DIY-Block-design-250pxToday I’m excited to be a stop on the My DIY Block Design blog hop. Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts has published a great workbook geared toward helping you design your own quilt blocks. She takes the scary out of quilty math, and provides lots of valuable information to help you get your designs from an idea, into your sketchbook, and then to finished blocks. Once that first block is done, it’s an easy jump to complete a quilt top!

There are many tools available to aid in quilt block design. The ones I use are pretty simple: a notebook of graph paper and colored pencils. It’s fun for me to sketch when I have an idea and a notebook and pencil are pretty portable. When inspiration strikes, a notebook is easy to grab and I can take it anywhere.

My sketch book

Inspiration for quilt blocks can be found everywhere. I am constantly taking pictures with my phone when I’m out and about – there are some really cool graphic elements in the most unexpected places. Yesterday I got a picture of the booth I sat in when I had lunch with a friend. The design on the fabric would make the coolest FMQ design!

I have a difficult time picturing how a single block will look when it is repeated in rows and columns for a complete quilt top. The easiest way for me, once the block is sketched out, is to use Excel to re-draw the block. I can then copy that block and create a layout that helps me visualize the finished quilt. There is software written specifically for quilt design and one day I hope to own one of those programs. Excel is an easy option for me until I give in and purchase EQ7 (the program on my wishlist).

When I designed my pattern Floating, I played with one block in my sketchbook until I liked the way it looked. After drawing it in Excel, I was able to see how the block would look when used in multiples.

Sketch for FLoating Quilt Pattern

The sketch above turned into this:

Floating Quilt Pattern

You can also import fabric swatches in Excel to see how fabrics work together in your newly designed block. It’s a bit more work in Excel than it is in quilt design software, but it can be done and helps me get a feel for the look of the block. If you’re interested in learning how to do that let me know. It is too much information for this post. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my design process. It has been so fun for me to dip my toes into designing my own blocks, and I hope you’ll take the plunge if you have been considering it. Alyce’s workbook will help a lot. In other exciting news, I am almost ready to release my second pattern – stay tuned for the release in the next few weeks!

You can visit all the other participants in the blog hop – their links are below:

October 2
Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
Christa @ ChristaQuilts
Angie @ Gnome Angel

October 7
Ros @ Sew Delicious
Leanne @ Sewn By Leanne
Amy @ And Sew We Craft

October 9
Jennie @ Clover & Violet
Melissa @ Ms Midge
Jane @ QuiltJane
Melissa @ My Fabric Relish

October 14
Jen @ Faith And Fabric
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts

October 16
Sandi @ Crafty Planner
Anne @ Play Crafts
Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts

October 21
Joy @ Quilty Joy Joy
Linden @ Vine Lines Quilting
Cassie @ Cassandra Madge

October 23
Keera @ Live Love Sew
Janice @ Better Off Thread
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts

October 28
Kelly @ A Place Of My Own
Abby @ Color Bar Quilts