Showing posts with label Quilt Blocks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quilt Blocks. Show all posts

Make Super Easy Checkerboard Blocks - SCRAP BUSTER!


I discovered this technique for making scrap checkerboard blocks several years ago. I used it to make my grand-niece a doll quilt (above). With these few easy steps, the results are so worth it. When you're finished, every square will be aligned perfectly and you'll have a strong base to join the blocks so they won't stretch out of shape. 

Finished Block Size: 9"x 9" (22 cm)
NOTE: For a 12" (30 cm) block, use [8] 2" squares and cut the fusible interfacing 17 inches.

1. First, you'll need a non-woven, lightweight, single-sided fusible interfacing. I purchased this very inexpensive one on Amazon.

Non-woven, light weight, single-sided fusible interfacing

2. Cut [18] 2-inch (5 cm) colour squares and [18] 2-inch (5 cm) light colour squares.

3. Cut [1] 13" x 13" (31 cm x 31 cm) square of interfacing.

4. Place squares 1/2" from the edges on the adhesive side of the interfacing. Butt together the squares as shown below alternating between light and dark colours.

All squares are placed on interfacing.

5. Cover the squares with a pressing cloth and press with a hot iron to adhere the squares to the interfacing.

6. Fold the first row over and sew a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat this until all the rows are stitched.

7. Your first set of rows will look like this.

8. To open each seam, trim a scant amount at the edge of each row and press to open.

Vertical row pressed open.

9. Stitch the horizontal rows and trim seams the same as you did with the vertical rows.

10. Press down all your seams. This is what your stitched squares will look like from behind.

11. Press block and square up if necessary. You can see how precisely the squares are lined up.

If you need help organizing your scraps before you start, go to my posts below:

Rotary Cutting Formula Calculators for Quilters: The game changer

Rotary Cutting Formula Calculators for Quilters: The game changer

After I had been quilting for a while, I discovered there were formulas for making certain quilt blocks faster. I thought this was amazing and proceeded to find all the formulas I could. This was great but they had to be calculated properly to work. Sometimes I would enter a number wrong or add a number when I was supposed to divide. Then there was the problem with cheat sheets. They could be cumbersome and didn’t include the block assembly instructions.

After a while, I tried finding a quilting app that would do the formulas for me but with no luck. I considered making my own app but that would be too expensive. Then, I discovered an online calculator builder (UCalc) where I could create my own calculators. I created calculators for ten quilt block formulas. The formulas could now be calculated instantly and each one included assembly diagrams. 

I'm now sharing my Quick Block Calculators with the quilting community free of charge. I hope they help those of you who may have been as frustrated as me with block formulas. Enjoy!


•  All calculations have been tested for accuracy.
•  All measurements are in inches.
•  All instructions assume a basic knowledge of rotary cutting.
•  The formula for each block is included with each calculator.

Finished Block
•  Block dimensions after it has been sewn into a quilt.

Unfinished Block
•  Block dimensions before it has been sewn into a quilt i.e. finished block dimensions plus seam allowance.

Parent Squares
•  The squares you make using the formula. These squares are used to build your block.

Square Up
•  Trimming a block to its correct size.

•  Round up uneven results to the nearest even fraction or round number.
I use this handy decimal-to-a-fraction conversion table.
•  Double-check your results before cutting your parent squares.
•  Make a test-run block before cutting your good fabric.
•  Cut the parent squares accurately.
•  Use a scant ¼ inch seam allowance to make the block slightly larger and easier to square up.

1. Scroll down to find the block you want to make.
2. Depending on the formula, enter the finished or unfinished block size you need.
3. Find the parent square size(s) in the orange box. If required, round up the result.
4. Cut the number of parent squares required.
5. Follow the assembly diagrams provided to make the block.
6. Square up the block if necessary.

See calculators . . .

How to Square Up Hourglass & Pinwheel Blocks: No special ruler required!

This post is a supplementary tutorial for the Quick Block Calculator.

How to Square Up Hourglass & Pinwheel Blocks

When using the shortcut methods to make Hourglass and Pinwheel blocks, you often have to "square up" the block to the correct size you need. If these blocks are not squared up properly, you will end up with very wonky looking squares that will only be good for the scrap pile.

In this post, I'll show you a simple method for squaring up Hourglass, Pinwheel, and Half Square Triangle blocks that doesn't require a special ruler.



Hour Glass
  1. Divide the desired block size in half, e.g. 4½"÷ 2 = 2¼"
  2. Find this number on the ruler.
  3. Place a piece of tape horizontally and vertically on the ruler to mark the center of the block.
  4. Line up intersecting point of the tape with the center of the block.
  5. Line up the 45º angle with angle of the block.

6.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.

7.  Turn the ruler and block 180º and, once again, line up the halfway point with the center of the block.

8.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.


Half Square Triangle

How to Resize Quilt Blocks and Patterns

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Quilt patterns can come in many sizes. But what if the size of the pattern isn't the size you want? Maybe you want a throw instead of a mini quilt or a baby quilt instead of a king-size. To resize your pattern or block, you need to know the percentage to reduce or enlarge the pattern templates. Read below to learn three easy ways to get the percentage you need to resize templates.


Below is the very simple formula to get the percentage for reducing or enlarging.


