Choosing a block and quilt layout

Quilting

In my last post I talked about finding inspiration for starting my new king-sized quilt project.  I basically wanted to do something scrappy that I’d be able to piece together pretty quickly.  There are lots of things that can add time to a project – fussy-cutting fabrics, piecing irregular shapes, sewing lots of pieces together, etc.  Those aren’t bad things, but it’s good to know going into a project that you’re willing to spend the time on things like that.

So although it typically takes me more time to do scrappy quilts (because I obsess over which colors will go next to each other!), that was something I was willing to allow for the time to do here.  Instead I figured I’d choose a fairly simple over-sized block that would allow me to play with my scrappy color combinations.  I wanted a block where I could use 3 different colors on a contrasting background.  I wound up choosing the Rolling Stone block.  Here’s a pic with a sample of the colorings I planned on using – basically a white background with a darker center and outer ring.  The inner ring would be a paler contrasting color.

Rolling Stone Block

Rolling Stone Block

I’ve been admiring this block in other projects for a while now so I was glad to finally use it one of my projects.  You can see that it’s a pretty straight-forward 9 patch block with very few seams.  I also thought it would be great to work with square in a square blocks (those are the blocks on each of the 4 corners).  I hadn’t made too many of them so this would definitely give me the chance to do get some practice here.

Just to give you an idea of some variations on this block, here are links to 2 other quilt patterns that I ran across over the past few years.  They’re both pretty similar but have a little extra piecing in the center of the block.  First up is Spin Cycle by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.  I really like her scrappy combination of colors and the layout of the blocks.  If you click on the image it will link to her pattern.

Spin Cycle image courtesy of Cluck Cluck Sew

Spin Cycle image courtesy of Cluck Cluck Sew

And here’s another cute one called Rolling Diamonds by Knottygnome crafts.  Love the block on the right with the skiier in the center!  If you clink on the image it will link to her tutorial:

Rolling Diamonds image courtesy of Knottygnome crafts

Rolling Diamonds image courtesy of Knottygnome crafts

But back to my project!  My next step was sizing the block and designing the quilt layout.  This was where my EQ7 (electric quilt) software came in really handy.  After a quick google search I figured I’d want my quilt to be around 105″ x 105″.  That’s pretty huge so I was thinking I’d probably want my block sizes to be 18″.  With EQ7 it’s really easy to layout 18″ blocks with sashing to see how that would look.  To get 105″ square I needed 2.5″ sashing.  I was playing around with some coloring options, but didn’t color all of my blocks.

ScreenHunter_07 Jun. 30 20.35

Another option was going down to 15″ blocks.  Since I was using a 9 patch block I wanted to keep my math simple by sticking with multiples of 3″.    In EQ7 I just changed the block size to 15″ and then played with the size of the sashing to see that 5″ sashing would make 105″ square.  See the screenshot here (you can see the size of the quilt at the top of the screen).EQlayoutscreen_withmarkup

And here’s a screenshot of how the 15″ block layout looks:

ScreenHunter_09 Jun. 30 20.37

Both layouts were nice but I think I was a little hesitant about the 18″ blocks and narrow sashing.  For some reason I thought I might not be able to see a nice range of blocks when the quilt on the bed.  Right or wrong I chose the 15″ block layout.  From there I did some quick yardage calculations for my background fabric, headed to the store that evening and started cutting my fabrics the next day - woo-hoo!

I’m actually a month into this project but plan on showing you some quick tips on cutting and piecing that I’ve been figuring out along the way.  As a teaser for my next post, I’ll tell you that I got really lucky in choosing this block size!  I was so anxious to get started on my project that I didn’t take the time to figure out how I would cut my fat quarters for each of the pieces I needed.  Thankfully it worked out okay, but big lesson learned for next time!  Until then…

Happy Swatching!

Swatch Missy 300 px-Missy

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