Saturday, February 5, 2011

How Hard Is It

To Design A New Block?

Part 4 (Designing Units For Blocks)

You will find it easier to design a quilt block if you focus on the units that make up the block.

Most quilt blocks are designed on a grid. Each square of the grid contains a part of the design. A grid square with its design is a design unit.

Design units are smaller, simpler and easier to design than whole blocks.

In the first three parts of this series of posts we looked at some traditional blocks and found the units they were designed from.


I think it would be fun for you to try designing your own units. Here are a couple of things you can try.

What if you simply take two traditional units and combine them?

This works well and is easy to do.

What if you add a line to an existing block?

This works just as well and is easy to do too.

I particularly like the last one - the Drunkard's Path unit with a diagonal going from a corner to the opposite side. I think it should make some very different blocks.

What if you change how a traditional unit is put together?

When you create your own units, they might be new, or they might turn out to be traditional units you haven't seen before. It doesn't matter. The important thing is you have something to play with; so go ahead and play!


How do you play with your new units? You play by arranging a few on a grid. If you don't like what you get, rearrange them, or change them, until you find something you like. When you find a design you like, color it in.

Here are a few examples:

Creating block designs this way is easy enough. Sometimes you end up reinventing old blocks. But you come up with enough new ones to make the whole thing exciting and worthwhile.


  1. Wayne,

    I think I see a couple of units I haven't added to my collection to use in Nine Patch blocks .... Thank you!

    Judy B

  2. Judy

    I will be most interested to see what you do with them.