My friend Chela asked about designing to avoid intersecting seams. The goal is to make a quilt less “fussy” to construct. Here are 3 ways to do that. Thanks for the idea, Chela!
One of the easiest ways to avoid intersecting seams is to move alternate rows over 1/2 block. This can create interesting designs that you wouldn’t have suspected if you hadn’t tried it!
My most recent example is a quilt I designed for Studio Stitch:
Of course, many traditional patterns depend on the blocks lining up exactly to create visual interest. They might not benefit from shifting half a block! Just look at this:
Another favorite way to avoid obvious intersections is to partially frame blocks so that they appear offset. The intersections get lost in the background and the design is much more interesting. One of my favorite examples of this is the BQ2 pattern by Maple Island Quilts.
I taught a class with this pattern and called it “Easier Than It Looks” because it is! The design looks complex but in reality it is just a matter of framing and rotating blocks. Here’s the quilt I made as a sample for the class:
Another example of partially framed blocks is my recent “Little Jewels” quilt:
And good news! I tracked down the origin of this design and you can find instructions for it free on this website.
The “trick” is that each block is framed on two sides, making it asymmetrical. Then alternate blocks are rotated 180 degrees so that any sense of quilt rows is lost! Make a couple of scrap blocks and try it–it’s magic! In truth, there are the usual intersections between blocks but the corners are almost impossible to see 😀
Finally, making blocks of different sizes certainly can be used to avoid intersecting seams. I consider this a design-as-you-go process and it does take both time and confidence, but it works well. Here is one I made ages ago:
These blocks are all the same size (will finish 6″) but the sashing will be variable. I’m setting them in vertical rows with variable distances between the rows, and variable distances between the blocks within each row! No way will there be anything to line up 😀
Have a good week and share any tricks you have to avoid fussy intersections!