Contemporary Quilt Blocks: Add Interest with a Spin

One really has to marvel at the talent of our quilting foremothers. With basic geometric shapes and materials they had at hand, these (mostly) women made quilt block patterns. Then they made them their own, taking the traditional quilt blocks and putting their own spin on the design.

simply squared quilt block pattern dackson
Rotating simple quilt block gives this quilt design
movement and interest. Quilt by Elizabeth Dackson.

In fact, literally spinning, or rotating, patchwork quilt blocks can create beautiful patterned effects. Take, for example, this contemporary Simply Squared Quilt designed by Elizabeth Dackson.

Using strictly squares and rectangles, this quilt has movement and spunk, thanks to the rotation of the blocks and the variety of color and scale within the feature fabrics.

Here is how Elizabeth creates the quilt squares to make the quilt block patterns, adapted from her description in International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene 2012/2013.

quilt squares a and b
Quilt squares A and B.

Unit A:

1. With right sides together, sew a 2½" pink frame square to opposite sides of a 2½" green center square. Press the seams toward the pink fabric.

2. Sew a 2½" × 6½" pink frame strip to each long side of the patchwork unit, and press those seams toward the pink fabric. (Figure 1)

Unit B:

1. With right sides together, sew a 1½" blue frame square to each short end of a 1½" × 4½" purple center strip. Press the seams toward the blue fabric.

2. Sew a 1½" × 6½" blue frame strip to each side of the patchwork unit, then press the seams toward the blue fabric.

3. With right sides together, align one long raw edge of a 3½" × 6½" gray accent strip with one long side of the patchwork unit and sew. Press the seam toward the gray fabric. (Figure 2)

To construct the blocks:

quilt block pattern
Putting the quilt block together.

1. Place 2 Unit A and 2 Unit B pieces in a 4-patch arrangement, carefully rotating the Unit A and Unit B pieces. To create depth and interest in the block, use both pink and both blue fabrics in each block arrangement. (Figure 3)

2. With right sides facing, sew the top 2 units together, pressing the seams toward Unit B. Sew the bottom 2 units together, and press the seams toward Unit B.

3. Sew the block together, butting the seams as you go.

You could make endless variations on this quilt block pattern by varying the fabric selections and the rotation of the blocks.

This is just one of many contemporary quilt block patterns in the new issue of Quilt Scene, as well as small quilting projects and home décor. Get your copy now, and start putting your own contemporary spin on block quilting.

P.S. Have you ever put your own spin on a traditional quilting element or pattern? The Makerie Creative Retreat and The Old Glory Antiques Fair are offering a scholarship to the 2013 retreat. All you have to do is send in a brief application and a creative quilt block design. The postmark deadline is Nov. 5, 2012, so get the details now if you want to enter.

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One thought on “Contemporary Quilt Blocks: Add Interest with a Spin

  1. How interesting. I thought you had made two different sets of four patches – one blue / gray, and the other pink / green.. I would love to see how she treated the border.