In our last exciting episode (as they used to say on the radio), we took a traditional-type quilt pattern and tweaked it 3 (or more) ways to make different quilt designs.
Now we’ll take some combinations of blocks and arrange them to make new designs. As before, your new designs can be drawn on graph paper (or with a computer program like Electric Quilt). It’s your choice whether to make them in cloth or not.
1. Combine two easy, familiar blocks.The usual advice is to combine blocks such that their seams will line up,like that first one on the left. This has the advantage of making more secondary patterns when you look at the combination overall, and the disadvantage of making the construction more tedious. Try it both ways. My personal preference is for the second design on the left. The different sizes of the pieces in the blocks make the quilt more interesting; I really don’t notice that the seams haven’t lined up.
2. Take a quilt made of just one block, or even just one patch, and color it different ways. Here’s one of my favorites. It starts as the traditional tumbling blocks pattern, but can also be stars, chevrons, or many, many other things. There is LOTS of room for experimentation here.
Some folks make an outline drawing then copy it several times so they can color it different ways. I can see this going on for weeks if you attend lots of boring meetings where you can take your sketchbook 😉
3. Pick an asymmetric block, make lots of them (on paper or in fabric) and rotate them into different combinations. There are almost endless variations with HST (half-square triangle) blocks, for example.
These options should keep you busy for a LONG time. I suggest you buy a graph paper notebook and some colored pencils so you can keep your designs all together. Next thing you know, you’ll have more quilt designs than you could make up in a lifetime! You can just pick your current favorite next time you want to make an original quilt.
The next blog on designing your own quilts will be the first Sunday in June. Meanwhile, remember that it can be fun to try out a design by making just a small quilt. You could make a lot of HSTs and combine them in 4 different ways for a set of 4 placemats, for example. Have fun!