Tag Archive for quilt blocks

Make a Design Board

How to Make a Design Board

I typically lay out my quilt blocks and fabrics on the carpet in order to test out designs. But this method only seems to attract cats or general foot traffic until my blocks are so tossed about that I can’t remember what I was doing in the first place. Do you have this problem?

Enter, the design board! Also called a design wall, a design board is a helpful tool for quilters that works much like a felt or flannelgraph board. Cut fabric squares or quilt blocks will temporarily “stick” to it while you figure out an arrangement you like. The lightweight board can be nailed to a wall or you can slide it under the bed when you’re ready to take a break from your design.

Design Board

Here are two 4′ x 8′ design boards, which create a great workspace when placed side by side. When I’m working on a smaller quilt, I can opt to just use one of the boards. Also, each board easily comes off the wall if I need to move it to another room and work!

To make your own quilting design board, you’ll need:

– 1 Sheet foam insulation 4′ x 8′ (and about 1″ thick), from hardware store
– Packing tape or duct tape
– Box cutter
– Iron
– 4 clothespins or binder clips
– Nail and hammer (if mounting to wall)
– Queen-size batting or two batting scraps at least 54″ x 54″
(I used Warm & Natural, but any type of cotton, white batting would work)
– Staple gun (optional)

In order to get my foam insulation board home in the car, I cut it into 4 quadrants (one cut down the vertical center, and another cut down the horizontal center). This way, it easily fit in the back seat of my compact car! I knew I’d be taping it when I got home, so this was no big deal to me. You may choose to keep your board all in one piece if you can transport it home.

Tip: If you often work on large quilts, you might want to purchase two boards for an 8-foot x 8-foot workspace. Just make sure you have the available wall space for it!

If you cut your board, tape the sections back together with clear packing tape.

Here is what the board looks like all taped together. I decided this was bigger than I wanted to wrangle, so I untaped the vertical center and left it in two halves.

Next, cut a piece of quilt batting 3″ longer than the board on each side. Mine was 54″ x 54″.

Press your batting to make a smooth surface. You can iron right on top of your board.

Once your batting is smoothed out, stand your board upright and use clothespins to secure the batting tight onto one side of the board. Tape the edge of the batting to the board, one side at a time. Flip your board and pin the opposite side, pulling the batting taut. If you have a staple gun, you can use that to secure the batting. Duct tape would also work in a pinch.

Here is what the back of your design board should look like.

To hang your design board on the wall, use the point of your scissors to poke a hole into the back side of the foam board directly in the center and about 4″ down from the top. Hammer a nail into the wall and place the hole into the nail.  You could also attach your board to the wall with sticky mounting tape or adhesive velcro (if you want to be able to take it off and put it back on easily).

Place quilt blocks or fabric swatches on your design wall and arrange as desired. Your quilter’s design board is complete!

As always, if you are inspired to make this project or use any of our tutorials, we’d love to see them in the Craft Buds Flickr group!

QuiltCon Block Challenge

Have you followed the QuiltCon Block Challenge?

The assignment is to create a modern quilt block inspired by the colors of the QuiltCon logo. QuiltCon is the inaugural modern quilting conference of The Modern Quilt Guild, to be held in Austin, Texas this February 2013! Here are just a few of the stunning blocks in the Flickr pool.

SBAMQG QuiltCon blocks July Meeting
Flickr/capitolaquilter (SBA Modern Quilt Guild entries)

QuiltCon Block
Flickr/AQuiltingJewel

Fabric stack and quiltcon challenge
Flickr/Sewmama123

QuiltCon block
Flickr/liveacolorfullife

Elephant Crossing
Flickr/ircabbit


Flickr/ReannaLilyDesigns


Flickr/vardewoman

The 20+ winning blocks selected by Elizabeth Hartman will be included in a quilt to be raffled off to one lucky winner, and the other blocks will be made into charity quilts. Very inspiring! The deadline for entries is August 15, so there’s still time to design your QuiltCon block.

QuiltCon happens February 21-24, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Conference registration opens August 30, 2012, and modern quilters are welcome to submit quilt entries to the show between August 1 and November 30, 2012.

Is anyone going to QuiltCon? Are you making a block for the QuiltCon Block Challenge?

