I started designing two-block quilts in the early 1990s. Since then, I’ve designed dozens and dozens AND dozens of two-block quilts – some were easy block quilt patterns and some challenging. Using two quilt blocks is one of my favorite go-to methods for quilt designs. Needless to say, I love playing with blocks to create a visual puzzle.The first step to successful block selection, and creating secondary patterns, begins with looking at a block and visually dividing it into units. Most blocks are based on a grid, which is defined as the number of squares into which a block is divided. To identify the correct grid, count the number of divisions across the block. For example a Four-Patch block has two divisions; a Nine-Patch block has three divisions.
Notice that with additional divisions, a two-grid becomes a four-grid and a four-grid becomes an eight-grid. The same with Nine-Patch quilt blocks. Blocks that work well in a two-block quilt design fit together like puzzle pieces. When you use two different blocks with a similar grid, the lines flow in an unbroken fashion from block to block.
When I designed “Bountiful Stars” from Love of Quilting March/April 2016, I started with an 8-pointed star block and modified the quilt block by adding a half-square triangle unit to each of the side triangles. I paired the modified star quilt block with a King’s Crown block.
Using the navy print in both quilt blocks, connects the blocks visually and allows you to see a multitude of secondary designs.
Using EQ7, a quilt design software, allows me to easily modify any block or draw original blocks. More on how you can do the same below…
This time, I didn’t use a common fabric to connect the blocks. The high contrast between the cool, blue prints and the lime green prints — along with the white background — creates a lot of movement. Your eye travels around the quilt, looking for various secondary designs.
For the first block in “Jelly Beans,” (also available as a quilt kit) from Love of Quilting May/June 2016, I added a frame around an Uneven Nine-Patch block to create an original block. Then I paired it with a second original block.
Here again, the blocks don’t share any of the same fabrics. However, the white background fabric unifies the design. The real secret to this visual puzzle is rotating Block B 90° in every other row AND adding a pieced inner border. The pieced inner border creates an illusion of where the blocks start and stop.
If you’d like more information about designing Two-Block Quilts, take a look at my on-demand webinar, Creating Fabulous Two-Block Quilts. Armed with information, you’ll design Two-Block quilt patterns with confidence!
If you want to learn more about how to create your blocks and quilt patterns using EQ7, register for my live Beginning EQ7 Webinar on 8/31/2016.
For more in-depth information, take a look at my upcoming Craft University course Design Quilts with EQ7 and Nancy Mahoney, starting on 9/19/2016, with preregistration open now. And, if you registered for the EQ7 webinar (above), as a special thanks, you’ll get 20% off registration for this course (below) with coupon code BEGIN20.
I challenge you to stretch your imagination and have fun pairing up two different quilt blocks to create your own unique quilts.