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How I Design and Make Quilt Blocks


Step 1:  Wait to the last minute!

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done!”  It just seems like my creative juices don’t flow until there is a little pressure on them.  Maybe it’s like wine, you have to squeeze the grape in order to get the good stuff.  It also has to ferment and age properly.  Ok, I realize someone in the background is saying that I’m not a grape, Gilbert!

Step 2:  Do Some Sketches

Distraction #1:  I can’t find my purple pen!  I can’t possible draw without it!
Result:  Looked for it for 10 minutes and then got sidetracked on the internet.
Delay Time:  +- 2 hours

I try to sketch out what I want to be in the block.  This is often like sitting at the dinner table and realizing my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  I wanted a chubby kitty, Santa hat, trees, snowflakes and maybe some holly leaves and a star.  I’m absolutely positive that is all going to fit in an 8” applique’ block, not!  The other part of sketching is to make notes to yourself that are completely illegible so you can’t read them later on when you don’t remember what you were doing.  Also make sure to do your drawings on scraps of paper and envelopes that are easily lost.

Here are some of my amazing sketches!  I have often been compared to many famous artists.

OK, now I know you’re wondering how it went from Picture 1 to Picture 4!  And yes, a two year old probably draws better!  As I sketched out each idea I was able to get a clearer picture on how things would lay out and what would fit or would not.  Also a reminder to keep is simple!  The last picture is on an 8” square of paper, that way I can really see the size and spacing.

Another trick I use is to fold the drawing in half.  Usually when I try to draw a shape one side always turns out better than the other.  So I take the drawing and fold in half like I’m making a heart and then cut out on the better side.  Magically it looks better and amazingly symmetrical!  The shape above the cat is part of a tree.   I tried to draw some tree sections….so I took the best one, folded it in half and then smoothed the edges as I cut it out.



Distraction #2:  I feel the all of sudden need to write a blog and update my website.
Result:  Called web hosting company to add blog pages but updated and redid entire website instead.
Delay Time:  +-3 weeks.

Step 3:  Pick Out the Fabric

Since this is an 8” wool applique’ block I need to buy $500 worth of wool so I can pick out the best shades of green, red, gray, brown and black.  It is also important to have them in pile in the middle of the floor so you can study and agonize over them for several days.  Also important is to have 10 other projects on the floor to so you can easily get distracted and start working on them instead. 



Step 4:  Cutting Out the Shapes

I need to push aside 30 other projects off the cutting mat before cutting out the shapes.  After that simply cut out the shapes, smoothing the edges as necessary ;



Distraction #3:  I just really want to make a tree out of all the nice green wools.  My Chubby Christmas Kitty would like one too!
Result:  Designed a tree to add to the side and words for the top, created an extra kit to make an optional 12” block.
Delay:  +- 1 Day

Distraction #3A:  I couldn’t possible take the time to hand embroider 9 letters so I will digitize them in my Bernina software instead.
Result:  Spent five hours playing with software and 5 minutes stitching out the words.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to do that by hand!
Delay:  +- 5 hours

Step 5:

Time to add on some great embellishments!  I would like to add three snowflake buttons but will need to choose the perfect three from six different packages of snowflakes.  I also need to pick out the perfect eyes from a bag of 500 black buttons.


At this point it is time to start sewing everything down.  I love using the triple blanket stitch on my machine because it looks like I did it by hand.  I usually put a nice stabilizer behind it like OESD Polymesh so it doesn’t pucker from the thickness.

Last Step:

Enjoy and Relax! Here is it!  So cute!  Now I want to make a whole kitty cat quilt but the next deadline is calling, sigh!!
I hope you enjoyed this journey through my crazy mind!

Happy Sewing!


2016 Wooly Adventure 8” Block


With Optional Kit to Make it 12”

Click Here to Order Your Chubby Kitty Kits