Monday, January 31, 2011

How Hard Is It

To Design A New Block?

Part 2

As you know, there are countless quilt blocks. And there are new ones being designed every day. Be honest; haven't you thought that it would be nice if you could design one. Then in some small way you could be a part of the history of quilting. I would be surprised if the thought hadn't crossed your mind at some time.

Well, why not? You can design a quilt block if you try. It's really not all that hard.

Let's look at some traditional quilt blocks. If we take them apart, maybe we'll find some clues that will help us design new ones. We'll use simple blocks designed on ninepatch grids.

When we take Swing in the Middle apart, we find it was made using 2 very simple units.
Summer Winds is made from 3 different units, one of which is just a plain square.
Fifty Four Forty or Fight is made using 2 different units. One of them is a four patch that is colored different ways.
3 Different units is all it takes to make an Aunt Dinah block. Again, one of the units is a plain square.
Cat's Cradle can be made using 2 different units; and the plain square shows up once again.

All of these traditional blocks were designed by arranging simple units on a ninepatch grid. There's nothing hard about that. It's simply a matter of playing with the units until you find something you like.

These are the units that we discovered today and in Part 1. Let's see what can be done with them.

What if we take 3 of the units at random and arrange them like so?
When it's colored in, this is the result, pointy-nosed fish swimming around a square.

Take another 3 units at random, play with them and this block is the result.

This is just one of the many ways this block can be colored. If you were to try coloring it, I'm sure you could come up with something better.

How hard is it to design a new block? I don't think it's hard at all. Why don't you give it a try and find out?


  1. Oh Wayne, if only I didn't have to sweep floors and clean bathrooms... So glad you are having so much fun and sharing it with us. One day I will have a houseboy - I keep telling my hubby! So far, he just laughs.

  2. Elsie

    Forget the housework. There are more important things, like quilting and designing quilts. The housework will keep until you have company. Who knows, maybe they'll give you a hand with it?