Measure the shortest length of the original block size? e.g. 6 inches
What size do you want the new block to be? e.g. 8 inches
Divide the new size by the original size, e.g. 8 ÷ 6 = 1.33.
Move the decimal point two steps to the right to get your percentage = 133%.
Enter 133% into the copy machine to enlarge your 6-inch block to an 8-inch block. 


Do the opposite of above.
Divide the small size (e.g. 6") by the large size (e.g. 8") to get your reduction
percentage, e.g. 6 ÷ 8 = 0.75 = 75% reduction. 

Proportional Scales may look a bit intimidating at first but they're easy to use.
You can buy a Proportional Scale for quilters HERE.

How To Use a Proportional Scale
  1. On the bottom wheel, find the original size of your block (e.g. 6"), [Fig 1].
  2. Line up this number with the new size (e.g. 8") on the top wheel, [Fig 1].
  3. In the window, you'll see the percentage of the reduction or enlargement you need to resize your block, [Fig 2]. 
Note: The math formula and proportional scale results may be off a tiny bit. This is okay.

Figure 1

Figure 2

  1. Download my enlargement and reduction charts to find the percentages you need at a glance. Download PDF
  2. Find the original measurement on the left side of the chart.
  3. Go along that row until you get to the measurement you want on the top row.
  4. The number in the intersecting box is the percentage you'll need to reduce or enlarge your block

Blue Diamond Quilt Block

Who doesn't love a little bling? My cute Blue Diamond quilt block, designed in facet art style, would make a sparkling quilt.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store

While designing my diamond I soon realized that the facet colours had to make sense. The biggest challenge in doing faceted art is positioning the colours so that they look just right.

blue diamond mini quilt pattern detail

Below is the inspiration for my little diamond quilt. This stunning quilt titled Bling was designed, pieced, and quilted by Katherine Jones. Bling won Best in Show at the 2017 QuiltCon Quilt Show, and you can sure see why. The details in this quilt are stunning! 

bling by katherine jones
Bling by Katherine Jones

CELTIC TWIST Quilt Block | Step-by-Step Tutorial

This tutorial is for the 17" x 17" Celtic twist block shown above. It may look complicated, but it's simple to put together. There are no Y-seams and no templates to worry about. The block consists of two 6 inch units (one is a snowball block) and two different sized triangle units; that's it! You can make one block or add more units to make a quilt or table runner. I love this block for showcasing big prints.

These are the four units to make the block.

(All measurements include a 1/4 inch seam allowance)

Unit 1 - Makes 4
[8] 5" x 2" dark print
[8] 5" x 2" light print
[4] 3½" x 3½" medium print

Unit 2 - Makes 4
[1] 7¼" solid

Unit 3 - Makes 4
[2] 7" solid
[4] 2" x 2" dark print

Unit 4 - Makes 1
[1] 6½" x 6½" large print
[4] 2" x 2" light print

UNIT 1 - Make 4

1. Arrange your fabric pieces to ensure you have the correct colour placement. You'll need [2] 5" x 2" dark print; [2] 5" x 2" light print; and [1] 3½" square medium print to make one 6" block.

2. Place the square and first piece right sides facing and start stitching 1 inch from the top of the square.

3. Flip and press the first piece. Place the next piece right sides facing and stitch to end.

4. Flip and press the last piece you stitched. Place the next piece right sides facing and stitch to end.

5. Flip and press the last stitch pieced. Pull back and pine the first piece sewn on and pin back. Place the last piece right sides facing and stitch to end. Flip back and press.

6. Fold back the first piece as shown and stitch to just past the starting point of your first stitches.

7. Press completed block.

UNIT 2 (One square makes four triangles)

1. Cut [1] 7¼ solid colour square.
2. Cut the square diagonally to each corner to make four triangles.

UNIT 3 - Make 4

1. Pin one [1] 2" dark print square with right sides facing on opposite corners of the 7" solid colour square and stitch as shown. Cut a 1/4 inch seam allowance from each corner square, flip and press back.

2. Cut from corner to corner parallel to stitched corners to make two triangles.

UNIT 4 - Make 1

1. Cut [1] 6½ inch large print square and [4] 2" light print squares. Pin one 2" square with right sides facing on each corner of the larger square as shown.

2. Cut a corner inch seam allowance from each corner square, flip back, and press.


Butterfly Garden Quilt Block Pattern

Spring can never come soon enough. Until it arrives, this pretty paper pieced Butterfly Garden block is bound to cheer you up. The finished block is 12" x 12" and the paper piece butterfly center block measures 7" x 7" when finished.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store

This is a very versatile block. It would make a lovely pillow for a sunroom or a girl's bedroom.

Create a pretty wall hanging for your spring décor or a sweet placemat.

Krazy Kites Quilt Block

This fun kites quilt block is a great stash buster for all those pretty scraps you've been hanging on to. For good contrast, I used multiple creams and beige scraps for the background, which makes the colours really pop. I like the block without embellishing, but if you like to embroider, you can add tails.

Krazy Kites Quilt Block by Monica Curry

This block makes a great summer themed pillow. I think it would also be stunning as a baby blanket or a wall quilt with embroidered tales.

kites quilt block pattern quilt