to find a block you like to trying to figure out how on earth you'll ever narrow down all your favorites! Plus, as we mentioned above, we’ll be sharing a little insight on how to design your own unique blocks.

When you first decide to try your hand at quilting, it's usually best to follow a pattern or tutorial (maybe one here at Sew4Home). The advantage is the block design and cutting instructions have been completed for you. But remember, someone somewhere had to figure out all those details. And, if you ever want to create your own quilt design (or alter an existing design), that someone somewhere could be you! All it takes is a little graph paper, a few pencils or colored pencils, a ruler, and a bit of math.

A common inclination is to sew what we see. When a completed quilt is hanging in a shop, or we see a picture of one we love in a magazine, we want to make it exactly the same way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, because as we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, what about your own creative vision??

There are several different reasons why and when designing your own quilt block and/or the entire quilt top, is a good thing. It could be a matter of size and space. Is there an empty wall in your home you would like to decorate with your own art? Why not a wall hanging quilt? Designing one to match your décor as well as perfectly fit the empty space is ideal. Or maybe it's the opportunity to play with fabric. Part of what makes quilting so great is how we all see color and pattern differently. It’s particularly fun to watch a group of quilters working on the same quilt design. Each person has a different selection of fabric - a different vision of the finished quilt. It’s amazing to see the variety. Or... what if you want to use a quilt block pattern but it’s too large for your purposes. You can re-plot the design on a smaller scale.

When designing your own quilt block, you can use the shapes we cut in Part 2, as well as others, such as circles, curves, etc. There's no inherent need to limit yourself, however, when you’re starting out, it’s easiest to work with squares, rectangles and triangles. Graph paper forces you stay confined to these shapes, and you can also use it to help determine finished measurements.

First, you need to determine the completed size of your quilt top. As we stated above, this may be determined by the space where you plan to use it (i.e. wall, bed, etc.).

Second, you want to decide how you will divide up the space within the quilt and/or the type of block you want to use within the space.?

Finally, you have to figure out the actual size of the block units, or pieces that make up the block. Conversely, you can design the block first, then decide how many you will use across and down to determine a final size.

As we stated above, working with a quilt block pattern is certainly acceptable, and a good way to get started. Using the same basic square, rectangle and triangle shapes you learned to cut in Part 2, you can make a number of existing quilt blocks. The ones we have shown below are considered traditional options that are great for beginners.?

All you need to do is decide on the size! Don’t forget to add a ?" seam allowance to your measurements for each piece... and remember to add it to every side that will be seamed.?

NOTE: The samples below are not sewn, just cut (with seam allowance). Remember to look at the many quilt block designs available; they can be used as-designed or combined in different ways to create a custom look.

The most interesting quilt blocks use a combination of the basic shapes. In addition, each block is often rotated to create a design-within-a-design across a quilt top.?

Below are a few we selected to show how you can combine the most basic shapes. Again, as you get deeper into your quilting addiction, you'll find your own favorite(s)!

Not all quilts have to be bed size. They can be a small pillow, table runner doll quilt... even a mug rug or coaster. We have a number of tutorials we’ve created in the Sew4Home studio that utilize much of what we learned thus far in the Series. Anyone trying quilting for the first time might prefer to try one of the these projects, using the basic shapes we’ve discussed thus far. For even more ideas, browse through our Project Index.?

Contributors

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly

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