Giveaway! Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters

I recently got the chance to review a copy of the book Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters (Lark Crafts). The book is written by four members of the Fat Quarterly e-zine team, Katy Jones, Brioni Greenberg, Tacha Bruecher and John Q. Adams, and includes patterns for 60 quilt blocks and 12 complete projects ranging from quilts to home decor.

Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters contents

What makes this book unique is that quilt blocks and projects are broken down by shape, starting at the very basic squares and rectangles blocks and progressing through circles, triangles, stars, polygons and diamonds. Once you’ve conquered basic patchwork and the more beginner-friendly “shapes,” you can use those skills to build up to more advanced blocks which use techniques like applique and paper piecing.

Star Block Circles Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters

One of my favorite blocks in the book is the clever “Star Pinwheel,” which uses fusible web to adhere sliced stars to half-square triangles for a really dynamic block with positive and negative space. Even if you don’t quilt, this would be a great accent to clothing for kids or adults.

Quilt Circles Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters

The “Dream Garden Diamonds Quilt” uses bold piecing and modern fabric choices, for a clean and fresh look! Overall, I think this book would be a welcome addition to any quilter’s library, because the blocks range from beginner to advanced. Some of the paper-pieced patterns are really unique and 60 blocks can be mixed and matched for a sampler quilt or repeated over multiple rows and columns for a DIY patchwork quilt.

My Project

I decided to make a “Bowties & Blooms” quilt blocks from the book in the colors yellow, aqua and gray, which I’m collecting for a modern sampler quilt. The block finishes as 12.5″ square, and stitches up pretty quickly! You can make this block with the free pattern excerpted with permission from Lark Crafts.

Bowties Blooms Quilt Block

Free block patterns from the book:

Bowties + Blooms (pictured)

Courtyard Garden Block

Pentagon Flower Block + template

 

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a copy of this book? Lark Crafts will send a copy to one lucky Craft Buds reader. Enter to win by completing the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Modern Blocks

99 Modern Blocks book cover

Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to really dig into a modern quilt block compilation from C&T Publishing: Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers compiled by Susanne Woods.

This book was at the top of my Christmas wishlist, and has moved with me from sewing room to every other room in the house while I figure out which block to make. After all, there are 99 blocks to choose from! The blocks represent a wide variety of styles, from patchwork to paper-pieced, appliqued and embroidered. Each block in the book is an original design or a fresh take on a traditional block.

Binary: Modern Blocks

Some of my favorite blocks in the book, including “Binary” (above) and “It’s a Stretch” (on the cover), were designed by the very talented Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. Angela was the winner of the recent Moda Bake Shop SLICED competition, and you might have seen winning project, an adorable owl backpack.

Saturn's Rings: Modern Blocks

“Saturn’s Rings,” designed by Latifah Saafir of The Quilt Engineer,  uses bias-cut strips appliqued to a base block. The bold colors really pop and it’s easy to imagine a whole quilt made from this simple yet stunning block.

House on the Hill: Modern Blocks

“House on the Hill” pairs patchwork with applique and creative machine-embroidery. It’s designed by Monika Wintermantel. There are so many blocks in the book that I want to make when I find the time, and they range from beginner to advanced skill levels.

There is also a Flickr group dedicated to this book, so you can go there to add your blocks or see the blocks that others have sewn up in a variety of fabrics! Here are some recent blocks from that group (photos by Seamed Up).

My creation

As you can see, the book has a staggering variety of blocks! So how did I ever choose which one to make first?

My Blocks

Four Acres Block: Modern Blocks

As part of an online quilting bee I participate in, I’m always looking for a good 12.5″ square block to make in a variety of colors. I whipped up these blocks (plus one more) from the “Four Acres” pattern above, designed by Solidia Hubbard. The book gives specific measurements for each cut, so there is no guesswork, and I was happy to be able to pre-cut all of my fabric one night, and sew the blocks the next day following the block assembly instructions.

4x5 Blocks, 1st Qtr

Although I’ve been known to spend as long as 6 hours designing blocks for this bee, I’m happy to report that this book helped me shave 2 hours off of my production time! Whether you are part of a quilting bee or just looking for a way to build your quilting skills, Modern Blocks is an excellent resource for your quilting library.

Have you checked out Modern Blocks yet? If so, what blocks really caught your eye?

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