Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ABC of Quilting Post # 17

The first topic of today is 

Quilt Blocks : Basic Block Construction

And we have a guest today to write this one. Jane Davidson

The lady who does a thousand things and yet has that beautiful smile on her face!

She's the lady behind the lovely quilt shop Want it, Need it, Quilt (remember the Stitch and Color Layer Cake I got long before any one of you could, I bought it from her!). She is also the mama bee for the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap! (There are 62 girls out there and Jane does a fabulous job of managing it all!).
Currently you would like to tag her blog. She is running the Desperate Housewives Quilt Along and the Dress up your Roll (yes, a toilet roll) contest! 

I'm so glad to have her here to tell you all about some basic blocks that you can incorporate in your quilts! 

When Shruti asked me to discuss basic block constructions, I thought that sounds like fun but when you sit down to write about it you realise that there are so many that it would fill a large book. So, today I will discuss some of the simple and versatile blocks that are used frequently in quilting.

My topic 17. Quilt Blocks: Some basic block constructions is of special interest to me as I have set my self a challenge to create 50 unique blocks in 50 weeks. I have also asked guest bloggers to contribute another 50 blocks. If you are interested in joining in the fun of the Desperate Housewife's Quilt, please visit the official page.

The Square
A great block to begin with, is the humble square. They come together easily to make a simple but effective quilt.

2" squares
6" squares with appliqué circles
10" squares

5" Charm squares on point

5" Charms on point

On point with appliqué

5" Charms with horizontal sashing
Combination Patches
Combine the square to make sets. Sets can be any number squared.

Take 4 of these squares and make a 4-patch block.

Take 9 squares and make a 9-patch block

Half square triangle (HST)

Another versatile block is the half square triangle. It can be used in a number of setting to create different blocks. As an example, I have created a sampler quilt using groups of HST's to make individual blocks.

Make a HST
Layer two squares right sides together, a line down the centre and sew 1/4" seam on either side of the line. Cut on line and voila you have 2 Half Square triangles (HST).

 Combine HST's with squares to create this block

Shoe Fly Block

and this block
Eccentric Star Block
Hourglass Block
Layer 2 squares rights sides together. Sew 1/4" all around edge. Cut on both diagonals and voila you have 4 - two coloured halves.

What can we do with these simple blocks?

Take the hourglass block made with 4 fabrics. Adding and subtracting fabrics can give the quilt a whole new look.

Horizontal layout. 
Horizontal Layout. Removed red and replaced with green.
Horizontal Layout. Replaced orange with red to give appearance of a half  square triangle.
Horizontal Layout. Replaced green and orange to reproduce the effect of a square on point.
This would look effective with varying shades of the two colours for each triangle piece.
Horizontal layout. Create a faux border by replacing fabrics in key blocks.
Changing the orientation of the blocks in the setting can also create beautiful patterns.

On point layout using the eccentric star and shoe fly block 
Horizontal layout using 9-patch, eccentric star and shoe fly block.
9-Patch using on point layout.
On Point Layout using 9-Patch and Shoe Fly block
I have used examples of settings using solid colours. Try experimenting with patterned fabrics to create areas of interest.

Thank for joining me in a very brief overview on basic block constructions. For the beginner it is important to know the simplest of blocks can make the most beautiful quilts.

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