Archive for February, 2012

April 2012 Sat Workshop

February 28, 2012

My last class for the Timberlane quilter’s guild will be “Big Blocks”.

I’ve often been dismayed when old and new quilters are unable to calculate how to make a basic grid based block into any size they wish. I often hear comments like Oh, can I borrow your pattern or I can’t find the magazine that this was featured in but I can borrow my friend’s.

Goals for the workshop:

1. Take a basic 12 inch patchwork block of the basic grid construction style and make it any size you want without buying a pattern or instructions.

2. Learn common building units that you can “mix and match” to design unique personal blocks.

3.  These expanded * Big Block* methods give you quick results without a lot of fussy little pieces. You will get quick results for quick gifts when you have a deadline or need simple ideas for community projects. These also look very good as the beginning center of a medallion style quilt.

4. Learn basic construction tips and tricks as well as good pressing habits to give you smooth, crisp blocks.


There will be 3-4 “patterns” provided if you wish to copy one of the class samples.

Or you may wish to design your own block as you explore and discover the variations in 5 patch, or 6-8 grid construction.

I will have black and white line drawings for you to photocopy and color as you wish at home.  There will be basic fabric requirements already calculated for a few of the blocks.

Nine Patch in the Barn Door( above)- a variation of Hole in the Barn Door. This is 30 inches and is a 5 grid. This will soon have a couple of borders and may end up as a thank you gift.

This is a seven grid example and is 25 inches .

This is a variation on a basic Ohio Star. It’s a 6 grid and is 24 inches without the borders. I like to take a basic pieced nine-patch like an Ohio Star and play with the corners and centers. Doreen Speckmann is an inspiration with these building units.

This (above) was the BOM block from the guild’s exchange a couple of Decembers ago. I noted that the 12 inch version caused a few guild members some troubles with meeting points and seam allowance bulk.I enlarged it at that time to see where the problems with the seams lay. Pressing the seams open on the flying geese sections solved the problem and gave a great result. It’s 24 inches without the borders and is based on a 6 grid. I went back to the website with the original directions and shake my head at the poor pressing directions.

You’ll recognize this( above)  as a Carpenter’s Wheel block and is usually made with difficult diamonds and set in seams.I have found 2 versions that eliminate the set in seams and this version uses 1/2 square triangles. I would make this again in much brighter contrasts. It’s 24 inches and is a 8 grid so each 1/2 sq. is 3 inches- a much easier building unit size.

If you choose to do this block at the workshop, think carefully about the fabric choices.

This is called Snow Crystals and can be found in a few places online. I’ll find the exact locations and post. This also uses just 1/2 square triangles. It would look nice in fewer colour changes to simplify fabric requirements but you know how I love to make something scrappy. It is 32 inches and is a 8 grid.